You knew what was coming, but so what?a MLB hitter on facing pitcher Walter Johnson
With Democrat debates, Presidential rallies and impeachment going on, not to mention the turmoil in Iran I’ve decided it’s time for this blog to get back to a subject that really matters.
It’s been a busy week for MLB as the league has assessed still penalties on both AJ Hinch and Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow resulting in not only the Astros throwing them under the bus but in the Boston Red Sox deciding to part ways with World Series winning manager Alex Cora after only two years for his part before MLB even went after him.
Now I don’t have a problem with these penalties in principle as I’m a bit of a rules lawyer, if the rules say something they should be enforced ( I still think calling George Brett out in the pine tar game was the right call) but i’m also of the opinion that the rules on sign stealing are pretty stupid.
Sign stealing has been a part of the game since the day signs were and has been practiced with varying success by every team and the idea that sign stealing done one way (with no electronic help) is legal but sign stealing WITH electronic help is not frankly isn’t practical in a world of iPhones, I watches, instant replay and challenges.
So I propose a simple solution that will not only solve this dilemma but will do something that major league baseball is desperate to achieve, speed up the game.
- Make all forms of sign stealing legal
- Raise the mound back to the 1968 level
Getting rid of all restriction on sign stealing will have a liberating effect on all these teams that are doing their best to steal signs (and let’s not pretend they aren’t) by bringing this strategy out in the open you make it a more interesting part of the game and force a pitcher, catcher and coach to be more creative in their pitch calling.
Now you might argue that this will give an even greater advantage to batters in an age of lousy pitching and you’d be right, and that’s why it’s so necessary to add the second part of the equation to the plan, raising the pitchers mound.
Baseball’s panic move to lower the mound after the year of the pitcher (1968) was an action borne out of fear and did nothing to prevent the decline of the games popularity in relation to football, what it instead did was make offense easier at a time when you were increasing the number of pitchers in the game by 20% meaning that pitchers who would not have made a major league roster five years ago were not only pitching to the likes of Carl Yastrzemski , Hank Aaron Harmon Killebrew and Pete Rose but were doing it from a smaller mound.
50 years later we have smaller parks but 6 more teams meaning that there are 60 more pitchers who would not have been considered major league quality now pitching in those parks. It’s time to give the pitchers back an edge. Sure you might have a couple of Bob Gibsons emerge with microscopic ERA’s Max Scherzer instantly comes to mind but you would also give those other guys who frankly aren’t worth stealing signs against an actual shot at getting people out and speeding up the game.
Since the lack of a clock is a defining part of baseball the only way to make the game faster is to make outs easier. Raising the mound will do and doing so in conjunction with allowing all forms of sign stealing, including electronic ones will do so without overcompensating in favor of the pitcher.
And it will save everyone a whole lot of trouble.