The Popcorn Stand: Leave baseball alone |

The Popcorn Stand: Leave baseball alone

One professional league is going to use a home run derby to break ties. At the lowest levels of the minor leagues, they’re going to use that stupid international softball rule in which you start the inning with a runner at second and nobody out when baseball games go to extra innings.

And, sadly, the talk of just making intentional walks automatic and eliminating the requirement pitchers actually have to throw four balls to intentionally walk a batter has returned.

For baseball fans like me this is blasphemy. It’s sacreligious. It’s all unconscionable. At least at the Major League level.

In the infinite wisdom of baseball’s high muckety-mucks they seem to think shaving a few minutes off of the game here or there will somehow make a difference in the popularity of the greatest game there is. It won’t.

Actually I don’t care what they do at the minor league level. Home Run derbys. Doubleheaders with seven-inning games (which is already done). That stupid international rule. Do the hokey pokey for all I care.

But bring all this to Major League Baseball and you ruin the credibility of the game. Actually, I’m not that much of a baseball purist. You want to put time limits on visits to the mound, do away with exaggerated infield shifts, be my guest. Or don’t. I don’t care.

But these four things I do care about: Keep extra innings the way they are.

Please continue to require pitchers to throw four pitches to intentionally walk a batter. The San Francisco Giants may have not won one of their three World Series if you did away with this rule.

Please don’t ruin the National League with the designated hitter.

But most importantly, do this, which would have the biggest impact as far as improving the game – and may even shave off a few seconds here or there in the process: As I’ve written before, keep the catchers in the catchers box. Watch how much hitting – and umpiring – would improve if you did this.

It would definitely be better than the hokey pokey.

— Charles Whisnand