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Dumb and dumber

Posted at 10:08 AM on July 26, 2005 by Ben Tesch (4 Comments)

Previously we talked about instant replay and other rules we might like to see added to the game, but what about the dumb rules that exist already? Patrick Hruby lays out the dumb rules for every sport, which includes the following specific to baseball:

  • Intentional Walks in Baseball
    Let's see: Spend $60 on a ticket to watch someone not pitch to David Ortiz? No thanks. Better to grant each team a single intentional walk per game, the way the NFL doles out limited coaches' challenges. And when the pitcher decides to chicken out? Give the batter two free bases.

    Really, why should a meatball artist get a near-mulligan because he can't get the likes of Barry Bonds out?

  • No Protesting a Called Strike in Baseball
    If a batter can step away from the batter's box to chew, scratch or spit, why can't he step away from the batter's box, look the other away and express his deepest feelings about an umpire's genealogy? Instead, the rule states that you can't protest balls and strikes again, this is bull!

  • Baseball Dugout Warnings
    Warning both dugouts means somebody gets the last word in brushbacks. That ain't fair. If a pitcher knows the next brushback will produce a warning, he has little choice but to throw one -- because if he doesn't, the other team's hurler will. And as soon as someone does, the other guy can't. Nah-nah-nah-nah-nah.

    As for umpires interpreting and defining the intent of a pitch? Yeah, right. Umps have a hard enough time calling a consistent strike zone. Now they're supposed to read minds?

    Beanball wars might amount to frontier justice. But at least they're just.

  • Baseball's On-Deck Circle
    Use it or lose it.

  • Baseball Managers Wearing Uniforms
    An unwritten rule, to be sure -- but no less unforgivable. Imagine Stan Van Gundy in a jersey and shorts, Bill Belichick in shoulder pads and a helmet, Scotty Bowman in a sweater and skates. Silly, right? So how is Jack McKeon in a uniform any different?

  • No Contact on the Basepaths in Baseball
    Forget the home run. The most exciting play in baseball is a full-on collision at home plate. Why not allow big hits at every other base, and all parts in between?

    Just think: Alex Rodriguez's first-base purse slap would have been legal. Better yet, Bronson Arroyo could have slapped him back. Or worse. Everyone wins!

I agree with pretty much all of these, except maybe the intentional walk. The on-deck circle thing is very funny to me, considering the Metrodome's little split-level addition batting warming house on the side of the dugout. (Might as well build a nice open air breezeway to the bullpen!) Sorry, getting off-topic. What's your take on these various "dumb rules"?


Comments (4)

i think the umps are to coddled and would love if there could be heated protests. bring it!

Posted by kinsella | July 26, 2005 11:08 AM


Arguments with umpires are only fun if they're rare and especially colorful. Even the colorful arguments get a bit tired if you see a guy put on his "showtime" act every couple weeks. I don't need an extra 20 minutes tacked on to every game because players have license to debate and protest every pitch they think is out of--or in--the strike zone.

I wouldn't mind tinkering with the intentional walk rule, and I'd like to see managers regular clothes--although most of them would probably just put on a warm-up suit, anyway.

I'd also like to see a rule to limit pitching changes within an inning, and another to limit the number of times the pitcher can throw over to a base, too.

Posted by frightwig | July 26, 2005 3:32 PM


Wow, I heartily disagree with all of this.

Who's going to decide which walk is intentional? We already see players who are walked intentionally de facto - who in situations don't see hittable pitches.

One of my biggest pet peeves is watching multimillionaires whine about pitch 8 inches out of the strike zone. They don't argue when they hit the same pitch for a home run. Move the game along, save pitchers' arms, make 'em swing.

No one should intentionally throw a ball 90 miles an hour near someone's head, sorry.

The on-deck circle is cool. I can remember being a kid watching players put on their pine tar and weights more than I watched the game.

This is probably a throwback to the days when player managers were common, but so what? I can't stand watching basketball coaches in their Armani suits and slicked hairdos. Pat Riley should be required to wear shorts and sneakers.

Full contact on the basepaths? Maybe baseball players should wear shoulder pads and football helmets. I don't get it. I go to games to watch batting, fielding and base-running. We have plenty of violent sports in America.

Posted by Craig H. | July 26, 2005 5:02 PM


arguing the pitch isn't going to make the game any longer if you do something to speed up the game in other way. i.e. making the pitchers actually throw the ball in a timely manner. instead of holding hte runner on base with 5 tosses over to 1st. furthermore, when there's a bad call the pitcher never just gets up and fires the next pitch in. so your point is very weak at best. and if you didn't allow unlimited pitching changes in innings 6 thru 9 then maybe the end of the game would take 3 times as long as first 2/3rds. the middle relief shuffle has killed the pace of the game in the past decade and that's why it's turning into the nba. where only the last 3 innings matter and that's bad for baseball.

Posted by kinsella | July 27, 2005 2:25 PM


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