It’s April 1 and the baseball season should have started several days ago. Those of us missing baseball might be feeling a great deal of affection for the sport, imagining the legged out triples that might have been.
But let’s be honest, if the season were going on as normal, we’d have a lot to complain about. Some part of the game probably drives you nuts. Maybe it’s some new-fangled thing that you swear was better back in your day. Maybe it’s some traditional thing you wish they’d change.
We asked our writers to share their pet peeves here, and urge you to do the same in the comments.
(Full disclosure, our inspiration for this roundtable came from this tweet):
What are your baseball pet peeves?— Ben Porter (@Ben13Porter) March 31, 2020
Danny Russell: Boy are there too many rules in baseball! I do not care about a balk, I do not care if the player wants to hand their sliding gear to a coach, I do not care about whether pitchers “should” hit. There’s a lot of specific rules in baseball for what should be a very simple sport!
Are you hitting? Here’s your box, stay there until you hit the ball or get told to leave. Are you on base? You have to be touching the base in order to not be tagged out. Are you the pitcher? It’s up to you to decide when and where to throw the ball. Are the best people hitting and fielding? No? Let those people do it!
How can such a simple game have so many complications?
Jim Turvey: John Smoltz. Well, really people (mostly announcers...) who create straw men. And to zoom in one layer further (and begin to hone in on our Smoltzian target) people who create straw men as a means on anti-analytics arguments. You, too, Harold Reynolds. Honestly, I’d rather watch on mute.
Darby Robinson: There was a time when I pined for replay in baseball. I am all about progress and technology, and if we can get plays right with the tech we have it is obvious that we should use it! There’s no downside! Oh sweet summer child, what a fool I was.
What baseball did with replay is take what seemingly was an easy concept, and make it ticky-tacky immediately. Sure, we now have the ability to see a runner actually beat out the bang-bang play at 1st. That’s good! But now we have replays that go 5 minutes where umpires are looking at frame by frame images to see if a hand hovered a centimeter off the bag for a millisecond while a tag was applied. That’s bad!
Replays should never take several minutes. If it takes more than the first or second view, then leave the play as it was called. The super slo-mo ever so slightly technically correct but not fundamentally correct calls are not good for the game, and are much worse for the viewing experience. 90 seconds in the replay booth, and let’s move on!
Ashley MacLennan: I can’t stand the “back in my day” school of announcers who get vocally annoyed about younger players (notably usually younger Latin American players) who dare to show excitement and enthusiasm in their play. A lot of things were different in your day, Bob, doesn’t mean they were necessarily better. Let the kids play.
Mister Lizzie: All of the above! Let me add: I don’t like seeing pitchers intentionally throw at hitters. Getting hit by the occasional pitch is of course part of the game, especially for batters who like to crowd the plate. And every pitcher is going to see the occasional pitch sail in and accidentally find a hip or a forearm. But throwing at batters intentionally? That’s never right. First, the pitcher is basically attacking someone who can’t defend himself. In what universe is that ethical? Secondly, batters can really get hurt! No pitcher has such pinpoint control that they can be sure a pitch aimed at a batter’s torso won’t end up hitting his head. Finally, from the point of view of gamesmanship, when you hit a batter you have just put him on first base. How does that help your team win?
I suspect that the current generation of managers is a bit less likely to send their pitchers out with instructions to throw a beanball, and that’s all for the better.
Well, now you know the things that make as grouchy. What are your pet peeves?