The 2019 MLB season is off to an exciting start. It began with 46 home runs being hit on opening day to tie the record set in 1999. Also, in the first month of the season, we have seen two bench-clearing scuffles.
These scuffles have started the debate of whether baseball needs the unwritten rules or if we should “let the kids play“. The MLB has begun to throw away these outdated “rules” by pushing their Let the Kids Play movement.
The most recent brawl between the White Sox and Royals started when White Sox’s shortstop Tim Anderson hit a no-doubt home run and proceeded to bat flip and stare at the ball heading towards the stands. Royal’s pitcher, Brad Keller, hit Tim Anderson in his next plate appearance which led to Anderson cursing at Keller which resulted in the benches clearing. The MLB went on to suspend Tim Anderson for one-game because of his foul language and Royal’s pitcher Brad Keller for five games. The MLB has now started to hand out weaker suspensions to the batter than the pitcher in scenarios similar to this. It is clear the MLB is sticking to the Let the Kids play movement to evade the stereotype of baseball being an old man’s game.
This will certainly not be the last time a hitter gets plunked by a fastball after he admires his home run. It is becoming more and more of a relevant issue in MLB. Are the unwritten rules becoming outdated? Here is a look at some of the unwritten rules that look to be on their way out.
Do NOT Admire a Home Run
This rule is already on its way out. Bat flipping and admiring home runs has become a fan favorite over the years. However, pitchers are still likely to retaliate. This can be the exception where the unwritten rules and the new era can benefit each other. Baseball needs the rivalry and emotion. What better way to create rivalries than with a bench-clearing brawl? That is what will bring fans to the stadiums or entice them to sit down and watch the whole game.
Relief Pitchers Should Only Throw Fastballs to Other Relief Pitchers
In a season where a team can miss the playoffs by one game, every game matters. Every pitch matters, regardless of who is up. Once in a blue moon, you will find a relief pitcher who gets a hit and changes the outcome of the game. In today’s game, it is rare for a relief pitcher to even get a plate appearance due to the use of a pinch hitter and the number of relief pitchers on a roster. However, when they are up, do not be afraid to throw an offspeed pitch. Get the out.
Do Not Run the Score Up in a Blowout
Three times in MLB history, teams have managed to erase a 12 run lead and go on to win the game. No lead is safe. You can still show sportsmanship while continuing to score runs to guarantee a win.
“You can’t sit on a lead and run a few plays into the line and just kill the clock. You’ve got to throw the ball over the damn plate and give the other man his chance. That’s why baseball is the greatest game of them all.” – Earl Weaver
Baseball is one of the most unpredictable sports. It is never over until the last pitch is thrown. Make sure you do not end up on the wrong side of history.
Since I am on the topic of outdated baseball traditions, managers need to stop wearing uniforms. It is a tradition that started when teams had player-managers and has somehow managed to carry on. Khakis and a polo will do just fine.
Baseball is heading in the right direction by pushing out these unwritten rules. The game needs to become more modern to appeal to today’s fan base. Give them what they want. Let the kids play.