Thursday, July 16, 2015

Basing the ball

Hobo and I were talking today about sports and how they could be made better for watching.  Having played baseball a lot while I was a kid I have thoughts on that sport in particular.  Baseball suffers from being very slow and having a tremendous amount of standing around while the pitcher and batter have a little duel.  I have never found that interesting because you can't usually tell what the pitcher or batter is thinking and any strategy that comes out of a situation like that is hidden from the viewer.  It is just a bore.

However, when I was young I played a variant of baseball called 3 pitch.  The idea is that the batting team supplies the pitcher and the defending team has someone on the mound to catch the ball should it go there.  There are a maximum of 3 pitches after which the batter is automatically out but because the pitcher is trying to give the batter a good throw that isn't much of an impediment.  The reason I like this so much is it pushes the game outside of an invisible duel that is obfuscated to the viewer into a series of fast action with lots of movement and excitement.

With nearly every pitch being good the ball gets into play the great majority of the time.  There is no reason for the pitcher and batter to screw around between pitches either so things move at a fast clip.  This translates the meat of the game into something the audience can see and that is bound to make things more entertaining to view.  I would be so much more interested in watching a major league baseball game if it was a 3 pitch game, and I suspect most other people would agree if they weren't already inured to the current system.

There would of course need to be some changes to avoid endless home runs, like making the ball a lot softer so it wouldn't fly so hard or so fast, but that isn't especially difficult to sort out.

The best thing about this is it would get kids' baseball leagues to want to imitate the big leagues and we could get away from a sport where kids spend most of their time standing around and then striking out because the pitcher is bigger and older and much more skilled than they are.  We want the kids to run around and do a bunch of stuff and having them get a nice easy pitch up the middle is exactly the way to do that.  It also means that you don't just put the little kids in the outfield where nothing happens, because people are going to whack the ball out there regularly!  Everyone gets a much greater chance to play and interact with the ball and that can't help but be better exercise and more fun.

It won't ever happen of course, because there is too much invested in the current system.  People would accuse it of being watered down and terrible... but it would be better to watch, better to learn, and probably fantastic for the health of baseball for the future.

1 comment:

  1. I agree that 3-pitch is more fun for kids (and many others).

    Having read a book about baseball, and having learned about some of the info now provided to viewers, I suspect that baseball experts get more out of watching it than you or I might. And the threshold for enjoyment is gradually coming down.