Monday, April 18, 2011

Must Batters Fiddle & Fidget?

I finally got around to watching Game 7 of the 1960 World Series (I kept seeing it on my DVR list and  passing it by). The game features Bill Mazeroski's stunning walk-off home run. A kinescope of the game was found in Bing Crosby's wine cellar and MLB Network built a three-hour special around the game.

Besides the obvious changes -- few on-screen graphics, no instant replay, a solo announcer among others -- one thing always stands out when I watch old games: batters rarely step out of the box between pitches. Sure a batter might be knocked down or have get out of the way of a pitch. In those cases he might step a few feet from the box.

Now, think of today's hitters. Rarely does a batter stay in the box between pitches. I'm not sure if the rules have changed or umpires were just more on top of keeping the game moving, but something is different. Ryan Braun, who is in one my favorite players, is the king of fiddling around. Between each pitch, Braun steps out of the box and adjusts the velcro straps on his left and right arms. I guess it's all part of his ritual to get ready to hit. But it looks ridiculous. And adds needless time to the games.

It's a small amount a time, but it adds up. As baseball looks for ways to shorten games, I think this would be a good place to start. Maybe it would only save 5 or 10 minutes. But it would make play seem quicker. There would be more flow to it. And it would be an easy change and wouldn't cost anything.

Of course, someone would have to convince the batters to take part. A fan can dream, anyway.


  1. I was thinking the same thing the other day when watching Carlos Gonzalez of the Rockies. I love how he hits, but I hate all the crap that leads up to it.

  2. I never understood the Velcro strap adjustment between every pitch. With all the money players make, you think they'd own batting gloves that held their shape for 30 seconds.

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