Stepping Out Of the Box and Tightening Your Batting Gloves


I may have mentioned this before, but I didn’t exactly have an extensive baseball career. Basically, I played two years of T-ball and two years of machine pitch. I was pretty awful. My coach ended up telling me that he was going to bat me ninth. He called it “clean-up.” Looking back, I see how he bamboozled me but I guess he had good reason to do so. I had crummy eyesight and couldn’t hit anything. To this day I still contend that if I’d been able to have Lasik* at the tender age of 9, I’d have become the greatest baseball player that ever lived.

*a la Eric Hosmer

I reference this because I’ve always been on the outside looking in when it comes to the whole “baseball player mentality” and how to “play the game the right way.” I’ve been thinking about this a little bit during the past week or so because of a couple of incidents that happened.

First off was Treanor getting trucked at the plate. This hit was just another piece of evidence to add to the ever-expanding rap sheet that some people use to argue that Major League Baseball is in need of a rule change to protect the catcher from baserunners bullrushing them and doing their best to knock them out. Then there is that other group of people who consider themselves baseball purists. These individuals insist that these types of plays are just part of how baseball is played and normally I’d agree with him. Even when Buster Posey got injured for the year, I thought to myself, “That’s too bad, but that’s how the game is played.” But once Treanor literally got himself knocked out at home plate, I think I may have started looking at it in a different light.

The game between the Angels and Tigers on Sunday was another mind-bender. Guillen shows up Weaver, Weaver throws at a guy’s head, and Weaver gets tossed. Then Verlander takes a no-no deep until Aybar lays down a bunt. Verlander makes a bad throw on the play and eventually loses his no-hit bid, but still wins the game.

In a post-game interview, Verlander called the bunt “bush league.” He later said those comments were taken out of context but it made me laugh. Bush league? A bunt? Aybar was trying to help his team win a game. He stepped up to the plate and did what he could to get on base.

Now I know that this subject has been argued over and over again but I had to get my two cents in. Here’s where I try to make some vague point/connection.

When you’re used to doing things one way, you’re always going to be resistant to change.

Buster Posey (and Matt Treanor)ngets hurt  and analysts start to suggest that perhaps the MLB should make a rule change. This drives the “old-time” baseball guys insane. They get on the tube and talk about how it goes against how “the game is played.”

I think before the Treanor incident I would have been entirely in the camp of the “baseball guys.” I like rally caps. I like bench-clearing brawls. I’m not necessarily a fan of throwing at a guy, but I like the mentality of protecting your teammates. When a pitcher is throwing a no-no, I love how the entire team will avoid him entirely in the dugout, giving him a wide berth on the bench. I’ve always enjoyed the mentality and camaraderie of baseball players.

But I really like Matt Treanor and obviously have a connection with him. Seeing him get concussed* made me at least feel open to the question. Could those analysts be right? Are there ways that Major League Baseball could change the game to improve it? Would baseball player and coaches take changes lying down?

*“Concussed” is such a fun verb.

This is what I spent time thinking about all week. I’m sorry if my connections seem vague or disheveled but i’ve been questioning a lot of things this week

Are there certain things in baseball that could be changed for the better? Am I being pathetic by letting Matt’s injury affect my opinion?

Let me know.

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