Can someone please explain to me what the hell I just heard? Is this a real thing being said? Bill James was on MLB Network on Monday to discuss how baseball can get away from guys only wanting to hit homers and not care if they strike out. He laid out some rule changes he thinks could help the game and improve the pace of play. Eliminating mid-inning pitching changes, stopping batters from stepping out and somehow he stumbled onto his point of wanting MLB players to wear their batting equipment around the bases so it saves time? Am I taking crazy pills? He defends his segment on twitter by going with the "pace of play" argument and that it takes up 45-60 seconds for a guy to take off his elbow guard and shin guard and give it to the first base coach. I don't understand what the end game is here, what is the argument he's trying to make? He's okay with a pitcher taking 45 seconds to get a ball, clean his cleats off behind the mound, use the rosin, fix his hat and walk around the mound before every pitch? This take reeks of "BACK IN MY DAY...."
This is the big problem in baseball we have to worry about? Not guys with pine tar dripping out of their gloves? Not batters having an all time worst hitting season? Not the Oakland Athletics feeding their minor leaguers a slice of lettuce and cheese? We are having a discussion about batting gloves and pads? And how about him openly admitting that someone else gave him the idea but he can't remember who so they don't even get credit for this dumb idea.
He thinks because the equipment is better today than it was in 1934 guys are more likely to lean into pitches, that could be true, but what is the basis of this argument? Why is he shocked that we have better helmets and protection now than we did when he was a wee little lad? Of course the stuff is better today and helps protect batters from every other pitcher throwing triple digits. We have to cut out some of these aging baseball reporters. I've never heard of someone complain because a guy is taking too long to take his elbow guard off. Again, is THIS the problem we should be focusing on in baseball? And what happens when a guys shin guard gets caught around his foot when he's running first to third and he wrecks his ankle? Think that will be worth the 40 seconds we saved by having him keep it on his ankle? We've got to stop giving these wrinkly baseball writers a platform.
Just imagine if a guy wants to run the bases with this oven mitts on that means he has to wear those to hit, that is what we want to see Bill. I like to picture Bill sitting down to watch a baseball game and he gasps when he sees Ronald Acuña Jr. come to the plate with an elbow guard AND shin guard on. "If Babe Ruth didn't wear anything these guys shouldn't either!" he screams as he eats his dinner at 3:30 PM. Thank god he's here to tackle the important stuff.