Things I Hate about Major League Baseball
Baseball is almost perfect, but not quite
Don’t get me wrong, baseball is an amazing sport. The best sport. I do love it, but that doesn’t mean it’s perfect. Major League Baseball has some quirks and practices that I truly can’t stand. While many aspects of the game are great just the way they are, there are some things that would only improve the National Pastime if they simply went away.
Baseball players are extremely particular about their peers following the rules of the game; including those that aren’t even written down anywhere. These so-called unwritten rules are invoked most typically when somebody’s feelings get hurt, which is invariably on the heels of giving up a big play or losing.
There is one unwritten rule I hate the most. That is the belief that players aren’t supposed to celebrate too openly after hitting a home run. This includes flipping the bat, “admiring” the trajectory of the departing ball too long, or staring at the pitcher. I doubt anyone wants to see the batter cartwheeling down the first-base line, but there’s nothing wrong with a little enthusiasm.
The bat flip Toronto Blue Jays’ slugger Jose Bautista did after hitting a go-ahead home run in the 2015 ALDS against the Texas Rangers ignited one of the most excitable moments in recent baseball history. With games averaging about three hours and often coming in even longer, any injection of excitement of that level can serve as a shot of adrenaline. Nobody (well hardly anybody) complains about dugout celebrations, so let’s ease up on the bat flipping and admiration of home runs. If you are on the opposing team, the best way to avoid such displays is by not permitting the long ball in the first place. If they can’t, a little egg on their face is part of the price paid.
Charging the Mound
Yes, getting hit with a baseball hurts. Especially when it can be thrown at more than 90 mile per hour or hit parts of the body that really weren’t engineered to absorb such impacts. Also, having a ball thrown at your head is dangerous. Tragically, Cleveland Indians shortstop Ray Chapman even died after being struck in the head during a 1920 game. However, charging the mound to try and get at the pitcher may feel good in the momentary rage, but 99.9% of the time it does absolutely nothing.
When a mound is charged in the big leagues, there are three things that invariably happen. The batter throws a piece of equipment or a wild punch that misses by approximately 10 feet; the benches of both teams pour out on to the field and any real fighting that takes place are between those who had nothing to do with the original altercation; fines and suspensions.
Simply put, charging the mound does absolutely nothing. The player can’t undue being hit. They end up missing games and having to write a sizable check. Heck, they don’t even usually get a chance to punch their tormentor in the nose. It some cases, injuries happen to players navigating piles of squirming bodies thrashing around over uneven terrain. It delays the action, negatively impacts your own team and is nothing more than a bunch of millionaires rolling around in the dirt for a few minutes, giving fans the chance to pee and reload their beers and pulled pork nachos.
Arguing with Umpires
Umpires aren’t perfect but the human element they bring with them deciding the outcome of every pitch and out is a decidedly unique element of the game. Of course, they don’t get them all right and some of their decisions are blatantly wrong — as decided by those who have the benefit of immediate replay or gifted eyesight.
It’s understandable and even encouraged for a player or manager to say something if they believe they have been victimized by a bad call. However, they need to know when to stop the argument. Outside of proper review channels, there is no chance a call is going to be reversed. Standing there, screaming, bumping, cajoling, in some cases kicking dirt and generally making an ass of oneself is not going to change anything in your favor.
Some argue that engaging an umpire to the point where an ejection occurs fires up the team. That being said, it’s never been fully explained how and why watching a grown man scream at someone about bending over and using their good eye is good motivation. It’s embarrassing, it also wastes time in a sport where time is so much of the essence, and if anything may create ill will with those who you need on your side as much as possible. Besides, who has time to argue when there’s more baseball to be played?