Kaplan: Five changes for the fans

From SABR member Jim Kaplan at Seamheads.com on November 15, 2016:

When I left Sports Illustrated in 1986, I knew I’d be spending as much time in the stands as in the press box. So while baseball scribes like SI’s Tom Verducci suggest ways (see: lowering the mound) to improve play, I have my own five recommendations to enhance conditions for fans.

  • Every time a pitcher throws a beanball — a pitch issued with the intention of striking a batter, at times on the head (bean) — I know just what the writers upstairs are thinking: “It’s part of the game,” or “He had to establish the inside part of the plate.”

In the stands, though, I find myself cringing. Consider what Adam Felder wrote in theatlantic.com: “Throwing a baseball at 90 miles per hour or more at another human being qualifies as ‘assault with a deadly weapon.’ It’s only between the foul lines that a violent felony is instead viewed as enforcing the game’s unwritten rules.”

Once intent is established — and admittedly, that won’t be easy — arrest pitchers who throw beanballs. If managers ordered the actions, they too should be arrested.

This is a legal field with no precedent that I know of. With a future that is uncertain, there’s a way to improve the present. It seems unfair to warn the first offending pitcher and eject the one who retaliates. Therefore, warn both benches at the start of the game and throw out the first headhunter. Though they’re usually not suspended, some pitchers guilty of beanballs have had to sit for as long as 10 games. Let’s make the suspension mandatory and increase it to 20 games. Players will have the right to appeal.

Read the full article here: http://seamheads.com/blog/2016/11/15/five-changes-for-the-fans/

Originally published: November 28, 2016. Last Updated: November 28, 2016.