Q&A with John Thorn on ‘the illusion of how to play baseball’

A Q&A with SABR member John Thorn by Sebastian Stockman of the Boston Globe on March 12, 2015:

At the start of spring training, a rule change had David Ortiz heated up. The Red Sox slugger used colorful language to express his displeasure with a new policy that will require him to keep one foot in the batter’s box at all times or face fines.

This and 10 other baseball rule changes this year are designed to increase the “pace-of-play” in an effort to get those easily distracted digital natives to keep at least one eye on the national pastime.

As revolutionary changes go, this clutch of clock management tweaks is not exactly the designated hitter, the now-42-year-old American League invention that, depending on your generation, is either common sense or an abomination.

This got us thinking: Why, compared to other major sports, does baseball seem to treat its rules as if they’re written in stone?

John Thorn has been the official historian of Major League Baseball since 2011. That same year, Thorn published “Baseball in the Garden of Eden,” in which he took a close look at the origins of the game.

Read the full article here: https://www.bostonglobe.com/ideas/2015/03/12/the-illusion-how-play-baseball/TdLyLlZH8YorFOShECKM7K/story.html

Originally published: March 13, 2015. Last Updated: March 13, 2015.