Is The Three Batter Rule Unfair?

Three Batter Rule

Is The Three Batter Rule Unfair? | Sports Takes & News | TooAthletic.com

Tony La Russa was most affected by baseball’s new “three batter” rule last week when he was forced to make a choice. It was a decision forced upon him by the new rule, and one that under normal circumstances go against the book and should not have been required since it could have been disastrous. While the move worked, it shows why this, and many other rules are hurting Major League Baseball and should be rolled back once and for all.

One of the ways Major League Baseball is trying to speed up the game is by making pitchers inserted during an inning face at least three batters or retire the side. This rule came into play on Friday night when the White Sox faced the Angels, with returning Hall of Fame manager Tony La Russa forced to make an unfair decision. His choice, face Albert Pujols with the tying run on second without being able to bring in his closer with two outs in the eighth inning or walk the future Hall of Fame slugger in order to have one pitcher face the minimum three batters to bring on his closer.

Pujols had already hit a three-run home run earlier in the game Friday night, but the White Sox were leading 7-6 in the bottom of the eighth when Mike Trout lead off with a walk, prompting La Russa to bring in another pitcher, who retired the first two batters he faced before Pujols came to the plate. In the old days, like back in 2019, La Russa would not be forced to walk the go ahead run or think about facing Pujols where only a single can tie the game with anyone other than his closer Liam Hendricks on the mound. In commissioner Rob Manfred’s world of 2021, however, the strategy became letting Evan Marshall face Pujols, or walk the hitter to fulfill the three batter rule, and then bring him his closer for a four-out save … which he did, with Hendricks getting out Jose Iglesias to end the eighth inning. 

Manfred and Major League Baseball have much better ways to speed up baseball for fans in the stands and watching at home; but most of them, like getting rid of so many commercials, would cost them money, so they are not viable and won’t be done.

Demanding that hitters stay in the batter’s box between every pitch is also unenforceable in the minds of the game’s umpires and likewise has never worked despite having rules on the books to prevent it. That leaves us with rules like that, rules that impact the way baseball is played.

Major League Baseball is trying to serve two masters, respect their traditions while also making he game more appealing to a younger generation who has already rejected their slow pace of play and lack of on-field action. Since younger fans have told Major League Baseball what want to they, more batted balls in play, less strikeouts and walks or 25-minute waits for a home runs. Yet, the game has rejected their cries, therefore the game itself has no one to blame but itself for the situation they are in.

Now, MLB has only made things worse by putting unfair rules into place that impact the game’s strategy while not adding enough toward the goals it’s trying to meet, making for an even less appealing game for those of us to still enjoy the man-to-man matchups baseball provides. Baseball is in a battle for its own survival this decade, and it’s already off to the wrong start since they are trying to make the game faster, which isn’t guaranteed to be better.

The three batter rule is going to prove costly to one manager sooner rather than later, and that is when you will hear those inside the game call out Manfred in a big way, giving MLB what it craves, headlines, just for all the wrong reasons. 

 


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Is The Three Batter Rule Unfair? | TooAthletic.com

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