Our long national nightmare is over, last week Major League Baseball let it be known that they are moving to make the old “fake to third, throw to first” pick-off move that never, ever works illegal. Yes, that super lame, super bush league move that most pitchers only attempt in a half-hearted manner that only serves to antagonize the crowd and viewing audience is going to be considered a balk starting next year, or at least that is the plan. Will this make a big difference in the speed of the game? Not even a little bit. Will it make the game more fair? Nope.
All it is going to do is make the national pasttime just a tiny bit less annoying. Who isn’t in favor of that? And since MLB is taking this bold step to rid the game of such nuisances, why stop just at just this one stupid pick-off move? Here, in no particular order, are some of the other gadflies of the game that we would all gladly live without:
- Showing bunt when a pticher throws over to first. Maybe this one just me, but seeing a batter half-heartedly flash a bunt when he realizes the pitcher goes to first really gets my goat. Sorry, random slugger that never bunts, but nobody is buying that you are going to drop one down on a 1-2 count, or on any count. That, my friend, is bush league.
- Calling yourself safe as you cross first base. Oh, you’re safe? Thanks for letting us know. I normally consult the umpire, but I guess we’ll just take your word for it. Or maybe you should worry more about running hard so that the play isn’t so close.
- Taking timeout so you can hand your shin/elbow/ankle/wrist pad to the batboy. I’m all for players protecting themselves, but if you are going to wear a suit of armor to the plate, you should have to run the bases with them to. Instead, we get the game slowed down so you can disrobe. That’s just inappropriate, there are children in the stands!
- No more at-bat music. We get it, you like Drake and/or the Zac Brown Band.
- Sliding headfirst into first base. For starters, it is a good way to get yourself hurt. More importantly, it just basic physics that sliding into first base slows you down, which sort of defeats the purpose. I’m not sure how exactly to make it illegal, aside from public flogging, but putting an end to a play that’s only purpose in this world is so a player can show off his “grit and hustle” is always a good thing.
- Any play that prominently involves A.J. Pierzynski. That one is pretty self-explanatory.
- Pitchers batting. Most of them are god awful at it, so why subject ourselves to their ineptitude every nine batters? Besides, I think we could all do without ever seeing anything like this again:
(h/t SB Nation for the gif)