Could The MLB Really Change The Strike Zone?

I walked into science class on Friday around quarter to noon.  I asked my friend, who sits next to me, and who isn’t a baseball fan, what he thought the strike zone was.  A kid behind me came up, and said, “Well, it’s from your nips to the knees.”

Yup.  That’s exactly true.  My friend agreed while also laughing.

On Thursday, Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports posted a column, reporting that the MLB is considering changing the strike zone.  I was instantly furious, and thought that it would be completely insane that the strike zone could be altered.  I blamed Yahoo! for putting it up, and was quite confused that it was even a possibility.  The MLB will reportedly look into it this year, and conduct studies.  No change will be made until the 2016 season, however.

As I read the column though, I realized that it had happened before.  Before I was born.  Before anyone I’m friends with were born.  In 1996, the MLB moved it from the top of the knees to the bottom, expanding the zone.

I was quite shocked that it had ever happened.  I had only known it as one zone since I had been born.  I never played baseball (on a team) growing up, but still attended games at a young age.  I knew it as, well, said above by the kid in my science class.

The idea is still crazy to me.  Changing the strike zone means changing everything.  You have to change how little leaguers pitch, how high schoolers pitch, and how college players get ready to get drafted.  Bottom line: You have to the change the way people think.  That’s the main issue.

The strike zone has been known as one zone by me and everyone born after 1996.  From the nips to the knees.  The bottom of the knees, to be exact.

The MLB is now considering changing it back.  Shrinking it.  Moving it from the bottom of the knees to the top.  The excuse?  To bring more offense into the game.  That only brings up more issues.

Offense has been down over the past years.  Jeff Passan did a great job in that column laying out how stats, like walks, have been down.  Strikeouts are at an all-time high.  Stats don’t lie, we know that.

Stats are also proving that eras exist.  Baseball, and sports in general, go through eras.  We’re in the passing era with football.  That’s just how things work.  Baseball, currently, is in a pitchers era.  Pitchers have been dominate since 2010, and it goes back farther than that.

Pitchers these days are taking advantage of the analytical era.  They are using the advanced statistics to figure what pitch to throw, to that guy, on that strike count, and even in that inning.  These stats are narrowing it down that much.  And it’s working.  We’re seeing it take place with this possible rule change.

It’s something we simply need to get over.  We’re in a pitchers era, and we have been for awhile.  So now it’s an issue?  The MLB is freaked out by it, for some reason no knows.  It’s happened before.  I don’t know why it’s such a big deal.

Maybe, the MLB is taking after the NFL.  Changing the rules to their advantage.  The NFL’s been doing the same thing for the past year.  It’s like Animal Farm.  Oh, wait, that rings a bell!

I sent this email to Bill Simmons, who's opinion on Roger Goodell has been very public, and has even gotten him in trouble.  He put it in his Championship Mailbag, and responded quite humorously.  It made my day.
I sent this email to Bill Simmons, who’s opinion on Roger Goodell has been very public, and has even gotten him in trouble. He put it in his Championship Mailbag, and responded quite humorously.  It made my day.

The tactic that sports leagues are using now is exactly like the book.  Here’s what the MLB is doing:

Expanding offense means more excitement.  Baseball is exciting no matter what.  It doesn’t matter if it’s a 10-9 game or a 1-0 game.  It’s exciting to me and many people around the country.  But for kids who aren’t like me (sports nerds), it’s not exciting.  Kids these days like fast paced games, like football and basketball.  Teenagers would rather be playing on their phone than watch baseball.  That’s a serious problem that the MLB faces.

So shrinking the strike zone means more walks.  It doesn’t mean more hits and home runs, but  walks mean guys on base, which sets up runs.  Runs mean excitement, and excitement means more eyeballs on the game.  Young eyeballs.

Basically, this is a PR stunt.  More runs means more offense, and that’s what kids and people who aren’t pure baseball fans want.  For people like me, who are peeing their pants waiting for baseball season to start, it doesn’t matter.

If you shrink the strike zone, and increase offense, it’s going to drag out the game.  Oh!  Wait!  Isn’t the MLB concerned about length of game?

The MLB is basically contradicting themselves without knowing it.  Length of game has been the biggest issue in baseball for quite awhile.  Heck, we’re experimenting with it in minor league games with pitch clocks.

More offense, hits, and walks drags out the game.  Big offensive innings can last 45 minutes sometimes.  Those are killer.  If we’re gonna walk guys more, and expand offense, then we need to prepare for longer games.  That can’t be what the MLB wants.

At this point, it seems that nobody can figure out what the MLB wants.  I’m not even sure they know what they want.  It seems that no one has realized that the MLB is contradicting themselves.  No one is talking about it.

I’ve been entitled to the opinion that baseball has been dying over past years.  It’s not talked about as often as it used to be.  It’s all Spring Training expectations and A-Rod right now.  Kids aren’t totally excited any more.  It’s “Oh, baseball is starting?  Let me know when the playoff race heats up”.

The MLB has many issues right now, and solutions for them aren’t promising.  These are longer term things, but it seems that nobody wants to be the one to propose something.

I don’t know what it is with sports leagues these days.  How can multi-billion dollar businesses be so screwed up at the top?  The MLB isn’t screwed up, yet.  It could be on it’s way to that.  It makes no sense that something worth so much can be so messy.  I don’t get it.

New commissioner Rob Manfred hasn’t had the best proposals, according to fans and myself.  Not all of them I agree with.  If the MLB wants to get more people’s attention, worry about time.  Not everyone has it.  Make it as convenient as possible to watch baseball.  Inputing more offense could drag games close to five hours.

Honestly, there’s no reason to be impressed with the MLB right now.  The problems are being hidden, giving no one anything to talk about.  That’s what we like to talk about in this day and age right, problems?  It’s amazing how we love this league(s) so much, yet a messes are present at the top.  The MLB isn’t there yet, but it’s certainly getting close.

Baseball preview coming soon…