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Grandpa -

I think it's stupid when a great batter gets up to the plate and they just throw four wide balls on purpose and let him walk to first base.  Everybody boo's, and nobody likes it.  What can we do about this?

- Bobby

Bobby -

I can understand your frustration, Bobby.  That's always bothered me too.  The talent of the batter is taken out of the game.  He's just one who gets to first base without allowing anyone else to run.  He does not get to bat at all, so why is he called a "batter"?

Grandpa made up a new rule for baseball about 40 years ago.  This rule would remove this problem and several others as well.

Here's the new rule:

On a walk, if the batter has no strikes, he walks to second.

That's all there is to the rule - very easy to understand and easy to officiate.

The expected results:

1.  The pitcher will have to be more careful to throw strikes and not balls.  He'll have to slow down.  If the pitcher has one strike on the batter, then he can throw his best stuff, risking only the walk to first.

2.  There will be lots more action - more hits - more home runs - much more defense.

3.  This will make the game more a game of nine players and not a game of the pitcher only.  No longer will we name a pitcher and declare that "he" won the game.  Now the whole team has to win (or lose) the game.

4.  There will be almost no "on-purpose" walks.  After all, this will mean a walk to second base.  (Your question.)  This will stop almost all intentional "bean balls", as hitting the batter also results in a walk - to second base if there are no strikes. Even unintentional "bean balls" will be much reduced with the more careful pitching this rule will bring about.

5.  A side benefit may be that we will see fewer injuries of pitcher's arms.  They'll still throw some fast ones, but not as many.

Grandpa has thought for forty years that this would be a great new rule - doing as much for baseball as the "forward pass" did for football.

Many old baseball fans are into the game as a tradition - and they will not favor any change like this, but for the majority, the game will be much more exciting, and this is such a simple change. The forward pass in football faced this kind of opposition also.

Of course, the stats will change - a whole new set of records will develop.  It's obvious, however, that there is an important difference between walking with strikes and walking with no strikes.  This is not only a game-changing rule; it's a fair rule.

 

Grandpa wants to see a demonstration game with this rule in place.  

 

(Note: A much more severe change could also be implemented. On a walk, if batter has no strikes, he walks to third. If he has one strike, he walks to second. Likely, this would change the game too much.

)

 

- Grandpa

 

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