MLB Closer to Implementing New Slide Rules, Pushing Sport Further into SABR Nerdery
As I’m sure you’re aware by now, this beautifully woven tapestry of a sport we know as baseball is in dire jeopardy of devolving fully into a monstrosity of numbers. First the dweebs told us a pitcher’s record doesn’t matter, as though the will to win was no longer applicable. Then they said RBI’s are not an accurate measure of a batter’s performance, that gritting your teeth and choking up to drive that runner in from second with two outs is largely a product of situations outside a hitter’s control. There’s even an attack on batting average, that most revered of statistics. Baseball is being eroded from the inside out by the digital devilry of dorks and I don’t like it.
Now comes word that Major League Baseball intends to implement slide rules into the game. Hearing Joe Maddon and those of his ilk boast of cards dripping with analytics is enough to make a real fan of the game choke on his Hebrew National all-beef hot dog. There’s not enough Old Style at Wrigley to wash down the bad taste in my mouth from all these newfangled numbers. As far as I’m concerned, taking off the “ytics” will tell you exactly into which cavity you can stick your fancy metrics. What in the hell does baseball need with trigonometrical calculations during the game? This is a travesty. It’s a sham. It’s a mockery. It’s a traveshamockery!
Can it wait? I’m on a roll here, really getting them whipped into a froth. I’m about to talk about how they don’t have numbers to measure the dirt and grass stains covering a real man’s uniform when he’s played the game the right way, with class. What’s that? Oh, this isn’t slapdicks talking about slipsticks? It’s about the rules regarding sliding into second? Well, why didn’t you say so?
Well, don’t I sound like (even more of) an idiot. Turns out the nerds aren’t rattling their sabrs and pushing their arithmetical agenda via subtrahend subterfuge after all. According to Buster Olney, the league and the players union are nearing an agreement about the legislation of the manner in which a runner slides into second base.
Sources said that in the union’s internal discussions, players made it clear they had been taught since they first began playing baseball to go into second base with the intent of breaking up double-play attempts. Although the union wants to improve safety for middle infielders, it does not want to eliminate players’ aggressiveness on slides or the ability to break up a double play.
However, there is a desire on both sides to eliminate slides on which a baserunner goes beyond the effort to reach second to make contact with middle infielders. That is what happened with Tejada, as Chase Utley was nowhere near the base when he crashed into Tejada’s leg. Utley was given a two-game suspension by Major League Baseball for that play, a punishment that has been appealed.
The language on the rule has not entirely been resolved, and there is some question about whether slides in question will be subject to instant-replay review.
Of course, this brings up the entirely new — but still somewhat related — issue of the wussification of America. I mean, amirite, Danny Kanell? What happened to the days when a shortstop took a forearm to the groin and simply shrugged off emasculation by adjusting his cup and hoping that his testicles would eventually descend again? Or when a second baseman simply rubbed dirt on a torn MCL and masked the residual pain with a pair of greenies and some ketamine? Men were men and knew the value of a takeout slide, a heater to the ribs, and how swallowing the juice from that massive plug of chaw in your cheek put hair on your chest and made you a goshdarn sexual tyranosuar.
Next you’re gonna tell me the National League is considering the adoption of the designated hitter and that Cubans aren’t lazy. SMH, as the kids say.
What? They are? And they aren’t?
Ah, screw it. I give up.