Sports fans are averse to change. We get to know whatever game we grow up watching and any change to it is obviously a shock to the system, so pushback is logical. Often, it's an overreaction. Honestly, I can't believe people are angry about limiting mound visits to six times a game, but it is happening. Eventually, we get used to the new rules and the game moves on in good shape.
Brace yourself, though, because there's apparently some level of discussion about a rule change that would fundamentally alter the way baseball is played for the worse. I'm not exaggerating. This is the dumbest effing thing I've ever heard anyone bring up regarding any sport. I can't even stress enough how many f-bombs I'd scream if this were even remotely seriously considered by Major League Baseball.
On "The Rich Eisen Show" Tuesday, the host and namesake mentioned that there are "whispers" from some execs that there's a discussion to let a trailing team in the ninth inning use any three hitters it wants to start the inning, regardless of where the batting order is.
The unbelievably flawed rationale, via a text Eisen received: "No other sport has the best players sitting on the bench in the final minutes of a game. Imagine LeBron [James] or Tom Brady or Sidney Crosby or [Cristiano] Ronaldo watching on the sidelines." (Here's the full video clip with Eisen's discussion on the matter).
OK, so I've got "A Few Good Men" on my TV right now and I can't help but want to scream in the direction of this anonymous exec, "should we or should we not follow the advice of the galactically stupid?!?!"
What if LeBron had fouled out? What if the Patriots don't have the ball? What if there's a shootout in hockey or soccer and the best player in the world only gets one of the five shots instead of all five? Should the NBA have a rule to let the best players back in for the final minutes? The NFL should make sure the best QBs get on the field for the final minute, even if the other team has the ball and keeps getting first downs? The NHL should allow the same player to take all five shootout shots?
Or maybe I should challenge the NFL and say all the best players in baseball play both offense and defense, so why can't Tom Brady go both ways and play free safety? WHY CAN'T HE DO BOTH IF HE'S SO GOOD? HMMMMM?
Get outta here with this noise. It's so freaking tiring to try and compare baseball to other sports like all games are or must be similar. They are different. Leave it there.
Past that, why would this be a discussion for hitters only? Why not allow an already burned pitcher to re-enter the game? After all, we're just making sure all the best players come back for crunch time, right? And why does the trailing team get the advantage and not both teams? A team gets outplayed for eight innings and then gets an advantage? That's some Everest-level stacking of B.S.
There's no reason to dive much deeper. It's troubling that an executive apparently doesn't even fundamentally like baseball, but let's be honest here: It's probably just one executive who felt like taking the temperature on his idea and texted Eisen. It's hard to see any way baseball would seriously consider this nonsense.
If it does, I'm happy to lead this group:
Baseball is great the way it is fundamentally set up with batting orders. It always has been. Some of the greatest clutch moments in MLB history came when the best hitter in the order was not hitting (hello Bill Mazeroski, David Freese, Ben Zobrist, Aaron Boone, Edgar Renteria and a line of other postseason heroes). Sometimes the best hitters on the team do come up and come through due to the natural order of things (hey Kirby Puckett, Joe Carter, David Ortiz and many others).
Don't mess with our game like this, MLB brass. Don't you dare.