Sports Medley: The
Idiocy of Pitch Count 6 Mar 17
by Tony Medley
Baseballís lunacy in
enshrining pitch count as the most important method of evaluation of a
starting pitcher reached its nadir last year when Dodgers manager Dave
Roberts used four separate pitchers to pitch to only four batters in the
sixth inning of a midseason game. They were the only batters to come to
bat in a short inning. There is no rational justification for such
foolishness. It is a disservice to the fans and to the game. And it
explains why baseball is no longer considered the nationís national
pastime. This nonsense must stop.
The purpose of this
article is to point out one of the biggest flaws in judging a pitcher by
the number of pitches he throws in a game, and limiting every starting
pitcher to 100 pitches.
What makes no sense
whatsoever is that the pitches that are counted do not include the
pitches a pitcher throws warming up before a game. A starting pitcher
generally goes to the bullpen at least 15 minutes before the gameís
starting time to warm up. If he throws one pitch every 10 seconds,
thatís six pitches a minute or 90 pitches in 15 minutes. If there was
some scientific correlation between the pitcherís efficiency and the
number of pitches he throws, then those pitches should be counted.
But it doesnít stop
there. When the team takes the field on defense in every inning, a
pitcher may throw up to eight warm up pitches, and generally does. So,
if there were some scientific correlation between a pitcherís efficiency
and the number of pitches he throws, those pitches should logically be
counted, also. The same muscles and ligaments are used when throwing a
warm-up pitch as when throwing a regular pitch in a game. If the theory
is that the arm can only throw a certain number of pitches in a game,
then all pitches should be counted. Whatís the logic in only
counting the pitches when a batter is in the batterís box and
eliminating the warm up pitches? Obviously, there is none.
The result is that
limiting a pitcher to 100 pitches actually thrown in competition is
sheer and utter nonsense. If that were true a smart manager (excuse the
oxymoron) would instruct his pitcher not to throw any warm-up pitches at
the beginning of each inning. Further, he would probably instruct him
only to warm up for five minutes before the game, thereby cutting down
the number of pitches his arm must throw and limiting that arm to only
throwing pitches that are in actual competition.
Itís not just the
quality of the game that is destroyed by these foolish and irrational
determinations by every manager in the game, it is the boredom forced
upon fans who have to sit there and watch the manager trudge out to the
mound, talk to his pitcher, motion the new pitcher into the game, wait
while the new pitcher walks in from the bullpen, and wait some more
while he takes his eight warm up pitches that he is entitled to take
after he arrives at the mound. We are talking, conservatively, five
minutes each time a pitching change is made. Is this what the fans are
paying for? I think not.
struggling with the amount of time it takes for officials to determine
replays, but they only happen two or three times in a football game, and
the rule actually states that the officials should take no longer than
90 seconds. If thatís a problem in football, then the managerís constant
changing of pitchers is much more of a problem in baseball.
You canít change
unwise peopleís minds by reason. Their minds are made up and no amount
of logic will be able to change them. As far as the good of baseball is
concerned, it must be done by rules. I think that there should be no
more than one pitching change allowed per inning, and the number of
pitchers allowed in a game should be limited to no more than four.
Baseball is the only
sport that treats its most important position with such utter disdain.
It has ruined the game for me, and I do not think I am alone.