MLB: Their All-Time Stupidest Idea – Move The Mound Back 12 Inches

MLB is testing a rule in the Atlantic League that moves the pitching rubber back 12 inches. Enabling stubborn hitters and GMs is not the way.

Major League Baseball (MLB), under the direction of its commissioner, Rob Manfred, apparently has run out of sensible ways to bring more offense into the game – well, almost that is – because he’s pulled another one from out of his hat.

Too many strikeouts, too many elite pitchers in the game, boring baseball is the charge. So, why not add an extra foot to the flight of a pitched ball?

That’ll give these pitchers something to think about.

MLB: Sorry, Jacob deGrom, but you'll need to learn how to pitch again
MLB: Sorry, Jacob deGrom, but you’ll need to learn how to pitch again

You bet it will.

So, we have MLB pitchers who learned how to develop their art throwing from 60 feet six inches to home plate since high school.

Many have become experts at their craft while hitters have not kept up, choosing instead to get themselves out swinging for the fences.

MLB now says, well, if these homer crazy idiots refuse to adjust, then we’ll have to kick start the game a little more, giving them more time to recognize the difference between the spin on a fastball versus a slider. And maybe, we can knock a couple of MPH off those “unfair” 100 mph fastballs…

MLB Lowers The Pitching Mound In 1968

MLB fans will recall the 1968 season when Batting Leaders looked like this:

Source: Baseball-Reference
Source: Baseball-Reference

In contrast, MLB fans were treated to record-breaking performances and total domination of hitters that same season (here’s the ERA leaders).

Source: Baseball-Reference
Source: Baseball-Reference

MLB’s reaction was immediate, as they decided to lower the pitching mound. There was little or no rebellion among pitchers or teams, adjustments were made, and life went on.

Lowering the mound, though, is drastically different from moving the rubber back. It’s the same as if MLB moved the distance between bases from 90 to a hundred feet or 80 feet.

Or, if the NFL expanded the distance between goal lines to 120 yards instead of 100 yards.

MLB: Manufacturing Change Is Not The Answer

Look, MLB is to be applauded for seeking to find ways to improve the game. But manufacturing change is not the answer, and without objection, this idea belongs in the trash can, even without a need for experimentation in the minor leagues.

A better answer lies with the batters, and the front offices who pay the most money to those who hit forty home runs in-between 250 strikeouts.

MLB: Hey, take a look at this short guy
MLB: Hey, take a look at this short guy

The error of their ways begins with the MLB College Draft when teams look first for the player who stands 6’6″ and weighs 240 pounds, built in the vernacular like a “brick s___house.”

Jose Altuve, the shortest active MLB player (5″6″), was signed as a free agent by the Astros in 2007, the Detroit Tigers drafted DJ LeMahieu in the 41st round of the 2007 MLB June Amateur Draft.

Ken Griffey was still there in the 29th round in the 1969 Draft, and the Cubs drafted Mark Grace in the 24th round in the 1985 Draft.

And the list of these all-stars goes on, but you’ll notice beyond the lateness of being drafted; they’re all excellent professional hitters who excelled at making adjustments as their careers took off.

In sum, the game should not need to come to the hitters to make it more exciting for fans.

MLB: When Will Hitter Be Held Accountable?

MLB’s talk and experimentation regarding limitations on the shift and its impact on batting averages throughout the league.

MLB: Non-manufactured excitement in baseball
MLB: Non-manufactured excitement in baseball

When instead, it should be the hitters who make adjustments to “go the other way” rather than continuously (and stupidly) trying to hit “through the shift.”

What’s more exciting – a fly ball that lands at the base of the wall for an out, or a hit-and-run play on a perfectly placed ball through the infield and a runner going full-speed to third base just ahead of an outfielder’s throw?

Forget the stolen base. Who gets paid to steal bases, even though all of the basic baseball skills of running, throwing, and catching to apply a tag are utilized in two seconds of pure drama and action.

Don’t be thinking I’m an old-school guy who yearns for days of yesteryear. Some of the rule changes made by MLB are working and good for the game.

I count, for example, the seven-inning doubleheader rule and a runner on second base to begin an extra-inning game among those, but there has to be a line drawn, and MLB should know it without having to be told.

I located a counter-argument in an article that appeared in the Washington Post. Here’s an excerpt:

“But the fact of the matter is that 21st-century baseball players have outgrown the field on which they play. As Ben Lindbergh of The Ringer pointed out in a piece this spring, the 90 feet between bases — which actually predates 60 feet 6 inches — has remained pure because even as runners have gotten faster, the arm strength and range of infielders have increased, too, so the balance between offense and defense can still exist.”

But more than anything, that reinforces the point that witnessing acrobatic plays made on an MLB field enhances the game without any tinkering.

Let The Players Play – It’s Survival Of The Fittest

To illustrate, Francisco Lindor talked about the shift, but the point he was making in this quote is that he takes pride in making those plays in the field by demonstrating his athletic ability and wooing MLB fans.

“The shift has got to be cut down,” Lindor told Sports Illustrated. “Let me do me. Let me make the crazy play. Let me be like, ‘OK, he’s going to pull the ball. I can’t be on that side of the base.’ So as the pitch goes, I run on the other side of the base—pow!—and make the play.”

<a rel=Francisco Lindor doing what he loves to do
Francisco Lindor doing what he loves to do

“Pow”! It is better than a home run in Lindor’s game, just like it should be and can be in other player’s games – if it is encouraged rather than not.

So it’s not simply a matter of the latest change dreamed up by the suits at MLB to move the mound back. Instead, it’s becoming system-wide, and there doesn’t seem to be an end to “manufacturing” a better game for fans.

Let the players play. It’s a game in the truest American tradition – survival of the fittest – and if the pitchers keep working at refining their skills while hitters remain mired in theirs, so be it.

If general managers and owners continue to reward players with outlandish contracts to hit home runs instead of moving runners up with a timely base hit, then they deserve what they get as well.

MLB should consider taking a nod from the NBA, which highlights skill sets during its All-Star extravaganza in addition to its Slam Dunk Home Run Derby.

But that’s going too far, and for the moment, let’s kill the latest and greatest from the suits at MLB…

Here’s What Readers Are Saying…

Old news. But perhaps a foot or more could help Yankees
Raise it or lower it, depending on what you’re trying to achieve, but don’t move it.
Leave the game alone!!
Gee, that won’t lead to arm injury… Already fragile pitching arms with years of muscle memory will not adapt favorably to such a silly change.
Steve Contursi
I abhor change for change’s sake, but I think moving the mound back as an experiment is worth a shot. Fans can differ about what is wrong with baseball, of course, and so solutions to what is wrong will also differ.
To me, what sucks the joy out of the room is the extraordinary number of strikeouts that produce no action whatsoever. I don’t have the statistics at hand, but strikeouts have risen for sixteen (?) seasons in a row and now comprise 27 (?) percent of all outs. That’s deadly and makes for long, slowly-paced games.
To enjoy all the artistry you describe, batters first have to put the ball in play, and that’s not happening enough. Will pitchers have to adjust? Yes, of course. They did so in 1893 when the pitching distance increased by five feet. The rule book cannot be carved of stone. It has to change, as it has many times, to create a pleasing balance between offense and defense, a balance that is, to my way of thinking, sorely lacking.
Yes! 💯 Stupidest thing ever 🙄 because they have nothing else to do 👎
Manfred really needs to leave it alone. He already is ruining it with doubleheader 7 innings, man on second base in extra innings. We all have this wonderful game called baseball for many years that we loved. Why aren’t the owners saying leave it alone?
Another joke of a rule during a joke of an administration
Frank Chieffalo

Yes, but typical!!!!

Another joke of a rule during a joke of an administration
If hitters learned the game and were patient in the box. The game would be baseball again. You don’t change rules.
Right, that’s the way I see it. Hitters are stubborn. Banning the shift to compensate for stubborn hitters. No. Just no.
The strikeout situation is ridiculous! No batter discipline at the plate. It is simply not true that home run hitters strike out a lot. Ted Williams, Joe DiMaggio, Lou Gehrig, and many others did not strike out much. One year DiMaggio had 31 HR and only 13 strikeouts. And even sluggers like Mantle, Killebrew, and Reggie Jackson never struck out 200 times in a season!
You’re going to blow up a bunch of pitchers’ arms with this. You can’t teach someone for 15+ years to throw a pitch meant to break in a certain location, and now force them to overcompensate to get those breaks 12” later, and not expect there to be injuries.
Stop this madness! There are already too many pitching injuries because they lowered the mound, how many more will be caused by backing it up? Stop MESSING AROUND and play baseball, please. Anyone in baseball who thinks this is a good idea should be fired immediately.
If hitters can’t keep up because pitchers are throwing harder, or because of the shift, then make adjustments or sit your sorry asses down!
Why was it okay to move from 50ft to 60’6″ in 1894 Why was it okay to start pitching overhand in 1884? Why were the ridiculous foul poles of under 300ft in many original early 20th Century parks moved back when new ones were built? Today’s batters see pitching speeds that NONE of their predecessors had to incur with frequency! Something eventually will be done!


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Steve Contursi
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Author: stevecontursi

I am an amateur writer with a passion for baseball and all things Yankees and Mets.