Traditions

MLB 2016: Athletics vs Astros JUL 10

On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS March 6, 2017, # 630 Up Next… “Tradition!”

“Fiddler on the Roof” takes place in a small, fictional Russian town about the year 1905. With the Russian autocracy trying to purge the Jewish population, Tevye, the village milkman, confronted with change and his meager household, is asked “How do we maintain our balance?” Tevye replies, “Tradition!’ Tevye then launches into that classic song! While change is predictably inevitable, many cultures have maintained not only their balance but their basis for why their culture was established and continues to be. Yet, there are many who grow tired of the same o’ same o’.

Tradition in Major League baseball is being challenged for the upcoming 2017 season. MLB has reported that it will change the intentional walk by allowing the manager to motion to the plate umpire that he intends to “walk” the batter, which sends him directly to first base and eliminates the four pitches historically thrown to the catcher standing several steps away from home plate. The shouts of protest from baseball purists can be heard clear to the hallowed ground of Cooperstown, N.Y., home of MLB’s Hall of Fame.

Proponents of the change of the IBB assert that the IBB (intentional base on balls) is simply a waste of time, with MLB games averaging more than three-plus hours in length. And besides, they say, everybody knows what the pitcher wants to do anyway. But Intentional walks happen rarely anyway – once or twice a game, and sometimes never! Further, what if the pitcher’s casually misdirected throw is wild and allows a runner from third to score, with maybe even the tying or winning run? The argument continues.

Moving to the National Football League, of which I have been a part since 1960, many times we have had a proposal to eliminate “bringing in the chains” to measure for a first down. That proposal has always been turned down. The reason? “Tradition.” The purists argue that there is a certain drama involved in the age-old measurement procedure. Okay, but technology is available to clearly mark the first down. With replay and very accurate on-screen optics, many fans would rather see the play continue rather than suffer the delay caused by the deliberate stretching of the chain. The argument continues.

Will you log-in with your position on traditional vs state-of-the-art procedures?

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