Countdown to Opening Day: Is Home Plate Shrinking?
Legendary sports writer Frank Deford has publicly expressed his feelings on the shrinking of the home plate in the MLB.
“It’s time to make home plate smaller. I know: That’s heresy; that’s sacrilegious. But there are simply too many strikeouts in baseball now, and that hurts the game, because if the ball isn’t in play, it’s boring. That’s too broad for the pitchers today, especially when so many strikes are on the corners, or even “on the black,” the small fringe that frames the plate. If you cut, say, an inch and a half off each side, pitchers would have a 14-inch target. Batters would have a more reasonable chance to try to connect. They’d swing more, put more balls in play. It’d be more fun, a better game both to play and to watch.”
Over at NPR, Deford notes that strikeout totals continue to rise because pitchers are faster, umpires call more strikes than ever and batters are no longer as embarrassed to whiff.
Even if all of this were true, Deford is making assumptions that there’s something “wrong” with the way baseball is played now. He does bring up the fact that other sports have made changes to alter the game such as the location of goal posts in football, the size of the key in basketball, the height of the mound in baseball, etc.
Critics say that shrinking home plate will have some unavoidable consequences, and none of them would make Deford content. One very opinionated reader wrote exactly how he feels about Deford’s proposition.
“The beauty of the battle between pitcher and batter escape you. There’s nothing anyone can do about that. Fortunately, even the corporate suits running baseball aren’t dumb enough to want to see a ball in play on every pitch. That would be as bad as deciding a hockey game with a shootout. Oh, wait….”
For more on this story visit: David Brown, Yahoo! Sports