When baseball was first introduced in the old Soviet Union, they rejected the pitching mound because putting one player higher than others wasn’t consistent with all being equal under Communism. They missed the true injustice – left-handers rigging every rule they could – and now they’ve done it again to make the 2013 season even more unfair.
First the basepaths were set up so that left-handed batters would have a headstart to first base after hitting the ball, giving them a split second that increases the batting average of every left-handed player over an equally talented right-handed player.
Then left-handed pitchers were allowed to look at a baserunner on first base the entire time he thought about pitching, while right-handed pitchers were blind to what was going on at first-base behind them. With that extra advantage, left-handers like Steve Carlton have shut down opposing base stealing by keeping them from getting any kind of lead. Of the 11 pitchers to pick off at least five base runners last year, only three were right-handed.
Sure occasionally a right-handed pitcher overcomes the obstacles in front of him. Last year James Shields became the first right-hander since Charlie Hough 25 years ago to pick off 12 base-runners in a season. One of his victims is pictured. This year baserunners were so scared to get off base that he only picked off three, and Johnny Cueto was the only right-handed pitcher to pickoff more than five runners.
When news of a change in pickoff rules came, one might have hoped Major League Baseball was finally going to stand up to the left-handed conspiracy. Would they tell left-handed pitchers had to first step off the mound to attempt a pickoff rather than lift their right leg and pointing almost straight to first base before deciding to either deliver a pitch or fire to first base to pickoff a runner?
Such a change would have cut into the huge advantage they have over a right-handed pitcher who must wheel his entire body around to first base to attempt a pickoff. Instead the Major League baseball decided to take away the one advantage right-handed pitchers have – the ability to step toward third base and then wheel around to throw to first base. “Enough!” said the left-handers secretly running Major League Baseball, “Beginning this season, that will now be a balk.”
For years, the uninformed fans in stadiums have yelled “balk” after the trick move and the true fans have made fun of them. Now, the roles will be reversed.
For all the parents who have taken the trouble to take steps like reversing hinges on doors to trick young children into thinking they are left-handed – keep it up. Clearly the left-handers running Major League Baseball will make your efforts worthwhile.