Baseball: the game in need of change

White Sox – Twins: Yermin Mercedes hits 3-0 pitch for HR off Astudillo
Mercedes rounding the bases after his homer off of Astudillo. Charles Curtis/USA Today

Jack Hagen | Sports Editor

May 27, 2021

Recently, Chicago White Sox rising star, Yermin Mercedes, swung at a 3-0 pitch while his team was up 15-4 and hit a home run. The craziest part of all of this was that the opposing pitcher, Willians “La Tortuga” Astudillo of the Minnesota Twins, is not even a pitcher and was throwing 47 mph!

Why is this such a big deal? Well, in baseball there is a grey area of certain “unwritten rules” of which the players are supposed to play by. Everyone interprets these differently and many feel Mercedes broke one while swinging 3-0 up by so much with a position player on the mound. This group included his own coach, Hall of Famer Tony La Russa. He publicly came out and said he shouldn’t have swung and even supported the other team when they purposely threw at him the next day. The fact a manager went against his players and didn’t have his teams back is absolutely horrendous and reflects a lot about La Russa’s character.

Twins' Willians Astudillo throws two 46 mph strikes (video) - Sports Illustrated
Astudillo pitching against the Los Angeles Angels. John Cordes/Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

“The Twins shouldn’t have put that guy [Astudillo] in to pitch,” junior Ryan Dunbar said. “Especially if they knew he was going to throw less than 50 MPH.” The truth is, no matter what people say, Mercedes’ decision to swing 3-0 came at the only time when it is acceptable. In a close game when baserunners are needed off of a good pitcher, ten times out of ten the player has to take the pitch. But if the other team wants to put a slow pitch softball pitcher out there while down by 11 they can’t really expect professional hitters to just sit back and let themselves get out.

At the end of the day though, this kind of excitement of someone throwing so soft and someone hitting that as far as they can is something baseball needs. “I think the game needs more excitement,” senior Ben Dwinell said. “Plays like this are ones that can help bring that to the table.”

The days of one or two run games pitched by some of the best to ever do it are over, and honestly people don’t find that interesting anymore. In a 162 game season, it becomes very hard to keep people engaged the entire time. However, more exciting things like this home run and even the controversy is ultimately good for the future of the game of baseball.

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