Saturday, July 08, 2017

Fines for called third strikes 2

It was the last of the ninth, two outs, two men on base, the Giants were losing, and Brandon Belt took a called third strike to end the game last night. The pitch may have been slightly outside, and Belt argued with the umpire about it. 

But it was Belt's failure to remember one of the first lessons for a hitter in baseball, as I pointed out a few years ago: 

Anyone who plays baseball learns in Little League to swing at anything close when he/she has two strikes. Standing with the bat on your shoulder and taking a called third strike is shameful, especially when it's done by major league players.

With two strikes, you have to be ready hit, to swing at any pitch that's close, even if you're fooled. Taking called third strikes seems like a kind of mental error---not being ready to hit, with, as a last resort, at least with an emergency swing and a chance to foul the pitch off and stay alive.

Otherwise, you allow the umpire to take away your at-bat by calling a strike.

Bochy should have a policy of fining hitters that take called third strikes. Buster Posey took a called third strike in tonight's came, but it was the first inning and the pitch was a great curve. 

Since Belt's called third strike last night was the last pitch of the game, it was particularly egregious. Under my rule, he would have been fined more than Posey.

And, by the way, Belt has a hitch in his swing that he could do without. Maybe that's why he's hitting .238. The above video is a typical Belt swing, as he twitches the bat just before the swing.

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