Trigger warning: A bit of baseball talk here as Opening Day approaches. Nonfans, show some patience. The ordeal will be brief.

In its relentless effort to ruin a good thing, Major League Baseball has imposed a rule change intended to speed the game and make it more appealing to those with limited attention spans.

The front office has determined that pitchers too often dawdle between deliveries and now must hesitate no longer than 15 seconds if bases are empty. An extravagant 20 seconds is spared with anyone aboard.

Hitters must step lively, too.

If absent from the batter’s box with eight seconds showing on the timer, batsmen will be penalized with a strike. Whether home plate umpires will feel sufficiently inspired to bellow the traditional “stee-rike!” for such a marginal infraction remains to be seen. Do police officers high-five after ticketing someone for double parking?

As promised, friends, this will bring to swift close our preseason examination of baseball esoterica with only the additional thought that there are some things Sales & Marketing geniuses ought to leave alone. A short list includes fig Newtons, flannel sheets, duct tape, No. 2 pencils — and, far ahead of the pack, our beloved National Pastime.

Deciding to accelerate a game that is inherently slow, intermittent and, at times, apt to cause a fair amount of snoozing even for those not chug-a-lugging Twisted Tea in the upper deck is simply incomprehensible.

“These steps are designed to improve pace of play, increase action, and reduce injuries, all of which are goals that have overwhelming support among our fans," MLB Commissioner Robert D. Manfred Jr. said in a statement last September when rule changes were approved.

All due respect, Commissioner, not this fan.

On the contrary, I take any move to hasten a dreamy, deliberate game as another sign that we are barreling to the canyon edge of cultural oblivion faster than Thelma and Louise. (Exaggeration? Maybe, but we have to get this guy’s attention.)

Forget politics — oh, if only — and global turmoil, the cost of eggs and the possibility your catalytic converter will be ripped off overnight. All worth a fair amount of angst and aggravation, but nothing compared to the incessant drive to speed things up!

It’s a bad idea all around — does fast food earn four stars? — but at my age, the proposition seems downright cuckoo.

I was at the post office the other day, waiting in a line of five or six customers.

Two windows were operating. At one, an experienced agent was assisting a trainee. At the other, an employee was scanning a patron’s return mail postcards.

A woman came through the door and took her place behind me at the back of the line.

She sighed.

“Never enough people working here,” she proclaimed. There may also have been a grunt and deep release of breath, international signal of exasperation.

I was in another galaxy, thinking mostly of the lemon scone I hoped to find at a nearby bakery and the companion pleasures of English Breakfast tea. Meanwhile, on Earth, the edgy woman sighed and paced.

Could be, of course, that she was late for an appointment, or not feeling well, or in deep need of a burrito from the joint across the street, and here am I the archetypal, old-timer passing judgment. But the point is we are acclimated to speed, same-day service, express aisles, short lines and expedited delivery.

I once was, too.

“Slow down,” said Mom. “In a hurry, is when you make mistakes.”

Now I identify more as tortoise than hare — and that brings us back, briefly, to baseball.

Nothing will stop the MLB front office from rushing things. I just hope they don’t go too far — you know, chop off a couple innings, or make it two strikes and yer out.

Sitting in the stratosphere at Citi Field, I don’t want to see the game fly by. I want to enjoy the slowness, the stalling, the delays. I want to doze for a moment now and then, and stir when the crowd cheers and I have to ask, “Hey, what happened?”

Change is inevitable in life and on the diamond. I get it. But you can’t blame me for worrying what’s next. Word to the wise: Hands off my fig Newtons.


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