Keith Hernandez is an unapologetic traditionalist, so it is no surprise that he is not a fan of some of the tinkering going on with baseball in the late 2010s, which he said has “driven me crazy.”
For example: the recent rule change that does not require a pitcher to throw four balls to issue an intentional walk.
“I think it’s stupid,” the SNY Mets analyst said on Thursday in a phone interview previewing the upcoming season. “There’s always the intangible. It never happens, but it might. I’ve seen a pitcher throw the ball away with a runner on third base. It’s not the problem. It’s stupid. It’s ridiculous.”
Hernandez is all for speeding up the game, though. One thing that is a problem, he believes, is the expanded use of replay.
“I absolutely hate — and hate is a very strong word — I absolutely hate these challenges,” he said. “I would not be surprised, and I kind of envision it at some point, there’ll be almost four-hour games if we keep going at the rate we’re going. And if it does do that, it’s time for me to go.”
Hernandez said the game also is slowed by pitchers not coming after hitters like they once did, leading to long counts. He thinks the depth of talent also has become shallow.
“The pool has been diluted,” he said. “You’ve got a lot more teams than there used to be, and it just means poor baseball.”
Having spent most of his career in the National League, Hernandez also has not warmed to the designated hitter rule, even 44 years after the American League adopted it.
“I never liked the DH,” he said. “You know what, you’ve got a pitcher up there who has to put a bunt down? If you have a good hitting pitcher he’s helping his own self. The pitcher is the joker in the deck in the lineup, the wild card. I’m waiting for the day when it will be the National League, too.”