Tuesday, April 05, 2005
Enforcing the HBP Rules
The batter becomes a runner and is entitled to first base without liability to be put out (provided he advances to and touches first base) when...(b) He is touched by a pitched ball which he is not attempting to hit unless (1) The ball is in the strike zone when it touches the batter, or (2) The batter makes no attempt to avoid being touched by the ball; If the ball is in the strike zone when it touches the batter, it shall be called a strike, whether or not the batter tries to avoid the ball. If the ball is outside the strike zone when it touches the batter, it shall be called a ball if he makes no attempt to avoid being touched.
When is MLB going to start enforcing the rules on hit batters? The rules clearly state that the batter must attempt to get out of the way and that a pitch in the strike zone is a strike, even if it hits the batter. Umpires currently ignore these rules, giving out free bases no matter the circumstances or how egregiously the batter leans into the plate or fails to make any attempt to get out of the way. The Yankees have really perfected the art of creating HBPs. I can't really blame them; if the umpires are going to allow this practice, the Red Sox need to start leaning in and taking some pitches. On the whole, though, it's quite frustrating.