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More from Bill James

AEI's The American Enterprise has an interview with Bill James. Of course you'll just go there and read it, regardless of what I say. Here's a snip though:

TAE: You've advocated a number of changes to speed up games, such as thickening the barrels of today's whippet-thin bats, limiting time outs, limiting pitchers, etc. A couple of years ago, some suggested limiting the number of intentional walks. You might call this the Barry Bonds Rule.

JAMES: I think intentional walks should be limited, but among the things that slow down baseball games intentional walks don't rank in the top 50.

I suggest a batter should be able to decline a walk. Not only an intentional walk, but any walk. The batter's team should able to say, "No thanks, I don't want that walk." And if you walk him again, he goes to second base and anybody already on moves up two bases. The reason that should be the rule is because the walk was created to force the pitcher to throw hittable pitches to the batter. That is the walk's natural function. To allow the walk to become something the defense can use to its advantage with no response from the offense is illogical and counterproductive.

TAE: Don't TV time outs, which break the rhythm of the game, make baseball unendurable for many viewers?

JAMES: I think prolonged TV time outs are a serious mistake, because they do make the game less enjoyable. That depresses both live attendance and viewership. And it also tends to create an artificial surplus of advertising time on baseball games, which drives down the price of advertising minutes.

TAE: In his recent State of the Union speech, President Bush called for a ban on steroids in baseball.

JAMES: I was glad to see it. I think it is a serious issue. It's serious because what professional athletes do now, college athletes will be doing in five years, and high school athletes will be doing in ten years or sooner than that, and there are serious negative health consequences. We can't permit baseball to be a wedge which opens that door. So I was glad to see him pay some attention to it.

Hat tip to Tom in Houston.