American friends generally roll their eyes when I tell them that cricket is a much simpler game than baseball. Then I ask them to explain the Infield Fly Rule and their eyes glaze over. That, however, has a rational explanation. It is much harder to explain the Dropped Third Strike Rule. But, thanks to this article, I now know why it exists.
Two interesting things follow from this. Firstly it contains some fascinating history of baseball, including references to a German book dating from 1796 and referring to a sport known as “Englische Base-ball”. So much for baseball being an American invention, I think.
I’m pretty sure I remember the “must run on a third miss” rule from when I played rounders in school, if only because I never managed to hit a ball so that rule was always being applied to me.
Secondly the article provides a great example of how the rules of a sport evolve with time, and in reaction to tactics developed by players. There are silly people around, many of them in the UK, who think that the rules of sports were set in stone late in the 19th Century and should never be changed. However, there are few things more constant in the world than change, and sport is not immune.
Oh, and the article mentions the Dodgers losing a game, which is always likely to put me in a good mood.