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Saying goodbye to the fake-to-third pickoff move

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Matt Kartozian-US PRESSWIRE

What Santiago did there would be illegal in 2013. No, no, not changing his name and lying about his age. That was already illegal. The fake-to-third, throw-to-first move is what's going to be illegal in 2013. It will be a balk next year, and few pitchers are rather annoyed:

"I'm pissed," Scherzer said during Saturday's TigerFest at Comerica Park.

Or pissed. They're pissed, too.

"It happens once or twice a game. It might speed up the game by 15 seconds. Yay!" (Justin Verlander) said sarcastically. "Job well done."

The fake-to-third, throw-to-first move represented a couple different things to me as I came of age as a baseball fan:

1. It was an excuse for the Giants' announcer to recall how Barry Bonds was fooled by that with alarming frequency early in his career.

2. No, no. That's about it.

Really, that was the only reason it existed. A flashing light would go off, a siren would blare, and a cue card would drop from the ceiling: "TALK ABOUT BONDS."

Oh, and it would work once or twice a year if you were lucky.

This isn't new news -- it's been around unofficially since last summer -- but for the last week I've been trying to form an opinion on it. The fake-to-third move is gone. Baseball as we know it is forever changed. What do you think about it?


That's the only possible response, right? Unless you're a pitcher, of course. But as a fan, it's hard to care either way. But I think Verlander's wrong. I think it will save a minute instead of 15 seconds, and now I'm trying to figure out other ways to shave minutes off. So far, I'm not having any luck. Having injured players crawl into foul territory before the trainers attend to them? No, that doesn't make any sense. Completely eliminating pitcher/catcher conversations, with the exception of painted-fingernail semaphore from behind the plate? Interesting, but not realistic.

This was about the only painless way to shave a minute off. And, wait, here's something else I remember about the fake-to-third pickoff move: It was annoying. It wasn't worth the .25-percent success rate. So good riddance to boring rubbish, I guess. That's a kind of opinion. Sorry, pitchers, but it looks like the ehs have it.