“Player protection comes first” Japanese children’s baseball worried about stealing bases

Is it possible to play baseball without stolen bases? This is a topic of debate that has been going on in the Japanese baseball world for the past few years. The target is an elementary school game using soft balls. It is constantly being argued that stealing should be banned in order for young players to grow up healthy.

The biggest reason for the ban on stealing is the protection of players. Young catchers are inevitably weak at throwing to second base. Opponent runners run to second base as they please. Whenever a runner runs, the catcher must throw the ball to second base. Throwing to second base is a big burden for young players who haven’t grown up yet. There is a risk of elbow injuries such as OCD (exfoliative osteochondritis). There is also a risk of heat stroke if the playing time is prolonged in midsummer.

Another reason for the anti-steal argument is that children should feel the fun of baseball. Young pitchers don’t have very good pitches. When a runner goes out, the ball shakes more. It is not easy to become interested in baseball if you are plagued with an infinite loop of ‘walking on base – stealing second base – stealing third base – giving up runs after an error’ every game. In Japan, too, the number of youth baseball players is decreasing every year, so this kind of concern comes more seriously. 메이저놀이터

Of course, there are many objections in the field. Yujiro Kakei, a former professional baseball player who leads a children’s baseball team in Akashi, Hyogo Prefecture, said in an interview with the baseball organization Full Count on the 24th, “If you say this or that is no, then it will not be baseball.” It is of the opinion that the ban on base stealing undermines the essence of baseball. Full Count said, “If it’s for player protection, isn’t there an alternative, such as increasing the number of catchers instead of banning base stealing?” There is also an argument that young players who are small in size but can play an active role with quick feet are rather harmed and deprived of opportunities to grow if stealing is prohibited.

The Japan Softball Baseball Federation revised the game rules last year to protect players. While reducing the 7-inning system per game to 6 innings, the game time limit was also reduced from 1 hour 40 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes. Depending on the game situation, partly limiting or banning base stealing was also raised as an agenda item, but it was not passed. This is because the pros and cons were confronted and no conclusion could be reached.

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