↑ comment by wedrifid ·
2011-03-06T22:02:18.432Z · LW(p) · GW(p)
Since this denies the batter the opportunity to even try to get a hit, some consider it to be unsportsmanlike, and when overused it makes a baseball game less interesting.
... to some. There are others who enjoy watching games being played strategically. I don't, for example, take basketball seriously unless the teams are using a full court press.
What do you do, for example, if all the bases are loaded and the good hitter comes in? Do you give away the run? It may depend on the score and it would involve some complex mathematical reasoning. That single decision would be more memorable to me than the rest of the entire game of baseball!
A culture of good sportsmanship and interesting games are communal goods in baseball-- the former keeps a spirit of goodwill, and the latter increases profitability-- so at a stretch, you might say Paige advises defecting in Prisoner's Dilemma type problems.
The latter wouldn't be a reasonable claim to make, even taking your premises regarding what sportsmanship is and what is good for the game for granted. For Paige to be claimed to be advising defection in the Prisoner's Dilemma Paige would have to be asserting or at least believe that the payoffs are PDlike. Since Paige doesn't give this indication he instead seems to be advocating thinking strategically instead of following your pride.
Curiously, assuming another set of credible beliefs Paige could consider walking the batter to be the cooperation move in the game theoretic situation. Specifically, when there is another pitcher known to walk who cannot be directly influenced. If all the other pitchers publicly declare that the game's rules should be changed in such a way that free walking is less desirable and then free walk hitters whenever it is is strategic to do so they may force the rule-makers' hands. If just one pitcher tried this strategy of influence then he would lose utility, sacrificing his 'good guy' image without even getting all the benefits that the original free-walker got for being the 'lone bad boy strategic prick pitcher'. If all the pitchers except one cooperate then the one pitcher who lets himself be hit out of the park cleans up on the approval-by-simplistic-folks stakes by being the 'boy scout only true sportsman' guy while everyone else does the hard work of looking bad in order to improve the rules, the game in the long term and the ability of pitchers not to be competitively disadvantaged for being 'sportsmanlike'. (All of this is again assuming that no-free-walking is intrinsically good.)
I use an analogous strategy when playing the 500. I like to arrange house rules that put a suitable restriction (or incentive modification) for misere calls. If the opponents have their egos particularly attached to standard misere rules I allow their rules to be used and then bid open misere whenever it is rational to do so. Which is a lot.
The above is not exactly a threat simply for the purpose of enforcing my will. It is to a significant extent a simple warning. Some people sulk if they rarely get the kitty when they have the joker and 4 jacks. At least this way they are forewarned.