Hi all. With a week to go before official Opening Day, I’m going to do something completely different. I’m going to share the words of a far better wordsmith than I, with no edits on my part.
Not long ago I wrote my opinion of the changes that are coming to baseball, whether I did or didn’t like them and what other changes the game needs which will probably never happen. Yesterday, I saw a piece written by Jim Aulenti, and to steal from Robert Stack in the movie “Airplane,” “Jim, I’d like to buy you a drink and shake your hand.” Jim said what needed saying so much better than I did, I thought I’d share.
The length of the game has increased dramatically since the 1970’s and probably much more since the 1950’s. I saw a Yankees – Dodger WS replay on YouTube, length of game 2:03. Used to be you could spend an afternoon or evening at a game. I’ll bet you remember the Yankees used to start at 8:00 !the kids would be home by 11 and pops gets to work the next day. Then they moved the games to 7:05. And not every game is a life or death Yankees vs. Red Sox. I’m sick of it. They play 19 games and each game lasts 4+ hours. It’s exhausting and it’s supposed to be RECREATING, refreshing, diversion, fun. There are too many teams and too many games. All they need to do is figure out what is different about the game (such as mound height being the biggest factor, lighter bats, and bigger, stronger players, who wear body armor and hit more dingers, and they can shorten the games, reduce the number of relievers, and extend a pitchers longevity. The average fan doesn’t know the game and gets excited about a homer. So they got more homers. Homers are boring. No drama, no finesse. If they played for runs ~ bunts and steals ~ they’d get quicker outs and quicker runs. Now everybody wants to jack a homer leading to more AB’s and deeper counts. You’d bunt or steal on a 1-0 or 2-1 count. That’s 2, 3, or 4 pitches. Reduce pitch count = faster game, longevity. Replays are insulting to umpires. Used to be umps would confer to make sure they ‘got it right’. Now they transfer to the unknown Man Behind the Curtain. Communism, and dehumanizing. Up with Umpires! Now you can’t throw inside, meaning, you MUST throw hittable pitches, so these big strong great athletes can smash them into orbit – or they just strike out. Wow, that’s a secret nobody knew about. CHIN MUSIC, we used to call it, and HELLO you’d wake up fast when a man bites the dirt. It keeps a batter guessing ~ off the plate, and off balance, not set. Guess what? A guy digs in, first pitch, he goes down. Not so brave when it’s high and tight and you can hear it whizzin’ by your noggin’! Don’t need a Czar, a committee, or anybody. My advice is free. Analytics is killing the game. It’s supposed to be pastoral, natural, fun, an exhibition, not science or terminally boring. And, has analytics led to more Victories? It brought the Red Sox back to life when Telo got players to hit into/over the green monster: they taught them to bat the bat in that direction, and he became “the boy wonder’. Wow, what a genius. What else has he done? ONE title in Chicago ~ and they almost didn’t win it. Who else has won titles due to analytics? “For every 10,000 men snipping at the leaves of evil one is hacking at the root”. Thoreau, On Walden Pond. Baseball ~ the national pastime ~ has become unAmerican. By this I mean, instead of “letting” people live and let live, i.e. play the game as it was intended, during the daytime, spring and summer, casually with bursts of strengths and speed and daring, is now autocratic, formalistic, and centralized. They are interested in their fan base, not for love of the game, but for love of money. Therefore it is doomed to fail, and should. And therefore it is just like America, if we don’t live and let live, we too shall fail. “As American as baseball, hotdogs and apple pie”. Not Really.