Saturday, June 23, 2018

Back to the Future

Ma Boone is offended. The most amenable manager in the major leagues suddenly took exception in his postgame press conference after the Yanks' win over Seattle on Thursday.

Asked one of the beat writers' usual, annoyingly framed questions, something like, "What do you say to people who say your team can only score on two-run homers?"—because actually asking directly, "Geez, skip, it seems like if you don't hit two-run dingers nobody does nuthin'" would be such an appalling violation of the elaborate kabuki ceremony that now prevails in writer-manager relations that everyone involved would be forced to commit hara kiri—Boone decided, well, heck yeah, he really was "offended."

He went on to give a rambling defense of the Yanks' home-run-or-nothin' offensive plan, which amounted essentially to, "Hey, if someone like Verlander is shutting everybody down, you think going for two-run homers is going to hurt?"

Uh-huh.

Like any fanatical new ideology, the most annoying thing about the New Baseball is that it demands that we pretend the past never existed. That there never was such a thing as "not trying to do too much," or "going with what the pitcher gives you."

That somehow it isn't true that, long ago, players realized you just can't pull everything, no matter how nice that would be. And that somehow a baseball lifer such as Ma—who is also the son, grandson, and brother of other baseball lifers—doesn't understand this.

Malarkey.

The trouble is not beating Justin Verlander when he's on, which nobody's going to do in any case. The trouble is what the truly dreadful Tampa Bay Rays did tonight.

It is putting a seemingly random selection of six meh pitchers out on the mound in no particular order.

It is, God help us, the future.

In the New Baseball, pitching will become completely situational, with hitters facing all kinds of different hurlers, at any given time in the game—maybe with what used to be a closer starting the game.

The problem isn't Verlander. The problem is Joe Anyarm, popping up at any moment, to throw his specialty pitch.

To try to take all those guys deep, in exactly the same way, is to end up with stretches like the past two days:  one awesome first inning against Seattle, followed by 14 consecutive goose eggs, and a single run tonight.  With a lineup that, as usual, includes two regulars batting under .200.

Cut it any way you want, the irreducible truth is this: the more situational pitching becomes, the more situational hitting will have to become, with professional hitters sizing up what they may be given at any time, and hitting it where they can, not where they want to.

They will, in other words, have to hit the way batters did back when Ma Boone's dad and grandad and brother were playing. Not to mention his own self.





4 comments:

TheWinWarblist said...

Benedícat vos omnípotens Ruthus, et Scooter, et Mantleus, et Spíritus Jeterus.

So endeth the JuJu.

Ken of Brooklyn said...

10000000000000000% agree HC66!!!
Bring back Toe, bring back Toe, bring back Toe,,,,

TheWinWarblist said...

I almost dare not spake of it, but did I see Didi hit to the opposite field for a clean single a few days ago. The ball went through the SS hole that was left open by the shift. I dare not spake of it lest it anger the New Baseball.

John M said...

String together some hits, score some runs. Pretty simple. Even Tampa can do it.