Sunday, July 8, 2018

Baseball Suicide

The NT Times Sports Page managed to pull its attention away from the riveting spectacle that penalty kick shootouts are to give us a very interesting note about the game we all love the most today.

The Times reported on a Twins-Brewers game last Tuesday—I know, I know, that's enough to get you nodding right there!  But please try to stay awake for two more minutes!—in which the Twins first baseman (yes, still Joe Mauer, the guy who stole Jeter's 2006 MVP award) did not record a putout or an assist.

The reason?

Because the Brewers struck out 16 times, and made 8 more outs on flyballs and line outs.  Oh, and as that total implies, won the game, 2-0.  The Twins struck out 13 times themselves, and recorded 2 hits, including 1 double.  Milwaukee had 4 hits, but one was a two-run homer so, end of story.

(Though of course the game still managed to last almost 3 hours.)

So who was pitching, Nolan Ryan and Sandy Koufax?

Not quite.  The starters were longtime Minnesota tomato can Jake Odorizzi, with his 43-44 lifetime won-loss record, and 33-year-old Junior Guerra, who is having a decent season this year, but who has all of 15 wins in his major-league career.

Of course, despite all their success, both Odorizzi and Guerra went 5 innings each, before the teams brought in 2 more relievers apiece.

Folks, this sort of thing is just killing baseball.

As the Times reported, it's far from rare.  Through Wednesday, major-league hitters had recorded a grand total of 21,641 hits on the season—and struck out 21.983 times.

If this pattern holds, 2018 will be the first season in which the number of strikeouts exceeds that of hits.  Ever.

And people wonder why attendance is down?

I don't care what the algorithms say.  If the future of baseball is one in which all the beautiful nuances of the game are erased, in contests that nonetheless go on deep into the night—one-dimensional, home-run derby contests against a faceless array of middle relievers—well then we are doomed.

Nobody is going to go on watching that, not even us.

The New Baseball is supposed to be statistically improved to give batters the maximum opportunity to score runs.  I say politely, in a pig's eye.  A 2-0 result against a couple of mediocrities isn't the maximum anything, but a prescription for amnesia.

I'm not sure how they can or should do it, but baseball needs to bring back the game we all loved, before it has lost every last fan to video games and bourbon.

(Not that there's anything wrong with bourbon.)


JM said...

Hear, hear. The binary result of strikeout or HR is making baseball the boring game it's critics have always said it is. They used to wrong.

TheWinWarblist said...

I received a bottle of Most Righteous Bourbon for my birthday. Catskill Distilling Company. But yeah, the three true outcomes are no way to run a baseball team. The most exciting play yesterday was Gardy's triple to left center. Didi had another hit going against the shift yestarday, something BLP seems incapable of doing despite all that potential.

Anonymous said...





TheWinWarblist said...

They can't teach hitters to hit into the shift can they? That's where the BABIP is lowest. Right? The analytic stats guys know that much, don't they? If "hit the ball where they ain't" is too folksy, maybe it can be rendered into a formula of weight adjusted expected BAPIP for infield zone? wEBAPIPexIZ? It could save the game.

I cannot take this crap any longer.

JM said...

The Master says Suzyn is wearing a canary yellow blazer that's just beautiful.

TheWinWarblist said...

What did I miss!?

JM said...

Gardy homer.

JM said...

Oops, no Gardy homer. Sorry.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Nope, just another in a seemingly endless series of long, gorgeous flyballs, straight into somebody's glove.

We have expertly alternated those with key double-play grounders, and Austin Romine's taking up our management team's inane challenge: "Dare to take a called third strike!"

So he did, on a straight fastball, right down the pike. Boo-yeah.

Today's effort already has an "L" firmly planted on its forehead. Label it, "The Sound and the Fury of Exit Velocity, Signifying Nothing," or "A Long Day's Journey Into LOB."

I know these are futile questions, but I must ask them anyway:

—Is there any rule on the books now that prevents us from ever, under any circumstances, starting a runner?

—Is there any rule on the books that prevents us from ever, under any circumstances, hitting a groundball to the opposite side? Oh, wait, right: Andujar did that, and plated our only run.

Must have been a mistake. I'm sure he was trying to hit into a double-play, or sky one to the outfield. Or maybe he just lacked the intestinal fortitude to take a called third strike.

"wEBAPIPexIZ" indeed, Warblist. You're really onto something there.

TheWinWarblist said...

I'm always thinking Hoss, always thinking.

ranger_lp said...

If the sports pope Mike F. starts talking about rule changes with regards to the shift, something is seriously wrong in baseball right now.

TheWinWarblist said...

Didi gets another hit going the other way.

TheWinWarblist said...

And doesn't score.

Local Bargain Jerk said...

German gave up 1 run on 4 hits through six innings. He did his job. His teammates who aren't hitting are not doing theirs.

13bit said...

You cannot win playoff games with home runs alone. Yes, and I’ll say it again soon.

Leinstery said...

this one is a loss

Ken of Brooklyn said...

Of course Stanton right on cue w another double play,,,,

TheWinWarblist said...

Strike outs and double plays are no way to go through life, Mr Stanton.

Ken of Brooklyn said...

Well done Gardy, ABC ball baby!

TheWinWarblist said...


The Master must be apoplectic.

TheWinWarblist said...

What did I say to you, Mr Stanton? Whay did I say?

TheWinWarblist said...

AAAA-AA-Ahh-AHHH-AAAHHHHH-AAaAaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhHHHHHHHHaaaaAAHHHHHHHHHHHaaaa-ah-ah-ah-aaaaaaaaAaAaHaHaHaaaAAAAAAhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh !!!!!!!!!

Leinstery said...

They may have won but I lost. For a brief moment I thought Walker had been DFA'd. Alas there he was in the game log.

Rufus T. Firefly said...

Well, they won, but not very satisfying until the last inning.

Hoss, there is never anything wrong with bourbon. Except when it is cheap bourbon and you're not already on the way to drunk. Or if there are too many ugly women involved.

TheWinWarblist said...

Tsk, tsk Rufus. For shame. I am no longer a stunning piece of ass, and am I still not worthy of a bourbon fueled romp?

13bit said...

The Yankee website says "Small Ball Gets It Done for the Schmucks" or something like that. I know the "small ball" part is right. Well, a win is a win is a win. Until it's not a win and then it's a loss. Until then, I join you, my comrades, in another round of dehydrated lemonade flakes and Ritz crackers, food of the gods.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Yep. A win IS a win is a win.

A good win. Nice gritty performance by German, fanning a guy with the bases loaded. Nice work by a bullpen without Machine Gun Chapman.

Though the production...

A nice small-ball run in the tenth, indeed. But then we got to see Judge and Stanton, striking out back-to-back, against Tyler Clippard (or, "Clip Art" as my spell incorrect insists). Stanton swung at a pitch at about his eyeballs, on a 3-2 count.

Nonetheless...a win...well, let's not dwell on it, Tomorrow, two at home against the Birds! What could be better?

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