Monday, May 24, 2021

HoraceClarke66: Baseball Götterdämmerung

 From the computerized quill of Hoss...

“What an exciting game!” Paul O’Neill told us somewhere from the wilds of Florida, before signing off Friday night after the Yanks’ 2-1 win over Chicago.


Indeed! Um, sort of. 


What more could we ask for? A one-run game that featured a home run by a player who is showing signs of life for the first time in two years. A triple play in the ninth inning—a walk-off slide (a slide-off?) for the winning run in the bottom of the ninth.


What’s not to like???


Well, just the fact that until we got to the end of the game, the Yankees and ChiSox gave us some of the most somnolent baseball I’ve ever seen. When it wasn’t completely incompetent.


A combined four errors and 26 strikeouts. Nearly three hours of swing and miss, boot and bobble.


I know baseball works in mysterious ways. I know it is a game that, by its very nature, often builds slowly, often deceptively to moments of incredible excitement and tension.


Not so much the other night. More like numbing boredom and ineptitude, followed by a couple of surprises.


I then switched over to watch the Mets, who were still playing in the 12th inning in Miami. The Marlins were dressed in what looked like the uniforms of an especially poor community college team.


On the mound was one Adam Cimber (NOT pictured above. Apparently he looked too weird to get past the MLB censors.). He seemed to be wearing kneepads and had his socks pulled up so high he looked almost as if he were wearing shorts.


The whole image was so bizarre I thought the problem must have been the pot gummy I’d popped a few minutes before. But no. It really did look that crazy—almost as if the Marlins had a mechanical man, or some fantasy creation out on the mound. As if all of this were happening in an alternate reality.


The Mets sent up Kahlil Lee, a rookie pinch-hitter who had just set a record by striking out his first eight times up in the majors (The announcers informed us that he had not even made contact in those eight at-bats.)


Lee, who was playing because almost half the Mets’ roster was hurt, managed an opposite-field double. Hooray! Then the next replacement player, Joneshwy Fargas, came up and hit a dying quail to right field that the Marlins rightfielder dived for and missed. He chased the ball into the corner—where he fell and sat on it. Finally, he threw the ball in—where he managed to cut down Fargas trying for an inside-the-park home run.


Wow! Whoee! I hadn’t seen a play quite like that since Little League.


The Mets held on to win, 6-5, and it was all so exciting. The whole effort featured a combined 18 pitchers, striking out a total of 25 batters.


That’s right: two games, 51 strikeouts. Five errors, all kinds of stumbling and bumbling. But what an ending, huh?


I’m sorry, people, but that’s not baseball—at least not as I know it.


Half the roster injured—on every team. As usual.


Endless pitch-and-catch, a bunch of stumble-bumbling…and then a boffo ending.


It’s not enough.


Over seven-and-a-half hours of snoresville, much of it played by guys in clown suits, who themselves have been put half-to-sleep by how slow and dull their game has become.


I don’t care how good the ending is. That’s not the game I came to love.


TheWinWarblist said...

It's all the fault of Charley Lau, rest his soul. He was the first famous hitting coach. And probably the only hitting coach who was ever justifiably famous. He stressed fundamentals on balance and stance and making strong contact. No steering the ball, no launch angle. Hit the pitch where it's thrown, to all fields. Strong follow through, releasing the top hand only after the ball has left the bat. He tutored some guy named George Brett (Brett was a bit of hothead if I remember correctly). Piniella was a disciple. So was Kevin Cash. If Lau hadn't passed away at age 50 he might have changed the trajectory of the sport. Doesn't matter what your BAPIP is if you never put the ball in play. Lau understood that fundamental. Good things happen when you put the ball in play.

HoraceClarke66 said...

You are a wise individual, Warbler. Though I don't know if any one person could have stood in the way of the analytic onslaught. Followed by all the things MLB does to make a bad situation worse.

Anonymous said...

Hoss, I was thinking the same things as I was watching that game. Seems almost every game these days is a cure for insomnia. That's not a good thing, considering this is supposed to be engrossing entertainment. Three true outcomes? Someone forgot the BB. This is two true outcomes ball. A glorified version of home run derby.

And have you noticed that the strike zone has gotten even bigger? They call everything from the ankles to the shoulders a strike now. And everything that's within a couple of inches of the plate is also a strike. Just calling the real strike zone would help the hitters a lot.

The Hammer of God

Anonymous said...


I agree. The umpiring has been horrific. How can a hitter possibly cover that much space? Every day I get closer and closer to actually being in favor of the robo umps.

Doug K.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Sadly, I think we're going to have to see them. The human ones can't keep up with the speed.

"Too much velocity, not enough command."

Perfect. I just wish a Yalie Met hadn't said it, damn him.

TheWinWarblist said...

On an unrelated topic, The Devil Ray, problematically, refuse to lose. They are the new leaders of the AL East.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, remember a little while back when the Tampons couldn't beat anyone except us? That was then. Now they've woken up. Unfortunately, it was that last game against us that set them on fire.

The Hammer of God

Matt P. said...

How about some unconventional adjustments to fix the game (intended to be dumb...or is it)?!

1. Robot umps and 3 balls is now a walk. First, you can't let taking a ball away be in the hands of a human where way too many controversial calls can be made. And consider this, nearly every at bat includes a waste pitch anyway, a ball in the dirt are so far out of the zone that is an easy take. Throw strikes pitchers!
2. Hate the extra inning rule because it is nothing like this rest of the earlier innings? Well, hate it no EVERY inning starts with a man on 2nd! Can't complain now! Last out starts next inning on second, except the 1st where your 9 hitter starts on base (enter strategy for your 9 hitter!). The DH would be gone, so this would not be a pitcher.
3. 2 point home runs (or extra run if me on base)! Dead center bombs count for two, the farthest point in any ball park with ten feet granted on each side! 5 run grand slams can happen! (extra run not charged to the pitcher as an earned run)
4. Lineups reset for the 9th inning. Automatically your 1 hitter is due up no matter where the previous inning left off. Baseball is the only sport when the game is on the line you have no guarantee your best players are participating. No more!
5. New shift rules. Positioning a player directly behind second is illegal defense. Create a chalk zone. The pure hit up the middle must be rewarded. Next, a shift must be declared and can only be used in 3 (or whatever negotiated number) at bats during the game. is fixed...LOL!

HoraceClarke66 said...

Why not, Matt P., why not?

Though I still like my idea for "Everything Ball." The home team gets to choose any version of baseball, played at any time throughout American history.


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