Monday, May 10, 2021

“You finally really did it! You maniacs! You blew it up! Goddamn you! Goddamn you all to hell!”

 From the tortured soul of HoraceClarke66:  

Yesterday, your New York Yankees, in a walk-off win over the Washington Nationals that resembled—in its artistry, joie de vivre, and prevailing weather conditions—nothing so much as Napoleon’s retreat from Moscow, started 6 (count ’em, six!) ballplayers with batting averages below .200. 


This exceeds the sort of general batting futility recalled even by those of us old enough to remember the last outbreak of one-dimensional baseball, back when the strike zone extended from your ankles to your eyebrows, and pitchers were allowed to shoot balls at the plate out of cannons mounted atop rearing elephants.


In the peak year of those offense-challenged times, 1968, the Yankees even set the all-time, post-1900 record for lowest team batting average in a season—.214—yet still managed to finish with a winning record and in the first division.


Similarly, some of the keenest observers on this site—or simply those who have managed to ride into the Forbidden Zone on a horse with a scantily clad Linda Harrison in tow—have noticed that in 2021, too, the Yankees are not alone in their batting ineptitude.


The Yanks’ line this year of .223/.318/.383/.701 is certainly dreadful—but it ranks them only a little lower than middle of the pack in today’s American League.


Don’t believe me?  Well, here are the AL lines for 2021, and for 2019, the last normal season played:


2021 AL:  .235/.308/.395/.704

2019 AL:  .253/.323/.439/.762


Nor is the Great Hitting Slump of 2021 relegated to the Junior Circuit. It’s the same in the National League:


2019 NL:  .251/.323/.431/.753

2021 NL:  .233/.314/.388/.703


So what is going on?


The obvious conclusion is that the same, damned dirty apes who run MLB—and who have just finished giving us abominations as miniature doubleheaders and the new extra-inning rule—have messed with the baseball. Again.


Oh, they’ll deny it, just as they always do. But the indications are all around, such as the record pace of no-hitters, with 4 already in the books (5, if you count seven-inning, mini-me-no-hitters).


Yes, that’s right my friends. After having let Brain Cashman spend years trying to turn the Yanks into the perfect, “Three True Outcomes” team, and telling everyone to just sit back and enjoy all those massive dingers…the Apes of Baseball have decided to deaden the ball.




Yep, they finally did it. They finally blew it all up.


Because the only thing better than a one-dimensional game that already consists almost wholly of walks, strikeouts, and home runs…is to take away the home runs. Right?


I know, I know. Soon we’ll hear the same old denials about the balls. Soon we’ll be told that it’s been an unusually cold and rainy spring, which it has, and that the balls will start flying out of the ballpark again.


And none of this accounts for why Yankees such as Frazier and Sancho and Judge suddenly can’t even connect with 93-mph fastballs down the pike, never mind drive them. Hey, maybe that’s some new “improvement,” too—balls covered in special, stealth technology horsehide?




To paraphrase our recent Nobel Prize winner, whatever it is I wish they’d cut it out quick. But when they will, we can only guess.


You maniacs! 


Carl J. Weitz said...

Yep, the dead baseball certainly doesn't help. But more players have decided not to defy the over shift and instead concentrate on launch angles and hitting home runs. Players like Frazier, Ford, Judge and others used to be able to make contact. This year, they're striking out at least 25%-35% of the time. Rates that high used to be reserved for one-dimensional home run hitters.

Anonymous said...

Sorry about the re post but my comment from the other thread makes more sense here..

I believe the reason is the new ball. Supposedly the seams are raised. What this means is that the pitcher is getting a better grip and more spin so the good ones are getting great action on their off speed stuff and the lesser ones can effect the ball just enough to create pop ups and topped balls because even 1/2 inch difference in where you think the ball should be and where it is makes a huge difference.

The truly superior hitters can adjust. Case in point DJ. He started the season hitting ground balls and is now back to himself. The lesser hitters (Hicks and sadly, Frazier, can't adjust and end up worse.

Doug K. (Sitting in a Cracker Barrel Somewhere in PA)

Kevin said...

I believe it all has to do with the Chinese conspiracy to rob our athletes of their precious bodily fluids. I heard it on "The X".

TheWinWarblist said...

The much maligned Batting Average needs a little love here. BA is not the Only Stat That Matter (apologies to The Clash) as some miserable fossilized codgers have said. But it is a very important foundational stat. It is included in the calculations for OBP, SLG and OPS. Advanced stats such as wOBA also have BA in their calculation. And if it's in wOBA, then its in wRAA and therefore by definition also wRC+. All the advanced metrics are a better representation of a hitters value than BA alone.

If the advanced metrics have seen farther, it is only because they are standing on the shoulders of the giant, Batting Average.

13bit said...

Just raise the fucking mound six inches and we're back to 1903. We can play five-inning games where everybody just bunts and we go home after an hour.

Fuck MLB
Fuck Brian
Fuck Hal
Buck Fooney and Fuck Booney
and Fuck Carl Pavano.

HoraceClarke66 said...

I love your bitter remembrance of Pavano, bitty!

Yeah, the shifts are the first thing baseball needs to put an end to, and they need to do it the old-fashioned way: by teaching guys to hit to the opposite field or even bunt into the wide open spaces.

There is a major fail in the logic here. Hey, maybe the stats are right, and you still produced more runs even with the shift because of the home runs.

But enough opposite-field hits and bunts will get rid of the shift, meaning it's a win-win, right? You can pull everything and also get more hits because there are fewer fielders on that part of the field. When the shift returns, you whack-a-mole it again, right?

That's not my idea. That's just how baseball was played for about 150 years or so...

HoraceClarke66 said...

...The second thing is to stop futzing with the ball. Leave it as is, and let the players adjust to it.

The third thing is that the players have to some degree, thanks to weight rooms and unnatural substances, outgrown the game. They are just too pumped for baseball as we knew it.

So...get rid of the weight rooms, get rid of all the great new training methods that leave everybody on the DL half the time anyway, and get rid of the doping once and for all.

New rule: One (1) confirmed doping gets you banned from the game for life. Period.

Finally, get back to teaching pitchers how to pitch to contact, and batters how to protect the plate with two strikes.

This isn't rocket science, people. Just go back to doing what everybody liked most about the game.

13bit said...

Amen, Hoss. Amen.

Kevin said...

Which gives me the perfect opportunity to point out that Mantle's 'sad, pathetic' final two years consisted of OPS plus numbers of 150 and 143 respectively. He was shamed in books and in the media for fifty years, beat himself up for the rest of his life believing that he stunk as he finished his career. The Man was crazy Great! I haven't come upon any articles that talk about this subject. Perhaps one of you guys could get on the horn with Sherman or Davidoff and tell them to shake an article out on the topic.

HoraceClarke66 said...

I'm with you, Kevin!

The guy was hobbling around on those battered pins, barely able to move half the time, but still the best hitter on the team, drawing over 100 walks each year.

He was 5th in the AL in on-base pct. in 1967 and THIRD in 1968; 10th and 9th in OPS, respectively, in those two years, 2nd in walks each year, 9th in the AL in Offensive WAR in 1967, and high in a slew of other, new statistics such as the ones you cite.

In other words, Mantle was basically one of the ten best hitters in the AL still. He was even 3rd in putouts as a first baseman in 1967, and 4th in assists at the position both years.


—Hitting in general hadn't gone into such a dive at the time, or

—The new stats had already been around, or

—The Yankees had been able to put a better lineup around him, or

—The AL had had a DH...

...The Mick would have been seen as going out in a blaze of glory.

TheWinWarblist said...

Mantle was vilified for a low batting average at the end of his career, but he actually was still a very productive hitter because of all the other things he did well. I'd give my left gonad for Frasier to have an OPS+ of 143.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Also, in 1967, Mantle hit .245 in a year when exactly 4 players hit over .300 in the AL. In 1968 there was 1, Yastrzemski at .301.

Relatively speaking, he was doing fine.

Kevin said...

When you think of it, drawing over 100 walks when facing That strike zone is even more crazy, and he still seven intentional walks in each of his final two seasons.

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