Jul

10

 Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro is quoted in Sports Illustrated saying, "Baseball has made a U-turn. We've gone back to pitching and defense and speed. You don't see the power numbers of 15, 20 years ago. There's a change in how games are won."

Tom Verducci writes in the same article, "National League teams are averaging the fewest runs per game (4.09) since 1982. American League teams (4.29) haven't scored at a worse clip since 1973, and the league's batting average (.254) is the worst in the 38-year history of the designated hitter."

David Hillman writes: 

Well worth a look-see. A thought…..perhaps the home run indicator should have, as should the home run records have, an asterisk for those years.

On a related note, here's a nice piece on a genuine player. The mention of another 3000 hit club member who played his entire career with one team and lived an honorable life is appropriate, and is also, for many of us who were around then to see him play, heartwarmingly nostalgic.

Another thought…..In the spirit of 'asking the right question', it seems I feel differently about the game now than I did in my youth, but I wonder if it's the game that's changed so much, or if, instead, I've done the changing?

Stefan Jovanovich writes:

The "old guys" on the Giants - Aubrey Huff, Pat Burrell, Miguel Tejada - see things this way.

The young pitchers now know how to change speeds without tipping their pitches and they only throw to corners. "The kids maintain the same arm angles, body turns and strides for all the stuff they throw. You can't read them." Madison Bumgarner, who helped the Giants win the Series last year at the age of 21, is representative; he throws everything on the black. When he doesn't, he gets lit up just the way pitchers always have if they can't throw 98+. Against the Twins recently he tied the Major League record for futility by a pitcher at the beginning of a game. "Bumgarner faced 10 batters and retired only pitcher Carl Pavano, becoming the first player in baseball's modern era to allow as many as nine hits while recording fewer than two outs in a 9-2 loss to the Twins at AT&T Park. The Twins' stunning, eight-run first inning went like so: Single, double, single, double, single, double, single, double, strikeout, double." In his next start against Cleveland he went 7 innings, struck out 11 (his career best) and gave up 1 run.

When either the plate umpires or the batters take away the corners, the home runs will come back. They always do. What we will then see is a return of knock-down pitches and fights. We had a preview yesterday in the Baltimore-Red Sox game.


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