Yesterday’s Opening Day contests showcased the problem with baseball – the pitching, as a whole, stinks. Look at the scores below, and remember – these are baseball scores, not football scores:
- 16-7 (Cubs over the Reds)
- 13-5 (Cardinals over the Phillies)
- 11-10 (Braves over the Dodgers)
- 15-2 (Yankees over the Athletics)
- 7-3 (Red Sox over the Rangers)
- 9-6 (Orioles over the Devil Rays)
From steroids to smaller ballparks to the various arm, leg and foot pads the batters can wear (allowing them to hang over the plate), to umpires who are quick to issue warnings to pitchers who play a little bit of chin music (thowing inside), baseball has ripped the guts out of the pitcher’s game. Sure, there are still some pitchers who can make a pitch dip, dive and move, or who can throw it faster than an F-16, but the pitching/hitting balance in the game has tilted to benefit the hitters.
More hitting equals more scoring, which many casual baseball fans enjoy. But more scoring results in longer games, which many casual fans do not like. And increased scoring distorts the space-time continuum of the baseball record book, which is the most hallowed book in all sports. How do the hitters of today compare with the hitters of previous generations?
Well, because of this unprecedented bias towards hitting, it is difficult – if not impossible – to compare the baseball today with the baseball of my grandfather’s era. How would Babe Ruth or Hank Aaron have done if they played in home run havens such as Minute Maid Park or Citizen’s Bank Park, or if they hit against today’s pitchers, or if they took steroids, or if they could wear body armor and hang over the plate? Perhaps they would have hit 1000 or more home runs.
I’ll listen to, watch and go to games this year. I’ll cheer for the home runs and the bases-clearing doubles. But I’ll be especially cheering for the pitchers, because they have so much going against them and they represent the only hope for fans like me who would like to see some balance restored to the great game of baseball.