Monday, February 28, 2011

Talk'in Baseball

Jun 28, 2010

The other day I was upset with my hometown baseball team, The Tampa Bay Rays.  A pitcher for the Arizona Diamondbacks threw a no-hitter against them.  The pitcher, Edwin Jackson, used to be a member of the Rays.  He threw 147 pitches across nine innings on his way to a no-hitter. 

What really upset me was that this was the second time this season that this had happened.  Of all the strange things, the first no-hitter was actually a perfect game.  It was only the 19th in major league history.  I asked myself, “How can a team this good have a perfect game and a no-hitter thrown against them before the All-Star break?”

I was talking to my Dad about this, and he brought up a few good points.  So far this season two-perfect games have been thrown.  A third was ruined by a bad call by an umpire.  Four no-hitters have been thrown this year.  Remember, all of this has happened before the All-Star break.  Why has this happened all of the sudden?  In the last twenty years so many rules and things have changed in baseball to favor the batter and scoring.  Here’s the list:

  1. The core of the MLB baseball has changed.  It went from a cork center to a rubber center.
  2. The baseballs themselves have been wound tighter so they travel farther when hit.
  3. The umpires use more balls during a game.  It gives the batter a fresher ball to hit.
  4. The pitcher’s mound was lowered, therefore taking away an advantage for the pitcher.
  5. Expansion teams thinned out the good pitchers. 
  6. The strike zone has shrunk by a good amount.  In fact, there is one umpire known as lunchbox.  He’s called that since his called strike zone is the size of a lunchbox. 
  7. MLB hitters have switched from ash to maple bats.  It is said that a professional hitter can have better control over the ball with a maple bat. 
  8. Bats now have thinner handles and weigh less.  It helps a batter get around on the ball faster. 
  9. New stadiums didn’t have outfields as big as the old ones, thereby allowing more home runs.
By the 1980’s there were only ten players who has hit fifty or more home runs.  By the 2000’s it was uncommon not to have a player hit fifty home runs in a year.  In fact there were years when multiple players hit fifty or more home runs.  Baseball has started to get boring.  No one played baseball anymore.  Everyone lined up to try and hit home runs.  Scores went from 4-2, 3-1, 5-4 to 10-7, 9-6, 8-4.  In other words, scores doubled in just a couple of years. 

We were told this was due to the above nine reasons, but that was a lie.  Once ..MLB.. started testing for steroids, the home run counts dropped immediately.  The batting averages came down.  The scores came down.  Thus, the pitching numbers got better.  The number of no-hitters went up. 

I used to love baseball, but I feel like I have been lied to again and again by ..MLB...  I will admit that the nine reasons listed above did have an impact on hitting and pitching, but all of them didn’t make near the difference that steroids did.  The single issue of steroids made so much difference in the game of baseball.  I am mad because we were lied to for years.  Commissioner Bud Selig knew that steroids were changing the game of baseball, but did nothing. 

It just seems that baseball is as dirty as boxing is.  I don’t like baseball like I used to.  It used to be a game, but now I don’t know what it is.  I hope we get a new Commissioner who will actually help baseball.  At least testing for steroids is a step in the right direction.

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