BLOOMINGBURG, NY – The NFL season can’t get here fast enough for me since all I’m left with to watch on television is baseball. This modern version of the American pastime is really somewhat irritating and is nothing like the game I grew up on. The London series (where baseball doesn’t belong) between the Yankees and Red Sox had me a little perturbed, but seeing the Mets play is enough to get anybody riled up.
On Saturday the BoSox and Yanks played a five-hour game, resplendent with home runs and hits and so called “relief” pitching. Did it bother anyone else that there was a mile worth of foul territory at the London venue? Sure, I understand the pitch, as it’s called, was built for soccer but MLB wanted to sell the home run on this new audience and they succeeded, while they easily could have pushed home plate back another fifteen to twenty feet to make hitting a homer a little more difficult.
I don’t check the numbers relating to baseball any more but it seems to me there is a proliferation of offense like at no other time in the sports history. I’d like an answer to what’s making for 17-13 bar league softball scores in MLB. Is it the baseball being tightly wound or is this a myth? Is it that hitters are studying the opposing pitchers more? Are umpires squeezing pitchers although there appears to be an effort to expand the strike zone? My best guess, and this comes from watching the Mets night after excruciating night, is that Major League pitching is a major mess. It downright sucks.
Starting pitching doesn’t grow on trees and teams are lucky if they have one true ace. You’d really like to have a top three to anchor your staff but those days are gone. Pitch counts are training wheels if you ask me. Baseball metrics have helped dictate how long pitchers should last, like the first two times through the batting order. These are the main reasons why there is an overuse of a team’s relief pitching. The more you trot out these specialists, the more you’re apt to see them fail; a team is fortunate if they can get to their closer to cement a win.
The defensive shift doesn’t bother me because if a hitter can’t go the other way or lay down a bunt to the vacated side, then it’s his own damn fault. I really do like a good pitchers’ duel and we probably won’t see many of these any more other than during the post-season, where good pitching almost always beats good hitting. Until then I only have to wait another two and a half weeks for NFL training camps to bridge the gap to MLB playoffs. I’ll entertain myself by watching the Mets blow some more games in fine fashion.
Speaking of fine fashion, come back tomorrow for Snappy Ben Whitney, who makes cardigans look cool.