After years of homers leaving stadiums at record pace, Major League Baseball is reportedly working on ‘deadening’ the ball. Now that it seems commissioner Rob Manfred is listening, will this change fix baseball?
I’ve clamored in the past that this change needed to be made, but style of play is still the main reason our youth has turned the game off.
Juiced ball homerun of the night goes to David Bote of the Chicago Cubs. Bote was late on that fastball, and didn’t have time to get the bat parallel to the plate. What looked like a shot in the gap perhaps one hopping the wall went over a 16.6 foot wall.pic.twitter.com/OEXpHmCNvq— JUICED BALL EXPOSED (@juicedballexpo1) June 11, 2019
Let’s use this video as an example of how too many homers hurt the game of baseball. If a swing like this produces the best possible outcome at the plate, then what’s enticing athletes to go the other way and beat a defensive shift?
Nothing, because a doo-doo swing like we just watched rewarded the Chicago Cubs with an early 1-0 lead. Teams that have signed hitters who are unwilling to commit to this one-dimensional strategy have been made for fools.
So, what happens now?
With the baseballs projected to be dialed back, it should, in theory, be harder to hit home runs. If that’s the case, maybe players will be forced to find more creative and interesting ways to score runs. Hitting balls over the shift will no longer be the game plan, and baseball will start to feel a little more normal and recognizable to its real fan base.
I’ve stated in past articles that the shift should not be banned, but it should at least be limited. Players should be able to go the other way, but we can’t possibly allow a second baseman to stand on the warning track in right field.
That’s not baseball.
This is so bad for the game.— JUICED BALL EXPOSED (@juicedballexpo1) October 28, 2020
Besides the fact that I’ve seen these moves backfire so many times, it’s actually taking away the love of watching a starting pitcher dominate a game. No fan is going to fall in love with their middle reliever.
Sad to see. https://t.co/61r3gpwTU2
We used to think relievers were killing the offense in postseason games, when reality was that velocity killed the cat. Putting the ball in play and going the other way became nearly impossible when pitchers averaged 93.5 mph fastballs.
Baseball will recover some of its base by making contact hitters more important, but there will still be room for other improvements.
Still, this is a step in the right direction that we should celebrate.