The Long Ball

Photo Credit: Atlanta Journal-Constitution

by: Ryan Cameron @RyanCameron22

The home run has long been the most exciting play in baseball and that will never change. Hank Aaron tying Babe Ruth’s longtime record is still one of the most watched clips in baseball. Watching Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, and Sammy Sosa in the late 90s and 2000s is something baseball fans will always remember. While it’s fun, it’s taking a toll on baseball that I think is taking it in the wrong direction.

Major League players, for the most part, are now solely focused on hitting a bomb, not getting a base hit, drawing a walk, or let's face it, just playing unselfish baseball. You’re seeing more strikeouts than ever and batting averages are plummeting.

Now, I ask you how could this possibly be good for baseball?

Since 1999, team batting average is down from .271 to .245. Runs per game are down from 5.08 to 4.36. Strikeouts are up from 6.41 to 8.54 per game! The crazy thing is that home run rate remains the same as it was in 1999 at 1.14! So, what your getting is more players striking out because they are less focused on getting on base than they are about clearing the bases and being on Sportscenter.

Sure, there are reasons for this. 

Pitching is arguably better than it was in 1999 and with the hated shifts, it makes it harder to get a base knock. Oh, wait no it’s not, just bunt it down the third baseline, you moron. But as I mentioned before players will no longer sacrifice for that easy hit, they want that bomb to center. It’s plain selfish!

Could you imagine Bryce Harper laying down a bunt to third? The Nationals have a better shot of resigning him than you do of seeing Harper running out a bunt single. That’s also why he’s hitting .217 but don’t worry Bryce - we all know you have those 19 home runs man. Keep up the good work!

When it come’s to baseball, I miss seeing people getting on base. 

I miss seeing people sacrifice for their team and do whatever it takes to get a win. So I want to give a shout out to players like Mike Trout and Jose Altuve. Thank you for doing your part to remind people of why this game is so great.

I love seeing a home run but I hate watching someone strike out 200 times a year to get one. That’s not what the game is about. Be patient, be a good teammate, and get a W! Or continue to swing for the fences and the strikeout rates will continue to rise and the batting average will continue to fall.

I ask you, would you rather see a guy hit .220 35 home runs and a 110 RBIs or would you rather see the guy hit .330 with 20 home runs and a 100 RBIs? I choose the latter.

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