I entitled this article the State of Baseball Today, though I should have subtitled it, “An outlook on America’s pastime, and what is and isn’t working.” Baseball is now caught in a state of flux. The heritage and history that made it great, mixed tumultuously with the basic premise of evolution.
Baseball is a great game. It is a game for the patient, the mentally tough, and some might even call it the greatest game in the world. What’s not to like? Every game is unique, unpredictable and masterful. You never know what you are going to get when you sit down and watch a baseball game – and that is a fact.
Baseball stimulates the senses. Nothing beats the first moments when you walk into a ballpark on a perfect evening ready to drink some over-priced beers. The smell of the burgers and dogs resting upon the vendors’ shoulders ready to be sold. Even the sounds of the game are pleasing to the ear. The organ playing in between innings, the pop of the glove after a ball is delivered, and who could forget about the crisp crack of the bat when a ball soars over a fence?
Baseball is so much more than the actual game itself, and a lot of people don’t appreciate that enough. Just writing about baseball makes me want to see a game so badly.
So how does such a magnificent game find its way into such deep trouble? How could a game that has been around for over a century suddenly start to fade away from the casual fan? I look at baseball today as having two different sides. The good and the bad.
There are still many great aspects of baseball right now. The game still draws appeal to many different varieties of fans. The television channel MLB Network has many great hit programs on it.
The sport has taken strides to make the game go faster, such as making a pitcher throw to at least three batters before becoming eligible to get pulled. Most importantly, the game has countless rising superstars who are very young and will be around for a while.
Cody Bellinger, Fernando Tatis Jr. Juan Soto, Chris Paddack, Ronald Acuna Jr. Yoan Moncada, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Bo Bichette, Gleyber Torres, Mike Soroka, Jack Flaherty, Shane Bieber, Yordan Alvarez, Rafael Devers; you get the gist.
Long story short, baseball is in good hands and will be for sometime when it comes to star talent rising up through the minors and making a big league impact.
Now let’s get into what’s wrong with baseball.
For starters, COVID-19 has made things very difficult for not just baseball, but for all sports. Early on this season, we have seen MLB teams have to get shut down for weeks on end, such as the Marlins and the Cardinals. Without a bubble, it’s almost impossible to prevent players from catching and spreading the virus without anyone knowing. This has resulted in teams having to play countless doubleheaders with little to no rest.
Another COVID related problem has to do with pitchers. Many pitchers have complained about the fact that there wasn’t enough ramp up during “summer camp” to keep arms fresh and healthy. There has been a huge spike in arm surgeries and injuries this season. Big names like Madison Bumgarner, Stephen Strasburg, Cole Hamels, Justin Verlander, Corey Kluber and many more.
Lastly, something baseball and Rob Manfred have to address are the unwritten rules. The other night Fernando Tatis Jr.had to apologize for hitting a grand slam on a 3-0 count.
Baseball has to understand that this is a new era. One of the biggest problems baseball has is sticking with the past too much. The game has been around for a century, which, don’t get me wrong, is totally awesome. But everything evolves.
It’s time we let the kids play, and let them have some fun.
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