Try to follow along. The path is circuitous. Detours abound.
In one recent game against the Pirates, White Sox television play by play guy Jason Benetti wished reliever Tony Watson was still on the Pirates (while reliever Kyle Crick was in the bullpen) and mentioned something about DNA. I went to Google, and apparently James Watson and Francis Crick co-discovered the double-helix structure of DNA (source: sciencehistory.org).
In the same game, upon Sox relief pitcher Chris Volstad entering the game, Benetti wondered why Volstad’s number is 66 instead of 18. I felt that another obscure, esoteric historical nugget had just been dropped on Sox fandom again, so I consulted Google for a second time. The Volstead Act (with an e) helped enact the 18th amendment, which started prohibition of alcohol in the United States (source: history.com).
Hey Jason, knock it off, man. We know you’re smart. Share that stuff at cocktail parties and just call the game on game days. Thank you.
When the Sox aren’t on, I watch the MLB channel or the Cubs (sacrilege to most Sox fans I know, but I love baseball) for my baseball fix. Last week I saw Cubs second baseman Javy Baez swing out of his shoes with two strikes and two men on in a one run game that the Cubs were losing. He struck out. Jeez, that’s really selfish baseball. What is that guy teaching the next generation of Little League, high school, and college ball players? Nothin’.
In September of 2014-not even four years ago, mind you-Sports Illustrated writer Jay Jaffe wrote an article entitled The case of the disappearing slugger: Where did MLB’s power go? When this season is over, the record for total home runs in a season will be obliterated, and strikeouts will outnumber base hits for the first time in MLB history. Have swings (excuse me, I mean launch angles) changed that much since 2014?
More runners are stranded at third, as a growing number of hitters ignore the need for contact and situational hitting. Sacrifices are dying. Stolen bases are dying. A two strike approach is dead. Rob Manfred is pretending he doesn’t know the balls are juiced, just like Bud Selig pretended he didn’t know the human beings playing the game were juiced.
Manfred thinks this juiced ball will create millennial interest, I guess. Just like he’ll shorten the games by eliminating the four pitch intentional walk and limiting mound visits by catchers and coaches. Never mind every call that is video reviewed by the umpires takes 45 minutes to figure out.
Hey commish, watch any ballgame on TV. From New York to Los Angeles, Minnesota to Texas. I see hundreds of empty seats-many times thousands-in every stadium not named Wrigley, Busch, or AT&T Park. Keep juicing the ball. Keep destroying base running with fewer gap shots, fewer sacrifices, fewer stolen bases, and fewer hit and runs. The millennials will put down their phones for that.
Amateur scouts, start looking at current collegiate sophomores. The Sox are going to have the first pick in the 2019 draft. Buy your 2023 World Series tickets now while they last!
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