Breaker wrote:To each their own, but I heartily disagree.
There are things about the current game that I'm not a huge fan of, but I don't think player skill is less than previous generations; I'd say they are more talented than ever. Strikeouts are up because batters aren't afraid of striking out. They would rather chance missing the ball completely than not hitting the ball hard. The "hit 'em where they ain't" philosophy is basically dead. I don't think that's good or bad, it just is. Somebody like Tony Gwynn could come along and serve the ball to the open field against the defensive shift and hit .450. But until someone does, the shift and strikeouts are going to continue to climb.
Pitchers today are basically max effort on every single pitch, and then they hand the ball off to the next guy. The days of a starting pitcher throwing deep into a game are gone. The investment into their arms is so high that no team will risk over-using them. Teams carry 13 or 14 pitchers now, and switch between right- and left-handers for the optimal matchup. 20 years ago teams had platoon hitters instead; again, neither is good or bad, it just is.
One thing I love about this year's playoffs is the neutral site, play every day schedule. My biggest beef recently has been the difference between regular season and playoff baseball. With off days every other or every third day, a team can win in the playoffs with 4 or 5 hot pitchers, whereas the every-day nature of regular season baseball means depth is almost more important than stars. I appreciate that the neutral site has allowed scheduling games every day, and team depth has been important this postseason.
I'll get off my soapbox now. Other than the Twins not being in the World Series, this is my preferred matchup. I like teams that haven't won the title in awhile.
I agree with just about everything you said. One thing that I didn't mention was that I think there's a chance the baseball has been juiced. That's why I think hitters are creaming the ball. I just saw an over 400 foot homer and one just under.
But I think the reason players strike over 2 times as much as in the dead ball era is because batters aren't nearly as good now as they were in the early 1900's as far as working the count and not striking out. There were all time greats like Honus Wagner and Ty Cobb who barely struck out. There's no way players nowadays are nearly as good as the best hitters during the dead ball era.
Players today don't work counts and for the most part can't stay away from bad pitches. I've barely seen anyone this year that's great at working the count. Now, perhaps because the ball is juiced and it's easy to hit home runs it's a good strategy to swing away. But it makes for a game that's just so far from the way the game was meant to be played.
There's a lot of starters and relievers who have great arms but there's no way it's harder for batters to avoid striking out now than in the dead ball era when pitchers could put whatever they wanted on the ball, and the ball was never changed. And still, batters back then struck out over 2 times less than now. It's ridiculous. Maybe it's the best strategy to swing for the fences or strikeout, but it makes for really boring baseball as far as I'm concerned and without much skill.