You know what grinds my gears this season in MLB? STRRRRIIIIKKKE 3!
I think by now everyone that has vaguely followed my opinions or write ups on MLB realize that I absolutely HATE the epidemic plaguing MLB; that of course being the plethora of strike outs by ALL batters in Major League Baseball. Hypocritical I know because on the other side of the coin I love it when My Favorite Team’s pitching staff records a “K” at the critical moment to save a run or two from scoring. But let’s face it, that’s the nature of the beast; that’s Baseball at its finest.
However, there has to be a delicate balance on both sides of that coin. If your favorite team’s pitching staff is not a prolific strike out bunch of guys you sit and pray for the grounder right at someone or the can of corn popped up to an outfielder; shallow preferably. You also expect the offense to pick up the slack by not striking out too much.
But let’s take a closer look at the stats. Most arguments I receive on the subject has plainly stated that in today’s game a multitude of strikeouts are acceptable because of all the extraordinary amount of extra base hits, especially homeruns, that hitters are providing. I’ve been told numerous times that today’s game is more exciting because of all the hitters putting up gargantuan numbers.
Well, I have to play the bullshit card on that one.
Let’s go back twenty years. The year is 1993 and MLB is just finishing the regular season. The stats are tallied and the results are in the record books. There were only six teams flailing at the plate to make contact that year. The Tigers led all of MLB with 1122 strike outs as a team batting. The Reds were the 6th most with 1025 strikeouts. That year the Texas Rangers led all of MLB with 181 homeruns as a team. Only the Florida Marlins failed to reach the century mark for homeruns.
Only ten short seasons later the Texas Rangers and four other teams all broke the two hundred mark for team homeruns but 17 of the 30 teams flailed away while recording over 1000 strikeouts. While there was a power surge and every team made the 100 mark in homeruns, the strikeout totals were on a steep increase as well.
Now we jump to the end of this season and the numbers are staggering; at least in my eyes. Only 1 team broke the two hundred mark for homeruns that of course being the Orioles; thanks much in part to MLB leading Chris Davis and his 53 dingers. But oh brother, every single team in MLB broke the 1000 strikeout totals; just like they did in 2012. You have to go back to 2011 to find a team that did not strikeout 1000 for a season and then only three teams managed to stay below the mark.
During the pinnacle of the so called steroid era, somewhere around the year 2000, there were 11 clubs that blasted over 200 homeruns and only 22 teams managed to burst the 1000 strikeout total.
So while we did see a slight increase in both strikeouts and homeruns during the steroid era, we have now seen the homerun numbers decrease significantly while the strikeouts remain at an alarming all time high. Not only did we see every team once again break the 1000 strikeout margin but we saw this year 25 teams break the 1100 mark and 17 over the 1200 strikeouts for the season.
I mentioned this to a co-worker and fellow baseball fan and he just shrugged it off. “That’s today’s game bro, deal with it” was his retort.
Am I the only fan left in this community that refuses to just shrug it off?
How about all the Braves’ fans out there; are you happy with the 1 single homerun hit during the NLDS compared to the 42 strikeouts they had? The Dodgers 7 homeruns and only 26 strikeouts seem to be closer to acceptable numbers to me, and oh by the way, they are moving into the NLCS.
The A’s, Braves and Pirates led the way in team K’s during their respective NLDS. All of them are headed home as well.
And let’s get back to the bottom line and the basics ; what exactly is being taught at the lower levels of the game?
Are parents, coaches and supporters congratulating kids at the little league level for striking out? In high school are students being awarded collegiate scholarships for batting .240 with at least 1 strikeout every 4 ABs?
How about in college? How many starters play on a Division I team and averages striking out 1/4th of the time? Not many.
So would someone please explain it to me why it is acceptable for guys making big money to fail so miserably at a job where THEY are the professionals? If ANY officer in any branch of service failed as often as these guys they would be dismissed promptly. In the corporate world, no executive would last past two paychecks if they failed 25% of the time.
And baseball by the way is still the only sport that IF you are successful just under 1/3 of the time (.333 BA) then you are a superstar or all star in the game.
So again, we don’t ask the players to be as successful as high school or college hitters because we know they are facing better pitching. We are not even asking them to be successful 1/3 of the time. But my God, why is it acceptable that they be given free reign to be a complete bust more than 25% of the time at the plate by striking out so much?
Just my opinion but my gears are worn to the nubs on this one. I am not going to quit harping on this until I see a trend going the other way. When I see or hear players condemning the ineptness at the plate for failure to make contact, I MIGHT shut the hell up.
Tiny URL for this post: