Column: Baseball needs to change what it has become, continental drift slow

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Sez Me …

Never have I seen molasses in January. But I have seen 2020 baseball — and lately, even more stagnant, playoff baseball.

Slow. Continental drift slow.

It would have been good to see teams Ferris Buellering — you know, getting days off during these playoffs. Instead, days off have taken place during the games themselves.

Major League Baseball has to do something. Period. Now. Be somebody. Right now, it is without caretakers.

Baseball doesn’t have to change what it was. It has to change what it has become.

If not, it’s going to fall into extremely poor health.

Everybody talks about games being too long. It’s not the length (or just the playoffs). It’s the pace. Most baseball games have no pace anymore — unless it’s by accident.

Strikeout. Home run. Bat flip (ooh!). Strikeout. Walk. Strikeout. Home run. Bat flip (aah!). Pitching change. Pitching change. Pitching change.

Groundouts into the outfield. Bunting impossible. No one can handle a bat. Hit and run is passé. Pitchers damned by pitch counts when throwing well.

Games drag. I mean, man, they drag.

I don’t care how long they last. I care how they’re played. If you took the action out of “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” it would be “The English Patient.”

If the Padres, the most exciting team, weren’t playing the Cardinals and Dodgers in those two playoff series, I would have turned them off. The Pads used 11 pitchers in a game. It’s agonizing.

I’m reminded of one of my favorite movies, “Diner,” when Billy (Tim Daley) and Edd (Steve Guttenberg) are in the strip club, and the music is so slow, Billy, agonized, starts banging on the bar and finally gets up and plays the piano himself.

That’s how I feel watching baseball.

Put the blame on analytics and The Stinking Shift. They are defacing this classic beauty.

“Last season (after an at-bat), the average time before another ball was put in play was four minutes,” says Bob Cluck, former San Diego High, San Diego State and MLB pitcher, pitching coach and scout, founder of the San Diego School of Baseball, who knows the game better than anyone I know.

“Today’s pitchers and catchers are overloaded with data and become afraid to challenge hitters using their own strengths. Instead of going for quick outs — like Glavine, Maddux, etc. — they try to pitch to too many weaknesses, giving them deeper counts and slower games. The theory of getting outs in three pitches or less is becoming a lost art.”

Meanwhile, The Shift stinks, and I approve this message. It removes base hits. Do you find enjoyment in Manny Machado, a third baseman, fielding would-be singles in short right field?

Seamheads abhor batting averages. It’s about exit velo and launch angle (which The Shift brought about) and WAR and other nonsense the average fan cannot comprehend — or want to.

Baseball was intended to be a game of movement. Batters staring at homers or walking back to the dugout after a strikeout is not movement.

Baseball has problems. Baseball has to get back to what it was. Baseball has to wipe off its bad greasepaint plastered on by nerds who never played.

As Marilyn Monroe said: “It’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.”

Marilyn never was boring. Baseball didn’t used to be. …

————————————————————-

What’s the greatest catch in the history of baseball now, Bellinger’s or Margot’s? …

The Dodgers didn’t score 15 runs during the 1960s. …

Bet Will Smith watched Will Smith vs. Will Smith. …

“Chargering” has become a verb. Alas, “Judasing” or “Spanosing” or “Lynning” has not. Yet. …

Turned on “This Property Is Condemned,” but stopped when I realized it wasn’t about unplayable SDCCU Stadium. Begging the question: If The NFL Team That Used To Be Here hadn’t moved, where would it play? …

Sad, but I think Philip Rivers’ arm has gone from al dente to limp noodle. Can’t be long before he’s replaced. …

The infested Titans could become the greatest team of all time. Why would anyone wholeheartedly want to block or tackle them? …

The Lions are working on Matthew Stafford’s footwork. He’s dropped back to pass enough to throw for 42,000 yards. About time. …

Mike Weber, on the Chiefs’ practice squad last year, reportedly is hocking his Super Bowl ring. Overcome with pride. …

Want to get somewhere dangerously but quickly? Hitch a ride with Melvin “Deuce” Gordon. Millionaire athletes. Go figure. …

Washington calling itself Football Team is presumptuous. …

Alex Smith, myth breaker. San Diegans are soft? …

Romeo Crennel is the oldest NFL head coach. He’s 103. …

Stink O’ The Week Sezment: Those who message me every week complaining about U-T’s coverage of the NFL Team That Used To Be Here. Judases-Saints Monday night rating drew a 14.0 locally — highest major-market rating (not counting New Orleans). Supply/demand, haters. …

Hall of Fame pitchers don’t continuously swallow October olives. Clayton Kershaw has half of Lindsay’s production in his throat. …

Joe Morgan, the Big Red Machine’s gasoline. Fantastic player. RIP. …

The worst trade made by The NFL Team That Used To Be Here was Fred Dean to the 49ers. They were never the same. Ronnie Lott: “James Dean wasn’t cooler than Fred Dean.” RIP. …

Why do golfers and second basemen get the yips? …

NFL and collegiate defenses have been affected most by the pandemic. Bama gave up 48 to Ole Miss. They were saying the Colts had the best defense. Browns put up 32. …

You’re not being snookered. Arkansas has a linebacker named Bumper Pool. …

Gus Johnson’s volume makes Joe Tessitore sound like Marcel Marceau. …

Science saved my life. It saved my wife’s life, my sister’s life, the lives of many family members and friends — even people in high places. Allow me to believe in science. …

Disposable masks aren’t to be disposed of on our beaches. Clueless. …

My mom taught me what a “complete waste of time” is. And two presidential candidates having separate town hall meetings at the same time is just that. …

I tried watching both. With glasses I have four eyes. …

Anyone remember when alcohol sales in California were prohibited until 8 p.m. on election day? …

Anyone remember when we actually could vote in peace? …

Ever wonder why there’s a United in front of States? …

I am somebody’s crazy uncle and damn proud of it. …

The NBA did a masterful job in its Orlando bubble. Not one positive test. So the Lakers win and thousands of masked and unmasked idiots storm the streets of L.A., complete with burning and looting. Worth it? …

Despite all that, Sunday night’s Vikings-Seahawks TV ratings more than doubled the NBA finale and LeBron’s big night out. The Association has huge watchability problems. …

If I were in the bubble, I just might have stayed in it.

sezme.godfather@gmail.com

Twitter: @sdutCanepa





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