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SI FOR KIDS
Your Take: Offensive offense?
Users sound off on concerns about excessive hitting
Posted: Thursday July 08, 1999 08:08 PM
CNN/SI asked users their opinions about why hitters were racking up some stunning box scores this season and why even ace pitchers seem powerless to stop them. What should be done? Should anything be done? Some of the most interesting responses follow:
1. No matter what anyone says, pitching just hasn't been that good overall. More fat pitches over the heart of the plate and up in the strike zone. Expansion has watered it down so there are about 40 plus guys going to the mound that 10 years ago would still have been in the minors.
2. The batters are monsters. With weight training, increased knowledge of supplements and proper nutrition these hitters are specimens. You very seldom see the overweight baseball player anymore. Today we have streamlined athletes. When a pitcher makes a mistake they hit it and they hit it hard.
3. Hitters are crowding the plate more than before to take away the
outside corner. With many pitchers not throwing inside very often this
leads to problems for them. When a hitter crowds the plate the outside
corner becomes down the middle and down the middle becomes the inside
corner. Until pitchers start throwing inside a lot AND hitting that spot
then hitters arent going to back off.
Expansion is the cause of all the trouble in the mayors. The direct cause
of expansion is money. I can't believe the amount of money paid to Kevin Brown for such a
poor season. All is about money, and the players are the only ones that can
do something and they aren't doing anything. Baseball isn't what it used to
No longer being America's pastime, beaten out by football, basketball and yes, figure skating, the higher powers of baseball have attempted to attract non-fans interests by imposing rules and altering ballparks and baseballs to favor the hitter. As exemplified by last year's homerun race, the long ball will attract people who generally do not watch baseball.
The newly imposed strike zone is making it even easier for hitters. ERA's have continually soared. The game has become very lopsided and everything is against a pitcher out there.
The offensive explosion may be attracting new fans but it's turning me
away. A blowout might be exciting to watch but it loses its appeal when it
It's simple. Hitters in general are raising their skill level faster than
pitchers. There doesn't seem to be anything new in the way pitchers are
pitching over the years and hitters are learning how to hit them. Kids can
now throw breaking balls at young ages (high school) and by natural
selection, the batters that learn to hit them are elevated to the next
level. But maybe its also because there's more motivation to become a
better hitter. After all, "Chicks dig the long ball!"
I have no idea if the ball has been "juiced". I don't know that raising
the pitcher's mound would do the trick. I do know that when major league
teams are calling up Triple A pichers who have ERA's of .500 and over,
there is trouble in hardball land.
The higher power figures over the past couple of years are probably due to
a combination of factors. I'm sure pitching dilution is part of it. Really
well-conditioned, strong hitters are another. The tiny strike zone doesn't
hurt. But I also think part of the reason is that hitters are not
pre-supposing that 30 HR is a great year. Griffey is pretty much a 50+
HR/year guarantee. 61 HR was considered untouchable for so long. But after
seeing all the recent 50 HR years, then having Sosa and McGuire destroy the
61 barrier, hitters' sights have been raised. The 20 HR/year guy thinks,
"If Mac can hit 70, maybe I can hit 30!" Another key factor is that power
hitters are rewarded with more attention (adulation!) and financial
incentive than hitters for average.
I don't it's juiced balls or expansion. I think the players today are
exceptional. Shoot with players like Griffey, A-Rod, Nomar, JGonzalez,
Sosa, and Mcgwire what do you expect? Surely you're not expecting 2-1 or
3-2 games on a nightly bases; with those guys there are going to be runs
scored. The players today in conjunction with their supreme talent are just
so well put together physically and that is just going to propell the sport
of baseball to another level. Last year Mcgwire smashed one baseball's
hallowed records. This year, Ramirez is making an assault on Hack Wilson.
Next year Jeter or Nomar will be surpass DiMaggio's 56 game hitting streak.
I'm telling you there will not be an offensive record that will be left
standing before this generation of ball players. Mark my words!
There are many reasons for all the offense we see today. There's the juiced ball, players taking who knows what to be stronger. Smaller ball parks, the DH and bats of only the finest available wood and expansion.
In my opinion the pitchers need help! First raise the mound back to its original height to offset some of the hitter advantage. Second restrict the supplements that batters can use.
I personally can't stand to watch Rockies home games that resemble a
I do not believe that there is just one reason for the explosion of offense. I think it is a combination of things. First, yes there is a lot of dilution of pitching. When guys are being brought up from playing a-ball one year to the bigs the next, there is something wrong. Also the strike zone has shrunk an awful lot, but I do not think that has happened dramatically over the past two seasons.
LOOK AT THE SIZE OF THESE GUYS! These homerun hitters today are huge. With
the torque and bat speed guys like McGwire generate it is no wonder to me
why there is an explosion of offense in Major League Baseball today. I do
not know where this is all going to end, but eventually all this offense
will be bad for baseball in my opinion. Of course I like to see my
favorite team score 20 runs every now and then, but to me that is not
The scoring in Baseball is just fine. Reporters need to start writing
about other things and quit complaining. All I hear these days is
complaining about scoring in sports. People are unhappy in Basketball and
Hockey because there is not enough scoring. Now I hear that there is too
much scoring in Baseball.
I believe not calling the high strike leads to several problems. It
obviously narrows the area that the batter must cover, but it also makes
the pitchers throw sinking fastballs and other trick pitches (i.e. the
"splitter"). Since the pitchers do not throw as many regular fastballs,
their arm strength is less than it was 20 - 25 years ago. At that time it
was normal that every team had at least one pitcher go 250 innings with 20
complete games. With the better pitchers being stronger, eating up more
innings, the lesser skilled pitchers pitched less. Check out how many
times pitchers like Mickey Lolich, Bert Blyleven, Don Sutton, Nolan Ryan,
Steve Carlton, and Jim Hunter among many others pitched 250 innings in
their long and successful careers.
It's pretty simple to me. It all has to do with money. Because everybody
wants to win at any cost cause that means more money. Teams are in too much
of a hurry to bring up anybody that has the so-called greatness tag on
there uniform. It takes awhile for pitchers to be ready for the big
leagues. Pitchers are not ready when they get called. There is not enough
pitching to go around for each team. Umpires don't know where to call the
strike zone anymore. For years they say that the ball is juiced up, that's
nothing new, so prove it! Teams need to go back to four-man rotation.
Pitchers need to throw more that's what is wrong and that's why they have
arm troubles cause they don't throw ENOUGH.
My case is very simple. If Pedro could be cloned there is a very positive
outlook as far as the outbreak in home runs (i.e. little... or none.) I
think we should focus on the sciences. Pay the guys at MIT and Harvard
more in research dollars in order to clone the Dominican Master and sell
the progeny on the baseball free market to pay for the venture capital.
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