Architecture, Art, Audience, Ballpark
In a very clear way, the 2018 All-Star game in Washington D.C. last week was representative of the current state of the game of baseball. The ten home runs hit an all time record for the Midsummer Classic, nearly twice as many as the previous high of six.
That long ball production is indicative of the season, which is on pace to see more home runs than any other year in baseball’s long history. That statistic isn’t the only record which will be eclipsed in 2018, and the All-Star game revealed that as well.
Players are striking out twenty five percent of the time now, a frequency which will result in a record number of strikeouts in 2018.
Just as that highly encouraged contest highlighted the sport’s reliance on the homerun and the attack out, it was another game a week earlier that served as a microcosm of some of baseball’s biggest problems. Commissioner Rob Manfred and the officials around the sport would rather ignore that game, which would be simple to do considering how few people actually saw it.
The Tampa Bay Rays played the Marlins in Miami on July Third, an intrastate battle that should have generated all types of excitement in the house of Spring Training and three pennants. To underscore the serious attendance problem baseball has had there for over two decades, only six thousand people were in attendance.
The game itself went sixteen innings, dragged on almost six hours, and featured two four different batters between the two clubs. Eighteen unique pitchers took the mound, as well as the three others who were called on to pinch hit and or perform a position at some point during the Sunshine State Bore-a-thon.
When it finally ended, an estimated two hundred fans remained in the seats.
A better present for them, and most other baseball fans, are for the game to accommodate the extra innings rule began in the Minors this year. If tied after nine innings, each team starts the extra frame with a runner on second. That scenario would practically guarantee that a match would be determined long before the sixteen innings it took before Tampa Bay finally beat Miami.
Besides strengthening the fact that games are too long, that night also exposed another dilemma that plagues the game. It has to force the National League to adopt the designated hitter rule.
Because they were playing at Miami, the Rays had to let their pitchers to strike. This stipulation might not be a new problem for the starting pitchers, who have been accustomed to getting at least one plate appearance in an inter league game on the road.
But having to bat presents a real problem for the multitude of relievers on the team, for most of them never swing a club all season. What can happen when they’re forced into such a role, is precisely what happened to a Tampa reliever that night.
The injury would not have happened had baseball enforced a universal DH rule, and it also might have been avoided had the excess innings rule been used in the Big League level rather than just the Minors.
Before The All-Star Break

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