Today I was watching the Cubs and Diamondbacks game from Chicago. I couldn’t help notice that Cubs righty pitcher Zach Davies, after every release, never got into position to field a ball. Sure enough, opposing pitcher Zac Gallen hits a ground ball up the middle that Davies just watches go by.
The other night, the Yankees, in Fenway Park, had four wild pitches, two errors and three walks over the bottom of the ninth and tenth innings, leading to four runs on one hit and a 5-4 loss in ten innings to their dreaded rivals from Boston.
How about Pirates first baseman Will Craig running batter Javier Báez back to home with a runner on third and 2 outs? That resulted in a run scored and Báez at 2nd. All he had to do was touch first base and the inning was over.
Then there is Mets pitcher Taijuan Walker, who was arguing around the plate with umpire Jeremy Riggs, forgetting that what he thought was a foul ball, that he swept to the dugout area, was still a live ball. By not retrieving it, three runs scored while he argued.
We have had guys missing bases on a HR. Players getting thrown out at third on a non force out with less that two outs. It seems like it is happening almost every day and the season is only halfway through in 2021.
The lack of baseball instinct and knowledge at the major league level is astounding. What the heck has happened to our game? Today, we are seeing what used to be a man’s game being played by little leaguers. I take that back, that is an insult to Little League kids. What we have here now is a large group of very good athletes who are not being developed correctly from little league through all amateur baseball including college and continuing in professional baseball.
Baseball has always been able to teach young players how to play this game. They have always been able to correct all the bad habits they picked up in amateur ball. But sadly today, organizations have been letting skilled baseball lifers go every year. No name, extremely knowledgeable lifers who love the game have developed young prospects into major league players that we marveled at when they arrived at the big league level. These baseball men are the reason, we as fans have watched baseball players wow us for years. Great plays by ballplayers are amazing but when they make things look easy? Well, that’s player development.
Player development is on the chopping block my friend, just like seasoned knowledgeable scouts are. MLB organizations seem to think they can do what these guys have done since Babe Ruth by using a Princeton graduate, who played some college ball and majored in finance and mathematics, to find and develop the next generation of big league players. Fat chance, Batman. It is time for someone high up in this game to begin the journey of making baseball watchable again.
It was never broken and did not need all these changes. I understand that it is an entertainment business that is about making money. But if you are selling apples you shouldn’t graft an apple tree with a lemon tree. Just let it continue to develop apples. The game has taken on a whole different thing now. We are being distracted from bad play on the field by other things. As an example, look at the score board.
They were glanced at years ago to remind us what inning we were in, what the score was and what the count was. Today they are filled with so much information that they resemble the instrument panel of a 747 jet plane. Then after any big home team play they explode into a Las Vegas strip of a neon flashing lights. A show that can make you go deaf and blind. I don’t know about you but I go to a ballpark to see a baseball game not a rock concert.
Minor league teams have always needed those things between innings to make the fans happy. Major league teams never needed that. Now we have more entertainment slots than ever before. Not just sound systems that can make your ears bleed between innings but also between pitches. Stop with all the crazy uniforms and wild color shin guards, elbow pads, shoes and sunglasses.
Enough is enough, give us players who know how to play the game without a cheat sheet under their hat or in their pocket. Develop them into pitchers and not just throwers. Teach them the fundamentals of the game. Get them to bunt and take that extra base on their own. Enough with the spin rate and launch angle. It’s not working, the experiment is over.
Give us a well played game by well developed players. Teach these guys how to think for themselves on the diamond. It is what made baseball the best show on dirt.