Now that we’re done with that tribute to American excess called the Super Bowl, we can turn our attention to a more pressing issue – Saving Baseball.
That is the mission of Kevin Gallagher, a Florida author, who is launching a national digital and social media campaign hoping to collect one million digital signatures to support a return to baseball’s roots.
Enough with the explosion of home runs and strikeouts. The game became bloated about a decade ago when the algorithm and analytics crowd imposed its will and changed the nature of the sport which had flourished for 150 years or so until then.
So now we have a crisis in the game, beyond the lockout which may cost us a chunk of spring training and maybe the start of the season. Kids are turning their back on the game, walking away from it because they experience so much failure by embracing launch angle swings designed to generate all those glorious home runs and ignores contact hitting.
Gallagher wants to change that with his book “Teach Your Kid to Hit so They Don’t Quit.’’ With words and pictures, Gallagher demonstrates the proper level swing that leads youngsters to success at the plate.
“My concern, and that of many people I know, is that baseball could become irrelevant in 15 years,’’ Gallagher said. “They’ve changed the fundamentals and made it a power game.’’
That has led to teaching kids to swing for the seats and ignore the level swing that makes connections with pitches more frequently and produces action on the field, not just some bulked up slugger trotting out his home run.
“The average age of a baseball fan is 57,’’ Gallagher said. “Younger fans are not coming along, not cultivated or addressed.’’
Young fans complain about the lack of action in baseball. Has anybody seen a hit-and-run lately? Or a stolen base? They are parked somewhere in the hip pocket of the analytics crowd that prefers to reduce baseball to a formula instead of letting the game flow.
“Contact hitting makes the game more interesting,’’ Gallagher said. “It changed in the steroids era when home runs caught people’s attention. They score more runs but at the cost of the entertainment factor. Continuous action is entertainment. The key to that is changing the way the swing is taught.’’
Gallagher is not looking for a fight with baseball. He wants instead to save the game with his campaign.
The website is www.savethegameus.com It is something worth thinking about.