Angels Hahn has alternated between good and bad starts in his last five trips to the mound. The Mariners have the fourth-highest strikeout rate in the majors, trailing only the Cubs, Astros and Padres. Velasquez may not make it through his strikeout baseball streams outing unscathed, but he should rack up at least six strikeouts if he can make it through five innings. Charlie Morton, Pirates Sunday Nationals Pitcher Scouting: Zimmermann's low strikeout rate hurting his value The rich apparently got richer when Morton rejoined the Pittsburgh rotation about a month ago. Burnett, making Morton the best No.
So, if all of these fine writers who cover the game daily are noticing, then there must be something to notice. This is not a review of these articles; I listed them because they were a catalyst to encourage me to try my hand at the problem.
In a basic sense, the game has not changed much. If the batter does not swing at the ball, a catcher will catch it most of the time and an umpire standing behind the catcher will call a ball or strike. This completes the triad behind home plate.
Even though the players and umpires change, this triad is the fundamental unit of action. This is where the vast majority of plays begin.
I say vast majority, because the pitcher does occasionally throw to first base to keep a runner from getting a big lead.
And even more infrequently than that, the pitcher might throw to second base to try and pick off a runner. And even less frequently than that, a catcher might throw to any of the bases to push a runner back to the base, if not trying to pick the runner off, outright.
So, this locus in the center of the diamond has not changed. Classic batteries over the years have featured Whitey Ford and Elston Howard. Don Newcombe and Roy Campanella. Tom Seaver and Jerry Grote. Ron Guidry and Thurman Munson.
Bill Lee and Carlton Fisk.
Bob Gibson and Tim McCarver. Steve Carlton and Tim McCarver. And so many more. This is where the game begins. Strikeouts that are now one of the most pressing problems in the game.
Verducci writes that strikeouts are on the rise for the 13th consecutive season.
Since I am not a baseball columnist, my route may be a bit circuitous and my conclusions a bit different than the writers who focus on the field, rather than the entire business, of baseball.
Fifty years ago, it was the big fish in a small pond. There are entertainment choices galore. Many of these choices are now delivered to homes through cable television and wireless internet.
Video games can be played on computers, smart phones, Xboxes, or Sony PlayStations, as well as over the internet in networked contests against other users.
But every contest of the tournament was carried live in the United States, and while the ratings for the initial round contests were lower than in , subsequent knockout matches gained in popularity—culminating in the final match, which drew high ratings on American television.
Watching the World Cup, despite its exciting moments, I found myself channel surfing between the game and other baseball games on at the same time.
The sports networks have made this immeasurably easier by placing a graphics box in a corner of the screen with the score, top or bottom of the inning, number of outs, pitch count, number of pitches thrown and even the velocity of pitches.
So, one look at that box and any serious baseball fan will know exactly what is happening in the game. Back in the Day … When I grew up with baseball in the s, there were none of these contrivances.
There were only seven channels on television sets in New York City. Three networks, three independents and public television. Home games were broadcast on independent stations, and only one game of the week was broadcast on national network television NBC on Saturday afternoons.
The commentary was about the game and only the game. Kubek was the former Yankees shortstop who played on three World Series champions and was famously hit in the throat by a bad-hop ground ball in the bottom of the eighth inning of game seven of the World Series.
That directly led to the Pittsburgh Pirates tying the game and then going on to win the Series in the bottom of the ninth when Bill Mazeroski led off with an equally famous walk-off, Series-winning home run, clinching a victory.
So, Kubek not only loved the game, he had the moxie to understand its strategic nuances and speak in earnest about the players and which team he expected to win and why. His broadcast partner, Gowdy, described the action as if he was on a Wyoming bronco fresh off the range, kicking up dust as it circled the corral.
Gowdy loved the game. The idea was years away. Nor had prime-time football arrived yet. Only NFL road games were broadcast Sunday afternoons.
Baseball was still atop of the heap, but football was gaining yardage. Mostly because football had chosen a visionary commissioner in Pete Rozelle, an advertising man who understood marketing communications.
He knew football was not merely a sport, but an entertainment product that could be sexied up and made even more exciting, so it would be packed with thrilling moments that could be marketed to fans and the networks already customers for more money.
Eckert was succeeded by Bowie Kuhn in Kuhn proceeded to do his best Rip Van Winkle impersonation over the following 15 years. NFL telecasts were events not to be missed. Granted, the NFL played once a week, so there was a limited supply of content compared to baseball games played six or seven times a week.
Still, baseball did not have the luster of an NFL game. And, to make matters worse, baseball had labor issues on the horizon and its cost structure of guaranteed contracts and limited player movement via free agency made it more difficult to control the direction of the game.
Football had a salary cap, no free agency and its labor relations were under control. After the baseball Reserve Clause was abrogated in , money and more money became a real problem over time, as we shall see in this discussion.
One of the famous stories of the game during the reign of the Reserve Clause was the predicament of one Ralph Kiner, a Hall of Fame outfielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates for most of his career who either led or tied for the lead in home runs hit in the major leagues between and Kiner led the National League with 47 home runs in Kiner signed it.
What choice did he have? By the s, a few years after the New York Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers had moved to the West Coast, National League baseball games began broadcasting across the country broadcasts in New York began after when the expansion New York Mets opened for business.
Broadcasts were, more often than not, on the radio in New York City than television. Though, the odd game was shown on television. But for those who could not stay up late, yet wanted to know the final score, the only place to look was at the box scores in the morning newspapers or listen to the local sports report on the radio.
Which is why I often went to bed with an AM transistor radio under my pillow and the tinny sounding play-by-play that brought the game alive coiling through the earplug cushioned into my ear. Against this late-night backdrop, the announcers created the world of baseball as I fell asleep. But when I awoke I had no idea how the game ended.
Of course, many times the early morning paper would not print the late box scores since they had yet to arrive before the edition was printed, so there was no record of late games or updated standings. Unimaginable today. Those days, box scores were like religious texts to baseball fans.
And every major newspaper printed as many as nine or ten box scores if all the teams played on the same day.
So, how long the game was, how the starting pitchers performed, which hitters had a great night and which player won or lost the game. A key home run. All the pertinent information was in that box score.