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Wednesday, May 15, 2019

WSJ:  There Is a Hit-by-Pitch Epidemic in Baseball (Reg Req’d)

But all this talk about pitchers hitting batters on purpose has distracted from a more puzzling question: Why are pitchers hitting so many batters by accident?

One out of every 96 plate appearances across the major leagues in 2018 ended with a batter being drilled. That was most often since 1900, a time when the National League consisted of teams called the Chicago Orphans, the Boston Beaneaters and the Brooklyn Superbas. This year is on track to leave even more bruises, with a batter being hit every 94 plate appearances.

With pitchers throwing harder than at any other point in history, it’s fair to say there has never been a more painful time to be a hitter.

Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: May 15, 2019 at 12:46 PM | 30 comment(s)
  Beats: beanballs, pitching

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Plunkings are dumb and bad: The time is now for baseball to get its act together

We’re taught that change is incremental and to expect otherwise indicates naiveté. But sometimes after, or ideally among or even at the outset of, the slow and steady shift in public perception and cultural mores comes a discrete jump in the overarching paradigm. Not a watershed moment per se, which tends to happen organically and can be seen only in retrospect, but rather a conscious decision to do something about it by taking a deliberate step away from how things were and toward how they ought to be. All of which is to say, sometimes the change comes from the top.

For baseball — by which I mean both the governing body as well as the constituent players, who in turn make up the union — the time to do something about retaliatory plunkings is now. Because they can do something about it if they so choose — assuming they can all get on the same page.

By now you know that last Wednesday the White Sox’s Tim Anderson hit a home run off the Royals’ Brad Keller. You know that because the former flipped his bat in jubilation, the latter hit him with a pitch in Anderson’s following plate appearance. I am not going to use too much space to relitigate the obvious OK-ness of enjoying playing a game well. Bat flips are perfectly fine — they cost nothing in exchange for imbuing an admittedly slow sport with a little spice. Hitting the batter on purpose, on the other hand, is actively bad. It’s dangerous, dumb (A free baserunner? In this home run economy?), and introduces violent escalation into what was a standalone display of style.

A consideration of aspects of the game that (to be blunt about it) help explain certain recent issues involving popular support….

QLE Posted: April 23, 2019 at 04:11 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: bat flips, beanballs

 

 

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