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Old 07-10-2013, 06:48 AM
 
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I don't watch much baseball on TV (don't live near a professional team nor can I afford the cost of tickets and hotels to see a game live). Is it just me or does it seem like all batters are trying to hit homeruns? Is base hitting becoming a lost art? Didn't batters with mad skills use to try to angle the ball to a particular part of the field in the hopes of getting on base? Seems so many today are swinging for the back wall. Not everyone is cable to regularly get over the wall. Base hitting and stealing bases were exciting.
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Old 07-10-2013, 07:08 AM
 
Location: Arvada, CO
13,244 posts, read 24,501,414 times
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No, only when they're young players trying to will their way out of a slump, or low-average power hitters.

Enjoy Ichiro while he's still around.
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Old 07-10-2013, 08:23 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by victimofGM View Post
Is it just me or does it seem like all batters are trying to hit homeruns? Is base hitting becoming a lost art? Didn't batters with mad skills use to try to angle the ball to a particular part of the field in the hopes of getting on base? Seems so many today are swinging for the back wall. Not everyone is cable to regularly get over the wall. Base hitting and stealing bases were exciting.
Are there any statistics that support this?

On getting to first base, there are eight ways. Can you name them?

Spoiler
Hit
HBP
Walk
Error
Fielders choice
Catchers interference
dropped third strike
pinch runner
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Old 07-10-2013, 12:53 PM
 
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I do think the game has changed a bit ... in part to sabremetrics and advanced statistics help shifting the way teams are constructed

There definitely does appear to be less emphasis on moving base runners, manufacturing a single run, etc on the whole ... strikeouts are also not as much of a black mark on a hitter as they once were

There are players who have the role of trying to muscle the ball over the fence or use their power to drive in runs

However, a lot of it is also situational .... you do have good hitters that while they possess power depending on the circumstances of the game can take the ball the other way, work the pitch for and take what is there, etc
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Old 07-10-2013, 02:10 PM
 
10,007 posts, read 8,239,416 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plmokn View Post
Are there any statistics that support this?

On getting to first base, there are eight ways. Can you name them?

Spoiler
Hit
HBP
Walk
Error
Fielders choice
Catchers interference
dropped third strike
pinch runner
Did you read my initial post? I freely admitted that I don't watch much baseball. Only watch it occasionally. But when I do see a game, I see batters swinging for the fence (and falling short) only to get out from an easy pop fly catch.
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Old 07-10-2013, 08:26 PM
 
Location: Arvada, CO
13,244 posts, read 24,501,414 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by victimofGM View Post
Did you read my initial post? I freely admitted that I don't watch much baseball. Only watch it occasionally. But when I do see a game, I see batters swinging for the fence (and falling short) only to get out from an easy pop fly catch.
I remember when I was around 6 years old, I watched a baseball game on TV.

I lasted 1/2 inning, as all three outs were grounders to short which were thrown to first.

I thought, "Man, this crap is boring, I'm watching something else."

Until a friend dragged me into it a few years later. I've been hooked ever since.

I think long fly-ball outs have more to do with making good contact with the ball; I don't think they're swinging for the fence and falling short.
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Old 07-10-2013, 10:20 PM
 
Location: Silver Spring, MD/Washington DC
3,451 posts, read 8,166,943 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Finger Laker View Post
I do think the game has changed a bit ... in part to sabremetrics and advanced statistics help shifting the way teams are constructed

There definitely does appear to be less emphasis on moving base runners, manufacturing a single run, etc on the whole ... strikeouts are also not as much of a black mark on a hitter as they once were

There are players who have the role of trying to muscle the ball over the fence or use their power to drive in runs

However, a lot of it is also situational .... you do have good hitters that while they possess power depending on the circumstances of the game can take the ball the other way, work the pitch for and take what is there, etc
The trend towards more home runs has been occurring for at least the last 25 years and predates sabermetrics.

A major reason why most guys swing for the fences (or perhaps more accurately a major reason why most players are able to swing for the fences) is that a very high percentage of the bat's weight is concentrated in the barrel, and bat handles are very, very thin compared to historic norms. This makes the bat lighter overall, and allows players to swing the bat harder. Not coincidentally, this is also the reason why 1) strikeouts are at historically high levels and 2) bats break very frequently in today's game. Some people who are knowledgeable about baseball history know that guys who played many, many years ago (like Babe Ruth and Jimmie Foxx) would name their bats, or have a favorite bat to use. Can you imagine a player today naming his bat? Of course not, because the bats don't last long enough to acquire names.

If MLB would force a minimum bat handle size (one that is higher than the current practical minimum) and gradually increase that size until bat handles were at widths common 30-40 years ago, not only would there be a lot fewer broken bats, there would also be an increased focus on speed and bat control because fewer players would be able to hit home runs. The game would probably be made more appealing.

As a side note, I think this is a major part of the reason why few black athletes (or more accurately, more black American or African-American athletes) play baseball. Baseball is perceived as an unathletic sport; the emphasis on power rather than speed contributes to that. I have the impression that most black American athletes, to a greater degree than non-black American athletes, want to play sports, such as basketball or football, where athleticism is emphasized and valued. If athleticism was emphasized to a greater degree in baseball, I think you'd see African-Americans playing the sport.
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Old 07-11-2013, 11:13 AM
 
20,936 posts, read 39,277,455 times
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I remember my late baseball-loving Uncle Eddie remarking how Babe Ruth just tried to make contact with the ball, not clobber it the way modern batters seem to do, and Eddie's been dead for almost 30 years.

Ted Williams, the last .400+ hitter, had what's been called the "best swing" in baseball, still a classic way of stroking the ball for a hit.

Although it seems that playing small-ball is dead, there's still a lot of runners getting on base....somehow.

Perhaps the speed of modern pitching has a role here....batters must swing the bat hard and quickly to make contact?
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Old 07-11-2013, 06:24 PM
 
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I just think guys are trying to hit the ball hard.

The way we look at the game has changed. Strikeouts are treated as just another out. Teams are valuing walks, on-base percentage. Teams can live with a guy like Adam Dumn who has a low BA and K's nearly 200 times because he hits 35-40 homers, walks around 100 times and has a high OPB.

If you look at some of the team averages from 50 years ago, they were not high at all as pitching dominated that era.

Sure, you had a few standout teams and players, but they were the exceptions. Middle infielders were these Punch and Judy hitters who didn't provide much offensively. Now there are guys like Phillips and Cano and Tulo who are run producers in the middle of the lineup.
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Old 07-13-2013, 11:29 AM
 
14,283 posts, read 24,064,817 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plmokn View Post
On getting to first base, there are eight ways. Can you name them?

Spoiler
Hit
HBP
Walk
Error
Fielders choice
Catchers interference
dropped third strike
pinch runner


You can also reach first base through interference with a fielder (1B/Pitcher). It is a rare call but it happens.
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