What was once considered America’s Pastime, the sport of baseball, is struggling these days. The game is slow, boring, and predictable. Boring in that each team will likely strike out 10 times a game and the game will take over three hours to play. There is just not enough action. And it is getting worse.
Offense is down big time this season in major league baseball. Baseball knows it has a problem, and that’s why changes are coming next year .
I will age myself here and talk about the last time offense was this bad in baseball. It was back in 1968. Pitchers dominated. Denny McLain became the last pitcher to surpass 30 victories. Bob Gibson’s 1.12 ERA may never be surpassed.
There are many reasons scoring has been sent back to the 1960s, the most obvious being a baseball purposely altered to avoid another season like 2019, when nearly everyone turned power hitter and the game devolved into a nine-inning Home Run Derby.
The current ball, engineered to be softer and less bouncy and have more drag than in 2019, is the most obvious cause for home runs to decrease 27 percent and runs to be down to exactly eight per game, from 9.19 last year. I think the ball is just one of the reasons hitters are failing. The current .231 overall batting average is actually six points lower than that dreaded 1968 season, which led to one of the biggest changes ever, the lowering of the mound.
It is hoped that baseball will adjust. It looks like defensive shifts will be banned. The proposed plan is to have two infielders on each side of second. It also looks like there will be a pitch clock and pitching-staff limits.
These changes, along with the newer and softer baseball, will likely lead to offenses moving away from thinking of only hitting home runs. Maybe the forgotten stolen base and hit-and-run play will be reintroduced.
I, for one, hope so. The current emphasis on the long ball and launch angle is producing strikeouts and flyouts. But if your non-homer hitters start aiming for contact, the game improves. There are just too many strikeouts in baseball right now. There is not much more boring than watching batters strikeout and walk back to the dugout.
Changes need to be made. What was once considered a great game is losing fans, especially younger ones.