Sports column |  The Winkeler: Baseball, You've Changed |  Sport

Sports column | The Winkeler: Baseball, You’ve Changed | Sport

You see, I still love you, but you’ve changed.

You used to be exciting… mentally challenging. That is no longer the case. Every day, uh, games, are essentially the same.

It does not have to be that way. In fact, you should be better than ever. Your most enthusiastic supporters are right about one thing, in general, today’s players are bigger, stronger and faster.

Unfortunately, it takes more than pure physical ability to play this game. Baseball, at its best, mixes athletics with nuances, highly refined skills and a dash of daring. This weird alchemy produces a game that is as fascinating as it is beautiful.

I’m going to be straight about this – you’ve got bored.

I can ‘t make myself watch an entire World Series match. Admittedly, I have no dog in the fight. I didn’t really care if Atlanta or Houston were crowned world champions. And I certainly failed to maintain interest for 3.5 to 4 hours.

A 3-2 match should easily be played in 2.5 hours.

People also read …

Do not tell anyone I said this, I’m ashamed of it, but I’ll watch the first three rounds, then watch 2-3 Two and A Half Men or Big Bang Theory resume, and then come back to see the last couple of rounds. .

What would I have missed – lots of places in the ground, piles of swings and slips by sliders in the ground and boys standing around on the base.

You used to be so dynamic. Boys would come to first base. They wanted to steal bases. The manager wanted to call for a hit and run. Now the game stops because we have to wait for someone to hit the ball out of the yard.

Yes, yes, yes, I know. Do not even send your legions of mathematicians with their spreadsheets to show me that today’s approach is the most effective way to score races. Heck, they may even be right, but no one looks at math for entertainment.

I want math wizards to manage my portfolio, not my baseball games.

Sure, Albert Einstein was brilliant, one of the great brains of history, but no one wants to see him balance the checkbook. It’s boring.

You are stuck in this all or nothing approach.

Jack McKeon, you remember him, he knows a little about you. He won 1,051 major league matches. He managed the Florida Marlins in 2003 for a World Series title. He knows what’s bothering you.

In a recent interview, he said that baseball used to be played to score a race or two in five innings. Now the match is played to score five races in one round.

The bottom line is that good baseball teams will make money on every opportunity to score a race, take what the game gives you and not be greedy. At the end of the game, the score will end up being about the same.

Oh, and another thing, use the amazing physical talents of today’s players.

If a team leaves a third of the field unprotected, hit the ball there. It’s a bit funny, fans of the current style of play say: “It’s easier said than done.” Of course I could never do that. But in the next breath, they expect the same player to hit a 98-mph fastball 450 feet.

Oh, and pitchers, if you get two strikes on a hitter, the next three courses are not required to be 18 inches outside the strike zone. Go and get them. The non-competitive courses add nothing to the game. It’s like relying on special effects to carry a movie when the story stinks.

Finally, you need to convince these mathematicians that defense is an important part of the game. A player’s value cannot be judged solely on his OPS. Remember that a well-rounded person is much more interesting than a uniform person.

I hope you will take these words to heart.

I do not want to leave you, but many people have already done so. The early TV rankings only show that last year’s series had fewer viewers. The status quo is unacceptable.

LES WINKELER is the former sports editor of The Southern Illinoisan. Contact him at, on Twitter @LesWinkeler.

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