Richard Herr - Something's Wrong

Something’s Wrong
I’m writing this on Sunday morning, and in part, I’m drawing my conclusions from the events of the pat few days. The results of this afternoon’s game may somewhat color what I’m saying, but I don’t think by that much.
Something’s wrong. Something has knocked off the very fine balance of the great game of baseball and sent if spiraling wildly away from its carefully balanced center. Something has knocked it off its center of gravity and sent it wobbling around like a billiard pin that’s been grazed by a bowling ball.
Take the example of this Sunday morning’s perspective. The Mets recently concluded a four-game trip to Dodger Stadium where they got totally bitch-slapped. The games weren’t even close. The Dodgers were launching home runs all over the place. The Mets looked like the sorriest sad-sacks you’ve ever seen. They crawled out of town (didn’t even have the power left to limp) and headed north to San Francisco where you figured Buster Posey would chew them up like a plate of appetizers.
What happened? The first game in SFO the Mets sprayed twenty hits all over the ballpark and won handily. The second game, they won rather easily 5 to 2. (It was actually 5 to 1 plus a ninth-inning who-cares? run.)
The tables were entirely reversed. It appeared that the sad-sack Mets suddenly said the word “Shazam!” (google it) and turned into super heroes.
The trouble is: that sort of thing is happening throughout the game. Teams either get incredibly hot, or they go on dismal losing streaks. One team beats another by a lopsided score, then loses just as badly to the same team the following night. Many baseball scores are beginning to resemble football scores. I’m sure this year will show a record of many more teams are scoring double-digit runs in a game.
The major thing I find shocking is what’s happening with ERAs. Time was, (last year) if you looked at the ERA of the starters on a team, you’d see that their number one guy had an ERA somewhere around 3.0. The better ones were below. As you went down through numbers two, three, and four, you’d see the number go up to the high threes. If you had a particularly bad number five, he’d be up there in the fours.
This year the ERAs have skyrocketed. Starters are sporting ones that go into the 5’s, 6’s, and even 7’s! Pitchers who were previously well established number 2 and 3 starters re up there in the 5’s and 6’s. Runs are proliferating all around the league.
And it’s becoming harder and harder to put up good pitching numbers.  Jacob deGrom is coming off three terrific starts. However, just before that he put up a couple of stinking performances where he put up close to ten runs in each game. It used to be difficult to travel that narrow path to a good pitching performance. Now the path has become razor thin.
Something’s wrong. Somebody’s tinkered with something. Somebody decided it would be great to push things a tiny, little bit further to make the game more exciting, add a little more pizzaz to the game. I don’t know whether it’s juicing the ball, making the seams a little tighter, cutting down the strike zone, but the game is careening out of order. It’s turning into a parody of itself. It’s becoming a flash-and-trash, glitz-and-tits, super wound-up, neon-blinking video game.
It’s got to be fixed. We need to return the game to the national pastime.   

Whenever Richard Herr isn’t solving all the Mets’ problems, he spends his time writing humorous science fiction novels.

You can see his books at https://www.amazon.com/Richard-Herr/e/B00J5XBKX4.


Thomas Brennan said...

Lots and lots of long balls surrendered this year - you may be onto something there, Richard.

Reese Kaplan said...

Maybe it's time to construct a big orange monster in both left and right field in Queens.

Mack Ade said...

My biggest hobby is growing herbs for my wife's cooking. I grow all of them by seed and dry the remaining leaves left over each fall. I also painstakingly draw out the seeds on the dead plants and use them the following year.

Like growing great herbs, anyone can buy a store bought version that has traveled across the country in poorly air conditioned trucks.

My herbs are grown 'on my farm'.

The game of baseball is the same as my garden. Draft picks and international signings are the secret to any dynasty.

You have to 'grow' a balance of bats, gloves, and throwers to build a future world champ. We have failed at that so many times over the years.

Thomas Brennan said...

Those are seeds for thought, too, Mack, and it is clearly the best way to build a team. My draft strategy would be to draft only power pitchers, and only power bats without major flaws (e.g., obvious Ivan Wilson strikeout syndrome). Use international to get your middle infielders. Any offensive pick in the early rounds must have power, or top skills and blazing speed. So, for instance, Champ Stuart was a good pick whether he pans out or not. You just need a Pujols or two from your early rounds over a number of years.

Thomas Brennan said...

Reese - no big orange monster - it took us years to get rid of the last great Wall of Flushing and it ruined Bay and Wright before it was fixed.

Mack Ade said...

we should be signing 4 more of the top international prospects this time around... we finally have come around to the importance here

Mack Ade said...

Now Thomas... I have been known to grow a little weed in my day, but that's another yarn...

Adam Smith said...

The ball is clearly juiced, in one way or another. And whether it's the ball now, or the players in the '90's, I'm not a fan of video game baseball.

Thomas Brennan said...

Tonight showed enough is wrong to keep it from getting right.

Gary Seagren said...

Great article in the NYTimes on this very subject.

Mack's Mets © 2012