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Are too many strikeouts hurting the game of baseball?

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by Dick Whitman, Mar 3, 2014.

  1. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    Last season, yet again, Major League Baseball set a new record with 7.6 strikeouts per nine innings. Twenty years ago, that number was under 6 K/9. In the early '80s, it was under 5 K/9:

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/leagues/MLB/pitch.shtml

    For years, I have argued against people who say that baseball is boring. But you know what? With everybody striking out at this rate, baseball is kind of boring right now. You watch sports to see the ball in play, and the ball's not in play very often in baseball these days.

    So I throw this out to some of my fellow seamheads here:

    1) Why is this happening? (Obviously relief specialists are one reason.)

    2) Does it pose an existential threat to baseball's long-term viability as a popular entertainment choice?

    3) What can be done about it?

    I never thought I'd say this just a few years after baseballs were flying out of the yard in record numbers, but it might be time to lower the mound again.
     
  2. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    Re: Does baseball have a strikeout problem?

    I think it was SI that ran a piece last year about it, and another big part of the "problem" (if there is one) is that hitters don't care about not striking out. Evan Longoria said he doesn't even have a two-strike swing because what's the difference if he hits a weak grounder to second anyway?

    Seems like runs are being scored at a pretty nice, balanced ratio. I suppose it could get out of whack as the years go on, if recent trends continue, but I'd let the game try to balance itself out before anyone steps in to do anything about it.
     
  3. Bubbler

    Bubbler Active Member

    Re: Does baseball have a strikeout problem?

    Next to Dick Whitman-ish Thread in the dictionary is a screen capture of this thread.
     
  4. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    Re: Does baseball have a strikeout problem?

    Actually, runs were scored at a 21-year low last year - 4.17 per game. (In '96, '99, and '00, there were more than 5 runs scored per game, by comparison.)
     
  5. trifectarich

    trifectarich Well-Known Member

    Re: Does baseball have a strikeout problem?

    Wasn't the DH supposed to be the answer? Better come up with another gimmick pronto.
     
  6. NHMafia

    NHMafia Member

    Re: Does baseball have a strikeout problem?

    Not sure if there's a problem. I think players have just realized an out is an out. And a strikeout is a hell of a lot better than rolling over a 2-1 slider for a double play.

    Pitch selection has probably caused a lot of this, just because I think players have accepted the fact that the first strike isn't always the best strike even if it means you may strikeout later in the at-bat. Taking the first or second strike in exchange for a better pitch to hit is probably worth the risk of a strikeout.
     
  7. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    Re: Does baseball have a strikeout problem?

    So?

    4.17 a game is a pretty nice, balanced ratio.
     
  8. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    Re: Does baseball have a strikeout problem?

    Does SportsJournalists.com have a concern problem?

    TheAtlantic.com seems to think so.
     
  9. BTExpress

    BTExpress Well-Known Member

    Re: Does baseball have a strikeout problem?

    Except it's not.

    Runners don't score from third on strikeouts, fielders don't make errors on strikeouts, and runners don't move into scoring position on strikeouts.

    If Luis Castillo swings and misses in 2003 instead of sending that two-strike pitch into the waiting hands of Moises Alou Steve Bartman . . .
     
  10. Steak Snabler

    Steak Snabler Well-Known Member

    Re: Does baseball have a strikeout problem?

    More teams have begun to use the 1990s Yankees model for success: work deep counts in order to get the better pitchers out of the game earlier. That's naturally going to lead to more strikeouts.

    And while I won't go as far as to say that strikeouts are the same as any other out, they are certainly preferable to grounding into a double play or getting a runner thrown out at third on a botched sac bunt.

    I love baseball as much as anyone, but sitting through games --- particularly in the postseason when they're starting after 8 p.m. most nights --- is an absolute chore sometimes.
     
  11. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    Re: Does baseball have a strikeout problem?

    Except runs are being scored at a 21-year low.

    Some strategy, right?

    (And I don't doubt that you're right about one of the roots of the strikeout problem. Another, and perhaps the main one, is that pitchers are simply throwing harder than ever before.)
     
  12. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    Re: Does baseball have a strikeout problem?

    That's especially true when it's 8.34 runs a game.
     
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