I will keep this post short and sweet, which is the opposite of most Major League Baseball games these days.
I used to love watching MLB baseball. I grew up watching almost every Red Sox game from the mid 80’s on until a few years ago. Now I barely watch any baseball.
Many of the issues have been talked about a lot. The games are too long, MLB doesn’t market the game, or the players, and the list goes on. In my view, the single biggest issue is there are too many damn strikeouts and not enough ball-in-play action. The leaguewide strikeout rate is hovering around 25%. So about 1 in every 4 batters doesn’t put the ball in play.
To put that in perspective, that is about the career strikeout rate of Sandy Koufax (25.2%) and Nolan Ryan (25.3%). We’re essentially witnessing Nolan Ryan and Sandy Koufax’s career strikeout rate be the average for a Major League pitcher right now. The game hasn’t historically been played that way. It’s been played with the ball in play a lot more frequently and I am not entertained by this new all-or-nothing style of baseball. One glimmer of hope though is that the man who saved the Red Sox and Cubs, Theo Epstein, is on the case and trying to save baseball.
Lastly, this topic led me to think back about one of my favorite players as a kid, Mr. Wade Boggs. A hall-of-famer who epitomized what I think current MLB is lacking. He was a hitting machine that put the ball in play. I summed it up with this Tweet yesterday:
As the current #mlb strikeout rate hovers around 25% I look back & appreciate one of my favorite players growing up, Wade @ChickenMan3010 Boggs, even more. Ted Williams once called him “as smart a hitter as I’ve ever seen.” Current MLB needs more “Wade Boggs” in it in my opinion. pic.twitter.com/FlNhgGRK64
— Splendid Sports (@splendidpodcast) August 18, 2021
I can tell you one guy who agreed with me: Mr. Wade Boggs himself:
I leave you with the picture in that Twitter post, featuring 2 of my favorite items in my collection: An issue of Beckett Baseball Card Monthly from May 1986 and the matching Wade Boggs PSA 10 Gem Mint Topps rookie card from 1983. A great big part of being a baseball fan and sports card collector is nostalgia, looking back fondly on the past. But here’s to hoping for a future with baseball too.