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Has playing for the Home Run made MLB less fan friendly?


TheCrew07

People are always telling me that baseball is "boring" without the HR, which I never really understood. I get caught up in the strategy of every pitch in every AB, I'm very entrertained(sometimes frustrated) during the game. The topic came up again at work today and it struck me that maybe the reduction of small ball has made the game less exciting.

 

I understand the statistical evidence in regards to bunting players over and stealing bases, but I'm sure the casual fan hasn't had the same opportunity to be educated. If you aren't interested in things like pitch selection, location, and so on it pretty much just leaves you with what happens on the basepaths.... and if runners are just going station to station, is that where the "boring" nature of baseball comes into play? If there is no stealing, no bunting, no double steals, no hit and runs and so on there really isn't much happening in the field during the game so a HR becomes the most dramatic moment in the game.

 

In the last couple of years there has been talk that Home Runs brought the fans back to the parks, especially after the strike, something I've always firmly believed. However today during the conversation it occurred to me for the first time that maybe the station to station nature of the modern game is exactly what makes it boring for the casual fan?

"You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation."

- Plato

"Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something."

- Plato

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Sometimes "strategy" is a synonym for small ball. I think there's plenty of strategy towards going for the three-run homer. Working counts, getting on base and not making outs on the basepaths are all conscious decisions.

 

Plus there is still plenty of strategy in things like pitching changes, double-switches, etc.

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Obviously I can't speak for other fans, but to me home runs are much more exciting than "small ball". It's just not that thrilling to me watch someone get on base, the next guy bunting him over etc. My mom's a big White Sox fan so I see a decent amount of games and the past couple seasons it was just annoying watching Ozzie Guillen managing (well that and listening to Hawk).

 

With that being said I think I enjoy great pitching match-ups over slugfests. For example I'd rather see tonights Mets/Phils games with Santana vs. Hamels over two fifth starters squaring off and allowing base runners left and right.

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You could simply limit home runs to lower the run envoronment but that would result in lower, more "boring" games. I wish baseball could make strong ball strategies more valuable in a high run environment (make it easier to steal, for example) but I doubt they'll ever make any significant rule changes to make it happen.
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I absolutley love small ball. I know the statistics go against it in a lot of situations and I have to admit that upon reading Money Ball I see the strategic value in not stealing / playing small ball. That being said what I love about the game is the game. I love it when a manager takes a risk. I love the triple more than the home run. I love the battle between pitcher/catcher vs baserunner and the dekes the fielders make to trick the runner. I LOVE THE HIDDEN BALL TRICK!!!

 

Sometimes I long for the days when the thrill of the game was more important than the contract or the agent. Then someone hits a home run...I like that too.

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"Sometimes I long for the days when the thrill of the game was more important than the contract or the agent"

 

I'm not sure I understand this. When you are watching a game, you are thinking about agents and contracts? And how does that relate to small ball?

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"Has playing for the Home Run made MLB less fan friendly?"

 

I'm sure it does for some, but the small ball 80's didn't draw crowds like we see today. I don't think Nike had a commercial where chicks dug the small ball.

 

"If there is no stealing, no bunting, no double steals, no hit and runs and so on there really isn't much happening in the field during the game so a HR becomes the most dramatic moment in the game."

 

This is obviously hyperbole. I think, as with most things, a balance is good. Teams shouldn't steal to just steal, but with the right player in the right situation, it's a decent gamble. I don't think anyone who has looked at the bunting has suggested that it's never the right move.

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Plays like that Mike Rivera infield hit when Corey Hart scored from 2nd excite me more than a home run. I think when players show their quick thinking and sometimes even luck it's more exciting than hitting a ball really hard. Sure, a walk off home run or a homer that puts us in the lead is great, and I would much rather see a walk off homer than a walk off hit, but the quick thinking on the field and base paths is what really gets me going.
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"Sometimes I long for the days when the thrill of the game was more important than the contract or the agent"

 

I'm not sure I understand this. When you are watching a game, you are thinking about agents and contracts? And how does that relate to small ball?

 

Not in my mind, but in the mind of the players. I (and it may be a romanticized version) don't see players play for the love of the game as much as the love of money. It is not simply the players fault, owners are greedy as well. Look, IMO it is messed up when an EMT who saves peoples lives makes less than someone working at McDonalds and then a player leaves the team that invested time in money for him because instead of $10 mil he needs $12 mil...I know it is old fashioned but you are playing a game and greed is greed. While the game is on that is what I watch. My frustration is after the game when the reports of who is coming or going come on and people who have more money than small countries whine about someone else making more.
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"I (and it may be a romantisized version) don't see players play for the love of the game as much as the love of money."

 

What did you see when Fielder was jumping in the dugout after hitting his first HR of the season? You think he was thinking of next year's salary then?

 

"Look, IMO it is messed up when an EMT who saves peoples lives makes less than someone working at McDonalds and then a player leaves the team that invested time in money for him because instead of $10 mil he needs $12 mil"

 

I'm not sure I understand this. First, I don't think EMTs make less than McDonalds employees. Maybe the manager, but even then I'd be surprised. Secondly, what does the first half of the sentence have to do with the second? And why should a baseball player's ability to work where they want be restricted? It's not greedy for a player to ask for what he is worth. A player can't get more than a team can afford to give them. Why should a player leave money on the table for a rich owner?

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If only Hart could "pickle the beast" my baseball watching would be complete, there would be nothing left to see...

"You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation."

- Plato

"Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something."

- Plato

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"I (and it may be a romantisized version) don't see players play for the love of the game as much as the love of money."

 

What did you see when Fielder was jumping in the dugout after hitting his first HR of the season? You think he was thinking of next year's salary then?

 

"Look, IMO it is messed up when an EMT who saves peoples lives makes less than someone working at McDonalds and then a player leaves the team that invested time in money for him because instead of $10 mil he needs $12 mil"

 

I'm not sure I understand this. First, I don't think EMTs make less than McDonalds employees. Maybe the manager, but even then I'd be surprised. Secondly, what does the first half of the sentence have to do with the second? And why should a baseball player's ability to work where they want be restricted? It's not greedy for a player to ask for what he is worth. A player can't get more than a team can afford to give them. Why should a player leave money on the table for a rich owner?

 

I didn't mean to defend the owners. They are greedy as well. Why does anyone need that much money? (I am an EMT, starting money at McD's is many times more than starting pay for an EMT, at least where I live. I could not do any other job though, very satisfying.) Please don't take this as I am bitter. Frustrated, yes- but I will watch the game of baseball regardless until I die and I enjoy it each and every time. When the players went on strike I watched more college ball and the local A team but the second they came back I had MLB on. I love watching the best do what they do. They have a right to do whatever they want, I never questioned that. That doesn't mean I agree with it. Bottom line is this, it is my opinion and my belief system in regards to money. I would take more money for what I do in a heart beat but if I made enough to pay all my bills and had a few dollars to play with I wouldn't leave just to make more. That to me is greed and I don't like it. Just my opinion.
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"I am an EMT, starting money at McD's is many times more than starting pay for an EMT, at least where I live. I could not do any other job though, very satisfying.) "

 

There's just no way this is true. What do people who start at McD's make where you live? For this to be anywhere close to being true, you are saying that EMTs make minimum wage and entry level fast food restaurants make twice that.

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starting pay for emt from $7.50 to $9.00 an hour, we used to joke about it because there was a sign at a fast food restaurant offering $9.00 an hour. I believe some of the privates start about 10 but that isn't what most of us got into ems want to do. (I left a job paying 60k-sales- a year to do this and i have never looked back nor regretted it...just me my friend but money can be way overated.
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orca1963, you said that McD's paid many times more than what EMTs make. Making a few dollars an hour more is not "many times more". I was just questioning what you were saying because it didn't make sense, and I like to understand what people write.
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starting pay for emt from $7.50 to $9.00 an hour, we used to joke about it because there was a sign at a fast food restaurant offering $9.00 an hour. I believe some of the privates start about 10 but that isn't what most of us got into ems want to do. (I left a job paying 60k-sales- a year to do this and i have never looked back nor regretted it...just me my friend but money can be way overated.

 

That's nuts, I sure would not do that job for $7.50 to $9 per hour...unless if maybe my only alternative was McD's for the same pay. But I guess if they can get qualified people to do it at that wage, that is what the pay is going to be.

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I don't reccomend this job or lifestyle for anyone, just what I do. But this thread has moved quite a ways from baseball so take what I said for what it is worth. I love the game and I love small ball. I also love the HR. No matter what happens, be it $$$'s or steroids or managers falling asleep at stop lights, my love of the game is why I watch every chance I get. Little league games are great too if the parents don't beat up the umps.

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I love the game and I love small ball. I also love the HR.

Maybe the answer is a wider range of ballpark sizes. Parks vary, and you do only play there half the year, but if you had one team with a park 400' down the lines and 450' in center, and another team with 300' / 375', you'll have a much more diverse game and legitimately applied managerial strategies.

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