It's a New Era of Baseball
Baseball. A game of tradition, repetition, and respect. A game that’s been around for almost two centuries. A game that is beloved by many.
There’s so much information to dissect every season, every game, hell even every inning there’s interesting stuff going on around the diamond. But at times baseball lacks fun, and in the end we’re all just trying to get entertainment out of the game.
Over the past few years players have been taking the game by storm at what feels like a younger age each spring and summer. Fernando Tatis Jr. is one example of this, a player who is just 21 years old, but looks like a 10 year veteran of the league. Tatis is only in his second season, yet he is already leaving a major impact on the game with his impressive power, contact, and base stealing numbers.
(Picture Credit: NBC San Diego)
On Monday, the Padres were playing the Texas Rangers, a game in which they were up 10-3 in the 8th inning when Tatis stepped up to the plate with the bases loaded. He soon worked a 3-0 count and proceeded to wallop the next pitch over the right field fence for a grand slam, his second homer of the night? Now did this strike a nerve with anyone reading this? Because if it did, you’re one of the reasons why baseball is losing popularity.
To those of whom I just confused, let me explain. The Texas Rangers took much offense to this Tatis home run because apparently there is an unwritten rule in baseball that if you’re up more than 6 runs after the 6th inning, you aren’t supposed to swing at the 3-0 pitch if you get into that count, out of respect for the pitcher. In fact the Rangers manager Chris Woodward said after the game that “he personally didn’t like the move.” Rangers pitcher Ian Gibaut even threw behind the next batter, to send a message that he didn’t like it, a super soft move in my opinion. Now why is this an unwritten, unofficial rule you may ask? Because if you were to write it down as an actual rule, you would realize how stupid and preposterous it sounds. Unfoccial rules are unofficial for a reason, they’re fake. If you’re trying to get a bigger lead in a game, or help your team win I can’t get mad at you for doing so, even if you’re playing against my favorite team.
(Picture Credit: Bleacher Report)
There have been plenty of occurrences where a team has come back from a 7 run deficit, even late in a game, so there’s zero reasons why the Padres shouldn’t have been trying to grow their lead. If you’re so upset with giving up a grand slam on a 3-0 count, don’t load the bases and don’t work a 3-0 count on a batter. Below is a flow chart that I found on Barstool Sports, which I found pretty funny.
Baseball has been trying to become more watchable to casual fans over the last few years, because the sport is rapidly declining in popularity. What’s one thing casual fans love to see? Home runs, especially when they’re hit by some of the game's best players. In fact, it’s exciting for anyone watching the game, as home runs and offense are the best part of baseball.
In short I really hated this move from the Rangers and I lost a tremendous amount of respect for their organization after this debacle as they tried to play the victims after giving up a grandslam. Woodward and Gibaut have both been suspended by the MLB for their comments and actions about the situation which I think is excellent by the MLB. This isn’t your grandfather's respectful game of ball anymore, this is a new flashy era of baseball where fans want to see the most action they can, and if you can’t accept that then the game is going to pass you by. I’m all here for Tatis and almost forgot to mention that he had to apologize for hitting a grand slam after some of the backlash! Why should you be apologizing for doing your job? All of this really is a joke in my opinion and I want to see more of this slugging in the league for years to come. Don’t like the result of what happened? Then play better. It’s as simple as that.
- Andrew Gardner, UNH '23