This conversation must be open to the idea of the possible reduction in PED usage.
Well, if any player comes out hitting home runs he is automatically labeled a PED user..at least around here.
Bill James was on his webisite the other day and he made a good point: i'm paraphrasing - he reports we see greater defensive plays because the quality of the fields has improved markedly and i think that he's on to something.
You look at a game from the 80's and if it's a grass field in August - there are many bare spots -especially around the pitchers mound. There are football lines on the field -which means they may have played a pre-season game. When you have those conditions -you tend to play much more conservative- you can't take as many chances diving for a ball, etc... The great Ozzie Smith play that used to get shown on tv about once a week -look at the field that he makes the play on -it's almost all dirt- of course, that's what made the play great -he fielded the ball bare handed because it took a wicked wild bounce and he made the adjustment.
Now you have pristine fields where baseball only gets played. The safety around the walls has improved, are there more than 1 or 2 bullpens in play anymore? That used to be something that every corner fielder had to contend with - plus the roll of tarp. All these little improvements in safety make it easier for the players to go full speed without worrying about numerous repercussions. I think it makes for a better ball game.
Bunting sucks. Very few guys can do it well enough and have enough speed to do it and get hits out of it. If you can't do it for a hit, you shouldn't be doing it. Quit wasting outs, especially before the 7th inning. I can't stand it.
And yes, as long as there is a DH and first basemen in the league, guys who hit .240 with 30 bombs are going to have jobs.
My point about the Wily Mo Pena-types are that you won't be finding them manning 3rd base, left field, right field, second...sure, you'll always find some at DH and 1st...but there's only so many of those positions to go around. When the game swings fully towards pitching/defense...gm's will not allow butchers in the field to man defensively important positions as they do now.
I think there's more premiere talent in MLB than ever before, which is why it's more difficult than ever to be really outstanding. Used to be once you got past the SP and got into the bullpen, the rout was on. No longer.
Plus, the scouting and positioning is so much advanced now- Ryan Ludwick hit what should have been a solid line drive single last night in the first inning that the 2nd baseman played on the SS side of the bag. That's a combo of excellent defense and excellent scouting.
You also have to wonder if this has cut back on the free swinging power guys? Hitters like Heisey and Stubbs might've been able to get enough cheap shots off slop throwing relievers in the late 90's to be productive. Now it seems like without a compact swing and a good eye, you're toast.
Burn down the disco. Hang the blessed DJ. Because the music that he constantly plays, it says nothing to me about my life.
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