Friday, October 3, 2014

LA/StL/Det/Balt. Damn right

Adam Wainwright of the St. Louis Cardinals is an ace pitcher. He didn't make it 5 innings against the Dodgers in Game 1 of their playoff series. Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers is pretty much a lock for this year's NL Cy Young award, and maybe even MVP. He got blasted off the mound in the seventh inning. The Cardinals would go on to defeat the Dodgers 10-9.

In the Baltimore/Detroit matchup, they've combined for 28 runs over the first two games -- with the Orioles scoring most of them. Reigning Cyster Max Scherzer took the loss in the first, and former Cyster Justin Verlander couldn't get it done in the second. The third leg of their Denton True Young award winners, one David Price, is up next in a couple days. Will he throw a gem to stave off elimination for the Tigers -- or get pummeled like his brethren before him the last couple days? Hard to say. Turns out -- even minus three of their key position players due to injury or suspension -- these Orioles can flat-out hit. It's no coincidence they quietly racked up the best record in all of baseball over the regular season, while leading in a few offensive categories -- most notably home runs.

Remember the old maxim "good pitching beats good hitting"? Not this year in the playoffs so far. Given the above-mentioned 4 teams over only 3 games, they've racked up almost 50 runs.

And ya know what? Damn right. This is fun to watch. Hit and runs, stolen bases, doubles, triples, homers, guys flying around the basepaths and sliding here and there on close plays? Great stuff.

Sure, there are still those that will pooh-pooh the offensive explosion we have seen so far. Some would prefer a "classic" pitchers' duel. You know, a 1-0 game with a bunch of strikeouts along the way on both sides. They continue to fail to realize that such a game is BORING for fans. Baseball fans, like most other people these days, want and need to be constantly stimulated. The huge success of social media like Facebook and Twitter is proof positive of that. Nobody wants to sit around a ballpark, or in front of a TV, and be bored into a coma by a 1-0 game. They want action -- dammit. Teams hitting the ball all over the park and scoring a bunch of runs will keep fans on their feet screaming their heads off. A pitcher's duel might result in polite applause on occasion. A big difference.

But still, some old-schoolers and purists remain. They are likely in an indignant huff over how such good pitchers could be banged around. Well then. I have a suggestion.

If you want to be old school, apply for a talking head position at Fox. Rupert Murdoch is fond of people like you. And if you want to be a purist -- go join a religious sect that eschews electricity and automobiles. They prefer candles and clop through the countryside on horse-drawn carriages. And as a bonus, you'll learn how to be really good at building barns and "miracle" space heaters. THAT is being a true purist.

In the meantime, shut up when it comes to baseball. We real fans are loving the fast-paced, high-scoring action we've seen so far.

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