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Baseball Has A Baseball Problem

MLB has a problem with the baseball itself and it is their fault.

Baseball is one of my absolute favorite things in life. On the list, it goes behind my family and arguably my guitars, but that's about it. 

It's a beautiful sport. Nine guys are placed on a green field in an aesthetically pleasing way, playing a sport that involves equal parts athleticism and mental skill. There are very few things to dislike about baseball at its purest level. Major League Baseball and the powers that be are trying really hard to fix the sport by killing it, though, and I hate it.

Chris Bassitt Sounds Off On The Ball

First of all, if you're a baseball fan and you live under a rock and missed the Mets and Cardinals fight, take a look.

A lot of New York Mets were plunked before this happened, so nobody was surprised by it. Chris Bassitt, a pitcher for the Mets, shifted the blame to a surprising (but correct) place. 

“It’s extremely annoying to see your teammates constantly get hit, and if you get hit by certain pitches it is what it is, but to get hit in the head the amount that we’re getting hit is unbelievable. I had some close calls tonight, and I’ve been hit in the face [by a line drive] and I don’t want to do that to anybody ever, but MLB has a very big problem with the baseballs. They’re bad. Everyone in the league knows it. Every pitcher knows it. They’re bad."

He was not shy about blaming MLB for being callous. 

“They don’t care. MLB doesn’t give a damn about it. They don’t care. We’ve told them our problems with them, and they don’t care.”

Is MLB trying to tear this sport apart at the seams? Sorry for the pun. Let's move on.

Grip Isn't The Only Problem

Have you witnessed a player on your team smoke a baseball this season, only to see it die on the warning track? Look at this.

Willy Adames smoked this ball and it didn't even make it to the warning track. You can see it just die in the middle of its trajectory. I know we're big on facts and numbers, but the eyes and ears can't deny that looks fishy. Speaking of numbers, this ball had a 105 MPH exit velocity off the bat, a 23° launch angle, and a .930 xBA (expected batting average) and went 363 feet. A .930 xBA means it had a 93/100 chance of being a hit. Unless there was an inland hurricane in Pittsburgh that day, the wind cannot be blamed for this. One could call this an isolated incident, but it isn't and I could paste countless examples. 

Why?

What is most disturbing is the control that MLB has over the ball. The core, most important piece of equipment in the sport is just a massive year-to-year variable that MLB can surreptitiously change at any moment they choose. This is disturbing. Why would Major League Baseball be deadening the balls? MLB wants more action on the field, so why deaden the ball? Do the brass at MLB believe that fans want to see a ton of flyouts and groundouts? Is that what they think fans want to see? That's lunacy. Now they're also messing with the grip of the baseball. 

As far as getting more fans to watch the game I am having trouble seeing the merit of their plan. Major League Baseball is prioritizing lowering home run totals and not protecting their players by deadening the ball to try and get more people to watch the game. Do I have that right? That's a bold strategy, let's see if it plays out for them.