I think we are entering into a new age of baseball, one which is profoundly changing the game. If, a century ago, the game was changed from the dead ball era to the lively ball era, we are now embarking on the home run era. This past season, especially the World Series, offers evidence of that. More than six thousand regular-season home runs were hit in the major leagues this year, an all-time record, greater, even, than the bloated numbers of the steroid era. We in Boston did not feel the brunt of the explosion since we hit only one hundred sixty-eight dingers, a major league low.
The problem with this notion is that baseball is currently in the midst of a streak of its lowest ratings ever for both the All-Star Game and the World Series.
Although the elite hitters in MLB continue to drive out great numbers the standard has become significantly less than the days of Barry Bonds hitting 73 home runs in a single season. The offensive spike at the end of the 20th century created a great deal of fans.
The backlash in the 21st century lost twice as many.
It is impossible to accurately say exactly how many fans were won and lost through the tug-of-war that was the steroid era; however the TV ratings help to create an idea of how important the time was to the game.
MLB was stricken with a self inflicted virus that was now in its bloodstream. With stadium attendance also plummeting, MLB was in a free-fall the likes of which no other sport had witnesses in recent history. MLB writer Bill Chastain recently wrote an article describing the ever-present lack of fans at major league ballparks.
Not even a club's first-ever trip to the World Series could produce an influx of attendance in the post steroid baseball world.
With the loss of home-run races that draw epic ratings, MLB and its media have begun focusing on what it hopes will be the future of the sport.
MLB is not implementing some fancy technology to boost ratings, nor is looking to overhaul the sports rules or the way the game is televised. Even baseball purists have called for the use of instant replay, much like the National Football League and National Hockey League uses.
Instead MLB is focusing on the cornerstone of its sport for more than years; the pitchers.
The season has witnessed five no hitters and two perfect games. Last season only two no hitters were thrown through the entire season, and only twenty perfect games have ever been thrown in almost a century and a half. The pitcher has returned with dominance, and it is not necessarily the C.
C Sabathias of the baseball world throwing the fire that seems to be unhittable. Not only are pitchers dominating on the field, they are also dominating all headline off of it.
But one player will not turn around an entire sport, and save it from the TV ratings or stadium attendance disaster it is facing. The previous low was an 8.
MLB has tried very hard to promote the pitcher in a way that allows fans to appreciate the skillful beauty behind the art of pitching and the mental ability it takes to play that position.
Unlike sluggers, who get so many plate appearances, and can strike out times so long as they hit 40 home runs or more, pitchers are not so fortunate. Pitchers may pitch once every five days, which totals around 30 games a year.
This inconsistency is another reason why the average fan is having a difficult time embracing the idea of a pitcher driven league. During the MLB season, McGwire and Sosa began a two-man race for the single season home run record that capture an entire nation.
At the time it was unknown to most people that both McGwire and Sosa were using anabolic steroids, however many have questioned if it would have even mattered.
By season's end McGwire would break the record for single-season home runs with 70, and Sosa would tie it with What many people do not remember is that was not only about McGwire and Sosa, but about all of MLB's elite hitters.
As the NY Times article mentioned, a whopping 13 players eclipsed 40 home runs in In , only one player broke the 40 home run mark. Lost in that year was the pitching dominance of Roger Clemens. Clemens had been widely regarded as a dominant pitcher of the era, however because of the rampant offense, his notoriety was minimal at best.
Fast forward a decade and Clemens would be arguably the face of the league.
News-Sentinel in Illinois was one of the first outlets to break the story in Roger Clemens is now wrapped up in a perjury case for lying to the Federal Congress about steroid use. Barry Bonds has since been linked to steroids, and the general consensus is that he used them for more than three years.
For a long time a silver lining was thought to be in place in the form of Alex Rodriguez, who many felt would recapture the home run record.
However, in , Rodriguez also admitted to steroid use. As MLB enters its nd season it faces many questions regarding the sanctity of the game and its overall direction. Major League Baseball is facing a tumultuous time, and is in dire need of its average fans to return to stadiums and turn on their televisions.
The people that insist MLB needs high scores and home run races like the one they witnessed in the late s are only serving to destroy an entire sport.
MLB is determined to return to a form that once allowed them to dominate the Unites States of America in ratings and merchandise sales, and it is determined to do so without the aid of anabolic steroids. MLB is doing everything it can to repair their breach with America, and they deserve all the credit in the world for that.
In return, you will receive untold peace and happiness. Although baseball can sustain with its hardcore fans returning year after year, eventually a new generation will account for its core audience, and that audience will not be so loyal. Facebook Logo.