There appears to be a growing crisis in Major League Baseball: Everybody strikes out and nobody goes to games.
Of course, I exaggerate. I do this to ensure that casual readers — basically anyone outside my immediate family — continue to read on.
(Note: Toni and the kids often walk away from me in mid-sentence, so when I say “immediate family,” I essentially am referring to my mother, my father, my sister, my brother and our two dogs.)
Games now are a series of strikeouts, walks, endless at-bats, pitching changes, replay reviews, deleted tweets and the occasional home run.
I don’t want to get all theoretical and technical here, but when the ball is not in play for long periods of time — this frequently happens in the dry walling business — it is not good from a theoretical or technical viewing standpoint.
It would be like paying to watch a dunk tank and nobody ever gets dunked. It’s like going on a pub crawl and nobody is serving beer. It’s like attending a Gallagher concert and no watermelons are smashed.
P.S. It would also be like reading this column and never getting aggravated by me.
MLB collective batting average at the moment is .248 — the lowest since 1972 — which, according to my own new-age advanced analytics, translates to an effective batting average, or EBA, of .187.
(I would love to instruct everyone on how to calculate EBA, but few of you have an American studies degree and 3.1 GPA from the University of Maryland, so it would be difficult to convey this within the confines of a calendar week, let alone a single column.)
Stunningly — and when I say “stunningly,” I mean STUNNINGLY — this might be the first MLB season in history with more strikeouts than hits.
Let me repeat that for those of you just joining me from the end of a Fortnite session: This might be the first MLB season with more strikeouts than hits.
That’s comparable to a Madonna music video with more jingle bells than garter belts.
Late last month, on a single night, six pitchers took no-hitters into the fourth inning. Among the highlights of that evening:
● St. Louis Cardinals rookie Austin Gomber went into the seventh inning without allowing a hit, one night after rookie teammate Daniel Poncedeleon went seven innings without allowing a hit — and each was making his first major league start.
●Gomber, the New York Yankees’ Masahiro Tanaka and the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Kenta Maeda all had no-hitters going at the same time.
● Tanaka and Maeda were working on perfect games simultaneously. Wow. Two perfect games at once — this hadn’t occurred since 1503, when Leonardo da Vinci was painting the “Mona Lisa” and Hieronymus Bosch was painting “The Garden of Earthly Delights.”
I have a no-hitters-in-progress app on my iPhone; it goes off more than my Kardashians-in-Nordstrom app.
All of these swings-and-misses and called third strikes are emptying the stands. At $6.50 a pop, I should not be eating more Dodger Dogs per game than Dodgers are getting on base.
Attendance is down from last year for 20 of MLB’s 30 teams.
In Miami, the Marlins are averaging 9,809 fans a game. That is roughly equivalent to the number of people standing outside of the Miami Seaquarium daily to see Lolita the Killer Whale.
Would it kill someone to hit a triple?
Q. When you are “away” and your column does not appear, I actually miss you. Should I be seeking professional help? (David Blackburn; Gaithersburg, Md.)
A. If I may, let me quote the late, great Rodney Dangerfield: “My psychiatrist told me I was crazy, and I said I want a second opinion. He said okay, you’re ugly too.”
Q. If you became president of ESPN, what is the first thing you would do? (Adam Gross; Chicago)
A. I love Bob Ley, but he’s got to lose the beard — he already looks more serious than the rest of us.
Q. POTUS or LeBron? (H.E. Simonson; Sacramento)
A. Trump University (for-profit “education company” plagued by class-action complaints; no national championships) or I Promise School in Akron, Ohio (free tuition for at-risk third- and fourth-graders).
Q. Is it true that ESPN’s Bottom Line, to boost ratings, will now stream the Twitter feeds from MLB players? (Terry Golden; Vienna, Va.)
A. That will ensure action somewhere on the screen.
Q. If the gods return Sisyphus to Earth, will his job be to interpret NFL rules on hitting, catching and the national anthem? (Don Pollins; Hyattsville, Md.)
A. Pay the man, Shirley.
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