Tuesday, August 11, 2009

What's Missing From Baseball

SI.com had front page piece today titled 25 Things We Miss About Baseball. On the list, I'd say I really don't miss...

- Catchers wearing cloth caps, as getting cracked in the dome on a follow through does not produce good times.

- Wimpy middle infielders. Why do I have to miss them when I still have David Eckstein?

- Bullpen carts. Harkens back to the days of relief pitchers being either a) fat or b) often mistaken for computer programmers. Could you see a tough-guy reliever like J.C. Romero or Jonathan Broxton rolling in on a cart? No way. Man up, fellas.

SI.com also ran a companion piece entitled 10 Things We Don't Miss About Baseball. Many of the items on this list are inarguable, but I do have a few quibbles...

- I wouldn't say I miss terrible uniforms, but I kind of do. I miss them enough to enjoy the few games a year where teams bust out hideous '80s uniforms. One of my favorite examples was a weekend series in the summer of 2002 between the Braves and Phillies where both teams wore uniforms (bad ones) from the early '80s. I attended the Sunday afternoon game at the Vet. The old school uniforms were part of a promotion called 'Viagra Triumphant Glory Weekend.' Make your own joke for that one.

- I do miss the spitball. Assigning blame for the death of Ray Chapman to the spitball is lazy journalism. There were a myriad of other reasons for the Chapman incident, including the time of day of the incident (dusk), Mays' delivery (submarine), and the fact that the ball was dirty (which is why the incident led to umpires becoming required to replace any ball with dirt, smudge, scuff, anything on it). Chapman never moved, presumably because he never saw the ball coming at his head. Regardless of this, the spitball in and of itself is fun. Gaylord Perry was fun. Hitters thinking the pitcher is throwing a spitball is fun. Nothing wrong with a little good, clean, needle-free cheating.

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