So we know now that baseball should be returning in four weeks. The players will be gathering in Busch Stadium next week. Things are getting real, so it seems fair to ask how excited you are about the upcoming season.
Maybe it’s my age–I’ll turn 45 not long after Opening Day–or maybe it’s because I’d already come to terms with a potential missed year, but I haven’t felt all that pumped about the restart announcement. Now, maybe it’s the distance between now and then–this is really like the late January/early February time before players start showing up, which can be a dead spot anyway. Maybe it was all the back and forth of the negotiations. Could be all sort of reasons.
Could also be the fact that the baseball that is returning isn’t the baseball that we left at the end of 2019. Runners on second in extra innings? No fans in the stands (at least for a while)? Contained in the middle of the country, with more (at least by percentage, though I guess the actual count is about the same) interleague play? A season that’s 1/3 of the regular length? We’ve avoided the expanded playoffs (which, to be fair, make some sense for 2020) so far but that might wind up coming.
Then there’s the DH. The people that think that the DH is “the best baseball” probably also think the Disney Star Wars sequels are “the best Star Wars” because it’s new, flashy, and has more explosions. Most people might not realize, if they only read pro-DH stuff on Twitter, that pitchers actually don’t every time take three pitches and strike out. We’ve talked about it before, the fact that the increase in joy from the unexpected is so much higher with the pitchers batting than when the DH is. (In fact, the DH probably brings around negative joy because you expect a level of production and if they don’t come through, you are disappointed.)
Plus there’s the idea of actually moving the game along. I like 2-1 pitcher’s duels. While the occasional explosion in offense is not a bad thing, I don’t think you need it every night and the terminally long games that go with it. Besides, there are some times when you’d like to get the other pitcher up to maybe get out of an inning.
The good thing about the rules as they were is that if you liked the DH, you could watch the American League. If you didn’t, you could watch the National League. Now, there’s no place for a traditionalist to go. Which seems to be typical–everyone wants the new hotness, even if it’s not the best option.
Anyway, put all that mix together and the restart of the season hasn’t really fired me up. Maybe that will change as we start to see more pictures (will we see pictures and video from this spring training or will media have to stay away?) and once the games are on TV I’m sure I’ll be more enthused. Perhaps with every game being like a series (I think it works out to each game is worth 2.7 games in a normal season) the excitement level will ramp up and the pennant race will be exciting. Until then, though, I think I’m just meh.
How about you? Are you all fired up? Or are you not as excited as you thought you’d be?