Sometimes things happen in sports that most sports fans don’t pay too much attention to, and it’s not your fault, it more of the sports analysts’ fault. As sports analysts they are suppose to pay attention to certain things. Slowly over the last 3 years, something has happened in sports that nobody has really talked about it.
Everybody rips baseball for the steroids, but have you noticed (and I don’t think you’ll know this) so you really haven’t noticed it but, Baseball now has the toughest testing for steroids They test the most often, it’s the most strident. Bud Selig announced sometime this summer that minor leaguers will be subjected to BLOOD testing randomly and it goes into effect immediately. This will make baseball the first sport in the US to conduct blood testing, HGH, and steroids testing, and this is something that you really haven’t heard any of the major sports networks discuss. Now baseball has been crushed by people for the steroid stuff and rightly soo,let’s at least give them credit for this.
There is no question that in all pro sports, soccer and the Olympics, baseball now is testing more often, to more people, at more levels including the minor leagues (which don’t have the players union). So what does this mean for baseball? As of Thursday night, in 5 of the games there was a shutout, in another game Cincinnati scored one run, in 4 other games a team scored just 2 runs, and in the highest scoring game of the night there was a no-hitter into the 8th. 6 of the 12 games on Thursday night were a shutout or one run was scored.
In the National League, 9 of 16 teams are hitting under .260, four others are at .262 or below…80% of the National League hits under .260 in the American League, the power league, 6 of the 14 teams (almost half) are batting under .260…there was an article by Sports Illustrated’s Tim Marchment in May said “the real change in May, was the slugging average, it down 24%, the league is hitting .257 right now, and it’s the lowest average ” he goes on to say, and here is the key to his entire article ” it’s the lowest average since 1992!” anybody remember what 1992 was? The day Jose Canseco arrived in Texas and the steroid era truly branched out!!!
Folks, take away 92’ until last year…we’re playing pre 1992 baseball! And don’t tell me we’re in a cycle, because we’re not. The only cycle we’re in, is the “nobody is on the cycle”, that’s the cycle were in! Fans love to use that term. You might say, “Well Andrew, it’s cyclical” that is the most over-rated word in sports, the pendulum–cycles are incredibly gradual and take decades!
I’ll give you a cycle that was true… ESPN isn’t necessarily to blame for this, but ESPN is a factor in this….fundamentals of basketball eroded from about 1980/85ish – 2005, for about a 20 year period…ESPN, because they show highlights, and not actual games…most people don’t watch games, they watch highlights…SportsCenter show ratings are much higher than game ratings, so SportsCenter highlights created a bunch of young kids who wanted to dunk and make great plays and make behind the back passes, because that’s what they grew up on…highlights, not watching the entire game! And because of that, you can argue that the fundamentals of basketball to some degree, for 20 years, gradually eroded…absolutely ESPN is part of that. Now, they’re not necessarily to blame, their business is highlights, that’s what they do and they’re not to blame, I mean it’s an industry.
But you can make the argument, and people have made it and its very valid, that over 20 years there has been a gradual erosion to some degree of the fundamentals of basketball because we live in a highlight society. But you don’t go from “everybody is hitting long balls” to “nobody can hit” overnight! That’s not a cycle, that’s sudden…that’s a foset being turned off and the steroid/HGH foset has been turned off. The games are now faster, it’s not that the pitching is THAT great. Like I’m sorry but if San Diego’s pitching was that great, they’d win the World Series and you and I know that they won’t.
Okay, so the foset has been turned off!, this is not a cyclical thing…you don’t go from no pitching to the greatest numbers in the history of the sport….folks as of Thursday night, it was the 13th time this year we had a no-hitter into the 8th inning, and it was at a hitters park!! So I honestly think baseball deserves some credit for this. The media continues to bang on baseball for the steroids, but now in minor leagues you’ve got random blood testing!
A good friend of my dad’s use to work in minor league baseball down south in Texas, they had no blood testing back then. Blood testing is when you get to the heart of HGH. Curtis Granderson, who is a player representative for the New York Yankees, said “whoa whoa whoa, we gotta fine tune this testing, not so fast” But where does baseball NOT have to deal with the players union? Double A baseball, Single A and Triple A baseball, they’re going right after them!
So give baseball some credit….now, you can argue that baseball isn’t as interesting…I would argue that a 2 hour and 27 minute baseball game is every bit as interesting as a 3 hour 17 min slug fest! I do believe that in the society we live in today, I mean, let’s be honest, for people who go to a lot of baseball games, generally your pretty successful people, I mean it’s expensive, but their probably successful people, got their own businesses, went to university, have very paying jobs. When a game starts at 7:30pm, is not great for the sport, a 7:05pm start, game is over by 9:28pm and your home by 10 and in bed by 10:20pm, that’s regular. But when you’re getting home at like 11:14pm, asleep by 11:58pm, your losing sleep…that’s not good for the average American and Canadian worker. So I don’t know if the lack of steroids is good, I will say though…the home run derby certainly isn’t what it used to be! So baseball nowadays looks a lot like the early 90’s and 80’s baseball, but let’s give baseball some credit…a lot of people aren’t giving them some credit, they are really tightening the foset!!!