MLB getting whiff of 40K strikeouts
Major League Baseball is set to smash through a previously untouched barrier: Some batter likely will walk back to his dugout Sunday after becoming the 40,000th strikeout of the season.
There were 30,801 strikeouts in 2005. At the current rate, this year’s total will be about 40,060.
“It kills me,” Hall of Fame pitcher Goose Gossage said Thursday. “I can’t watch the game. It’s not baseball. The only thing that’s the same is the bases are 90 feet and the mound is 60 feet, 6 inches (from the plate).
“If you struck out that many times back in the day, your (butt) would be back in the minor leagues.”
Gossage advocates small ball as a way to defeati both power pitchers and infield shifts.
“I think these computers got these kids — they’re all like robots,” he said. “You’re telling meaprofessional hitter can’t hit a ball (through) the left or right side of an infield that’s gone? How about laying down five or six or 10 bunts, like Boog Powell would have done?”
More batters are swinging for the fences. The season home run record of 5,694, which had stood since 2000 at the height of the steroids era, was shattered with nearly two weeks left.
Commissioner Rob Manfred is concerned about the decrease in action, especially in an era when sports are competing with screen time for the attention of youth. But not everyone believes strikeouts are detrimental.
“If you’re striking out, you’re not hitting into a lot of double plays,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “(Batters) would much rather have one out than the chance for two.”
Said Yankees manager Joe Girardi: “You can be extremely productive striking out 150 times a year. If you can drive in 100 and score 100, there’s a lot of (good) things that you can do.”