Score another point for Rob Manfred!
Citing a source, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports says that baseball is considering altering the strike-zone, specifically the frequent calling of the low strike that has seen offense dip to 1981 levels of obscurity.
Runs per game fell to 4.07 in 2014, the lowest mark since 1981 and the 13th fewest since World War II, and studies from The Harball Times’ Jon Roegele and Florida professor Brian Mills pegged the low strike as a significant culprit.
Since 2009, the average size of the called strike zone has jumped from 435 square inches to 475 square inches, according to Roegele’s research. The results: Pitchers are throwing more in the lower part of the zone, and hitters are swinging at an increased rate, knowing the tough-to-drive pitches will be called strikes.
Roegele’s study estimated 31 percent of the offensive drought could be attributed to the strike zone while Mills estimated it’s between 24 percent and 41 percent. After seeing a strong correlation among the size of the strike zone, all-time-high strikeout rates and historically low walk rates, members of the committee now are fairly certain the relationship is causative, too, and seem primed to do something about it.
I miss the days of middle infielders routinely hitting 25 home runs. I think those days were due to a lot more than just a liberal zone, but anything that would promote a hair more offense I’m in favor of. And most importantly, I think it would be a little more exciting for the casual fan of the game.
I think if it happens, it’s going to be like when your spouse loses weight. The notice we take to it will be gradual, because you’re watching every day but the metrics will slowly show a rebound in the numbers most of us who crave offense want to see.
I’m starting to think this Manfred really does have some things figured out about how to make baseball mainstream and as popular as possible again. He’s got some nice ideas of things that need to happen that Selig just never could have been modern enough to embrace. Although I do appreciate Selig never considering putting ads on uniforms. If Manfred does that, I’ll want someone to put his head on a stick like Mussolini.