The Evolution of baseball
Just like most things, baseball has evolved. No matter what phase baseball has gone through, the objectives remain the same; scoring runs for the offense and preventing runs for the defense. Unlike the other two major sports, basketball and football, time is not a factor. The evolution of baseball can be compared to the fashion industry. People design different style and looks and if others like what they see, people will wear it and it becomes a fashion craze or fad. Baseball has a tendency to follow the same pattern. If one team does something that show a certain degree of success, other teams will eventually adopt the same philosophy creating change.
Many changes have been made in the passing years for various reasons; to promote safety, speed up the game, promote more offense or to bring the level of competition between the pitcher and hitter closer just to name a few. Some view these changes as being intrusive and unnecessary while other see it as progress improving the game. There are some who contend, to some degree, that these changes have contributed to the declining use of some of the game’s most exciting skills: base stealing, base running, bunting and complete games while promoting others such as the home run, strike outs and relief pitching.
The changes in the game have affected the way players perform, managers manage, and coaches instruct. Marketing of teams has affected the way team dress and owners run their organizations. For better or for worst, the game has survived all of our interference and tinkering.
Some of the most obvious changes are in the offensive schemes of more teams. Teams have shifted their focus to relying more on power, even those that once was known for their passion or dependence on speed, St. Louis Cardinals, Oakland A’s and let’s not forget the New York Mets. Positions that once were considered defensive positions are now asked to have a heavier offensive impact. The arts of base stealing and bunting have dwindled but appear to be making a comeback. Where speed was once a priority is now a luxury. Pitching has become more specialized and bunt defensives have become more sophiscated where bunting itself is used less. As bigger, stronger athletes claim their influences on the game, smaller ballpark has forced many of these changes as well. Accept for Sunday afternoon, day games are a rare occurrence. However, Sunday afternoon games are often being adjusted to night games because of TV. For marketing purposes, teams are regularly changing color schemes. Teams once owned by families now have corporate ownership and all of us have noticed the economics of the game. I’m not saying that the changes are bad or good just noting the changes I have seen in my short career.
Baseball, once only considered the great American pastime and now the life line of many communities, is constantly evolving and I am waiting for the next phase. Until it happens, I will continue to enjoy and promote the great game of baseball.