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Do home runs make baseball boring?

Oct 17, 2011, 3:53 PM EST

Detroit Tigers' Miguel Cabrera hits a solo home run against the Texas Rangers in the seventh inning of Game 3 of the MLB American League Championship Series baseball playoffs in Detroit

Are home runs anticlimactic and boring, or are they everything that is awesome about baseball?  That’s the question posed by Linda Holmes at NPR:

Arguments in favor: a towering home run is an awfully impressive achievement, it sounds great and looks awesome (if you’ve never heard a really big hit in person, it’s weird how loud it is), and that it’s a display of raw power that baseball doesn’t otherwise necessarily offer … Arguments against: It’s boring. Nothing really happens. The ball isn’t even in play. No sport should expect people to get overly excited about anything with “trotting” in it, unless it’s dressage.

Holy false dichotomy, Batman!

How about this: home runs are exciting if there aren’t too many of them. Bunts and stolen bases and stuff are exciting if there aren’t too many of them.  The key to baseball is variety and surprise and those “holy crap” moments. Moments like when Jake Taylor dropped the bunt in “Major League.”

There are exceptions: everyone knew Dave Roberts was gonna steal that base in the 2004 ALCS and it was still fantastic. Actually, it was fantastic because we knew it was coming and it happened.  But for the most part, we just want different cool things to happen.

  1. cptnew1 - Oct 17, 2011 at 3:59 PM

    That’s one of the great things about baseball. Sometimes I would rather watch a well pitched, well managed game with good defense that winds up 1-0, or 2-1. Other days it’s great to to see a game that is 13-10 with softball stats.

    • stlouis1baseball - Oct 17, 2011 at 4:12 PM

      Absolutely CPT. I couldn’t agree more.
      I will say the Homeruns are never boring from my perspective.

  2. lapsncaps - Oct 17, 2011 at 4:01 PM

    Doubles with a runner on first are more exciting…the battle of trying to beat the throw to home with the catcher blocking the plate for the go-ahead run…those are the best.

  3. Jonny 5 - Oct 17, 2011 at 4:01 PM

    Everything about baseball is just about better than any facet of every other sport not called baseball. Home runs are impressive and exciting. Like getting laid for the thousandth time, it’s still very good. Even if it isn’t as good as it once was for you, it’s still the best thing since sliced bread to someone else.

    • stlouis1baseball - Oct 17, 2011 at 4:16 PM

      As an example: Saturday I played in an open Division Mens (Small Ball) Softball Tournament. We have a stacked team. Played (7) games with a (12) HR limit per game.
      One of the guys on our team played on the last Olympics Team (lost to Canada).
      The Dude gets paid to play Softball. He hit (2) Mammoth (500′) Bombs.
      I am talking…Softball here. Again…SOFTBALL. (500′) Bombs.
      I have never seen a Softball hit so far in my life.
      A guyon the other team was pissed cause’ we were beating them like a borrowed mule.
      He says…”it doesn’t matter if it travels 310′ or 500′ it still counts as one Homerun.
      Our boy replies…”the difference is when you hit it 500′ you get paid.”
      So…NO…Homeruns are NEVER….ever…boring.

    • paperlions - Oct 17, 2011 at 4:16 PM

      Holy subjective opinion Batman!

      I love baseball….but that first sentence is just silly and unsupportable (I agree completely with the 2nd and 3rd sentences).

      • Jonny 5 - Oct 17, 2011 at 4:24 PM

        But PL, that’s why I used “just about better”. ;) Built in loop holes. I learned them from watching U.S. politicians.

  4. El Bravo - Oct 17, 2011 at 4:02 PM

    Baseball is boring, except when it’s not. Duh.

  5. The Common Man - Oct 17, 2011 at 4:13 PM

    “Do home runs make baseball boring?”

    Does frosting make cake undelicious? No, the answer is no. Cake is always delicious, and superior to pie.

    • The Common Man - Oct 17, 2011 at 4:18 PM

      Pie, which in this case represents football.

      • stlouis1baseball - Oct 17, 2011 at 4:30 PM

        Thanks for clarifying Common Man. In that case…I wholeheartedly agree.
        Cause’ if we are talking real pie vs. real cake…pie always wins in my book.

      • paperlions - Oct 17, 2011 at 5:18 PM

        See StL1…we agree on a lot of things…I think some of these guys have just never had good pie, because it is really no contest to me.

    • El Bravo - Oct 17, 2011 at 4:25 PM

      No. Friggin. Way. Brah.

      • stlouis1baseball - Oct 17, 2011 at 5:32 PM

        Wow Paper! If we keep this up we might just start tolerating one another. LOL!

    • Jonny 5 - Oct 17, 2011 at 4:26 PM

      More like pie with or without crust. Pie is clearly a better and more delicious example to use in this case.

    • The Common Man - Oct 17, 2011 at 4:29 PM

      The world has spoken. Until pie figures out a way to include frosting, the argument is moot.

      • stlouis1baseball - Oct 17, 2011 at 4:33 PM

        Oh…pie can include Frosting. In the form of Vanilla, Chocolate or Strawberry ice cream (among others).

      • The Common Man - Oct 17, 2011 at 4:38 PM

        What the hell? Ice cream is not frosting. It is delicious in its own right, but it is distinct from frosting.

      • El Bravo - Oct 17, 2011 at 4:58 PM

        You all are cake-eating poo-mongers….http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/french-apple-pie-icing/detail.aspx

        Also, wtf is Boston creme PIE and what’s that stuff they put on top of it?

      • paperlions - Oct 17, 2011 at 5:19 PM

        Frosting is not cake. It is delicious in its own right, but distinct from cake.

  6. Max Power - Oct 17, 2011 at 4:22 PM

    I had to look up the word “dressage.” And it is the most NPR sports term ever.

    • stlouis1baseball - Oct 17, 2011 at 4:44 PM

      In my example….ice cream = frosting. Cause’ I take pie over cake any day of the week.

  7. JBerardi - Oct 17, 2011 at 4:22 PM

    Home run are exciting because they make my team win. I don’t give a rat’s ass about the aesthetics of it, I wanna see some runs on the board.

  8. Kyle - Oct 17, 2011 at 4:29 PM

    All I know is they kill rallies. And rallies are exciting.

    • stlouis1baseball - Oct 17, 2011 at 4:32 PM

      Or…they start rallies. And rallies are exciting.

  9. baseballisboring - Oct 17, 2011 at 4:42 PM

    I’ve always been a pitcher’s duel type of guy. I enjoy watching close games, if a game ends up 8-0 it’s not really fun anymore. But depending on the situation, I do love me some home runs. Especially really long ones. It’s way more fun to watch Mike Stanton blast one 450 feet than it is to watch some utility infielder squeak one over the fence at like 330 feet. But like I said…I’m a pitching guy. To watch someone with razor sharp command dominate a lineup for 9 innings is my favorite.

    • stlouis1baseball - Oct 17, 2011 at 4:47 PM

      Exactly. Very similar to our guys response (see my post above).

    • JBerardi - Oct 17, 2011 at 5:25 PM

      Good pitching wouldn’t be impressive if the hitters screw it up most of the time.

      • baseballisboring - Oct 17, 2011 at 5:54 PM

        Huh?

  10. dodger88 - Oct 17, 2011 at 4:47 PM

    I love the fact that as big as home runs are, they still don’t guarantee a win. On one hand you have the Braves winning game 6 of the 1995 World Series against the Indians by a score of 1-0 thanks to a David Justice home run and on the other hand you have the Blue Jays topping the Phillies 15-14 in game four of the 1993 series and yet the Jays did not hit a single HR in that game. That’s baseball.

    • stlouis1baseball - Oct 17, 2011 at 4:49 PM

      And one of many reasons (in my opinion) it’s the greatest game every played.

  11. cintiphil - Oct 17, 2011 at 5:21 PM

    What is puzzling me here, is why does anyone care what some nut from NPR thinks about a game which she probably never played in her life. Why does anyone think she has any valid arguments? Lets hear what she feels if there should be no score keeping and make them all winners? It’s is awful to make some winners and some losers. After all, the Milwaukee Brewers must need counciling after yesterday. Can’t we just avoid all of that by calling them ALL WINNERS?

    • stlouis1baseball - Oct 17, 2011 at 5:31 PM

      Yep…and we are also going to give everyone competition ribbons, competition trophys…and we will not fail or otherwise hold back any child regardless of how completely stupid said child may be. After all…we must be concerened with every childs personal self esteem.

    • fearlessleader - Oct 17, 2011 at 7:14 PM

      Cintiphil, is the rule now that we’re not allowed to have an opinion about baseball unless we’ve played it? Also, how exactly did you make the leap from “she finds home runs boring” to “she must want everyone to be a winner”?

    • JBerardi - Oct 17, 2011 at 7:53 PM

      Thank you, cintiphil. You provide a powerful reminder that we are not all winners.

  12. royalsfaninfargo - Oct 17, 2011 at 5:29 PM

    Here’s a question. Is NPR boring?

    • stlouis1baseball - Oct 17, 2011 at 5:35 PM

      Hahaha! No shit! Great question. Sometimes…NO.

    • JBerardi - Oct 17, 2011 at 7:56 PM

      You can basically judge the quality of any news source by how boring it is. If you’re enjoying it, it’s worthless.

  13. Loren - Oct 17, 2011 at 5:51 PM

    Home runs are cool, but there is a bit of an anticlimax when the next batter comes up with the bases empty.
    What’s really exciting is not the home run itself, it’s the anticipation of the home run. The hope that maybe, just maybe, you’re team can come back with one swing of the bat even though there are two outs in the bottom of the ninth. Yeah, if home runs became too common baseball could get boring, but if they were incredibly rare any anticipation of a home run would be delusional and sad.

  14. lazlosother - Oct 17, 2011 at 6:07 PM

    Homers can be exciting, as can singles, doubles, and triples. Unless the triple is hit by a Molina brother, then it is bizarre and scarring and it can’t be unseen. The only thing that compares was watching Carlton Fisk steal third, when he was old and moving in slow motion, or Jorge Posada running the bases like he is Dumbo on mescaline.

  15. proudlycanadian - Oct 17, 2011 at 6:14 PM

    Hall of Fame pitchers agree that chicks dig the long ball.

  16. bigleagues - Oct 17, 2011 at 8:29 PM

    What’s more surprising . . .

    . . . . that Nolan Ryan picked the Rangers to win the World Series or Craig Calcaterra listens to NPR?

    I’m stumped.

  17. natstowngreg - Oct 17, 2011 at 10:16 PM

    “Do home runs make baseball boring?”

    No.

    Next question.

  18. 18thstreet - Oct 18, 2011 at 9:32 AM

    Correction: everyone knew Dave Roberts was going to ATTEMPT to steal a base. We didn’t know he’d succeed.

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