In other news, Jake Arrieta of the Chicago Cubs threw a no-hitter Sunday night.
Wait a minute. In other news?
That’s the way it feels any more when some pitchers snuffs the other side. Arrieta’s was the sixth no-hitter of the 2015 season. On top of that, it was the second time in the month of August that the Los Angeles Dodgers went without a hit in a game.
The easy answer always is to say that these things run in cycles. There were seven no-hitters, for instance, in 2012, tying the modern record for a single season, but none at all in 2000 and 2005.
All I know is that what used to be epic has become just another tidbit of info scrolling across the bottom of the TV screen. Part of that is a baseball problem.
The NFL gets headlines for roster cuts and injuries and such. Baseball has been devalued to the point that it takes more than a sensational individual achievement to get everyone’s attention. These days you need a funny video of a squirrel running around the infield and spooking a guy while he’s pitching a no-hitter. That and only that would kill.
Truth is, fans would rather watch baseballs flying out of the park. The long ball is irresistable. It’s the opposite of perfection, or near-perfection, as demonstrated by a pitcher who can’t be solved. Think chaos instead. Think NASCAR pileup instead of smooth sailing.
Do you remember how many no-hitters there were in 1998 Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa slugged it out for the home-run title and both of them wound up breaking Roger Maris’ record of 61? There was one no-hitter that season, by David Wells. If there had been 10 of them, or if there had been zero, the overall impact would have been the same in comparison. Negligible.
This isn’t even a steroids issue alone. Pitchers were juicing, too, when cheating was rampant.
Maybe for me it’s just a preference for seeing those bats be used as more than a stage prop when guys carry them to the plate. What am I thinking when the Little League World Series is on and some big kid is blowing the other team away? I’m thinking the same thing that I do when major leaguers are going down easy at the plate, inning after inning after 1-2-3 inning.
Hit the ball!
There’s most of a month left to the 2015 regular season, which means there probably will be a few more no-hitters. That puts the 1884 all-time record of eight no-hitters in play.
Those were not the good old days, and neither are these.