April Madness: Hope I Can Help the Ballclub
We begin every April Madness update with a quick look at how the rules changes are working.
But before we get to that, I’d just like to remind everyone that you can now preorder my new book, WHY WE LOVE BASEBALL, pretty much wherever books are sold. And if you preorder from our good friends at Rainy Day Books, I will inscribe the book with anything you like, up to 130 characters! What a deal!
Back to our new rules update…
Time of game: Thirteen of Monday’s 15 games were less than three hours — the only two games that went more than three hours also went extra innings. So far this year, 51 of 66 games — 77% — have lasted less than three hours. The average time of game is 2 hours and 40 minutes, which takes us ALL THE WAY BACK to 1983, when the No. 1 song was the Police’s stalker song “Every Breath You Take,” and the No. 1 movie was “Return of the Jedi” and your MVPs in baseball were Cal Ripken Jr. and Dale Murphy.
Stolen bases: Baserunners stole 14 out of 16 bags on Monday — the only two players to get caught were Ronald Acuña Jr. (thrown out by the rifle-armed Wilson Contreras — who has thrown out two of the three runners attempting to steal on him) and Detroit’s Matt Vierling (thrown out by defensive savant Martin Maldonado). In all, baserunners are 84 for 100 in stolen bases attempts this season.
Balls in play: A few more balls were put in play on Monday, and the batting average for balls in play was down somewhat. Obviously, it’s one day and does not mean anything, but I feel certain that the powers that be in baseball are keeping a close eye on these two numbers. The dreamy hope among the top brass is that with the shift banned, batters will be incentivized to put the ball in play with two strikes rather than continue to swing for home runs. But nobody knows if (A) that will really happen or (B) if it even CAN happen, since pitchers continue to throw ungodly stuff.
The Twins? The Twins!
I didn’t want to say before the season that the Twins are going to win the World Series and Joey Gallo will win the league MVP because, you know, it was so cliché. I mean, that’s what EVERYBODY was saying. But here we are.