Volume 95, Issue 18

Tuesday, October 2, 2001
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Mr. Baseball gets befuddled

Flexing your U.S. muscle

Have fun while I have a dump

Mr. Baseball gets befuddled

Re: "The dog days of summer – please stop the home run madness," Sept. 27

To the Editor:

Based on his Sept. 27 article, sports editor Jordan Bell does not seem to be a baseball fan. This much I understand.

What befuddles me is what seems to be an apparently strong desire to be the commissioner of Major League Baseball.

While I simply refuse to comment on such plans as reducing the length of a game from nine innings to seven or implementing a sixteen team, single-elimination playoff, I will tackle the issue of moving the fences back (so as to reduce the number of homer runs hit or, in Bell's words, to give the home run "meaning").

Bell cites Randy Velarde's prodigious output of home runs as reason enough to increase the distance from home plate to the fences. Bell's fears are warranted, as Velarde's 98 career home runs in his seventeen season's (including a whopping nine this campaign) put him within striking distance of the all-time record.

At this current pace, Velarde would need only to play another 135 years to eclipse Hank Aaron's record of 755 career home runs. This plan has the added bonus of allowing Velarde to play on the same team as his great-great grandson.

One must resist the temptation to constantly tinker with the rules of our major sports. It is a recipe for disaster.

One need only look at the National Basketball Association, who, in the past seven years, in an effort to increase scoring, have done the following: moved the three-point line in, eliminated back court hand-checks, moved the three-point line back, eliminated front-court hand-checks, reduced the length of a back-court violation and implemented zone defense.

The result? Angry (and bewildered) players and declining TV ratings.

The moral of the story? Leave the rules alone. Professional sports tend to ebb and flow. Interest in baseball may be waning, but it will pick up again.

In closing, I would advise everyone to keep an eye on our man Velarde. He hasn't hit a home run since July – he's due.

Kyle Wasko

History IV

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Copyright The Gazette 2001