We live in a world where nobody likes the small things. In today’s age, it is go big or go home. What does that mean for the future of baseball?
Everyone throws around the term “small ball” in baseball, but what does it even mean? Follow along through the article to learn more about it, and why it has a special place in baseball fans’ hearts.
There may be a day in the near future where people do not even know what small ball is. That hurts to hear, but let’s discuss the beauty behind small ball.
What is Small Ball?
Small ball is a term used in baseball to discuss the offensive strategy of a team. Teams will do whatever it takes to get runners on base or move them over. A good way to analyze the term is that it is chess, rather than checkers. The issue is, not a lot of people want to put in the effort of learning how to play chess.
Imagine this scenario in a baseball game. The leadoff batter draws a walk on a 3-2 count and the next hitter bunts him over to second base. There is now one out and a runner in scoring position. You now have two outs to score the runner. Small ball puts you at a competitive advantage against the other team.
Small ball requires a lot more help from the team. They have to be smart and be able to execute. A team that can successfully play small ball will have a coach that goes to bed happy at night.
This idea is rather simple, but surprisingly difficult to execute. You can implement steals, fake-bunt swings, hit and runs and other complex ideas that do not happen as much as they used to.
Small ball is at the heart of little league, but disappears as you age.
Why is it Disappearing?
You know what they say, chicks dig the long ball. That idea might help the future of the game, but as a baseball purist, it hurts.
There can be no outs and a left-handed hitter is being shifted with not a single infielder to the left side of second base. 99% of the time, he will not opt for the easy single and bunt it to where nobody is. He would rather hope for a home run, or he literally could not bunt even if he tried.
Teams do not practice bunting with every player. Sure, it might sound criminal to have a guy like Anthony Rizzo bunt, but a base hit is a base hit. Just go back to Matt Carpenter’s bunt double when he was shifted, it works!
Today’s emphasis in baseball is on launch angle. It has changed the game, and you can determine if that is for the better or worse.
Nothing is more annoying than your team losing to this tactic, but nothing is more exciting than your team winning thanks to small ball. It is truly a work of art, but unfortunately, nobody wants to buy that painting anymore.
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