Baseball Festivus: The Airing of the Baseball Grievances

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The Airing of the Baseball Grievances

This week on December 23, will be the 20th Anniversary of the world being introduced to Festivus.  The fictitious holiday from the Seinfeld sitcom made up by the eccentric, Frank Costanza.  The Festivus celebrations always begin with The Airing of the Grievances.  You let out everything that you have a problem with over the past year.  In the ever changing baseball landscape of today, many things can rub people the wrong way or even be downright a waste of time, money, and effort.  As Frank Costanza wouldn’t have it any other way, I got a lot of problems with you people!!! And Now you Are Going to Hear About it!!!  Here is my version of the Airing of the Baseball Grievances.  Enjoy the rants, raves, sarcasm, honesty and abundance of Seinfeld references.  Frank even aired a baseball grievance himself with The Boss.


The Airing of the Baseball Grievances


Raise your hands if Sabermetrics have gone too far.  I find unnecessary stats distracting.  Do you really need a stat to figure out that Mike Trout is the best player on the planet? You really need exit velocity to know that a slugger hit the piss out of a ball?

Do you find it impossible to take the Sabermetrics poster boy, Brian Kenny, seriously?  He looks like he was just punched between the eyes and then guzzled a few Cafe Lattes before going on air.  I think he has read one too many Billy James’ stories.

In offering an olive branch, I understand many of the new stats serve a purpose in filling out a roster.  Although some of them are just downright crazy.  For one being BAPIP.  Batting Average on Balls Put In Play.  Why is this a stat?  Now this is not an ambush from a bunch of backwoods, analytic hating traditionalists.  Let’s look at the numbers of this insanity. The Airing of the Baseball Grievances is starting off Hot!

2017 AL Rookie of the Year and MVP runner up, Aaron Judge had a monster year by every standard.  He surpassed Mark McGwire’s rookie Homerun record finishing with 52.  While adding in 114 RBIs, 128 Runs, and 127 BB.  He also ended the season with a .284 batting average.  At the rate the game is going, that may win a batting title in a few years.  The white elephant in the room is not that he struck out 208 times.  The beast that exists, is an adjusted stat to say he hit .357 when he put the ball in play. Is that good?  In this universe where we play the greatest game ever, Judge’s 208 strikeouts were a part of his 542 ABs the same way his 52 Dingers were. This stat justifies flaws and weaknesses of hitters.

Here is the flip side to prove this stat as Cooky Talk.  In 2015, the one and only Clayton Kershaw was the last pitcher to record 300 Strikeouts in a season.  301 to be exact in 232.2 IP.  That made for 11.64 K/9.  Obviously, his career high.  His opponents batting average was a miniscule .193.  However, when the bizarro world stat of BAPIP shows up, it jumps to .281.   What is the point trying to be made?  If BAPIP benefits hitters, then by logic, it diminishes pitchers.  It’s like a reverese peep hole for whatever reason.  I know!  I wish I had the last 20 seconds of my life back.

So you mean to tell me that the 301 punchouts that Kershaw the Great recorded, the 301 hitters who did not put the ball in play.  The 1.3 hitters every inning who went down in the scorebook as a K of some sort, are now used against him?  That’s perverse!


The Airing of the Baseball Grievances

Big Business Amateur Baseball

The airing of the baseball grievances

8 year old kids who play baseball year round because their local facilities/instructors say that is the only way to make it in this game.  Spare us.  The body is not ready for it at that age.  The arm certainly is not.   Then it’s on to travel teams, Spring team, Summer team, fall team….tens of thousands of dollars spent on what?  Binge baseball? Play 4-6 games in a weekend and then not touching a ball all week until your next tournament.  To realize that life on the road is not glamorous at a much younger age than necessary.  Funny, I thought gas station food would grow on us.  Kids don’t get any say in how they want to spend their summers.  

At the 13-15 age range of travel teams, the best kids are fully developed.  Mustache, mutton chops, beard, chest hair and a lot of questioning about their birth certificates. Sure, they dominate the circuit now.  Nice game pretty boy!  However, their best years will soon be behind them. The awkward kids fly past them once they develop.  The sad thing is that often times the awkward kids get the shaft from travel coaches.  “You gotta figure it out before it’s too late!”  Deep down the awkward kid knows the correct response, yet his hormonal development inhibits him from putting the full statement together.  I AM 13!!! Figure what out!!!!!

When a kid is that age, already 6 foot and wears a size 13 shoe, falling all over the place, he is not an embarrassment, he is an asset.  A work in process, he just has lot more to grow into in the next 7-8 years.  Then who gets the last laugh.  

Let’s not forget the Showcase circuit.  Wow!  What a manipulation trap!  You thought that you were getting a scholarship from showing up at a few expensive events? You have to produce day in, day out at an established level for 4 years to keep that scholarship.  Oh the humanity of how the pay to play mindset has created such entitlement seekers.  Oh Moses, Smell the roses!

Do you really think that the college coaches watch intently for all 200 some attendees?  NO!  No one has that mental capacity.  A good coach can size up the players by looking at most of them.  Those are who they will keep an eye out for when they are on display.  Everyone else just blends in, some may stand out unexpectedly.  That’s how it works.  Or they look at the reports after the event.  

For the top tier of players, the scouts and coaches come to them.  The next tier will eventually get noticed.  They have to promote themselves a bit.  The players lesser levels of talent have to know their value and be realistic.  The rest have to settle for what they can get.  That’s how it goes.

Let me get this straight, that the kid with less talent and less upside is going to hold out for a better school with a better scholarship offer?  It’s outrageous, egregious, preposterous!

It is not worth airing it all out in November to impress. Even bad coaches can see when a pitcher is overthrowing…..Then Tommy John Comes a knocking.. Hoochie Mama!!!


The Airing of the Baseball Grievances

Launch Angle

the airing of the baseball grievances

There is always the opportunity to improve your game in every facet.  Just lets be serious about this one.  Think about it for a minute.  Babe Ruth had it, Ted Williams was well ahead of everyone with it, Reggie Jackson had it, Ken Griffey Jr. most definitely had it. Barry Bonds had it. Even Rob Deer had it….WHO?…Exactly….Now all of a sudden with advanced technology, the baseball world has struck gold?  Like they are the Lord of the Manor or something?

Launch Angle is nothing new by any means.  Oh Come on! How does a 400 ft Homerun in the 1920s look any different from that of today?  It doesn’t.   Do you know what a Bomb is? Do you know what a Bomb does?  The physics haven’t changed.  It is just phasing out bad little league coaches who started a decades long illegitimate epidemic to swing the bat like you are chopping wood and field a team of Punching Judy Hitters. Giddiup!  The weak minded bought it, then wondered why nothing happened for them.  Damn Buzz Words!  Everyone would prefer to be a Chucker!

Not only this, the launch angle craze is tempting a lot of 140 lb high school kids who haven’t been formally introduced to the weight room yet, to swing for it and get more lift on the ball.  The result, a lot of soft, lazy flyballs. Coaches everywhere are screaming in unity, SERENITY NOW!!!!


The Airing of the Baseball Grievances

The Velocity Craze
You Know 
You Are Not Aroldis Chapman?

the airing of the baseball grievances

I have done a previous detailed post and video on this topic.  Yes, you can get stronger and build more velocity. However, everyone has a limit.  The question is, how much can your arm and body endure?  Can you Pitch at a higher velocity?  If you are throwing 84-85 now, don’t expect to roll out of bed one day pumping 97.  What’s a matter with you!?!?!   What you certainly do not need is to become more prone to breaking down.  That’s a shame.
A pitchers job has always been about making pitches. Velocity gets you in the door, and more coaches will try to work with you when the velocity is there.  However, making pitches is what keeps you there.  Don’t overlook that importance, or you will soon be overlooked. 

And what’s the deal with those weighted balls?  Keep in mind that everybody is different and can handle different levels of intensity.  Other than that, don’t get me started on this one.
Prognosis Negative!


With that being said, I feel better getting a lot of my chest.  Please let me know in the comments if there are any of the Airing of Baseball Grievances that you need to let loose.  How many of the Seinfeld references did you pick up on?


Now it’s time for the Feats of Strength!!!!  

Let’s Rumble!!!

Keep Dominating!!!


The Airing of the Baseball Grievances

About the Author

Brad Kirsch Slider DominationBrad Kirsch is the Owner/Creator of Slider Domination. He is a former professional pitcher who blogs about all things Pitching. Brad has also authored the AudioBook, 7 Reasons Why YOU Should Throw a Slider. If you haven’t done so already, you can Download the AudioBook Here


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