DAN BICKLEY

Deadening baseballs is not how to improve Major League Baseball

Feb 11, 2021, 7:00 PM | Updated: 7:46 pm
A detail of baseballs during a Grapefruit League spring training game between the Washington Nation...
A detail of baseballs during a Grapefruit League spring training game between the Washington Nationals and the New York Yankees at FITTEAM Ballpark of The Palm Beaches on March 12, 2020 in West Palm Beach, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Major League Baseball and the PGA Tour have a lot in common.

Both having aging demographics. Both are full of dawdling athletes. Both want to deaden their ball.

The latter is simply baffling.

Major League Baseball doesn’t need to meddle with its baseball. It doesn’t need less home runs. It needs more action. It needs less strikeouts and fewer stalling tactics.

Yet the sport keeps looking in the wrong place for answers.

Reports say intended changes to the baseball will be like adding five feet of distance to every fence in the big leagues.

Additional humidors are coming to MLB parks, climate-controlled storage units designed to aid the pitcher.

What will this accomplish besides a few more loud outs?

Inside the sport, pitchers like David Price are rolling their eyes, treating the news as proof that MLB has been doctoring the ball for years.

In other words, the sport is de-juicing the baseball it had rigged a few years ago, and not artificially deadening the playing object from its natural state.

“Did I see MLB is ‘slightly’ deadening the baseball?” Price tweeted. “I thought MLB said it hadn’t been juiced? Lol pitchers knew all along!! Baseballs had a different feel and a different sound. Happy to see they’re attempting to go back to the regular baseball …”

It’s easy to roll your eyes at baseball.

So much handwringing over cheating inside the sport, over players who bang on garbage cans and players who inject performance-enhance drugs.

But how can the sport stand in judgment of others when they’ve been manipulating the playing object for years?

Golf has a different issue. Technology and strength training have created a new generation of distance hitters who no longer play courses as they were designed.

Bombers circumvent doglegs, taking shortcuts to the green. Hazards become irrelevant. Long irons from the fairway are nearly extinct, as a new generation of professionals are opting for wedges from the rough.

Some say the sport is suffering. Chess has become checkers. A game of strategy has been brutalized with a bludgeoning tool.

Last year, the USGA and the R&A funded the “Distance Insights Project.”

It discovered the average golfer added 30 yards of distance in the past 25 years. As a result, the sport’s lawmakers are proposing changes to equipment that would reel in the longest players, most notably Bryson DeChambeau, who averages 330 yards off the tee and produced a 428-yard drive in 2020.

Rory McIlroy bashed the idea during his appearance at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, saying the proposed measures “reek of self-importance.”

He called it a huge waste of time and resources. He said the monetary investment should’ve been poured into the grass roots of golf, making the game more accessible to the masses.

And he’s right.

Because deadening a ball in any competition is philosophically wrong.

We love sports because they are a platform for human competition.

We want supreme tests of strength and athleticism. We want to see bigger, stronger and faster. We love displays of prodigious power. We yearn to be awed by human achievement, to exalt those athletes who push the boundaries of what is possible.

We want 500-foot home runs and 400-yard drives.

Sports was never intended to stunt growth or serve the middle of the pack. It a platform for greatness. And just like human evolution, greatness should never be contained.

Penguin Air

Dan Bickley

General manager Steve Keim (R) of the Arizona Cardinals talks with president Michael Bidwill before...
Dan Bickley

Cardinals’ stars need to justify lack of offseason spending on defense

The Cardinals are carrying some luggage, baggage and a lot of question marks into the 2022 season, but they have room in the overhead bins.
3 days ago
Kevin Durant attends "NYC Point Gods" premiere at Midnight Theatre on July 26, 2022 in New York Cit...
Dan Bickley

Kevin Durant’s exit could get messy for Nets, maybe Suns, too

By my calculations, there is only one way Durant lands in Phoenix. There must be a second act of petulance even worse than the first.
5 days ago
Inside linebacker Isaiah Simmons #9 of the Arizona Cardinals during the NFL game at State Farm Stad...
Dan Bickley

Isaiah Simmons must become a playmaker for Arizona Cardinals

The Arizona Cardinals' roster lacks high-end talent and that's why they need third-year linebacker Isaiah Simmons to break out this season.
12 days ago
Kyler Murray #1 of the Arizona Cardinals sits on the bench during the second half against the Los A...
Dan Bickley

Kyler Murray’s study clause is embarrassing for Arizona Cardinals, QB

The contract for Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray including a study clause is a bad look for the organization and its leader.
19 days ago
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray addresses the media, Friday, July 22, 2022, in Tempe, Ar...
Dan Bickley

Cardinals, QB Kyler Murray embark on Act II of marriage

Training camp is upon us. Kyler Murray is under contract through 2028. It's now Act II in the life of our franchise quarterback. All aboard.  
21 days ago
Arizona Cardinals football players, (L-R) Kyler Murray and Marquise Brown attend UFC 274 at Footpri...
Dan Bickley

Kyler Murray is latest who must deliver after the Valley’s Big Bag summer

Kyler Murray, Deandre Ayton and Devin Booker have signed megadeals of over a half-billion dollars in new hopes and expectations.
24 days ago
Deadening baseballs is not how to improve Major League Baseball