Baseball Over the Years - What has Changed On the Field
By Andrea Teixeira | @Teixeia05
The grand old American game of baseball has transformed over the years. An obvious change has been the staggering attention it is receiving, in terms of games being available on television and online everywhere. Fantasy league baseball has seen the focus shift more to individual players than teams while the online betting industry and punters alike have embraced baseball whole-heartedly. But have things changed on the field?
According to Inside the Majors, some feel that the game has become more offensive over the years. Back when Cy Young, Honus Wagner and Ty Cobb were superstars, high-scoring games and home runs were more of a rarity than they are today. Even the likes of Jimmie Foxx and Babe Ruth did not display their offensive capabilities every other day.
In the 70's a change in baseball rules saw batters win an upper hand over pitchers. The pitcher mound went from being 15 inches to 10 inches in height, and the strike zone was lowered to 'top of the knees to armpit' from 'knees to shoulders'. Aiding more offense was the designated hitter rule established in 1973.
On the offensive front, a difference with respect to base paths has also been observed. Late 50's major league teams stole 46 bases on an average while the current average per team stands at 93.
Defensively, a major change has been witnessed in the starter and reliever innings pitched. While back in 1958 the starting rotation pulled a lot of the load, going the distance 46 times (on an average), this number has fallen to less than ten (on an average) in the last three years. You'll now see starters throwing at 93 mph without much care to pace themselves as they know that someone else will come in to do the same after a six-innings play. In the 50's starters would pace themselves at 87'ish as they had to sustain their energy and go the entire game. Of course, specialized athletic training has enabled present-day players to push their physical potential in a way that was perhaps not possible even 25 years ago.