Passan: The home run is the king of baseball; is that a good thing?

From Jeff Passan at Yahoo! Sports on September 20, 2017:

Here in the Year of the Home Run, where the ball, which may or may not be juiced, flew as it never before has, nobody really cared, and this says something about baseball, and it says something about baseball fans, and it especially says something about the home run. Baseball loves the home run. Hitters love it. Managers love it. Executives love it. Owners love it. Everybody but pitchers love it, and even they respect it. The home run engenders that sort of response. Fans didn’t stop tuning in, coming to games or consuming baseball on account of the home run zenith, and no signs of active opposition to it appear to be burbling anywhere. Which brings us to the home run itself. Three years ago, it looked like an endangered species. Today, it is the undisputed king of baseball.

This, with the record-setting 5,694th home run this season struck Tuesday night, leaves the sport trying to answer an existential question for which it does not yet know the proper response: Is the home run’s hostile takeover of baseball a good thing for the sport? Once the domain of power hitters, the home run now belongs to hitters, regardless of type. It is oddly egalitarian, something that’s still difficult to square with the wonder of the play itself.


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Originally published: September 20, 2017. Last Updated: September 20, 2017.