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The strikeout epidemic ailing Major League Baseball is showing no signs of slowing down

The strikeout epidemic ailing Major League Baseball is showing no signs of slowing down
Published On: Fri, Jun 22
Jun 15, 2018; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees pitcher Jonathan Loaisiga (38) making his Major League debut pitches in the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

From his office high above 245 Park Ave. in Manhattan, the commissioner of baseball, Rob Manfred, can feel and hear it:A Whiffff!A It is the sound of his players striking out in record numbers, sucking the action out of his game to the point where it too often feels like a funeral for all those runners left dying on base.

We are inexorably headed for the first season in baseball history in which there will be more strikeouts than hits. As of Wednesday, there had been 18,365 hits as opposed to 18,815 strikeouts and the gap widens by the day. The average 17.12 strikeouts per game, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, is the highest in baseball history and has increased steadily since 2008. The present overall .245 batting average is the lowest in the major leagues since 1972. (I realize the analytics aficionados have determined that batting average is a worthless statistic but it does emphasize getting base hits a€” and which would you rather see, a single or a strikeout?)

Wea€™re talking epidemic here. Whether Manfred realizes it or not, the game hea€™s presiding over is totally different from the one when he was elected commissioner in September 2013. Up until now, nobody in baseball has seemed to care much that batters are striking out. The analytics people say strikeouts are okay as long as theya€™re the end result of batters swinging hard and upward in an attempt to hit the ball in the air and hopefully over the wall.

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