If I owned a major league baseball team, I would immediately hire John Smoltz to run it. Listening to him night after night offering his commentary during these playoff games, it’s easy to see he has a perspective that is candid, refreshing, based on a unique depth of insight, and, above all else, right.
In the top of the seventh inning of a 1-1 game, Brewers Manny Piña led off with a double. The next batter, Orlando Arcia swung away, trying to hit one out.
John Smoltz was outraged. He said (and I am paraphrasing to the best of my recollection), “I know I have been removed from the game for fifteen years but the fundamentals of baseball haven’t changed despite this new brand of baseball. You have to be able to get that man over to third with no outs. You just have to.”
It was pointed out that the batter Arcia hadn’t attempted a single sacrifice the entire season. He flew out to left on the first pitch he saw. The next batter, Curtis Granderson, certainly a guy who has been around long enough to know, then flew out to center, not advancing the runner either.
The threat ended when Lorenzo Cain grounded out to second.
The game ended a few hours later in the thirteenth inning when the Dodgers score a second run.
The Brewers didn’t win the game because they don’t know how to play baseball. Baseball is not being taught to hitters anymore. All they know is home run derby.
The Dodgers struck out seventeen times and won the game.
Milwaukee could have taken a commanding 3-1 lead in this best-of-sevener. If only they knew how to play.
This is the state of baseball. Fundamentals have been replaced by launching.
It’s a pity.
John Smoltz for commissioner.
(times listed Eastern)