After another round of exciting games and the current season continuing, fans of baseball and the MLB could be forgiven for thinking all is well with the sport. However, behind the scenes baseball is heading into an era of turmoil, and it’s not all to do with last year’s COVID-19 shut down. It feels like the sport is at a turning point and must choose between tradition and innovation.
On the surface, baseball is as popular as ever. Fans continue to throw themselves into the sport with a passion rarely seen in other games. Those same fans wager millions per season, when they can bet with money on baseball – bet with crypto, and bet online. So, what’s the big problem that has the MLB questioning the future of the game?
Technology, sports science, and fitness are creating a new baseball, one built on lower batting averages and pitchers throwing faster than ever. As the sport becomes strike out heavy and batting average plummet, is there a risk the loyal baseball fans will eventually become bored. Fewer home runs, fewer exciting plays, more pitching to success.
At the same time, the new generation of players are super athletes but there’s no question baseball is speeding up. For purists, this is not something they want to see. Some will hope that the new superfast pitchers will be followed by a new breed of batters who can handle those fast balls and even out games. Until that happens, baseball is left trying to decide what kind of sport it wants to be.
Before the MLB walks that crossroad, there’s the small matter of the 2021 season to get done. As we move closer to the World Series, which teams are shaping up best. Can the Dodgers retain their title, or is another team ready to pounce and claim baseball’s biggest prize. Certainly, the Dodgers are favorites to win the World Series in October and would become the first franchise in 20 years to retain the championship.
It won’t be a walk to the World Series for L.A. as they will face plenty of challenges. Not least from the San Diego Padres just two hours away. It looks as though the Padres are the best of the rest and we could be entering an era where the two California franchises become direct rivals year after year. Also in the National League, the Atlanta Braves cannot be discounted, especially as they have shown they can compete one-on-one against the Dodgers.
Over in the American League, the most storied team in MLB history is seeking a return to glory. Yes, the New York Yankees seem to have a team capable of driving towards the World Series this season. If that happens, it would be the first time the Yankees have competed the big one since 2009. Elsewhere on the East, the Tampa Bay Rays will push the Yankees close, while the Toronto Blue Jays will also be a threat. Don’t forget the Houston Astros, a team always there or there abouts in the American League.
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