A perfect sport doesn’t exist, although some are better than others. Baseball is America’s most popular summer spectator sport, but it isn’t without a few warts.
Here’s an abbreviated and admittedly incomplete list of what’s right and wrong with baseball….
What’s right: Unlike football and basketball, there’s no clock that runs out on either team. Both teams get 27 outs.
What’s wrong: One person’s blessing is another’s curse. Without a clock, the game can drag at times.
What’s right: Players of any size can attain greatness, from the Astros’ Jose Altuve at 5 feet, 6 inches, to the Yankees’ Aaron Judge at 6 feet, 7 inches.
What’s wrong: Players still find ways to challenge the rules with performance-enhancing drugs.
What’s right: Players are bigger and stronger than ever, hitting home runs at an amazing rate.
What’s wrong: Players miss the ball at a remarkable rate while swinging for the fences, resulting in a lot of strike-outs.
What’s right: The game has a cohort of stars, such as Mike Trout, Clayton Kershaw and Giancarlo Stanton.
What’s wrong: Postseason games, which should attract the baseball’s biggest audiences, start so late in the evening that many fans never see the games.
What’s right: The number of players who are capable of hitting a home run.
What’s wrong: The number of players who appear to be unable to put the ball in play while swinging for the fences.
What’s right: The strategy being employed on defense, with more teams playing a shift against players who are strictly pull hitters.
What’s wrong: The inability of so many players to lay down a bunt or hit the ball the other way to beat the shift.
What’s right: The fact that baseball embraces tradition.
What’s wrong: The fact that when baseball breaks from tradition and makes a major change, such as using a designated hitter, the National and American League can’t agree to play by the same rules.
What’s right: The use of replay to ensure the call is right or gets corrected.
What’s wrong: The use of replay slows the game down even more.
What’s right: There are plenty of opportunities to watch your team play during the season.
What’s wrong: Unfortunately, some of those games are played in weather better suited for football.
What’s right: There are some great teams to watch this year.
What’s wrong: If you’re a Royals fan, you’re watching one of the handful of teams on pace to lose at least 100 games.
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Congratulations to the Tabor College softball team for winning the KCAC title and tournament. It was truly a season of firsts: the first team to begin the season receiving votes in a national poll, and the first Tabor softball team to win a regular-season KCAC title.
Coach Suzanne Unruh has done a remarkable job at the helm. Not too many years ago, Tabor softball was barely competitive. It’s not surprising that Unruh was named Coach of the Year of the KCAC.
Equally unsurprising is that pitcher Madison Byrd became the first KCAC Pitcher of the Year in Tabor history.
The Bluejays ended the season with one win and two losses in the NAIA National Championship Tournament.
Tabor softball has come a long, long way.
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Texas Rangers pitcher Bartolo Colon was off to a remarkable start the first two months of the season.
In the middle of his seven-plus scoreless innings in a 3-1 win May 16, Colon had to deal with a 102-mph line drive off the bat of Mariners shortstop Jean Segura. Colon wasn’t quick enough to stop the ball with his glove, but somehow he recovered and made the out at first.
This is one time where a little extra girth was beneficial to the 44-year-old Colon. He said, “It hit me more on the side than in the middle. I have a lot of big belly, so I can take it.”
Hillsboro resident Joe Kleinsasser is director of news and media relations at Wichita State University. You can reached him at Joe.Kleinsasser@wichita.edu.