Detroit Tigers' Miguel Cabrera hits a solo home run against the Texas Rangers in the seventh inning of Game 3 of the MLB American League Championship Series baseball playoffs in Detroit

Do home runs make baseball boring?


Are home runs anticlimactic and boring, or are they everything that is awesome about baseball?  That’s the question posed by Linda Holmes at NPR:

Arguments in favor: a towering home run is an awfully impressive achievement, it sounds great and looks awesome (if you’ve never heard a really big hit in person, it’s weird how loud it is), and that it’s a display of raw power that baseball doesn’t otherwise necessarily offer … Arguments against: It’s boring. Nothing really happens. The ball isn’t even in play. No sport should expect people to get overly excited about anything with “trotting” in it, unless it’s dressage.

Holy false dichotomy, Batman!

How about this: home runs are exciting if there aren’t too many of them. Bunts and stolen bases and stuff are exciting if there aren’t too many of them.  The key to baseball is variety and surprise and those “holy crap” moments. Moments like when Jake Taylor dropped the bunt in “Major League.”

There are exceptions: everyone knew Dave Roberts was gonna steal that base in the 2004 ALCS and it was still fantastic. Actually, it was fantastic because we knew it was coming and it happened.  But for the most part, we just want different cool things to happen.

Red Sox ask Hanley Ramirez to report 15-20 pounds lighter next spring

Hanley Ramirez
The Associated Press
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Hanley Ramirez was a complete failure in left field this season in Boston and he batted just .249/.291/.426 while appearing in only 105 games. Ben Cherington, the man that signed him to a four-year, $88 million free agent contract, is no longer with the Red Sox. It’s time for some tough love …

Red Sox interim manager Torey Lovullo, who just inked a two-year extension to return as John Farrell’s bench coach, told Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald on Sunday that Hanley has been asked to drop 15-20 pounds over the offseason. There have been similar conversations with Boston’s other free agent failure, Pablo Sandoval.

Ramirez is expected to start at first base for the Red Sox in 2016.

Video: Clayton Kershaw notches his 300th strikeout

Clayton Kershaw
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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Clayton Kershaw entered Sunday’s regular-season finale against the Padres needing six strikeouts to become the first pitcher in 13 years to whiff 300 batters in a single season.

He did it within the first nine batters of the game, whiffing Yangervis Solarte, Clint Barmes, Austin Hedges, and Travis Jankowski once each and Melvin Upton Jr. on two different occasions.

Here was the milestone matchup against Upton Jr. with two outs in the top of the third …

The last pitchers to reach 300 strikeouts in a season were Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling. They did so as teammates on the 2002 Diamondbacks.

Kershaw is lined up to face the Mets in Game 1 of the NLDS.