Do home runs make baseball boring?

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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.

Another young fan was struck by a foul ball, this time at Guaranteed Rate Field

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ESPN reports via the Associated Press that a young boy was struck by a line drive foul ball but was not seriously injured during Sunday afternoon’s game against the Royals. The boy and a woman were escorted by a first aid crew to the concourse area and the boy was later eating ice cream in a luxury suite.

A woman was struck in the face by a foul ball also on the first base side at Guaranteed Rate Field on Friday, but she didn’t request medical assistance.

Last week, a young fan at Yankee Stadium was hit by a line drive foul ball, which motivated several teams to commit to extending protective netting at their ballparks. The Yankees, strangely, were not among them. Nor were the White Sox.

Diamondbacks clinch NL Wild Card

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Losses by the Cardinals to the Pirates and the Brewers to the Cubs on Sunday clinched an NL Wild Card berth for the Diamondbacks. Their walk-off, 3-2 win over the Marlins earned them hosting rights for the Wild Card game.

The D-Backs, now 90-66, trailed the Marlins 2-1 going into the bottom of the eighth. Daniel Descalso tied the game at two apiece with an RBI single off of Brad Ziegler. Second half hero J.D. Martinez secured the win with a walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the ninth against Javy Guerra.

The Rockies beat the Padres on Sunday to increase their lead over the Brewers (+2) and Cardinals (+2.5) for the second Wild Card slot. One of these three teams will visit Arizona for the Wild Card game.

The Diamondbacks are back in the playoffs for the first time since 2011, when they lost the Division Series in five games to the Brewers.