Game 2 of the World Series was a back-and-forth affair that featured a lot of dingers. It was a really fun game to watch, especially if you’re an Astros fan or someone without a horse in the race.
Longtime Dodger first baseman Steve Garvey, however, didn’t think so. He talked derisively about the game, calling it “millennial baseball.” SB Nation’s Ryan Walton has video:
Garvey said, “Still we’ve only had one run scored that was manufactured. It’s millennial. This is millennial baseball right now. You get up, you take a big swing, you strike out. You don’t try to get the runners over very often. Nobody bunts. Nobody hit-and-runs. We’re a team that has to get guys on and we got five hits. I mean, six runs and five hits is what you call efficiency, except if you lose.”
Garvey, of course, found success as a first baseman between the mid-1970’s and the mid-1980’s by having a high rate of contact. His career-high in strikeouts was 90 in 1977, a total that 20 different hitters reached by the All-Star break this year. He hit 25 or more home runs just three times in 19 seasons, but he won an NL MVP Award once in ’74 and was a runner-up in ’78. The game was different then and it’s different now. It’s not objectively better or worse now. How you enjoy it as a fan is usually tied to which era of baseball you grew up with.
All this being said, Garvey’s complaints don’t have merit. He wanted small ball, but there wasn’t really a chance to play small ball on Wednesday night in Game 2. Here were the Dodgers’ opportunities:
- 4th inning: Chris Taylor led off with a walk. Corey Seager, Justin Turner, and Cody Bellinger were behind him. Do you bunt with Seager, who hit .295 during the regular season? Do you hit-and-run with Seager and risk a line drive double play? Seager had the eighth-highest line drive percentage in the regular season at 24.8 percent.
- 6th inning: Taylor walked again, this time with two outs. Justin Verlander attempted to keep Taylor close with three pickoff attempts. Seager then hit a two-run home run on a 1-2 count.
- 7th inning: Cody Bellinger reached on a throwing error by third baseman Alex Bregman. After going ahead of Yasiel Puig 0-2 and throwing a couple of pickoff throws to first base, Will Harris spiked a curve in the dirt that allowed Bellinger to move to second base. Puig then moved Bellinger to third base with a ground out. Just as good as a bunt as it was a productive out. What small ball do you play in this situation? Suicide squeeze with Joc Pederson, who hadn’t attempted a bunt at all in 2017? Runner on third, one out, you want a fly ball. Unfortunately for the Dodgers, the Astros’ reliever who specializes in strikeouts got both hitters to strike out and the inning ended without any runs scored.
- 10th inning: Logan Forsythe drew a two-out walk. He advanced to second base on a wild pitch from Ken Giles, then scored on Enrique Hernandez‘s single to right field. Not sure how you can improve on that with more small ball.
The Dodgers hit four solo home runs, three of which came with two outs. They would’ve preferred to have had runners on for those dingers, but they didn’t because the Astros’ pitchers are good. If Garvey has an issue with home runs in general, he may want to take that up with commissioner Rob Manfred over the allegedly “juiced” baseballs.
Whenever someone describes something as “millennial,” it’s always a pejorative. For example, boomers complain about millennials always being on phones even though many jobs require people to utilize their phone in some way, like responding to emails or taking phone calls. It’s “millennial” to live with your parents despite your parents’ generation destroying the economy with deregulation, and the cost of going to college has skyrocketed. It’s “millennial” to not go out on the weekends even though going out requires money and wages have stagnated, failing to keep up with the cost of living.
In other words, calling something “millennial” is a way for an older person to dismiss someone or something without putting in any effort to understand why that someone or something is the way it is. Garvey doesn’t care to understand why baseball is played the way it is now, so he’ll just blame millennials for it instead. They’re always a good scapegoat.