For three and a half months we’ve watched nothing but dingers. Copious amounts of them, really. Some 3,691 of them already, to be exact. But tonight, we’ll again be celebrating The Dinger, as eight strapping young hulks will slug dinger after dinger to anoint this year’s One True Dinger.
Seems a bit odd in these times. As if Alaska called in all of their hearty crabbers who have worked tirelessly all year to catch crab for one day of...well, of catching crab. Hooray for the celebration!
Tommy La Stella is smaller than me and has 16 dingers so far this season, or as the math would say has 6 more dingers this season than he’d hit in the 5-year career he’d logged prior to 2019. A full 34 players in Major League Baseball have already hit at least 20 dingers this season, while inimitable Clevelander Derek Dietrich still has as many taters - 18 - as he does singles. Baseball, as we watch it these days, has become Four-base ball.
So while we watch dinger after dinger launched into the night on the banks of the Cuyahoga River tonight, at least we’ll be graced with the presence of competition, as MLB has set the stage for not just dinger-watching, but for watching two swatters at a time attempt to out-maraud one another, with the spoils of more dinger-swatting their booty.
Perhaps we’re nearing the time when we scrap the white-hot spotlight on the one driver of the modern game on the day before the All Star Game. Perhaps it’s time to see if any professional base-baller is capable of nuance anymore. Perhaps we should dare the fastest flamethrowers to complete a pitch to a catcher at the slowest possible speeds, with champion taking home a golden snail. Perhaps we should task the best right-handed hitters in the game with batting lefty against a shift for five minutes, with the most singles garnering slushies from the snack shack after the W.
Fact is, hit ball far in the construct of a baseball stadium has become a bit stale, really. It’s already what we watch in routine, and the celebration of baseball stars is not meant to be routine. If swatting baseballs a country mile is really to be a highlight, perhaps it’s taking it out of the baseball stadium that needs to happen. Put ‘em on a golf course and see who can hit their dinger onto the green 160 yards away. Swat dingers across the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. Line them up on the smoke-deck behind RF in GABP and see who, if any, can knock-a-homer to Kentucky. Let Jamie Moyer do the pitching in a Florida State League stadium. Something!
Tonight, you’ll get to see Vlad Guerrerito on his first national stage, which is well and good. You’ll see Pete Alonso win the damn thing, which Pete Alonso is going to do. But what you’ll also see is something lacking cayenne pepper, a cake with no rise. And dangit, I want my cake to be peppered.