Minnesota Twins Collection

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

What Makes A Good Baseball Game?

After writing my post about the Twins game I was at on Saturday night, I got to thinking...

What makes a good baseball game?

I will start off with what I think most people like in a game. A game with a high score and lots of home runs. I will admit that it's always fun to see the runs come across home plate and it's always more fun to see balls fly over the outfield wall. While those things are fun to see in a game, that does not necessarily mean you are watching a good ball game. Lots of scoring in a game might come from errors and bad defense in general and lots of home runs might come from the pitcher not having his stuff that game. While there were lots of runs from both teams than the lead teetering all night, all I could think about what when do we see the next bad pitch and when do we see the next error. I have nothing against long games... and that game went 4 and a 1/2 hours... but it just dragged on with bumbled plays and pitching replacements.

Here is what I think makes a good baseball game...

* Great Pitching
The starting pitcher is hitting all of the right spots in the strike out. If he is having a good outing, they make it difficult for batters to get a good hit. You don't want to watch a game where the pitcher is throwing batting practice and the other team's #9 hitter is going 4-for-4. Likewise, there is much more satisfaction when a batter gets a hit, especially a home run, off of great pitching.

* Stellar Defense
There's no worse feeling in baseball than losing a game because of errors. Again, if a team is playing great defense during the game, there is more satisfaction when a hit goes through.

* Low Scoring, Close Scoring
I don't have to tell you that a close scoring game creates a lot of tension and build up for the final innings. While a game is close scoring, there is a lot of anticipation for that next run. There is another a lot of excitement to see your closing pitcher shut down the opposing team in the last inning. Why do you think Joe Nathan looks like a rock star running out to the mound to start the 9th?

This example leads to my favorite Twins game of all time:

* Great Pitching
Jack Morris 10-inning shutout. Need I say more?

* Stellar Defense
With bases loading in the top of the eight. A ground goes to first. Hrbek to Harper to Hrbek double play to get the outs at home and first.

* Low Score, Close Score
The lone winning run came in the bottom of the 10th inning. Dan Gladden doubles to center field. Chuck Knoblauch sac bunts to move Gladden to third. The Braves intentionally walk Kirby Puckett and Kent Hrbek and load the bases. The Braves outfield is force to move in. Gene Larkin is brought in to pinch hit and loops a fly ball over the left fielder to drive in the winning run. Not sure if the final play of the game could ever be more dramatic than this.

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