Japanese Players Seek More Offense

If you follow the Japanese League, shutouts are about as common as acorns on the ground during the fall foilage.  The offensive player who hits over .300 is becoming extinct and a pitcher who has an ERA above 3.00 is said to be struggling.  It is reminiscent of major league baseball in the 1960s when pitchers were dominant and attendance was down.  The Japanese players are complaining that the ball that is used by the NPB is the cause of this lethargic offense.

Fans are generally attracted to games that have a lot of action to them.  While a 1-0 shutout between two top hurlers will cause a lot of suspense, too many of these 1-0 games will make it routine, ending the suspense when the rare one does occur.  Myworld finds soccer boring becuase the number of goals scored in a game is rare.  It may be nice seeing players run around the field to try to set the ball up for a score and I’m sure there is a lot of strategy involved that myworld is missing, but to get my interest there needs to be more goals.  The Japanese baseball game is getting to be like soccer, except you don’t have players running around the field trying to set up a score.  You just have a pitcher nodding his head and a catcher making the signs.  If you don’t have players at least running around the bases the game turns into a borefest.

The switch to the new ball was to try to emulate the ball used by major league baseball so Japan could be more competetive in international events, especially the WBC.  The players are concerned with the drop in the offense as a result of the switch.  The players had not been consulted when the NPB decided to go to the new balls.

Currently the Central League has only five hitters batting over .300, with the highest average at .321.  Last year the Central League finished the season with four hitters above .300, with the highest at .316.  The Pacific League is a bit better with 14 players hitting over .300, the highest at .384.  Last year the Pacific League had only five players bat over .300 with the highest average at .338.

The NPB has to find the right balance where pitcher’s duels don’t become common place.  Otherwise fan interest will decline.

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