The home-run surge and baseball's new run environment have turned their share of heads - for better and worse. Goose Gossage, for one, is not a fan of Major League Baseball's current product.
"I can't watch these games anymore," the outspoken Hall of Fame reliever told Bob Nightengale of USA Today. "It's not baseball. It's unwatchable. A lot of the strategy of the game, the beauty of the game, it's all gone.
"It's like a video game now," continued Gossage, who retired in 1994. "It's home run derby with their (expletive) launch angle every night."
MLB hitters are on pace to break the record for home runs hit in a single season a mere two seasons after setting a new all-time high. In 2017, led by Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, hitters combined for 6,105 dingers, obliterating the previous record of 5,693 set in 2000. The 2019 season has already featured 5,249 home runs.
The current campaign could become the third season in baseball history to feature four different 50-homer players after 1998 (Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Ken Griffey Jr., and Greg Vaughn) and 2001 (Barry Bonds, Sosa, Luis Gonzalez, and Alex Rodriguez). Cody Bellinger, Mike Trout, Christian Yelich, and Pete Alonso are all on pace to reach 50 homers, with Ronald Acuna Jr. and Jorge Soler sitting at 35 apiece.
"All anybody wants to do is launch the ball," said former player and manager Lou Piniella. "They're making the ballparks smaller, the balls tighter, and all we're seeing is home runs. There are no hit-and-runs. No stolen bases. Nothing."
In 2018, MLB players combined to swipe 2,474 bags, which is the fewest since 1994, when the season was shortened by a strike. 2019 could set another new low with 1,734 so far this year.