Nothing ever stays the same, but things do come back around.
When I was a kid playing baseball, the one thing you did not want to do was strike out.
Hit a dribbler to the pitcher, a weak pop-up or grounder to second, but do not strike out.
Today, strikeouts are commonplace — too common — for some.
Players who can hit the ball a country mile with some regularity, but strike out all the time, are millionaires.
Today’s players, and I’m talking little league on up to the majors, are not embarrassed to strike out because they do it often and so does everyone else.
It is part of the game.
Major league players strike out 150-plus times a year, some, nearly 200 times.
Because they hit 30-50 homers in between those strikeouts, they are rich.
Players are being taught about launch angles and exit velocity, terms that were not in the vocabulary of the average fan a few years ago.
Launch angle determines the height and distance of a baseball after it is hit. Exit velocity measures the speed of the baseball as it comes off the bat immediately after a batter hits it.
Those are just fancy terms to explain that a player hit the ball hard a long ways.
I never dreamed of anything like that as a kid.
I knew some players hit the ball farther than others, and never cared how hard it was hit.
Today, those terms are used by announcers at every game, which are just more statistics for some to track.
It’s interesting to know how far a ball travels and that a player hits a ball 117 mph, but to me, it’s little more than that, interesting.
I’m more concerned with a player getting a hit — any hit — rather than striking out.
But that’s not the way baseball is played these days.
It’s not too hard to figure out that home run hitters make more money than someone who hits singles and doubles.
Fans come out to the ballpark to watch home run hitters.
They want the single and double hitters on base when the home run hitter connects, but that’s all they are worth.
Major League Baseball is even sponsoring a junior home run hitting contest, further elevating the long ball over basic fundamentals.
It never used to be that way, and at some point in the future, baseball will decide that striking out a lot should not be accepted, and then baseball will reset itself.
It probably won’t happen soon since youth coaches are buying into the idea of taking the strikeouts with the homers.
Everything runs in cycles, and right now the cycle is going in one direction. It will change at some point, and then we might wonder where all the home run hitters went.
Patrick Murphy, editor-publisher of the Humphrey Democrat and Newman Grove Reporter in Nebraska, is a former assistant managing editor of The Telegram.