Home Runs: The Potion That Turned into a Poison

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Home Runs: The Potion That Turned into a Poison
(Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)

I think it is time that all baseball fans make an assessment of the way the game is looked at statistically.

It doesn't take Bill James to figure out that baseball writers and fans put way too much emphasis on home runs. 

Think I'm crazy?

The next time you're reading an article about a position player, look at the stats the writer gives. I'll bet you a steak dinner (Ken Griffey Jr. style) that the stat line consists of batting average, home runs and RBI.

This is something we have simply grown accustomed to doing, giving the amount of home runs.

Just imagine how Juan Pierre feels...

People have invested way too much in the home run, and it has failed us.

Whether it be Rafael Palmeiro, Mark McGwire, Manny Ramirez, David Ortiz, or Barry Bonds, it turns out that Ty Cobb might have been right: home runs are a cheap way of scoring runs. 

Home runs don't win baseball games: runs do.

Whether it's RBI or runs itself, run production is what makes a player great. Baseball has invested too much in the home run itself, and Dave Kingman has showed us that hitting home runs does not make you a great player.

Of course, home runs produce runs. That's not an opinion; it's a fact. A home run is at least one guaranteed run for a team. 

My argument is not for players to stop hitting home runs. It's that we shouldn't put as much emphasis on home runs as we should runs itself. 

Baseball fans are forgetting the true values of baseball and, in that, the true facts of baseball.

The only statistic that truly matters for a team is runs. 

Of course, hits, walks, and strikeouts are also crucial to a player's success, but nothing is more important than runs.

Its simple logic, really. What determines the outcome to a baseball game? Runs. 

It's the same thing with basketball. While there are many important aspects of basketball, the game ultimately comes down to how many points are scored by each team. 

I'll be honest: I love a home run. They're exciting, there's no doubt about that. 

But home runs aren't just part of the game anymore. They ARE the game, and they are making some fans forget about some baseball basics.

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