We have a bit of a longer SB Nation Reacts this week. Apparently the survey software was having some issues so we got a bit backed up and we’re catching up now. So let’s get right into it, shall we?
As one would expect, Red Sox fans are pretty confident in their club after the start of the season. They have been playing extremely well, and while there have been some hiccups along the way they still have baseball’s best record as there isn’t really a team that is running away with things. That said, confidence still isn’t exactly booming as the confidence level has yet to crack 80 percent this season. I suspect some of that is leftover feelings from last season as well as the back half of 2019, and while it’s hard to blame anyone for those feelings I think they’ll have to fade more and more if this level of play continues. All told, eight teams rank ahead of the Red Sox in terms of fan confidence, including two in the division with Baltimore at a bizarre 100 percent and Toronto at 85 percent.
Win Total Prediction
We’re somehow almost at the quarter point of the season already, and as I said the Red Sox have the best record in baseball. So it’s a good time to re-gauge expectations and see people see this team landing. This isn’t a terribly surprising split, though I think I’d still go with that 76-85 win range. That said, prior to the season I would have been on the lower end of that range — I believe my prediction was 78 wins — but I would now be on the higher end. And it’s certainly not crazy to be in that 86-96 range, though I certainly think high 80s is more likely than mid 90s.
How do you watch?
One of the big issues with baseball right now (and there are plenty of them) is the accessibility of the game, or lackthereof. If you want to go in person you have to basically pay a month’s rent for the privilege, and even watching is a pain in this cord-cutter day and age. With that in mind, we focused a bit on how people watch the game this week.
This feels like a crazy question to ask, but if you live in your favorite team’s market you either need cable or you’ll be blacked out from MLB.TV. It’s even harder in Boston with YouTube TV cutting NESN out of their plan. Honestly, I wouldn’t have been surprised if this number was lower.
I am on the yes side of this, largely because of the YouTube TV situation. I had to switch back over to cable, and while it wasn’t a massive increase in price it was still a bit of one. And then of course if people are out of market then they have to pay for MLB.TV.
State of the game
There has been a lot of talk this year about the aesthetics of baseball and the way the sport is trending, so let’s rapid fire through a few of these.
I find it hard to say no to this one, though I would disagree with those who say it’s about hitters’ approaches rather than pitchers just being stupidly good.
I like a home run as much as the next guy, and don’t really have as much of a problem with homers as others do. That said, it doesn’t make up for the strikeouts.
While I do think some of the hand-wringing over the home run rates is over the top, I agree that in a binary it’s not good for the game. But again, I think the pitchers’ advantage over hitters right now is the biggest issue with the game, at least on the field.
Again, it’s hard to answer this in a binary. I’m not sure the game would be all that more exciting if, for example, we just saw a lot of 85 mph ground balls finding holes for singles. On the other hand, more doubles in the gaps with players on both sides showing off their athleticism would be more fun. It’s about not just balls in play, but exciting balls in play, which isn’t as easy to manufacture as some make it out to be.