Maybe you’re familiar with a concept we introduced earlier this season: The Cubs Villainy Meter. It’s meant to contextualize this new world where the Cubs are not lovable (or, at the least, pitiable) losers, and are instead defending World Champions. It’s meant to be an ongoing look so we know just how far away from their roots the Cubs have strayed, and if they can reach the vile heights that former losers-turned-heels like the Red Sox and Giants have.
If you want to justify the empty calories, check out this brussel sprout of a paragraph:
Home runs are so easy to come by that teams are more likely to just wait for them rather than be creative. Sacrifice hits are at an all-time low. Intentional walks have been at near-record-low levels the past four years. Nobody has stolen 75 bases in 10 years. The hit-and-run is an endangered play. The veteran pinch hitter has been eliminated so that teams can carry eight relief pitchers.
Sacrifice bunts are boring as hell. Even if they were good strategy, which they often aren’t, there’s no joy to be found in them. If you can get excited about a typical sacrifice bunt, you can get excited about a crafty tax deduction, and good for you. But I’m not there. Intentional walks are one of the least exciting events in baseball. The hit-and-run is fun when it works, and it’s miserable when it fails. And while I carry a soft spot in my heart for Lenny Harris and Matt Stairs, I’m not going to pretend like I’ve spent a lot of time pining for the modern equivalents.