This is more like my day job as an attorney, but there is some good writing being done, especially by Tom Verducci.
Start with Verducci’s “‘Clean It Up. It Must Stop’: MLB Is in an Ethical Crisis” Sports Illustrated (Jan. 16-17, 2020) [link]. You can follow the links until you get tired of it.
But maybe this will burn out in a few weeks. Nah, probably not, but we can hope.
As Verducci says:
In one month we hope to be restored by the pictures from Arizona and Florida of youthful ballplayers under the winter sun lazily tossing baseballs to one another and giving us once again the beautiful sound of bat meeting baseball, which for us is what the chirp of a bird is to an ornithologist. This is why we watch. It’s the simplicity of the game that soothes us. Every game has a binary outcome. Every event is definable. Runs, hits and errors. Wins and losses. Its beauty is in its simplicity.
We don’t want championships that make us do mental gymnastics to decide whether they are inauthentic. We don’t want player analysis to be derivative valuation. We don’t want ethical dilemmas to test our fandom.
We want a clean game decided by fair competition. Clean it up.
With baseball season comes baseball writing — two interesting pieces on pitching:
Tyler Kepner focuses on the coefficient of friction, and things (substances?) which affect it (“The Secrets of Pitching’s Outlaws,” The New York Times (Mar. 29, 2019) [link]):
Next time you go to a game, notice all the surfaces a pitcher touches with his hand. Pitchers are fidgety creatures, constantly tugging and swiping and scratching their caps, their sleeves, their skin, something. Corey Kluber, the two-time Cy Young Award winner for Cleveland, grabs his tongue on the mound before every pitch — which became legal again years ago — then wipes his hand on the side of his pants.
(Kepner does not suggest that Kluber is doing anything illegal.)
Tom Verducci turns to spin rates and pitch shape (“From Trackman to Edgertronic to Rapsodo, the Tech Boom Is Fundamentally Altering Baseball,” Sports Illustrated (Mar. 28, 2019) [link]):
Pitch shapes, break charts, leveraging the ball, hoppy fastballs, sloppy wrists . . . this is part of the language of the game now, a language that didn’t exist a few years ago. [Houston Astros’ minor leaguer Forrest] Whitley speaks it fluently, not because he picked it up as a high school requirement, but because he grew up with it, organically. He and his fellow disrupters are only getting started.