Baseball Then and Now

Post by Brady T.
Featured image by Scott Bickhaus

Baseball has always been the same game throughout the two-hundred years it has been played. Although the sport as a whole has not changed much, the small important pieces of it have. As Winter comes to a close and the baseball preseason starts to begin it is the perfect time for each team to start over and try to improve. It has always been this way ever since the game begun. The sport has changed throughout the years for better and worse. It has provided more safety for players, fans, and umpires. It has taken away aluminum bats for major leagues and given them wooden bats. Every year there is a new sort of innovation to make the sport different. Sadly, with these inventions comes the development of the performance enhancing drug. With the intention to make the sport more impressive the drug and its users have made it worse. Baseball is a game that is constantly changing with new ways that affect the way it is played.

Baseballs equipment has clearly undergone many changes throughout the years. From five fingered hand sized gloves to actual padding in helmets, the safety of the game has taken a huge turn for the better. image00Originally the glove was was a fingerless hand sized piece of leather with some padding in the middle. Today we have a wide net to catch a baseball in with enough space to fit your hand plus the ball, which is very beneficial to the fielder trying to catch the ball. An example of an “old fashioned glove is the picture above, taken by Shaun Fisher. Not only has the glove changed but the helmet has as well. originally helmets were not even used while at bat, the players will just put their hat on and be expected to be able to dodge a 90 mile per hour fastball. Not one person today would ever risk this, especially with the improvement of pitching. The only one to wear any head protection was the catcher. At that time, they only had a face mask and no helmet on top. As time went on the minor leagues used aluminium bats, which was extremely dangerous to any infielder, resulting in injuries like broken bones fractures. image01The major leagues never allowed the use of metal bats, only wooden, like the one in this picture taken by Ewen Roberts. Today the use of aluminum bats would be a death sentence, but fortunately were taken out due to all of these injuries. While at bat players will be seen wearing a brace over the heel of their leg facing the pitcher. This was invented because of too many injuries due to fast pitches bouncing straight at their leg. The fact that it hurts when you get hit in the ankle by a 50 mile per hour pitch makes it even more painful to watch a player get hit by a major league pitcher. Players have grown with their equipment through the decades. The better the pitchers they get, the stronger the helmets. The faster the ground balls, the more padding in the gloves. There are some pieces of equipment that have grown with the players that has not been praised, and that is performance enhancing drugs.

As shown in baseball news within the past year by ESPN’s Jim Caple,there has been a lot of actions taken against steroid and other performance enhancing drug users. Although this is a great step for baseball to take, it is still extremely late compared to how long people have used them. For so many years people have been known to abuse them, but no legal action is taken toward these people. These incidents are incredibly hypocritical towards the fans, players and baseball as a whole. Along with that, the lack of action taken shows disrespect toward the players and the sport. The especially sad part about this is the fact that when someone in baseball shows incredible talent, they are immediately perceived as steroid users. image02Everybody knows Derek Jeter as one of the most popular baseball players of our time. For a lot of his career he has been perceived as a drug user, but has never tested positive for anything. This negative look has been created by the drug users.According to an article by Bryan Hoch, Alex Rodriguez was a player who has had a great deal of criticism due to his manipulation of drug tests. This person in the picture above, taken by Keith Allison is one of the main reasons when someone sees a home run, a fan points at it them and says that they are using steroids. Players like Alex Rodriguez are the ones that are ruining current day baseball. Its lucky that players like Babe Ruth, and Lou Gherig came around when they did. Because of their talent, if they played baseball today there would be some allegations of them using drugs. Even though there has been a lot of drug use as of late, there will always be improvements, just like the equipment. Players and fans alike both have high hopes for the future of legitimate baseball.

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