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Sport Sections
Monday, April 2
What do you think of all the home runs?

Bring back the pitcher's duel, the bunt, the non-retaliatory hit batter, the shutout, the complete game shutout, please, pretty please, give me the one-hit complete game shutout with a 1-0 final score with bunts and hit batters and on top of it let's call it baseball.

The home run has taken part of the game from us. The tricksters who manage and market the sport do so on borrowed time. The sport will have to account for this derth of round-trippers or be forced to reckon with an audience that becomes desensitized by the sight of what should be one of the greater feats in sports. Now our sound-bites contain: "it's his third of the game." "Both players have hit them from both sides of the plate." And "every starter has hit one except the pitcher who needs it to hit for the cycle" ... and on it goes.

Like an addict, baseball needs to admit it has a problem.

Robert Quigley
Los Angeles

I think it's great! The fans crave the long ball and that is exactly what baseball is providing. The thing that is most exciting about it all is the fact that it isn't Mark McGwire or Sammy Sosa who are hitting all of the home runs. It's young stars like Jose Cruz Jr., Jermaine Dye and Vlad Guerrero, who are hitting the taters. I hope that this home run tear continues, it's good for the game.

Matt Smith
Vancouver, Wash.

Double-digit baseball scores used to be exciting. Now they are just an everyday occurrence. Home runs used to be exciting. Now, quite frankly, they are boring. The Lords of Baseball thought that the fans were bored with low scoring slow games, so now we have a high scoring game that is even slower.
—  Wes Drew, Grand Rapids, Mich.

If you want low scores, go to a hockey game. In the past pitcher's have dominated the plate. Every team has had two or three pitchers that they can call their ace. Not anymore, move over boys the men are coming to town. This may be the first year in baseball that every team has a player that hits 40+ home runs. St. Louis may have four players over 40 by year's end.

Dois "Bubba" Allen
Kankakee, Ill.

The home run explosion of this era makes me sick. It totally takes away from the great seasons of many great players of the past. Fifty home runs in one year used to be a huge season, now it's nothing. The problem is not the baseball or the athletes, the problem is the strike zone. Pitchers have nowhere to throw the ball and until they do, all these offensive numbers are meaningless.

Jason Coldiron
Roseville, Calif.

In regards to the home run explosion in baseball, the reality is that the bar has been raised and pitcher's are just going to have to deal with it. Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez aren't having any problems therefore it can be done. It may take a while but the pitcher's will adapt.

James Zilch

I have been a baseball fan all my life and nothing makes me more happy than the idea of baseball regaining popularity. Although I am not happy with all the homers being hit, if the game gains fans, then so be it. I do fear for all the brave men that get up there and pitch every day though. It won't be too long until we see someone severly injured. Raise the mound or loosen the ball a tad and games will still be exciting and the safety of the pitchers will be ensured.

Steve Samp
South Bend, Ind.

Home runs are what the fans want to see. Why do you think soccer isn't very popular in America? People want to see offense. Let's face it, a 1-0 pitcher's duel isn't very fun to watch unless it's your team winning, or one of the few premiere pitchers is throwing. When a pitcher hits three homers in a game, then, maybe it will be too much!

Kent Livingston
Vancouver, Wash.

I don't think the whole world tuned into the McGwire/Sosa race in '98 because we all thought they were hitting too many home runs. I think it is great that more teams are stepping up to the plate and contributing to the long-ball bonanza!
—  Mark Turner, Richmond Hill, N.Y.

I saw my first game in 1931 at Boston's old Braves Field, and would like to say that the game of baseball has never been better than it is right now. All the home runs are unavoidable because today's players are better conditioned through weight lifting, running and sounder nutrition. But there is still great pitching. For example, Pedro Martinez and Randy Johnson are not intimidated by the home run threat. And what about the great 1-0 duel on Monday with Atlanta's Tom Glavine defeating L.A.'s Kevin Brown. Relax and enjoy it.

George N. Spitz
New York

The current glut of home runs is kind of like winning a rigged beauty pageant. Sure it's nice, but does it mean anything? I enjoy watching a home run as much as the next guy, but a few years ago home runs meant something. Remmeber when a 30 HR guy was valuable? Now it seems they are a dime a dozen.

As for the game, I believe that it has hurt the sport. Because of teams relying so heavily on home runs, pitching, defense and professional hitting are way undervalued. Why steal a base or move a man over if the next guy up is going to go yard? The game is slowly evolving into a home run derby.

Brian Dembowczyk
Tampa, Fla.

Real fans have no respect for this home run explosion. But, as usual, baseball is counting on real fans to stick with baseball while they're shilling for the same brainless yahoos who made pro wrestling the most profitable sport in the U.S. The sad thing is that the popular obsession with the long ball is wearing off.

The "fans" baseball ruined the game to court got bored with four-hour games and baseball is responding by encouraging even more homer-friendly measures (e.g. the ridiculous new parks in San Francisco and Houston).

Virtually anyone who knows anything or writes anything about baseball has argued repeatedly for pitcher-friendly measures, but Bud Selig thinks he knows better than all of them and he'll go on ruining the game.

John Lovejoy

Yes it's too many. It's out of control, it makes baseball mindless to watch. There is very little strategy anymore except for keeping the ball off the plate. Before you know it you've walked two guys, then miss one pitch, and the ball goes out of the yard for another three-run tater. Ahhh, but not too fear, you are only down six with another at-bat left, the odds are good for you. It's become absurd!

Danny Ball
Broken Arrow, Okla.

Maybe we should rename the league "Major League Softball." A lot of folks have talked about how boring a pitcher's duel can be, but is it anymore boring than watching player after player hit home run after home run? What's so special about a home run when guys like Jay Bell can hit 30+. Maybe Bud Selig's next "innovation" will be to limit pitcher's velocity so we can see back-to-back-to-back-to-back.

Tom Huber
Springfield, Ill.

I think the home run explosion is great for baseball. It makes the game fun to watch and more exciting. There are a few stadiums out there that do need to look into extending there dimensions though, but people pay to see the long ball, not two-hour games that end 1-0.

Jeff Dean
St. Louis

Enough is enough! Raise the mound and get rid of a few teams. When Roger Maris' feat is starting to look average then you know something is very wrong.
—  Artie Mensing, East Hanover, N.J.

Home Run Derby 2000 is too much. Mac and Sammy in '98 was great. But Mac, Sammy, Batista, Dye, Edmonds, Bonds, etc. ... is out of control. Pitchers now get penalized for making good pitches. In today's game, if you don't hit 20 jacks, your a "punch and judy hitter." I'm more impressed with Pedro Martinez and Randy Johnson. These two guys are so good and are unaffected by the golf balls disguised as baseballs.

Ken Munoz
Centreville, Va.

I think the home run ball is the most exciting event in all of sports. There's nothing better than seeing Sammy Sosa smash a 480-foot shot into a window on the apartment building across Waveland Ave. As a matter of fact, I'd like to see baseball legalize the use of the aluminum bat. Keep the bombs comming!

Tim Vines

At first, more home runs added excitement, but now everything has been blown way out of proportion. After the third or fourth straight year of more and more home runs, the game became lopsided. Something needs to be done: Bigger strike zone, higher pitcher's mound, looser ball, or maybe all three.

Matthew Goff
Lawrence, Kan.

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