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Column

Catching up to new baseball lingo

I am getting to the point in life where I can use the word old school and not feel like I am too young.

As I approach 40 (still a little more than a year away), I am finally starting to catch up to baseball’s new lingo.

Gone are the days where batting average is truly important. No one steals bases anymore. Bunting is even going away.

Situational baseball is kind of being replaced by exit velocity, launch angle and OPS.

Hitting home runs and striking out is becoming a regular thing. Both are way up in numbers, which could be a reason why baseball is not attacting young fans.

When you attend a professional baseball game and don’t see a ball put in play (not a homer or strikeout) for sometimes 10 minutes at a time it’s rather boring for young people.

I am an avid twitter user and my arguments for or against a player involve batting average first and foremost. I also think on-base percentage is very important.

But today’s baseball world loves OPS, which combines on-base percentage and slugging percentage. How often do you get on base and how hard do you hit the ball when you put it in play.

That stuff is important. I also think bunting a guy over and putting him in scoring position is important. But just mentioning the word bunt to new school baseball fans infuriates them.

I understand that giving an out away is not ideal. But if games are close and you need a run to win, what is wrong with moving a guy closer to the plate. Some players also get paid a lot of money for RBIs.

Another term I see a lot on social media is barrels. How many times a player barrels up a ball. That’s an interesting one because I think it’s important. I just never thought to keep track of that.

I even follow guys on twitter who tweet out numbers on players’ expected batting average of the ball they put in play. So even if the player hit the ball that ended up being an out, there’s a batting average of what should have been the result.

Most of this stuff is way over my head, but I am catching on day by day.

Speaking of baseball, my Cincinnati Reds haven’t gotten into playoff position yet but they are much closer this year than in any of the previous five seasons.

They are only six games out of a wild card berth. They have a handful of exciting young players, and they traded for former all-star pitcher Trevor Bauer to add to an already stout starting rotation.

The Reds are setting themselves up for a run in 2020, but they have not given up on 2019 yet. I am just glad to be contently following baseball and scoreboard watching in August. It’s been a while.

Shifting to the NFL, preseason games are in full swing. I have to admit, I love football, but it’s hard to get into preseason games. My favorite team, the San Francisco 49ers, had 30 regulars out in their first game.

Some of the players were just being rested and the others are actually hurt. The Niners won the game, and that’s significant because no NFL team has gone winless in the preseason and made the playoffs.

I like my team this year. It’s time to win for Kyle Shanahan and a healthy roster could get to 10 wins. Injuries have already hit though so we’ll see how healthy they are throughout the season.

High school football will be here soon. First full slate of games is Aug. 30, but Baxter and Lynnville-Sully kick off the season on Aug. 23.

Iowa and Iowa State both play on Aug. 31. The Cyclones host Northern Iowa at 11 a.m. and Iowa hosts Miami (Ohio) at 6:30 p.m.

The Cy-Hawk football game is in week three this season. Iowa hosts Rutgers after its opener. Iowa State has a bye in week two. The Hawkeyes and Cyclones play in Ames at 3 p.m. on Sept. 14.

The official starting week for area fall sports teams is the week of Aug. 26. There are plenty of scrimmages the week before for volleyball and football, too.

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