Yankees: Will they eventually replace starting pitching altogether?

Reliever Dellin Betances (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
Reliever Dellin Betances (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images) /
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Nolan Ryan Statue, Arlington, Texas (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

Fighting the Riptide – What About the Numbers?

As we know, baseball is a game built on numbers and records that are made to be broken. Except, many of them would now live forever. No one will ever see a pitcher throw eight no-hitters to top Nolan Ryan. No lefty will ever win more games than Warren Spahn‘s 363. And so on.

I don’t have much empathy for those who rue about the past and what a great game baseball used to be when, for instance, Joe Morgan, Lou Brock, and Ricky Henderson ruled the stolen base era of baseball. And how exciting it was back then and blah, blah, blah.

And mind you, I have been following this game for half a century. And I recall those times and others with the same fondness with which I enjoy the game as it’s played today.

And besides, this is going to drive the folks at Statcast nuts trying to come up with new and “relative” statistics that nobody cares about. And that alone would be enough fun for me to see how this plays out.

But there’s another thing about numbers, too. They’re all relative, and how can anyone compare to Cy Young and his 511 games won when he pitched every other day, and many ballparks didn’t have walls and fences, allowing outfielders to run forever in pursuit of fly balls?

And how many times did Joe DiMaggio crisscross the country on road trips while playing day games after night games in two different cities when he hit safely in those 56 straight games?

So, numbers will change as will the value attached to them. The “Hold,” for instance, might become the new save and be added to the leader’s boards, something we don’t see now.

But baseball has adapted well before, and there’s no reason why it can’t do it again.