As Greg Maddux said, "Chicks dig the long ball." (You should really click on the link to see that commercial again - it's truly a classic.) But as we're told everyday by print reporters, television commentators, and online columnists, Maddux's "chicks" have it all wrong.
What the reporters, commentators, and columnists remind us at every opportunity is that what matters in baseball is "small ball." Why the obsession?
Before offering my theory on why the obsession exists, let's just again state that in today's game, small ball is pointless. The Phillies have not won over the past month because of small ball, despite some commentators' insistence otherwise. The White Sox didn't win last year because of small ball either. In fact, they were fifth in all of baseball in home runs. The list could go on and on. Teams need to be able to hit the long ball to score runs. It's simple.
In fact, it's so simple that you and I and casual fans and non-fans, and even "chicks" too, can see that the long ball is important to the game. And professional commentators hate that!
This is the essence of professional commentators' love of small ball: they need to have something to say that distinguishes their observations from those of anyone else who watches a baseball game. After all, if anyone can see that home runs are important to a team's offensive success and that's what the commentator says, then why bother listening to the commentator?
Thus, the obsession with small ball. Jon Marzano has to point out all the things that he knows about baseball that the average fan couldn't possibly know. Harold Reynolds has to talk about team chemistry and doing the little things because he knows about those things and we don't. Obsession with small ball is all about proving to the general public that the obsessed are smarter than we are.
But, they're not. In fact, they're often quite foolish when they're so obviously wrong. They don't want to admit it, but the "chicks" have it right.