Sunday, November 02, 2008

Every Hitter is a Home Run Threat

People often tease today's big-league pitchers for being sissies
compared to their counterparts from past generations. Barely a
generation ago, throwing a complete game was a common occurrence,
young hands weren't kept on a tight pitch count, and there was no
market for a LOOGY ("lefty one out guy"). Be a man, the critics
cackle.

They don't realize that today's pitchers compete in a setting in which
every hitter is a home run threat, and any pitch can turn into an
instant run. You could go nine innings back then because you could
coast in the early innings and against certain hitters; no more.
Hence, every pitch is fraught with stress, both in terms of the game
situation as well as in terms of what it takes out of a pitcher.

Why do I bring this up? I'm convinced parenting has evolved in a
similar fashion. For better or for worse (and there are good things
and bad things about this development), life is more complicated and
people more independent than even just a generation ago. Not to
denigrate the challenges our parents faced, but they would probably be
the first to agree if you asserted that raising a kid today is fraught
with all sorts of pressures that didn't exist to the same degree when
they were the ones doing the parenting. Moms juggling work and home
responsibilities, keeping an eye out for child predators, having less
family nearby, the proliferation of information available on the
Internet . . . the list could go on and on, but it all points to
today's parent having to be always on, always vigilant.

Now, there are two sides to every story. And just like today's
pitchers have unprecedented access to resources to take care of their
bodies, plus the modern comforts of chartered flights and generous
contracts, we modern parents have vastly superior products and
services with which to do battle as parents. Believe me when I say I
would never for one day trade my situation for my parents' - I like
not having to worry about rubella, and being able to order a stroller
online and have it delivered within a week is a wonderful convenience,
thank you very much. Parenting is, for the most part, vastly easier
today than it has ever been in the history of mankind. But the flip
side is that, metaphorically speaking, every hitter is now a home run
threat.

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