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THE HOME RUN OF SLOTS

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Go for the big score or the steady wins

By Frank Scoblete

 

I love baseball. I am a New York Yankees fan (do not boo me!) ever since I met Joe DiMaggio in 1953 shortly after he retired. It was my first time at Yankee Stadium. I was six years old and I was with my dad.

I know that most of the biographies of Joe D. paint him as a man who was aloof and unfriendly but he was not that to me. He shook my hand; asked me if I played baseball and told me to work hard at everything I did and would do in my life. From what I recall I just kept nodding.

Of course, I didn’t exactly know who he was, one of the greatest players to ever play the game, but I knew he was important by the way everyone around him acted. My father was in awe of him.

I nodded my agreement with whatever he said and then I left but the memory of that occasion stays with me, although most memories of my being six years old have long since left me.

I have looked up Joe DiMaggio’s career statistics and a remark- able thing struck me – had he played today he would probably be the home-run king and have the highest average in the league and finish in the top levels of all the new statistics being used by the current statisticians.

You can look up the great players who came before Joe DiMaggio such as Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig or after DiMaggio such as Willie Mays and Hank Aaron and find a startling fact: These players did not strike out much compared to today’s major leaguers. Yes, today even Babe Ruth, who was known as the “strike-out king” of his time, would be considered a contact hitter.

DiMaggio rarely struck out. The most he struck out in one full season was 39 times. That was over 600 at-bats! His range was usually in the low 20’s to low 30’s.

Let’s put him against today’s greatest players, the best of whom is undeniably Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels. Trout strikes out well over a hundred times a season! A New York Yankee favorite, Aaron Judge, struck out 209 times in his only full season of play. His teammate, home-run champion Giancarlo Stanton, struck out 170 times in one of the full seasons he played.

In short, today’s players want to hit home runs. They have developed arcing swings at the ball to loft it into the air so the ball goes over the fences. But that swing also opens them up to more strikeouts per season.

Baseball has been kind to today’s would-be home run hitters. The baseball parks are smaller, making it easier to hit home runs, and the base- balls have been juiced and thus they can be hit farther. We had juiced players in the recent past and now we have juiced baseballs. Those two juices have changed the nature of the game.

Everyone knows that Yankee Stadium had what was called the “short porch” designed so Babe Ruth could hit home runs – even though most of Ruth’s homeruns were epic in nature.

The old Yankee Stadium was a wasteland for home runs by right- handed power hitters. Indeed, the very dimensions of the old Yankee Stadium reveals a startling truth; except for down the lines, a right-handed hitter at the old stadium faced just short of impossible odds of hitting a home run to left center or center field. The ball had to travel over approximately 460 feet to get out of the park! How many home runs would DiMaggio have hit had he been launching his drives a mere 400 to 420 feet, distances that could easily propel the ball out of the stadium?

I saw Aaron Judge hit a 445-foot home run to left center two years ago. That was a massive home run but it would not have cleared the fences in 1941.

So, today’s baseball players have incorporated large numbers of strikeouts in return for hitting home runs. Juiced balls and seemingly better ticket sales have demanded it according to baseball analysts.

And that brings me to slot machines. There are basically two types of machines in the casinos, those that favor smaller wins but a better chance of going home with some kind of money after any given session, or slot machines that offer you the home runs of huge payoffs but far less chance of going home tonight with some money in your pocket.

You choose. Do you want to have a better chance to win today? If so, play standalone machines where jackpots are not massive. If you want to hit the life-changing jackpots then go for the home-run machines where strikeouts are far, far more common.

My baseball analogy of juiced balls and smaller stadiums would seem to indicate that monster-paying machines should be easier to beat but that isn’t so. Giant jackpots cause more strikeouts but rare monster hits.

Take your pick!

All the best in and out of the casinos!

Frank’s books are available at Amazon.com, Kindle, Barnes and Noble, e-books and at bookstores. Visit his web site at www.frankscoblete.com.

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