If you follow baseball in any capacity, you most likely wake up every morning to headlines sporting names like Aaron Judge, Cody Bellinger, Clayton Kershaw and Chris Sale.

You often read about how rookie sluggers from the two coasts are reinvigorating baseball in a way that perhaps even “The Great Invigorator” Bryce Harper could not. You likely skim through paragraphs of sabermetrics detailing every inch of a home run’s trajectory from the moment it leaves the pitchers’ hand to the moment it lands — sometimes just shy of 500 feet — into a fan’s beer cup. You probably listen to podcast after podcast about the abundance of baseball glamour, of bombs and K’s, which started to increase dramatically around mid-season in 2015.

You, as a person who generally wants the game to earn back the respect it lost from sports fans as a result of both steroids and a general lack of excitement, are thrilled.

That is, until you begin to scroll through the frustrating debate started by Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci and challenged — of course by The Ringer. Then you just feel confused.

According to Verducci, the sweeping excitement brought to baseball by the recent rise of home runs and strikeouts is not the answer to all our prayers about making baseball popular again.

Why? Because strikeouts and home runs decrease both the “pace of play” and the amount of time there are “balls in play,” therefore increasing the boringness factor of baseball rather than decreasing it.

In other words, Verducci claims that the increased baseball glamour is a detriment to the game rather than a welcome success. I could not disagree more.

First, asserting that the increase in home runs and strikeouts is “threatening the future of America’s pastime” is ludicrous. Aaron Judge, Cody Bellinger and company are everything baseball fans have been waiting for. Talk show hosts, who usually only reference baseball in passing, are willingly dedicating entire segments to Aaron Judge’s almost daily homer runs and Chris Sale’s skinny yet deadly arm.

Suddenly, baseball is competing with other sports’ news for airtime.

In other words, we have found something that works. So why are critics still worried about pace of play? I, for one, certainly do not mind a long baseball game if it showcases, over and over, the greatest successes in the game.

But Verducci is not only worried about pace of play — his article intelligently professed fear that the increase in home runs and strikeouts comes at the expense of the mental strategy that is almost unique to baseball. Without singles and doubles, weird squeeze plays and a plethora of base runners, Verducci is fearful that the plays made by smarts rather than strength may no longer define the game.

Cue Ben Lindbergh of The Ringer, who not only argues that the jumps in these statistics are not as drastic as they may seem, but also points out that singles, doubles and strange plays in the field would still exist.

I don’t believe Verducci’s fear rings true — baseball intelligence will always be required on the field and in the batter’s box.

What baseball fans have learned — and have been thrilled about — in 2017 is that the biggest change in baseball is in the overall athleticism of the game, a change that is not a bad thing.

Baseball will always be a long game. The arguments about whether to shorten time of play or pace of play, and the ensuing questions about how to do so, are beside the point altogether.

We have been looking at it all wrong. Debates such as the ones between Verducci and Lindbergh illustrate the real answer to the question of how to preserve the essence of baseball while increasing its popularity. Forget pace of play, strike zone alterations and the ridiculous man-on-second-in-extra-innings rules.

Maybe the hulking Tim Tebow, who recently got promoted to Advanced A-Ball, is just another player pointing to the solution to the “Boring Baseball” problem: we need more athleticism and more strength, without steroids.

Embrace the sluggers, find more of them and don’t forget to honor the little guys who make runs batted in possible. Look for football players, basketball players and across-the-board athletes when skimming scouting reports. That is how we can improve and yet preserve baseball.

The next obstacle would be convincing young athletes to choose baseball over other sports.

I believe Aaron Judge can help with that.

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