Perhaps I'm a lone voice on the topic of covert themes, but today's puzzle is a good example of what is wrong with them and how to fix them.
Without a clue to indicate that a theme exists, it is likely that many will miss the cleverness of the work. As I have said here awhile back, what fun is sitting in the closet if no one knows you're playing hide and seek?
Today's baseball theme was probably overlooked by many solvers, and that's too bad --- and unnecessary. Take 54 Across: "Thick carpet" is the clue for SHAG. To make this theme overt, the clue for SHAG could be "To catch flyballs, and a clue to the six long answers across."