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Baseball Is Broken (on the field, proposed rule changes, attendance, etc.)

Discussion in 'MLB Discussion' started by jon abbey, Apr 10, 2018.

  1. jon abbey

    jon abbey Shanghai Warrior Dope SoSH Member

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    I broke this out to a new thread, especially since I don't really have any issues personally with the current on the field product.

    =====================

    A different component of the topic, but this isn't good either:

     
  2. Gdiguy

    Gdiguy Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    2,252
    Even with the caveat that the weather was ridiculous (and many fans might have expected it to be postponed), that's pretty awful.

    I do think this year is going to test the notion that you can tank as a baseball team and not have your attendance plummet
     
  3. Captaincoop

    Captaincoop Member SoSH Member

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    8,554
    The White Sox are a perfect storm for bad attendance. Terrible team, nondescript park in a miserable part of a violent city, very high quality alternative for baseball fans right on the other side of town.
     
  4. SirPsychoSquints

    SirPsychoSquints Member SoSH Member

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    And it was 35 degrees with snow on the ground at 1:30 on a work day.
     
  5. Gdiguy

    Gdiguy Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    2,252
  6. tims4wins

    tims4wins PN23's replacement SoSH Member

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    Not so much a "broken" comment, but here is an observation:

    Whether it is due to tanking or just poor performance, there are currently 7 teams at .350 winning percentage or below.

    There were no such teams in 2017. Worst WP was .395
    Ditto 2016. .364
    Ditto 2015. .389
    Ditto 2014. .395

    You have to go back to the 2013 Houston Astros (.315) to find a sub-.350 team.

    So what the hell is going on here?
     
  7. tims4wins

    tims4wins PN23's replacement SoSH Member

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    20,911
    I don't disagree, but why do we see so many crappy teams this year? Do you think this is just an early season blip and the worst teams will normalize to somewhere around .375, but even at that only a couple will be sub-.400? Or do you think we will see a whole slew of sub-.400 teams?
     
  8. shaggydog2000

    shaggydog2000 Member SoSH Member

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    5,295
    Last year there were no teams who had a winning percentage above .650. So far this year there are 6. Earlier in a season the sample sizes are smaller and random chance means you get bigger spreads like this. I'd only be concerned if we're halfway through the year and the data is considerably different from the same period in past years.
     
  9. wade boggs chicken dinner

    wade boggs chicken dinner Member SoSH Member

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    16,221
    I think there are so many crappy teams because they have crappy players on cheap contracts and aren't trying to win.
    Plus you have teams like the Os which aren't trying to be crappy but just turn out to be so.

    So yes, I think we will have historically bad set of teams this year, all of whom think they can be the next Astros or Cubs.

    I just wonder how many of them are going to be in for the multi-year tank like those two went through.

    edit: maybe I'm wrong about the entire thing and it's just a fluke of scheduling or something like that but I'm going to note that Fangraphs does not project any team to be under .400 winning percentage this year, although it has 5 teams winning less than 70 games. https://www.fangraphs.com/depthcharts.aspx?position=Standings
     
    #9 wade boggs chicken dinner, Apr 19, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2018
  10. tims4wins

    tims4wins PN23's replacement SoSH Member

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    20,911
    Yeah it definitely takes patience. It is easy to do it for one year... not so easy to do it for 2-3-4 years.
     
  11. DrewDawg

    DrewDawg Dorito Dink SoSH Member

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    Those teams want to win a World Series 4 years later like Houston did?
     
  12. Comeback Kid

    Comeback Kid Member SoSH Member

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    870
    Not an easy problem to solve with the current trends, but here is the bigger issue that need fixing, IMO. Courtesy of the Joe Sheehan Newsletter:
     
  13. adam42381

    adam42381 Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    I wonder if they’d consider lowering the mound a couple inches?
     
  14. tims4wins

    tims4wins PN23's replacement SoSH Member

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    It's been about two weeks since my initial post. Thought it would be interesting to track this all season. As of my initial post there were 7 teams at .350 or worse.

    As of today, as expected, that number has dropped to 4 teams at .350 or worse, with another 4 between .350 and .400. 7 teams still on pace for 100 losses, and an 8th team on pace for 99.
     
  15. SirPsychoSquints

    SirPsychoSquints Member SoSH Member

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    I'm not going to the trouble of matching # of games into the season. On May 2 of XXXX year, Y # of teams were at .350 or worse (compiled from here):
    2017 - 2
    2016 - 4
    2015 - 4
    2014 - 2
    2013 - 3
    2012 - 3
    2007 - 2
    2002 - 7!
    1997 - 4
    1992 - 3
    1987 - 1
    1977 - 1
    1967 - 1
    1957 - 3
    1947 - 1
    1937 - 2
    1927 - 3 (Sox were 3-13)
    1917 - 2
    1907 - 4 (out of 16)
    1902 - 2 (out of 16)
    1897 - 5 (out of 12 - but they'd only played between 5 and 9 games each)
     
  16. tims4wins

    tims4wins PN23's replacement SoSH Member

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    20,911
    Thanks - this is helpful. Do you have the # of 100 loss teams by season?

    Interestingly there has not been a single 100 loss team for the last 3 years, which is why having so many this year feels like such an outlier. I'd be curious in what the record number of 100 loss teams is in a single season. EDIT: it is 4, in 2002
     
    #16 tims4wins, May 2, 2018
    Last edited: May 2, 2018
  17. Curt S Loew

    Curt S Loew SoSH Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    Not surprisingly, it happened......

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/spor...ory.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.405b3f265027
     
  18. SirPsychoSquints

    SirPsychoSquints Member SoSH Member

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    year # of teams below .350 as of May 2 # of teams finishing with 100 losses.

    Note that the # of games in a season has only been 162 since 1961

    2017 2 0
    2016 4 1
    2015 4 0
    2014 2 0
    2013 3 2
    2012 3 2
    2007 2 0
    2002 7 4
    1997 4 0
    1992 3 0
    1987 1 1
    1977 1 2
    1967 1 1
    1957 3 0
    1947 1 0
    1937 2 1
    1927 3 2
    1917 2 1
    1907 4 2
    1902 2 0
    1897 5 1
     
  19. Lose Remerswaal

    Lose Remerswaal Leaves after the 8th inning Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    So 30% of teams starting off below. 350 end up losing 100 games. And that number is consistent over the full list as well as in the Wild Card era.

    Thanks for compiling that data.
     
  20. Hank Scorpio

    Hank Scorpio Member SoSH Member

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    Something I just stumbled upon.

    In 2007, teams average 6.62 strikeouts per game, second highest mark all time to 2001's 6.67.

    In 2008, the record was broken with 6.77 strikeouts per game.

    And since 2008, there has been a new record every single season. In 2017, the record was set with 8.25 per game, topping 2016's 8.03.

    So far in 2018, we're on a 8.71 per game pace.
     
  21. jon abbey

    jon abbey Shanghai Warrior Dope SoSH Member

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    I don't think many people agree with me, but I don't have any issue with the increased Ks/HRs/BBs. Does 9 instead of 7 Ks per game over a three hour span really change someone's enjoyment of the game that much? Personally I enjoy watching strikeouts much more than routine groundouts or flyouts, and I enjoy when batters work deep counts, even if that is more likely to result in a walk or a strikeout than in a ball hit into play.
     
  22. Plympton91

    Plympton91 bubble burster SoSH Member

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    Gotta agree with you Abbey. K’s are exciting not boring. And the building tension of long counts, guessing at the next pitch and second guessing the pitch call, are what real
    Baseball is all about. If you don’t like that stuff, grab a beer, pull on your pink hat and play with your phone.
     
  23. kenneycb

    kenneycb Hates Goose Island Beer; Loves Backdoor Play SoSH Member

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    Congrats on being a real baseball fan!
     
  24. Sampo Gida

    Sampo Gida lurker

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    NL teams outspent AL teams 2-1 in The offseason on FA.

    As of today 4 AL teams on pace for 100+ losses (a record if it happens) and AL is 20-39 by my count in interleague play. Just call it the AAAAL
     
  25. jon abbey

    jon abbey Shanghai Warrior Dope SoSH Member

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    Presumably you're implying that the second statement is connected to the first, but it seems to me like there have been plenty of instant dud FA contracts yet again this year (Cobb, Holland, Lynn off the top of my head).

    Also the interleague record is interesting/odd (and I doubt it will hold, but we'll see), but the three consensus best teams are all in the AL.
     
  26. grimshaw

    grimshaw the new rudy SoSH Member

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    Not necessarily a baseball is broken thing, but the AL Central could be historically bad.

    As of today, the combined win loss record of the division is 97-139 which equates to a .411 winning percentage.

    The worst division winning percentage ever was the '94 AL West with a .437. That division was only 4 teams and it was a strike shortened season.
     
  27. maufman

    maufman Anderson Cooper x Mr. Rogers Staff Member Dope Gold Supporter

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    On Baseball Prospectus, the 5 teams’ combined 3rd-order winning percentage is .4436. If you figure that’s our best guess at their collective W% the rest of the way, you come up with a projected full-season W% of .4339.

    They’re going to make a serious run at that record.
     
  28. Ford Frick's Asterisk

    Ford Frick's Asterisk Member SoSH Member

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    The bottom of the AL Central this year is worse than those AL West teams of '94, but barring multiple major injuries, the Indians will certainly finish with a winning record this year. If not for the strike, the AL West in '94 was going to be won by the Rangers or A's with a losing record (the Rangers, with the league's 2nd worst pitching staff, would have had to finish 30-18 to have a wining record). That said, as I remember it, the scheduling in '94 hadn't caught up yet with realignment, so they were playing a balanced schedule. It's much harder to put up records as bad as the AL Central this year, since the bad teams in it are playing against each other so much.

    *
     
  29. trs

    trs lurker

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    76
    Given I saw again on Twitter Bob Manfred's quotation about perhaps changing rules substantially due to shifts and analytics, I was curious what could be behind all that. Manfred said something along the lines that he had hoped the shifts would be rendered less effective by bunting and hitting to the opposite field. Instead, I suppose the subtext is that people are trying to beat the shift by trying to hit more home runs and therefore striking out more. Given that hitters are trying to hit more home runs, pitchers are trying to paint the corners more and are therefore walking more batters? Regardless, it seems as though he is arguing that baseball is less exciting with fewer balls in play.

    I just picked a few years from baseball-reference.com and tried to see if there's been much of a change in "in-play" plays. I know this isn't perfect at all, but I just wanted a rough estimate. I added up home runs, Ks, BBs, and HBPs and then divided them by Plate Appearances and tried to get a rough estimate of the percentage of plate appearances that ended with real "ball in play" events. I'm of course ignoring the debate on whether these plays are inherently more or less exciting.

    Percentages of PAs that ended without an "in-play" event (HR, K, BB, HBP) -- am i dumbly missing one?

    2018 (to date): 35.0%
    2017: 34.9%
    2000: 29.8%
    1990: 26.1%
    1980: 23.0%
    1970: 27.0%
    1950: 22.8%
    1935: 18.2%

    I jumped around somewhat arbitrarily but tried to consider different eras. It does seem that the game has turned more and more into an "all or nothing" type game, but substantially so?
     
  30. SirPsychoSquints

    SirPsychoSquints Member SoSH Member

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    By Decade:
    • 2010s 31.8%
    • 2000s 29.3%
    • 1990s 28.0%
    • 1980s 25.1%
    • 1970s 24.6%
    • 1960s 26.1%
    • 1950s 23.4%
    • 1940s 20.1%
    • 1930s 18.6%
    • 1920s 16.6%
    • 1910s 18.9%
    • 1900s 17.3%
    Edit: The biggest driver of the differences is, of course, K Rate, which has swung from 7.23% in the 20s to 20.13% in the 2010s. This makes up 12.9% of the total 15.2% change between those two decades.

    By comparison, the highest/lowest decades of the other components:
    HR - 2000's 2.78%, 1900's 0.37% (2010's 2.69%)
    BB - 1950s 9.26%, 1900's 6.63% (2010's 8.09%)
    HBP - 2000's 0.93%, 1930's 0.36% (2010's 0.87%)
     
    #30 SirPsychoSquints, Jun 5, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2018
  31. Max Power

    Max Power thai good. you like shirt? SoSH Member

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    If the ball weren't juiced or made with "less drag" or whatever the explanation they came up with for the extra distance fly balls get, there would probably be a lot more bunting and opposite field hitting against the shifts. Right now it still makes sense to swing for the fences because there's a good chance you're going to hit one out. If that chance were lessened, it may change the approach of all the guys with middling power who are getting shifted on.

    There also seems to be a general non-shift change in infield positioning. I can't remember a time in baseball where more groundballs up the middle are turned into outs. You'd never see that even 5 years ago, but now it seems that every team is playing one of their middle infielders close to the second base bag. That might just be a cyclical thing and hitters will adapt, but it's weird seeing so many sharp grounders back across the pitcher's mound that don't turn into hits.
     
  32. trs

    trs lurker

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    76
    This is interesting, as at least I always used to associate shifts with power hitters, but of course now the shift is applied to anyone with a tendency to pull or not, regardless of power. The Ortizes and Williamses of the past could perhaps hit through the shift by just putting it over the fence or simply put it deep enough into the outfield where just the amount of square footage makes it difficult to cover. However, the "middling power," as you put it, would get hurt much more I would think, as their value in getting singles and perhaps doubles is negatively effected just like for power hitters but that can't necessarily be made up for by swinging for the fences.

    Strangely enough this could even perhaps lead more players to be tempted towards PEDs.

    Agreed entirely on your point about up the middle base hits. Hitters may adapt, as you say, but I think that many people calling for hitters to adapt and start hitting it "where they ain't" may not necessarily appreciate just how hard that is to do. Perhaps even harder than "learning" to hit for more power?

    Lastly, I assume that the traditional infield positioning strategy was based on divvying up the space more or less evenly, without necessarily taking into consideration spray charts. If more balls are hit up the middle then straight at the old 6-hole, it wouldn't make much sense to just rely on the worst fielder, positioned too close to the hitter and almost always not in a fielding stance when the ball is hit, to make those plays.
     
  33. lapa

    lapa lurker

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    544
    Part of the problem is actually just a lack of engagement by the so called announcers who instead of showing that the game is interesting by discussing each pitch each count each out each fielding adjustment instead just want to quickly get over the result of each pitch in order to blather on inane bullshit thus blatantly informing viewers that the game itself is boring and uninteresting outside when a run is scored or someone 'famous' gets put out. Seriously drives me fucking nuts. Maybe it's discovering the game late as a foreigner but reading Keith Hernandez 'total baseball' and the like was mind blowing to me. There's loads going on ALL THE TIME in every single pitch. Get people who are interested in the game to comment on this and to mention all the insights into player and team specifics but it's no wonder people tune out when the very broadcasts meant to celebrate it just treat the game as background filler to their moronic twatting blather
     
  34. rymflaherty

    rymflaherty Member SoSH Member

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    http://www.espn.com/blog/buster-oln...calls-to-bullpen-a-change-that-should-be-made

    Just saw this piece by Buster Olney and thought of this thread.
    His proposal is to limit the number of Pitchers used in a 9 inning game to 4 per team (exceptions for injuries, blowouts). While it is obviously a more radical suggestion, I actually kind of love it. Admittedly I could hate it if I ever actually saw it in practice, as maybe it is too extreme, but it certainly helps address numerous issues and adds layers of strategy. The cries would be to leave baseball and that it ruins the purity of the game, but the irony is a change like this would actually create a product that better resembles the past/history that they are trying to protect.
     
  35. grimshaw

    grimshaw the new rudy SoSH Member

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    Terrible idea. Teams would just drive up pitch counts again. Can you imagine Drew Pomeranz against the Yankees? He gets through maybe 4 or 5 at most, then you have three more pitchers the rest of the way.

    You aren't just playing match ups against the Yankees, you're trying to survive a 4 game series with your whole bullpen in tact.
     
  36. jon abbey

    jon abbey Shanghai Warrior Dope SoSH Member

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    Also that will end up with even more pitchers hurting their arms, really one of the dumbest ideas I have heard yet from a normally pretty smart guy (Olney).

    I need to say again that I am in the seeming minority that doesn't think the actual game of baseball is broken (yes, I started this thread), although of course it could use some tweaks. It is the sport that I think is broken, the power balance between the owners/players has shifted way way too far in the direction of the owners (again, good job, Tony Clark), guys are under contract forever at below-market salaries and now when they do hit free agency, teams instead go with the next round of underpaid youngsters and guys are pushed out of the game at 30 or 32, etc, etc.
     
  37. Marciano490

    Marciano490 Urological Expert SoSH Member

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  38. VORP Speed

    VORP Speed Well-Known Member Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    There is a simple solution to the time suck of numerous pitching changes....don't allow any warm-up tosses. Warm-up is what the bullpen is for. Pinch hitters don't get to take a few rounds of live BP on the field while everyone else waits. Pitching change should work like pinch hitting. Manager notifies the umpire and then the new pitcher comes in and pitches. No commercial break, no standing around and stopping the game for one player who is already warmed up to warm up some more. Not used to the mound? Tough, don't make a mid-inning pitching change. Catcher unfamiliar with the pitcher's stuff? Tough, don't make a mid-inning pitching change. It addresses the issue without altering the fundamental rules of the game.
     
  39. SirPsychoSquints

    SirPsychoSquints Member SoSH Member

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    Haven't we seen evidence that the time issue is primarily a pace of play one, with time between pitches? The solution proposed has the risk of increasing pitcher injuries while having a minimal impact on time of game.
     
  40. VORP Speed

    VORP Speed Well-Known Member Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    The issue overall is pace of play, but there seems to be growing momentum about the number of pitching changes being an issue. Olney's idiotic proposal, one of the proposals in the yahoo article, etc. I'm referring specifically to concerns around too many pitching changes being a problem from a time/boredom standpoint.

    How would limiting warm-up tosses from the game mound increase the risk of injury?
     
  41. SirPsychoSquints

    SirPsychoSquints Member SoSH Member

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    I'm saying that's a stupid concern, because it doesn't contribute meaningfully to game length.

    My understanding, and I'm not sure about this myself, is that the pitcher's comfort with how he's going to plant is important. If the footing is different from expected he could slip or mis-plant or.... something like that. Previous pitchers have planted particular places, the mound heights are somewhat different, the rubber isn't exactly in the same place...
     
  42. ledsox

    ledsox Member SoSH Member

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    Right, each mound is slightly different. It may be minor but a pitcher should have a few pitches to acclimate.
     
  43. jon abbey

    jon abbey Shanghai Warrior Dope SoSH Member

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    Bump from May 2:

    This is pretty much back to normal, closing in on the halfway mark of the season, 3 teams under .350 and 1 more between .350 and .400.
     
  44. Lose Remerswaal

    Lose Remerswaal Leaves after the 8th inning Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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  45. charlieoscar

    charlieoscar Member

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    This season the MLB teams with the best and worst ERAs have used about 2.9 relievers per game. These would all be pitching changes. Fir simplicity, let's say there are six pitching changes per game on average. If each one takes five minutes, that would account for thirty minutes of extra game time. If PITCHf/x data were still available for games, it would be easy to figure out the actual time for each pitching change. Now, someone could start timing them as they happen to get a more accurate approximation than the value of five minutes I guessed at.

    But the fact is that in today's game, the starters are not going as far into games as they once did and the bullpen use (i.e., pitching changes) has increased and this does not take into account those mound visits that are basically made to give the relievers more time to warm.
     
  46. Apisith

    Apisith Member SoSH Member

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    Is baseball’s declining popularity related to player turnover? There aren’t as many mega stars anymore.

    Is this because the average starting pitcher has a shorter career? Are players’ careers shortening? Is the trend of RPs being fungible affecting how much the fans care about players? Can you develop strong feelings for your team’s players if you’re seeing so many changes every year?

    I think the CBA has been terrible for parity and competitiveness, and terrible for the players. But there are some other long term trends at play here.

    Besides fixing the CBA, I would make the strike zone smaller. I think it would induce more balls in play which would increase excitement.
     
  47. jon abbey

    jon abbey Shanghai Warrior Dope SoSH Member

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  48. wade boggs chicken dinner

    wade boggs chicken dinner Member SoSH Member

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  49. tims4wins

    tims4wins PN23's replacement SoSH Member

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    20,911
    Yep, only 3 teams now on pace for 100 losses, that is much better than the 7 or so we were projecting earlier. Good for baseball.
     
  50. charlieoscar

    charlieoscar Member

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    How do you make the strike zone smaller? Reduce the size of home plate? Raise the bottom of the strike zone and lower the top of it?

    Why not go back to early baseball? Until 1886 the batter could call for a high pitch (waist to shoulders) or low pitch (waist to knees). In order to qualify as a strike it had to be over the plate and within the batter's chosen area. Also, pitchers had to throw underhand (until 1884) from 50 feet (1881).

    There were some other things that were to the batters advantage but all-in-all, you probably would see a lot more runs scored today if all those rules were re-implemented.
     

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