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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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    Making the strike zone smaller would almost certainly just lead to more walks, and while I am all for a hardfought walk, that is the last thing we need more of in baseball.
     
  2. Joe Sixpack

    Joe Sixpack Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    Between innings pitching changes don't add 5 minutes.
     
  3. Cuzittt

    Cuzittt Bouncing with Anger Dope

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    Between inning pitching changes add nothing to the equation.

    Inter-inning changes also don't add 5 minutes. It's essentially another ad break... So 2.5 minutes tops.
     
  4. charlieoscar

    charlieoscar Member

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    @Joe Sixpack, Cuzitt -- True, I should have thought of that. Since then, I tried to see if there was some relatively easy way to pull that data from Retrosheet files but I can't see of anyway to do it without programming (I access it from a database).

    However, I did find an article on fivethirtyeight by Jonah Keri (How Bullpens Took Over Modern Baseball) in which he noted that in 1964 teams used an average of 2.58 pitchers per game (includes starters) and the relievers averaged 2.64 innings per game; in 2014 there were 3.92 pitchers per game with relievers averaging just over 3 innings per game. If you toss teh starters out of those numbers, you have almost double the average amount of relievers in 50 years pitching about one-half inning more.
     
  5. ledsox

    ledsox Member SoSH Member

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    https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/what-a-smaller-strike-zone-can-do-for-pace-of-play/
    This recent article concludes that more pitches would end up as mistakes and thus be put in play at a higher rate with a smaller zone. More walks too but at a lower increase rate than the decrease in strike outs.
     
  6. jon abbey

    jon abbey Shanghai Warrior Dope SoSH Member

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  7. Max Power

    Max Power thai good. you like shirt? SoSH Member

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    There's also the pitching change clock that is set to 2 minutes. Even if you add 30 seconds for the manager to make the call, it's not 5 minutes.

    Shrinking the strike zone so that the bottom is at the top of the knee rather than the bottom should help put more balls in play. Those low pitches just aren't hittable, so it's against the spirit of the strike zone to make them strikes.
     
  8. soxhop411

    soxhop411 Member SoSH Member

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    F4BA11F5-9D3D-41E5-B869-5228548DC20A.jpeg 1586C35F-6E20-418F-A350-D64D489F03B7.jpeg FAF38984-70DB-435F-AC39-4A56BD939057.jpeg 37ECEEF8-FDF9-47EB-B9CC-FFE653EF0FB4.jpeg You want to get more butts in the seats?

    Do a Turn ahead the clock night like tonight in SEA

    It will piss off the purists. But I don’t give a shit about them.
     
  9. Murby

    Murby lurker

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    I’m watching this game. It’s a Saturday night & the stands are pretty empty. I strongly object to these gimmicks as I don’t think they help sell the game. But, if you could show they work, I guess so.

    Also, instead of shrinking the strike zone, could they lower the mound to create more offense?
     
  10. snowmanny

    snowmanny Well-Known Member Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    I’ll say it again. 8 inning games. No DH and pitcher doesn’t hit.
    8 man lineup. Batter stats stay pretty close to the same as plate appearances don’t really change. You lose the worst pitched inning out of your bullpen. A three-hour game is now twenty minutes shorter.
     
  11. SirPsychoSquints

    SirPsychoSquints Member SoSH Member

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    I think the reduced innings pitches are as likely to come out of the starter’s workload than a relievers but the rest is still true.
     
  12. Infield Infidel

    Infield Infidel teaching korea american SoSH Member

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    I've been saying the same, but I would keep the DH, and have him hit for a position player, with the caveat that he couldn't hit for the same position or player in back-to-back games.
     
  13. charlieoscar

    charlieoscar Member

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    Dave Smith, founder of Retrosheet, presented a paper at SABR48 on things that may affect the length of games. While there is too much for me to cover, one of the things he studied was mid-inning pitching changes. He notes, "However, the surprising results to me are the mid-inning changes. These have increased by more than a factor of two since 1939, but essentially not at all since 1994," and that the use of additional relief pitchers does not have that much effect on games. His major conclusion is "the single biggest factor contributing to the longer games is the number of pitches.

    It's worth a read in its entirety: http://retrosheet.org/Research/SmithD/WhyDoGamesTakeSoLong.pdf
     
  14. wade boggs chicken dinner

    wade boggs chicken dinner Member SoSH Member

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    I don't know why people are willing to move around the pitching mound, play with the strike zone, institute pitch and other clocks, or even chop an inning off a game but they aren't willing to consider going to 3 balls and 2 strikes.

    Baseball was great when people needed to kill three hours on a summer night because there was nothing else to do. Well, there are other things to do and there's no reason why people need to sit around and watch a ball go back and forth between catcher and pitcher.

    Games would be shorter; you'd eliminate the need for crappy middle relievers; and there would be a lot less dead time in the game.
     
  15. SirPsychoSquints

    SirPsychoSquints Member SoSH Member

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    No evidence that this is true and they wouldn't just continue to shorten the starters' outing. Crappy middle relievers are still better per inning than the second time through the order for a 5th starter, right?
     
  16. wade boggs chicken dinner

    wade boggs chicken dinner Member SoSH Member

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    I think you mean the third time around the order, not the second.

    But at any rate, 100 pitches would get starters deeper into games. Thus, they'd be able to get to their relief aces and closers without using middle relievers. Also, starters might not have to show as much of their stuff in the early innings so maybe a starter is better equipped to face a lineup three times.

    Fans might start paying more attention to the pitching too since each ball and strike would be more important. "Bases are loaded; the count is full at 2-1; here's the payoff pitch . . . ."
     
  17. SirPsychoSquints

    SirPsychoSquints Member SoSH Member

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    Second time through is still worse than first time through. You're more likely to see starters expected to go all out over a smaller number of pitches.

    The problem with all of these is pitchers are BETTER over shorter stints, which is what is driving the shorter stints. Not the game being too long. The game being long is what is keeping teams from completely bullpenning it.
     
  18. bosox79

    bosox79 Member SoSH Member

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    The Royals and Orioles would have to play better than .500 baseball the rest of the season to avoid losing 100 games. The Whitesox would need to play at a 45% clip. 3 teams losing 100+ would be the 2nd most ever, as 4 lost 100+ in 2002.

    Meanwhile, 4 teams in the AL are on pace to win 100 games. Seattle is falling off the pace but if Houston, NY and Boston all win 100, it'll be the first time 3 teams in the same league have done so. If Seattle wins 100 as well, it'll be the first time ever 4 teams have won 100. 3 teams have won 100+ games on 6 separate occasions with the last time being last year, 2017. Four of those seasons have come since 1998, with the other 2 happening in back to back years in 2002 and 2003.

    Interesting. 24 of the 102 teams to win 100+ games have happened since 1998. Not sure if that really tells us anything though.
     
  19. shaggydog2000

    shaggydog2000 Member SoSH Member

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    Well, since the sixties started the number of teams playing has almost doubled, and the number of games each one played increased from 154 to 162. I think both of those things would increase the chances of having a 100 game winner in a given season by quite a bit. Is the rate from 1998 to now that much higher than from 1961 until then when adjusting for league size?
     
  20. bosox79

    bosox79 Member SoSH Member

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    35 teams won 100+ games from 1961 to 1997, so it's not even higher. It's lower. No adjustment even needed.

    Makes it even more curious that 4 of those 6 seasons happened since 1998.
     
  21. bosox79

    bosox79 Member SoSH Member

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  22. charlieoscar

    charlieoscar Member

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    100/154 = x/162 or 105 wins or looking at it the other way, 100/162 = x/154 or 95 wins
     
  23. soxhop411

    soxhop411 Member SoSH Member

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    The AL central might have the 4 of the worst records in all of baseball by the end of the year....

    Wonder when the last time that happened was (1 team above .500 in one division)
     
  24. bosox79

    bosox79 Member SoSH Member

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    A few teams have won the division with 82 or 83 games. The Padres won their division in 2005 by 5 games despite going 82-80.

    When the strike ended the 1994 season, the Texas Rangers were in 1st place by 1 game with a 52-62 record.

    edit: The 1999 Central Division was pretty terrible too. The Indians were 97-65, the Whitesox 75-86. The other 3 teams failed to win 70 games.
     
    #74 bosox79, Jul 7, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2018
  25. jon abbey

    jon abbey Shanghai Warrior Dope SoSH Member

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    Houston and Boston and New York and Cleveland are all pushing each other to be super teams in the AL, all four are so loaded and have had the league locked up essentially from day 1 again. Cleveland is under the others so far this season but if they figure out their bullpen again, they were the best team in the AL going into the playoffs last year and they will be able to coast and rest guys as much of September as they choose.

    And I guess the relevance of that here is that I watch team sports to hopefully see great teams go up against and push other great teams, so assuming someone beats Seattle in the wild card game, we are lined up for two epic ALDS series again, no matter how it pairs off, the same four teams as last season. For me, that is the opposite of broken, men's tennis has never been better IMO than when we knew Federer/Nadal/Djokovic/Murray would dominate every Grand Slam. I am not drawing a precise equivalent here, but as I said, these great teams are all really pushing each other, jockeying for position, fun.
     
  26. grimshaw

    grimshaw the new rudy SoSH Member

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    Houston is even more impressive given the competitive division. The Indians are doing what they need to do, but seem to be quite a ways behind the others. Though they are hitting their stride now.

    I don't think there is an NL playoff team better than the top 5 AL teams. The Brewers are fun to watch but they don't have the rotation to match up. Even if they get deGrom.

    They are winning with Jhoulys Chacin as their "ace."
     
    #76 grimshaw, Jul 8, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2018
  27. Spacemans Bong

    Spacemans Bong chapeau rose SoSH Member

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    Pitchers are also taking an extra 2.7 seconds per pitch as compared to 2008, 24.3 seconds per pitch now as compared to 21.6. Almost 3 seconds per pitch is gonna add up.
     
  28. Big John

    Big John lurker

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    1,332
    I'm just another old fart, but Shaughnessy put his finger on a number of issues in today's Boston Globe. There just isn't enough action in the field: fewer great catches, fewer double plays, fewer balls hit into the gap, etc. The game is all strikeouts, walks and home rums, and sometimes it gets dreadfully boring.

    The first steps I would take are (1) deaden the ball, and (2) lower the mound. That would lcut down on strikeouts and home runs. I'm not sure how to get the pitchers to hurry up.
     
  29. geoduck no quahog

    geoduck no quahog Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    10,533
    Pace of Play:
    • No one will address the real culprit: 2 to 2-1/2 minutes between half-innings for commercials. Shorten the break and charge more. How many of us let games get ahead on DVR just so we can FF through the commercials? Perhaps more than you think. (And get rid of the 4 minute 7th inning God Bless America stretch)

    • Enforce a real time limit on pitchers, a ball called for exceeding the limit. I find the wait between pitches for certain players to be excruciating, often leading to the batter stepping out because he has no choice. I don't think pitchers pitch better when they take the ball, walk around the mound, spend 10 seconds setting up, have a discussion with themselves and then throw 30 seconds after the last pitch. There are serial offenders in the game.

    • A throw to any base while the runner's foot is on the bag is a balk. Introduce a new strategy: pitchers directed to stall for a reliever to warm up would be stymied if the runner never takes a lead. Offense gives up a jump off the base, defense loses however many minutes needed because the manager didn't get his guy up in time.
    Revenue Sharing:
    • Simply doesn't work if there's no minimum payroll set. Make "under-payroll" teams pay tax the same way the big spenders do. Want to field a $30M/year team? Forfeit 50% of of your tax revenue...
    Strike Zone:
    • It's inevitable so let's just do it. Make strikes electronic. The technology is there. Every hitter gets exactly the same break depending on his size. Rookie pitchers don't get squeezed and all-stars don't get benefits of the doubt. The concept of each umpire having his own zone is pathetic - the rule is that all zones are identical per each batter. That's the way batters should be trained and pitchers should pitch. Play shouldn't be decided on 5-strikes turning into a game winning homerun. (Aside, I once asked an NCAA umpire how he called pitches and the answer was frightening)
    DH
    • Different rules are stupid.
     
  30. charlieoscar

    charlieoscar Member

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    Just out of curiosity, what technology? One of the problems with trying to develop an automatic strike calling system is that the strike zone is three-dimensional. Technically speaking, a high pitch that drops just in time to catch the back end of the strike zone is a strike; similarly pitches wide of the plate that bend back in at the last moment are, too. Are you looking for perfection or just "better"?
     
  31. geoduck no quahog

    geoduck no quahog Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    That 3D Questec graphic that ESPN uses looks great...if it's accurate. I think the technology is available to identify a ball's track in great detail, with a human setting the upper and lower boundaries for each hitter before the game. Don't know for sure, but it seems do- able.
     
  32. charlieoscar

    charlieoscar Member

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    I had an inside introduction to PITCHf/x at the St.Louis ballpark during the 2007 SABR convention, which was before it was in all parks (maybe 22). There was one immediately noticeable problem: There was an operator setting the boundaries for each batter as they came to the plate. One, the operator didn't always set the points at the right moment and two, a different operator might set the points differently for a batter. It was PITCHf/x's plan to have an automated database built from a compilation of the settings for every batter. While this sounds good, what happens when there is a new batter, a call-up? What happens when you have a batter who changes his stance depending on how he wants to hit the ball (say Rod Carew) or by the pitcher he is facing? What if the human setting the bounds is sloppy? It's not cut-and-dried.
     
  33. Big John

    Big John lurker

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    1,332
    Why can't the strike zone be the strike zone regardless of the batter's stance? If a diminutive player bats from a deep crouch, the high strike (or low strike for that matter) ought to be in the same location as it is for Aaron Judge.

    On reflection, I'm not so sure that the length of games is the major problem. To me, the problem is that the game as played today has become boring. In addition to taking away many fine defensive plays, the current style of play eschews sacrifices (and bunting in general), stolen bases, hitting behind runners and giving up the long ball to beat a shift. Today's game lacks variety.

    So the length of the game means that we are bored longer, that's all.
     
  34. adam42381

    adam42381 Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    I’d like to think they could use some sort of sensors on the uniforms, one at the letters/top of the zone and one at the knees/bottom of the zone. I don’t know how feasible this would be, but I’d imagine the technology wouldn’t be that difficult to implement if MLB wanted to do it.
     
  35. charlieoscar

    charlieoscar Member

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    1,201
    You would have to keep the sensor level to the plane of the plate and that might be difficult it it were attached to the uniform, especially when the batter checks a swing.
     
  36. Lose Remerswaal

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

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    They don't raise and lower the hoop in the NBA for taller and shorter players, do they?

    Strike zone is now 20 to 40 inches off the ground. Ball passes thru that zone it's a strike .


    Only partially kidding.
     
  37. charlieoscar

    charlieoscar Member

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    I'm an old-timer. When I first started watching games, outfielders left their gloves on the field when they changed sides. Players ran out of the dugout to their positions, carrying gloves for any others who were on base. Players didn't wear batting gloves so they didn't have to step out of the box after ever pitch to re-strap them them three or four times after every pitch even if they didn't swing. Players didn't wear body armor that they had to remove when they got on base or switch batting gloves for sliding gloves. They didn't pimp their home runs.

    If you go to minor league games, you find, generally speaking, that the lower the level, the shorter the game time. In Triple-A you have a lot of players who have already appeared in the majors; in Double-A, you have ones who are ready to move up. The kids at the bottom are trying to make an impression, so they hustle. If you have a 7-year contract at $30M per, do you worry about losing your job?

    What I'd love to see is a ruling that the players get x% of the television income for their salaries and then they have to determine amongst themselves who gets what share. If a player wants to move to another club before the term of his contract is up, he must pay his old club in addition to what the two clubs work out between themselves. Once things even out, then clubs can offer extra money to players...you agree to play for us for three years and we'll give you an additional $15M; however, if you decide you want out after one year, you owe us $10M.

    I think the game is broken (and television, especially cable and satellite, and the internet bear a lot of the blame) and drastic measures need to be taken. That was mine.
     
  38. charlieoscar

    charlieoscar Member

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    1,201
    So, Dustin Pedroia should have the same strike zone that Aaron Judge has, or vice versa?
     
  39. Lose Remerswaal

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

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    Bend your knees, Aaron.

    And Pedroia has always swung at pitches around his eyes anyway
     
  40. shaggydog2000

    shaggydog2000 Member SoSH Member

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    We only think about the strike zone the way it is now because that is how it is defined. I really don't see why the height should vary depending on the player. If the other dimensions stay the same and everything is fine, why shouldn't the height? Reach gives the giants an advantage in every other dimension of the strike zone, why not make them cover a lower strike. Their swings will change, but players have adapted to higher and lower strike zones (overall) before, individuals could as well.

    And I think the main issue with going all electronic is that occasionally the readings are just way off. It's rare, but I've heard it happens from the people who look at the Pitch F/X data to analyze it.
     
  41. geoduck no quahog

    geoduck no quahog Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    Correct me if I'm wrong.

    The situation is that Umpires cannot easily see the height of a ball as it crosses the plate. They rely on where the ball is caught* and then extrapolate back to the plate to determine if it crossed high or low. On top of that, the top and bottom of the strike zone changes with out-of-norm batters (Altuve, Judge). It's interesting that the stuff umpires can actually see (inside/outside) involves boundaries that never change.

    Given that, it's still amazing that umps get as many high/low calls correct as they do.

    This didn't matter as much (to the fan) until video boxes came along and games were changed on the perception that a call was incorrect. The players always knew and were often infuriated.

    If there's a fix, it should be considered. What other boundary call in sports is left up to partial whim these days (considering the strike zone is essentially a defined prism)? A team losing game 7 of a series on a bad pitch call is only slightly less awful than a world cup team winning on penalty kicks. If there's a fix, shouldn't it be considered?

    Edit: *I've been told that a catcher's knees are generally the height of strike zone bottom, and the catcher's eyes (mask-ish) are generally the top...does that sound right?
     
  42. Max Power

    Max Power thai good. you like shirt? SoSH Member

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    Because that's neither the letter nor spirit of the rule. The letter: the rulebook explicitly says the top and bottom of the zones are determined by the hitters' bodies. The spirit: "strikes" are pitches that can be hit and "balls" are not.
     
  43. bosox79

    bosox79 Member SoSH Member

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    Still curious why no team has tried a really fast midget at DH. Eddie Gaedel would have walked every single time. I don't think terminating a contract of a player just because he is a midget would fly in 2018.
     
  44. Big John

    Big John lurker

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    That's another thing about baseball today. No more Bill Veecks (who brought in Eddie Gaedel) Casey Stengels, Leo Durochers, Bill Lees, Earl Weavers. No more gas house gangs, tobacco juice, take out slides, chin music. Its all sterile and corporate, with the post game interviews orchestrated by media-savvy managers who say absolutely nothing. It might as well be a video game.

    Stengel said about Bobby Richardson: "He doesn't drink, he doesn't smoke, he doesn't chew, he doesn't stay out late, and he still can't hit .250." I think that's a pretty good metaphor for baseball in 2018.
     
  45. bosox79

    bosox79 Member SoSH Member

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    Anyone know if you can filter for height on any of the baseball sites? Curious if shorter players in general strike out less and/or walk more than players of average height. I looked up Brian Giles, Dustin Pedroia and Jose Altuve but those are some really, really good baseball players. Marcus Giles striked out a bit more. Donnie Sadler didn't play much but didn't strike out very much either.
     
  46. jon abbey

    jon abbey Shanghai Warrior Dope SoSH Member

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    Pretty sure every single person mentioned there is white, which is funny because the influx of Latin players and all of the flair they bring to celebrating etc. has made the game much more fun to watch IMO than it was back when it was all-white. You can keep your disgusting chaw spitting, I'll take this:

     
  47. Big John

    Big John lurker

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    1,332
    There were and are plenty of colorful Latin and Black players. Ozzie Guillen is as colorful as they come and he can't get a job, excerpt in Venezuela. He might offend a sponsor.
     
  48. timlinin8th

    timlinin8th Member SoSH Member

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    Its more difficult for an ump to determine height when they are set up directly behind the plate (which is the optimal spot to determine where the ball crosses the plate). Some umps will set up slightly off-center which allows them to more accurately see the vertical axis, at the detriment of accuracy of the ball crossing the plate.

    I’ve always argued that in order to keep the umpire union happy and to help with accuracy of strike calls, put some sort of automated tech in place (camera, RFID, etc) that can register the horizontal axis information (the ball crossing over the plate) back to a sensor in the home ump’s mask, and allow that ump to set up in an off-center position and allow them to continue to call the vertical axis which is the part automation struggles with anyways. May not be a perfect scenario but if you get more accuracy the better.
     
  49. Spacemans Bong

    Spacemans Bong chapeau rose SoSH Member

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    It's not the real culprit, that's why. The current time is 2 minutes and 5 seconds, it was 1 minute and 45 seconds in the 80s when games were half an hour shorter. The extra ad time is responsible for something like 5 minutes and 40 seconds of the increase. No, not nothing, but it's not the real culprit (extra pitching changes aren't the culprit either).

    Grant Brisbee dissected this in length a few years ago.
     
  50. shaggydog2000

    shaggydog2000 Member SoSH Member

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    And who among us did not love Koji Uehara celebrating the last out of an 8th inning in August like he just won a playoff game? I like seeing guys have fun. I like seeing emotion.
     

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