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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. tims4wins

    tims4wins PN23's replacement SoSH Member

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    Oakland would be the least problematic park. It would impact Fenway a ton.
     
  2. bosox79

    bosox79 Member SoSH Member

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    Although I guess that wouldn't matter. That's more about being able to catch foul balls and turn them into outs.
     
  3. SirPsychoSquints

    SirPsychoSquints Member SoSH Member

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    Wouldn’t Oakland be the worst example? They have the most foul outs, due to the massive foul territory. The bigger impact would be in places like Fenway where a foul ball goes from harmless to harmful.

    Edit: too slow
     
  4. bosox79

    bosox79 Member SoSH Member

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    Yeah, agreed. I was looking at it backwards.
     
  5. charlieoscar

    charlieoscar Member

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    A count of foul balls for 2017 (not including foul tips and not differentiating between fouls that were turned into outs and ones that weren't) shows 124,758 happened in 2017 (Retrosheet play-by-play logs). For 2430 games, that averages out to 51.3 per game [Retrosheet has a Pitch Sequence field and I simply filtered all records that contained an "F" and did a Search and Replace for "F" to get the count].
     
  6. Ale Xander

    Ale Xander Member SoSH Member

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    No thank you
     
  7. simplyeric

    simplyeric aggressively nonsensical SoSH Member

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    There's a bit of an inherent conflict in the "needs" for the game moving forward.

    a. everyone wants shorter games
    b. many people want more balls in play

    You can whittle away at the "per pitch" time, and possibly the "per batter" time, but if you also want more balls in play, that would...mean more batters (well, more plate appearances), unless you just want to see a handful more fly-ball out or ground-outs instead of K's. Which I kinda doubt is what most people want.

    Balance:
    pitcher v. batter. v. defense

    People seem to think there's too many K's. You could try to make a "point of emphasis" to get the umps to call the strike zone "a little smaller".

    Or you could lower the mound a bit. Just a touch. That gives advantage over to the batter, maybe too much. Maybe that results in too many home runs (something that people are also complaining about)?
    Then raise the outfield walls, a bit. I already mentioned it, but there are notoriously "short porches", and notoriously long fields too (some of the really long areas of the field maybe should/could be shortened).

    More balls off the wall I think would definitely make for a more interesting game, but not in a "the game looks really different" kind of way.
     
  8. tims4wins

    tims4wins PN23's replacement SoSH Member

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    I don't care about shorter games or more balls in play. I just want games with better pace. All it takes is cutting down time between pitches. Cutting 3 seconds on average per pitch would also have the side benefit of shortening games by almost 15 minutes. Think about that. Three measly seconds.
     
  9. HriniakPosterChild

    HriniakPosterChild Well-Known Member Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    9,991
    Or it would mean more pitches would miss their spots.

    More “ball 4s” might happen on 3-2 counts instead of “strike 3s.” That doesn’t shorten the game. Or more balls in play could be the result of pitches leaking over the fat part of the plate instead of hitting the corners. Or more stolen bases could result because the pitcher isn’t keeping the baserunner close to the bag.

    You can cut theee measly seconds on average per pitch, of course. I don’t know how you can assume the same outcome from every pitch once you’ve done so.
     
  10. tims4wins

    tims4wins PN23's replacement SoSH Member

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    19,524
    Or batters would swing and miss more. Or something. Of course you can't assume all else will be equal. But a quicker pace is more fun to watch, period. Just watch a Mark Buerhle start vs. a David Price or Dice-K start.
     
  11. HriniakPosterChild

    HriniakPosterChild Well-Known Member Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    9,991
    Maybe Buerhle can hit his spots taking less time between pitches than Price or Dice. Maybe it’s a skill all pitchers don’t have.
     
  12. Ford Frick's Asterisk

    Ford Frick's Asterisk Member SoSH Member

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    338
    Dice-K's career walk rate was more than double Buerhle's… maybe he should have spent less time thinking about hitting his spots and more time doing so.

    *
     
  13. Plympton91

    Plympton91 bubble burster SoSH Member

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    This is one of the best comebacks in a baseball thread ever.
     
  14. canderson

    canderson Fomenting voting confusion and angst since 2016 Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    Has anyone seen anything written about shortening the game to 7 innings? Was talking with a friend and lunch and she mentioned it as she said many people leave after the 7th of any game and it'd help cut the game down by an hour or so making it more watchable.

    It's crazytalk to me, but hey a thought's a thought.
     
  15. Leskanic's_Thread

    Leskanic's_Thread Member SoSH Member

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    I think there's too much investment in the history/tradition of games being nine innings ("three times three" and all that). Imagine how changing the length of games would change the casual discussion of comparing players across eras. Sure, that's already an issue, with pre-integration, 154 vs 162 game schedules, divisional round playoffs, etc...but people would be averse to it.

    Beyond all that, I don't think it would slow the game down by an hour. While I haven't researched it, I would think the 8th and 9th innings of close games take longer because teams are angling to get the win. That will still happen in a shorter game, but just in the 6th and 7th innings.
     
  16. theapportioner

    theapportioner Member SoSH Member

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    There's be huge downstream consequences.

    Would drastically change roster construction. Cut down the number of relief pitchers and backup position players. Players union would hate that.

    Less revenue from TV etc. would make owners try to push down contract numbers. One could argue that ticket prices should be lower also.

    Can't imagine it happening unless baseball is at its deathbed, and by then any changes like that would be too late.
     
  17. crow216

    crow216 Dragon Wangler SoSH Member

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    Mercy rule would make a lot more sense. Games aren't too long but some games have a lot of pointless innings.
     
  18. dhappy42

    dhappy42 Member

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    Nah. Blowouts aren’t a problem. Anyone who wants can leave the ballpark or turn off the TV or radio if they’re bored by a blowout. The “pace of play” problem is that otherwise interesting games proceed slowly and *competitive games* — games you don’t want to leave or click off — can last more than four hours.

    I’m a broken record on this: I think the main culprits are (1) between-inning advertising, (2) managers and catchers stalling to get their bullpen pitchers more throws, and (3) umpires letting batters step out of the box. It’s not pitchers shaking off signs.

    Reduce the “TV timeout” between innings by one minute and you immediately shorten games by 17 minutes. Mound visit limits have already sorta-kinda addressed stalling. Umps should be instructed to not grant time outs to batters after a pitcher begins his motion. That might cut another 2-3 minutes off game times — and speed up pace of play, which is a related, but different problem than game length.

    A reduction of game time by 20 minutes, from a 2018 average of 3 hours to a 1980’s-ish 2:40 would be a huge improvement and close to the 2:30 that was the average game length in the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s — basically pre-TV.
     
  19. joyofsox

    joyofsox empty, bleak Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    Jim Kaat suggested that back in May. ... I'm pretty sure something radical like that - or changing walks to 3 balls and strikeouts to 2 strikes, which I have also seen mentioned more than once - would cause me to stop watching games. ... As it is, a particular bad game by the home plate umpire will infuriate me to the point where I wonder why I watch, if the calls are going to be so haphazard.
     
  20. Kenny F'ing Powers

    Kenny F'ing Powers posts 18% useful shit

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    I wish I could find it now, but there was an article a few years ago where someone broke down a game from the 80s and a recent game. Obviously the game in the 80s was completed in a timely manner, where the newer game was three and a half hours or so. Both games had the same pitch counts.

    He found that, far and away, the time between pitches was the largest factor for the increase in gametime. Commercials, mound visits, etc did little to increase or decrease the pace of play.

    Does anyone remember that article?

    Regardless, a 20 second pitch clock fixes this problem. Give me the clock and automated strike zones, and I'm all fucking in.
     
  21. tims4wins

    tims4wins PN23's replacement SoSH Member

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    I have posted the article 3-4 times. I think it is in this thread. Checking now.

    found it

    http://www.sbnation.com/a/mlb-2017-season-preview/game-length
     
  22. Kenny F'ing Powers

    Kenny F'ing Powers posts 18% useful shit

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    That's the one. Thanks.

    There was an additional 25 minutes added to gametime due to a slowdown between pitches.

    That's a fucking half hour of staring at guys standing around. Clean up the downtime, and the rest fixes itself.
     
  23. tims4wins

    tims4wins PN23's replacement SoSH Member

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  24. charlieoscar

    charlieoscar Member

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    I just saw this; hence, the late response. Retrosheet Game Logs have pitch sequences and I just ran a count for foul balls hit at Oakland and Fenway Park by the home team and by the visiting trams for the 2017 regular season.

    OAK -- 2051 fouls
    OPP -- 2103

    BOS -- 2028 fouls
    OPP -- 2383
    Except for Boston's opponents, this is fairly evenly distributed. One explanation for the increased number of balls fouled off could be the pitchers. However, that doesn't really show the difference between the configuration of the park, so I looked at fouls by fielder's position that resulted in outs.

    Retrosheet has identifiers in its Pitch Sequences for: Fouls, Foul Bunts, Foul Tips on Bunts, Foul Balls on Pitchouts, and Foul Tips. I only counted Fouls.

    Left column is the fielder by position number and the right column is the total of outs recorded at that position.
    BOS -- 64
    ---------
    1 --- 1
    2 -- 14
    3 -- 21
    4 --- 3
    5 -- 19
    7 --- 2
    9 --- 4

    OPP -- 49
    ---------
    2 -- 13
    3 -- 18
    4 --- 2
    5 -- 11
    9 --- 5

    OAK -- 75
    ---------
    2 --- 9
    3 -- 27
    4 --- 2
    5 -- 20
    6 --- 3
    7 --- 8
    9 --- 6

    OPP -- 75
    ---------
    2 -- 11
    3 -- 33
    5 -- 20
    6 --- 2
    7 --- 6
    9 --- 3
     
  25. SirPsychoSquints

    SirPsychoSquints Member SoSH Member

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    It's not a question of how many foul balls there are, it's a question of how many foul OUTS there are, unless I'm missing the context.

    Edit: Just looked in your spoiler - so yes, there are meaningfully more foul outs in Oakland than Boston. You may also need to control for number of home wins, and therefore how many bottoms of the ninth there are, and perhaps how many extra inning games there are, given that this is only over one season.

    Edit2: Sox had 2 more home wins, 5 fewer walk off wins (in the 9th), and 19 more home extra innings (cumulatively) than the A's, which totals (I think) 12 more innings at home, although I haven't accounted for walkoffs resulting in less than full innings.
     
    #225 SirPsychoSquints, Nov 19, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2018
  26. BaseballJones

    BaseballJones goalpost mover SoSH Member

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    Not related to the things you guys have been discussing, but it fits the thread...

    Last 5 years, playoff teams (League champ in Italics, WS champion in bold italics):

    2014
    AL - KC, Bal, LAA, Det, Oak
    NL - SF, StL, Was, LAD, Pit

    2015
    AL - KC, Tor, Hou, Tex, NYY
    NL - NYM, ChC, StL, LAD, Pit

    2016
    AL - Cle, Tor, Tex, Bos, Bal
    NL - ChC, LAD, SF, Was, NYM

    2017
    AL - Hou, NYY, Cle, Bos, Min
    NL - LAD, ChC, Ari, Was, Col

    2018
    AL - Bos, Hou, NYY, Cle, Oak
    NL - LAD, Mil, Col, Atl, ChC

    Playoff appearances by team:
    5 - LAD
    4 - ChC
    3 - Bos, Hou, Was, NYY, Cle
    2 - KC, Col, NYM, SF, StL, Pit, Tor, Bal, Tex, Oak
    1 - Atl, Ari, Min, Det, Mil, LAA

    In five years, that's 23 different franchises making the playoffs, out of a possible 32. Some teams that were awful in 2014 have become great (Hou, Bos, ChC). Some teams that were great in 2014 have become awful (KC, Det, Bal). We've had five different WS champs in the last five seasons.

    I'd say that baseball isn't "broken". I'd say that it's pretty great.
     
  27. SirPsychoSquints

    SirPsychoSquints Member SoSH Member

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    I don't know. I look at that and I see 20 of the 50 slots are taken by 6 teams that are all in the top 10 MSAs in the country (or top 6 plus Boston).

    On the other hand, I agree with your last sentence.
     
  28. charlieoscar

    charlieoscar Member

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    I don't know that I agree that it is not how many foul balls there are because stadiums with large foul areas may have foul balls that can't be reached in time to be caught. However, with Retrosheet data there is no way of telling if an unhandled foul ball is in the stands, out-of-reach, a grounder, etc.

    I just did a quick response and I do realize that it doesn't completely answer the question. But it does give an indication of how things stand and since it is a quicker process for me to deal with, I'll get around to expanding it.
     
  29. BaseballJones

    BaseballJones goalpost mover SoSH Member

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    Yes but of the last five WS champions, only Boston was a top-5 payroll team.

    2014 - SF - 7th
    2015 - KC - 16th
    2016 - ChC - 14th
    2017 - Hou - 18th
    2018 - Bos - 1st
     
  30. SirPsychoSquints

    SirPsychoSquints Member SoSH Member

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    Yeah, but the result of the playoffs are largely random. The teams that have the opportunity to participate in the playoffs is more relevant, in my eyes. If I were to dig in, I'd probably want to give half shares to the 2 wild card teams. Additionally, I think we all know that those payroll figures for the Cubs & Astros understates their ability to pump resources into a team, and what went into producing those particular teams.
     
  31. Max Power

    Max Power thai good. you like shirt? SoSH Member

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    There are only 30 baseball teams, so the ratio is even better. Only 7 teams haven't made the playoffs in the last 5 years.There's much more parity in baseball than there is in basketball and football, which is surprising for a league without a real salary cap. And likely a testament to the role luck plays in the game itself.
     
  32. BaseballJones

    BaseballJones goalpost mover SoSH Member

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    Yeah I think my point is that even if your favorite team sucks right now, within 5 years it's entirely reasonable to think they'll be in the playoffs. And if you're in the playoffs, as we've seen, you've got a shot.
     
  33. geoduck no quahog

    geoduck no quahog Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    I Tivo every game because I'm never home in time to catch it. There are certain pitchers I refuse to watch in real time - and it's pretty easy to time out the fast forward button to jump from the point the catcher returns the ball to the point where the pitch is thrown. It's remarkable how certain pitchers are a 3-second press of the button and other culprits something shorter, with guys like Sale completely watchable in real time because he doesn't take a walk around the mound and commune with himself before throwing.

    Does anyone else do this?
     
  34. jon abbey

    jon abbey Shanghai Warrior Dope SoSH Member

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    Not precisely that way, but I try to DVR pretty much all sports these days, whether or not I'm home. Football and basketball are easier to speed through but baseball goes pretty quickly too, football games you can watch in an hour more or less if that is your sole focus.
     
  35. MakeMineMoxie

    MakeMineMoxie Member SoSH Member

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    I DVR games, too. Between the commercials and the dead time on the field, it would drive me crazy to have to watch in real time. My Direct TV remote has a 30 second FF and most of the time I can hit it once after the catcher throws the ball back to the pitcher and not miss the next pitch. That's pathetic. Push it 4 times & I'm through the half-inning commercials.
     
  36. Plympton91

    Plympton91 bubble burster SoSH Member

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    I agree with the main point as well, but I was going to make the same point about the wild card teams. If losing the wild card game feels anything like losing the playoff game in 1978 felt, it doesn’t feel like making the playoffs at all. Thankfully, the Sox haven’t had to play the gimmick game yet.
     
  37. Patek's 3 Dingers

    Patek's 3 Dingers lurker

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    Yeah, I'm surprised no one brought this up earlier. I record almost every game so the pace of the game is a non-issue for me. If I'm watching a game at a bar, bullshitting with my friends is part of the fun and we don't have to shutup during commercial breaks. There is also plenty of stimulation and beer at the ballpark.

    I don't believe baseball should be singled out. During an NFL game there are plenty of commercial breaks and halftime as well. The 2-minute warning is one of the stupidest things in sports. Do the coaches actually lose track of the time? And in a blowout there is one team running every play and the other trying to throw the ball against a vicious pass rush. Baseball is always pitcher vs batter and I enjoy watching Mookie bat regardless of the score.

    The NFL also has boring plays such as a kickoff touchback, extra point and short field goal.

    There should be a "football is broken" thread.
     
    #237 Patek's 3 Dingers, Nov 23, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2018
  38. charlieoscar

    charlieoscar Member

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    I recall back around 1973, or so, having discussions in my local pub with people telling me they preferred the NFL to MLB because baseball games took too long. It wasn't long afterwards that the football game were taking more time to play than were baseball games.

    An article from Sports on Earth by Aaron Rogers, Dec 10, 2013, broke down an average NFL game with the total time being 3 hours, 10 minutes, and 34 seconds. He also quotes the Boston Globe from June 8 of that year as saying the average baseball game took 2 hours, 57 minutes and 33 seconds to play and finishes quoting a Wall Street Journal article (2010, based on four games) saying that the actual time of action during an NFL game was 11 minutes, which would fit in the 13 minutes between the two sports' game times.

    Curiosity.com quotes the WSJ article's breakdown of the NFL game time:

    "So what's happening for the rest of the broadcast? Commercials, for one. They demand about an hour of airtime. Replays take about 17 minutes, footage of cheerleaders command about 3 seconds, and shots of players standing around make up an average of 67 minutes, according to WSJ."

    I quit watching football even before 1973. Game time was only part of it. I grew up about four miles outside a town in central NH that had a two-room school for eight grades. My seventh grade was made of of two girls and two boys and I believe there were only three boys in the 8th grade. My schooling from the 8th grade, on, took about a mile walk to catch a school bus to go three miles to town to catch another school bus to go the remaining six miles. The only way I could participate in after-school events was to hitch-hike back, walking the last 3-4 miles depending on where my ride dropped me off. Football games were played on Saturdays and I would have had to walk to the highway and hitch-hike to the city and return. Finally, there was no professional football team in New England at that time; we got broadcasts of the team that won the championship the year before, so I did not form a relationship with any as I did with the Red Sox, Celtics, and Bruins.

    And, yes, it was up-hill both ways, in the snow in bare feet.
     
  39. edoug

    edoug Member SoSH Member

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    1,649
    I voted for you a couple of times.
     
  40. MakeMineMoxie

    MakeMineMoxie Member SoSH Member

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    MLB Now was discussing an idea that came out of the MLB Competition Committee that would put the DH in both leagues but a team would lose their DH when they removed their starting pitcher. Might make for some interesting moves in the last few innings but could also slow things down more.
     
  41. soxhop411

    soxhop411 Member SoSH Member

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    33,195
    Guys.

    Manfred says slow baseball games are good because degenerate gamblers love it!
    No more trying to speed up the game!

    From Darren Rovell:
    MLB commissioner Rob Manfred says slower pace of play of baseball is an advantage in gambling as “it gives an opportunity to be creative with respect to the types of wagers” that could be made in between plays.
     
  42. charlieoscar

    charlieoscar Member

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    1,110
    Given Manfred's statement about slower pace of play giving an advantage to gamblers and the report that MLB has signed a deal with MGM Casinos raises doubt as to whether I'll ever trust baseball again.
     
  43. SirPsychoSquints

    SirPsychoSquints Member SoSH Member

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    3,783
    Is this just a tweet, or is there context available? If he's comparing it to other sports, it's definitely true - and I don't think it should be controversial. If he's talking about vs. a slightly faster paced baseball, that's a bigger deal.
     
  44. charlieoscar

    charlieoscar Member

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    1,110
     
  45. SirPsychoSquints

    SirPsychoSquints Member SoSH Member

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    3,783
    Yeah, that's the only mention of it I can find anywhere. I wouldn't read into it what lots of people are.
     
  46. Ale Xander

    Ale Xander Member SoSH Member

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    How can he say this with a straight face while Pete sits on the outside?
     
  47. charlieoscar

    charlieoscar Member

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    1,110
  48. Saints Rest

    Saints Rest Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    6,716
    Add a pitch clock, out in the stadium, and in a box on broadcasts, just like the NBA and the NFL. Give each batter one time-out per AB; give each pitcher 3 timeouts per inning. In each case, a timeout only restarts the clock. Put a buzzer on it (like in the NBA -- god knows why the NFL can't do this as well) and everyone will be able to tell if the pitcher got the pitch off in time.
     
  49. Plympton91

    Plympton91 bubble burster SoSH Member

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    11,406
    The one time out per at bat idea is a good one that addresses the “what if a bug flies in my eye?” excuse. Like it.

    And along with the 3 per inning for a pitcher, no more than 1 per batter.
     
  50. Pandarama

    Pandarama lurker

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    11
    How is Andrew Benintendi going to feel about that buzzer's going off while he's trying to decide if James Paxton just let go of 1) a 98mph fastball zipping toward his head or 2) a breaking ball that will drop over the plate for a strike?
     

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