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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. Ale Xander

    Ale Xander Member SoSH Member

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    18,732
    Did MLB move some Sunday Night games to 7PM to get more eyeballs? That is what is listed for the July Sunday Fenway games w/ LAD and MFY. (September Yankees listed as 8:05)
     
  2. dhappy42

    dhappy42 Member

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    I don’t understand the logic of starting games later (after 8pm) in “prime time.” Having games finish by 11-11:30 might be better ratings-wise. I’d expect the after-11 audience drop off to be greater than the number of people who can’t watch from 7-8. If it’s a question of having a lot of pregame ads, they could expand the 7th-inning stretch for nationally televised games and make up the revenue there.

    For people who don’t tune in before 8, it’d be like showing up at the park in the 3rd or 4th inning. That’s generally preferable than leaving the ballpark early.... except in a blowout.
     
  3. Yo La Tengo

    Yo La Tengo Member SoSH Member

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    135
    There's a cottage industry that has existed for eons where sports journalists claim baseball is dying. I googled it and found an early example in 1917. Every year. And, I recently made the mistake of listening to sports talk radio where they made the same tired arguments. And I had a revelation. Baseball is fine. It just needs better announcers (and maybe some innovative television production).

    That's it. For every team. MLB should hold a reality TV competition to find new announcers for 80% of the teams. And vote the crappy announcers out each year. Because right now most games are unwatchable with the sound on. And, to make things so much worse, during the playoffs when casual fans tune in, MLB decides to assign random announcers to each series. And add extra commercials. And start the games too late. They are terrible. It is a major downgrade as compared to the regular season, which makes no sense.

    So, want to fix MLB? Get better announcers. Problem solved.

    Also, this article is awesome, shows how good announcers can make a bad team into good entertainment, and almost makes me kind of like the Mets.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/25/...-7MvMFn3w8b8S3Wn-VdkE6dcTSQTr7hwDQNoWctXknlKI
     
  4. Yo La Tengo

    Yo La Tengo Member SoSH Member

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    135
    This is a pretty interesting piece comparing baseball, football, hockey, soccer, and basketball game times. Are there complaints about college football games taking too long? Because those games average nearly the same length as MLB games.

    In a perfect world, I'd love to see fewer commercials ("A 1952 TV broadcast [of a MLB game had] just 9 minutes 45 seconds of commercials. The latest WSJ study found that fully 42 minutes and 41 seconds of between-inning inactivity would be purely commercial time on TV broadcasts. That means there’s nearly 5 times as many commercials now than 50 years ago."). How about in game banner ads with shorter delays between innings?

    https://www.nationalsarmrace.com/?p=475
     
  5. dhappy42

    dhappy42 Member

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    4,856
    I don’t think the main problem with baseball is game length per se. It’s pace of play. And tactical stalling.
     
  6. charlieoscar

    charlieoscar Member

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    1,110
    A full nine inning game would have 17 commercial breaks between half innings, which would work out to 34.41 seconds per break and that would be 36.56 seconds per break for an 8-1/2 inning game. That isn't much time for the two teams to change sides. It could be done but I'm wondering if there was some time between innings when there weren't actually commercials being shown. I seem to recall watching players running on and off the field (but that was a long time ago).
     
  7. dhappy42

    dhappy42 Member

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    4,856
    Time a AAA game that isn’t televised. That’ll tell you, more or less, how long it takes to play a baseball game without television ads.
     
  8. jon abbey

    jon abbey Shanghai Warrior Dope SoSH Member

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    Yes yes yes!! My solution here is for there not to be any national announcers, since they invariably suck, but just choose one announcer from each of the two teams for every nationally televised game including the playoffs. I'm sure there are issues there too, but as it is now, it is really terrible.
     
  9. Yo La Tengo

    Yo La Tengo Member SoSH Member

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    135
    Or have each team's announcing pair swap innings. It would be great. Or just have Vin Scully do every series.

    On a related note, is there a tech solution to synchronizing radio broadcasts with cable/internet/satellite broadcasts? In the playoffs, my youtubeTV feed is WAY behind the radio.
     
  10. charlieoscar

    charlieoscar Member

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    1,110
    I don't know about you but I get to minor leagues all around the country at varying levels and one thing I have noticed in recent years is the time of those games is increasing. At first, it was more noticeable in Triple-A but even Double-A has been increasing in time (Gotta get ready for the Bigs.).

    And on a slightly different tack, an interesting article in the Washington Post, March 15, 2015, by Tom Boswell, which in part says:

    "But once a timer is accepted, then you can gradually find out how much that 2:25 can be tightened — to the game’s advantage and no one’s harm.

    For example, at Salt River’s park, willing minor leaguers played by lab-rat rules that worked. Hitters had 1 minute 45 seconds to get in the box, not 2:05, and hurlers 2:05 to pitch, not 2:25. Penalties for failure: “Strike one!” or “Ball one.” Relievers, waved from the bullpen, had the same 2:05 time limit.

    Just three penalty “balls” were called all season. But that extra 20 seconds saved by hustle between innings cuts six more minutes. And it’s all in dead times when nobody, in the park or on TV, even notices. The game’s flow isn’t damaged.

    Because most MLB teams, such as the Nationals, have 90 seconds of commercials, a 2:05 rule could work in theory. Or 2:15. Whatever players will bear to help their game."

    The complete article is at https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/nationals/by-reducing-the-time-it-takes-to-do-nothing-baseball-is-picking-up-the-pace/2015/03/15/96c1e458-c8f7-11e4-b2a1-bed1aaea2816_story.html?utm_term=.9e20e66b72f8
     
  11. Awesome Fossum

    Awesome Fossum Member SoSH Member

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    1,418
    Just for the record, there are definitely complaints about the length of college football games. Here's an article from June 2017 about the SEC working to tighten game length.

    That aside, baseball needs a sandbox where they can safely test things out, even ridiculous ideas, and see what works. I know they've done some of it in the minors, the AFL, and even the WBC, but I think it's worth taking it a step further. I think I'd create a winter league with a bunch of non-prospects and just start throwing things agains the wall. An R&D department, basically. Would starting every at-bat with a 3-2 count be a good idea? Probably not, but let's see what that looks like. You'll even get some content for MLBN in the process.
     
  12. Ale Xander

    Ale Xander Member SoSH Member

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    18,732
    SEC just wants to make sure their 3:30 Game of the Week on CBS ends in time for the 7:00 or 7:15 SEC game on ESPN.
     
  13. DrewDawg

    DrewDawg Dorito Dink SoSH Member

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    30,978
  14. dhappy42

    dhappy42 Member

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    I hate the idea of telling fielders (aside from pitchers and catchers, obviously) where they can and can’t position themselves. It’s a can of worms that has the potential to totally screwup the game.

    Say, for example, the no-shift rule mandates that two infielders must be positioned on either side of second base. Who, technically, is an infielder? If Pedroia is on the outfield grass what makes him an infielder and Betts not? What prevents X from standing on the SS side of second base when the pitcher starts his delivery, then shuffling over 2-3 steps as the pitch is delivered? I can’t think of any no-shift rule that’s not going to require dozens more complicated rules to clarify it or to prevent the game from being dramatically altered.

    And for what? Bats-left hitters have had a slight advantage over bats-right hitters for decades. Now they don’t have as much of an advantage. So what?
     
  15. charlieoscar

    charlieoscar Member

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    1,110
    Rule 5.02 -- Fielding Positions (2018 version)
    (c) Except the pitcher and the catcher, any fielder may station himself anywhere in fair territory.
     
  16. geoduck no quahog

    geoduck no quahog Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    10,254
    Continuing in that vein...bottom of a final inning with man (with speed) on third and a LHH at bat...not out of the question to bring in a fifth infielder from the outfield. Then what...
     
  17. dhappy42

    dhappy42 Member

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    4,856
    Most shifts against left-handed batters are kind of the reverse of that. The shift is usually thought of or described as moving the SS or 3B to the right side of the infield, because that’s the position the player moved normally plays, but it could also be described as having four outfielders, one of them playing shallow right field.

    So you could ban the shift by making a rule that says teams can’t field more than three outfielders. Good luck defining “outfielder.” Infielders are positioned in the outfield grass all the time even when not in a shift.

    I suppose you could make a rule that says that at least three of the seven non-battery fielders must be on one side or the other of an imaginary line running from home plate through second base to the centerfield fence. But that won’t prevent an infield shift because you could position the CF with one foot on the LF side of the line and still move a SS or third baseman to the right side of the infield and have the 2B play shallow right.
     
  18. Dernells Casket n Flagon

    Dernells Casket n Flagon Member SoSH Member

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    3,126
    Because there's a massive discrepancy between a player/coach being a degenerate baseball gambler and a random fan.
     
  19. Plympton91

    Plympton91 bubble burster SoSH Member

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    11,406
    On MLB radio this AM they were citing a study by one of the advanced analytics groups that concluded shifts resulted in a net of ~800 fewer hits this season. It was something like 2100 hits taken away and 1300 hits created by people finding the vacated spots on the field.

    That seems about right, and it’s pretty significant decline in offense. Now one way to reverse those numbers (and stop the trend toward more and more strikeouts) is for teams to play more people like Brock Holt and fewer people like Joey Gallo. I’m not sure that’s what the TV and casual fan market wants though.

    I don’t understand people who say that it is too hard to write rules enforcing some limitations on shifting.

    1. No more than 3 players may be positioned on the outfield grass until a ball is put in play. Penalty: if a ground ball is hit when an infielder was illegally positioned, it’s an automatic single.

    2. There must be two players on each side of second base and on the infield dirt until a ball is put in play. Penalty: same as above.

    Not hard to follow, not hard to enforce. I don’t so much care about outfield shifts. They do not seem as severe to me. I’d be interested in seeing if the study mentioned above broke down the net loss of 800 hits into infield and outfield.
     
  20. simplicio

    simplicio Well-Known Member Gold Supporter

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    1,273
    That's one missing hit per 3 games of baseball played. Is that actually worth legislating?
     
  21. NYCSox

    NYCSox chris hansen of goats Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    7,818
    I don't think the 800 lost hits takes into account changes in swing approach resulting in more flyballs (which have lower BABIP) and more strikeouts.
     
  22. charlieoscar

    charlieoscar Member

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    1,110



    Graphs of type of hit as a percentage of all hits by year from 1901-2018...as can be seen, the dominance of home runs, particularly since 1920 along with the decline of singles, doubles, and triples.
     
  23. dhappy42

    dhappy42 Member

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    4,856
    Baseball Prospectus’ Russell Carleton looks at this:

     
  24. dhappy42

    dhappy42 Member

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    4,856


    As noted in one reply, 15% of people are left-handed.
     
  25. Patek's 3 Dingers

    Patek's 3 Dingers lurker

    Messages:
    38
    I lived in Tokyo for a few years and there was a button on the remote that eliminated the commentary which is as good as it gets. As for MLB announcers, I live in Northern California and like Kuiper and Krukow. They make it seem as if you're watching the game with some friends. The network guys are trying too hard to be funny or controversial and there is some guy that likes to talk about salad that irritates the he'll out of me.
     

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