Dismiss Notice
Guest, I have a big favor to ask you. We've been working very hard to establish ourselves on social media. If you like/follow our pages it would be a HUGE help to us. SoSH on Facebook and Inside the Pylon Thanks! Nip

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

    Messages:
    19,716
    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

    Messages:
    4,904
    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

    Messages:
    136
    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

    Messages:
    136
    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

    Messages:
    4,904
    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

    Messages:
    1,201
    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

    Messages:
    4,904
    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

    Messages:
    39,500
    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

    Messages:
    136
    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

    Messages:
    1,201
    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

    Messages:
    1,430
    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

    Messages:
    19,716
    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

    Messages:
    32,204
  14. dhappy42

    dhappy42 Member

    Messages:
    4,904
    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

    Messages:
    1,201
    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

    Messages:
    10,558
    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

    Messages:
    4,904
    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

    Messages:
    3,261
    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

    Messages:
    11,581
    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

    Messages:
    1,286
    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

    Messages:
    7,904
    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

    Messages:
    1,201



    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

    Messages:
    4,904
    Baseball Prospectus’ Russell Carleton looks at this:

     
  24. dhappy42

    dhappy42 Member

    Messages:
    4,904


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

    Patek's 3 Dingers lurker

    Messages:
    39
    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.
     
  26. ifmanis5

    ifmanis5 Member SoSH Member

    Messages:
    32,907
    A plague of foul balls is slowing the game down...


    FiveThirtyEight‏Verified account @FiveThirtyEight 5m5 minutes ago
    There were almost 14,000 more foul balls last season than there were 20 seasons earlier.

     
  27. Van Everyman

    Van Everyman Member SoSH Member

    Messages:
    16,989
    In related news, Nick Cafardo has a column idea for the latest thing analytics is ruining.
     
  28. wade boggs chicken dinner

    wade boggs chicken dinner Member SoSH Member

    Messages:
    15,771
    From the following two quotes in the article, my solution would be to start batters at a 1-1 count.

    Overall, there were 26,313 more pitches in baseball in 2018 (724,447) than in 1998 (698,134). That’s the equivalent of adding 88 games, or roughly a week, to the schedule. (Note in article: There were 298 pitches per game in 2018.) A record 3.9 pitches were thrown per plate appearance in the 2017 and 2018 seasons, according to Baseball-Reference.com, up from 3.73 pitches per plate appearance in 2002 and 3.58 in 1988. And about half of the growth in total pitches can be attributed to foul balls.
    and

    Baseball has tackled foul-ball issues before: In fact, it was one of the original pace-of-play frustrations. In 1900, Phillies outfielder Roy Thomas was so adept at fouling off pitches to draw walks or spoil quality offerings that Reds pitcher Bill Phillips reached his breaking point and punched Thomas after he had fouled off a dozen pitches in one at-bat. Phillips’s antics, according to baseball historian John Thorn, were a contributing factor in MLB’s decision to begin penalizing foul balls as strikes the following season.

    But there’s been no rule change since, and the foul ball continues to slow the sport — while the game’s decision makers look elsewhere to hasten play.
     
  29. Lose Remerswaal

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

    Messages:
    33,099
    Make the field wider.

    Instead of fair territory being 90 degrees if arc, make it 100 degrees of arc.

    Or let catchers catch a ball coming down the backstop as an out.
     
  30. Boggs26

    Boggs26 Member SoSH Member

    Messages:
    1,091
    How would widening the arc work? Would 1st - 2nd and 2nd - 3rd be more than 90 feet or would there be fair territory on the current foul sides of the basepaths? I see what your goal is, but that solution seems to cause more problems than it would be worth.
     
  31. ifmanis5

    ifmanis5 Member SoSH Member

    Messages:
    32,907
    We could always blame it on Boggs.
     
  32. keninten

    keninten lurker

    Messages:
    513
    I think this was proposed by Charlie Finley
     
  33. The Allented Mr Ripley

    The Allented Mr Ripley holden Lifetime Member SoSH Member

    Messages:
    11,440
    Or make any foul ball a strike, even if the batter already has two strikes on him.
     
  34. keninten

    keninten lurker

    Messages:
    513
    How many long ABs are remembered fondly? Last year Mookie had one that was really cool. There`s quite a few others .
     
  35. The Gray Eagle

    The Gray Eagle Member SoSH Member

    Messages:
    12,215
    That would drop offense and increase strikeouts a bunch, which most people do not want.

    If we're throwing out thought experiments, maybe they could try something like you get a max of 4 fouls in one at-bat, then the next one is strike 3.
    Even that might be too impactful though. And it would be nuts to have a fair-foul review of a towering blast down the line where if it's fair, it's a HR but if it's foul by a sliver, it's a K.

    Or maybe after 3 fouls in one at-bat, another one takes away one ball from the count. So if you have fouled off 3 pitches and now it's a full count, the next foul drops the count to 2-2. Another one drops it down to 1-2. (If you're at zero, you stay there for the next pitch.)
    This probably by itself wouldn't shorten the total length of at-bats and would also lead to some more Ks. But hitters would have less incentive to spoil tough pitches by fouling them off (if they can even do that in reality) so that could lead to fewer fouls overall.
     
  36. Saints Rest

    Saints Rest Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

    Messages:
    6,925
    I recall playing games as a kid in backyards where the rule was 4 fouls = an out.
    It's dumb.

    I love the multiple "shot clock" ideas in the Boswell article. Put the onus on both pitchers and batters. That's what will speed things up.

    Does anyone remember college basketball before the shot clock was added? Dean Smith and his 4-corner offense to kill the clock. Followed by underdog teams trying to limit possessions as low as possible.

    Every other sport has delay of game penalties in place, most of them rarely come into play anymore. As Boswell notes, once the time clocks were put in place, players simply adjusted. They always do.

    I'd also love to see baseball shorten the number and length of commercial breaks (I'm sure we all would). If this means a revenue loss, then sell banner ads (as someone mentioned upthread) to make the revenue back. We've allowed networks to fill up the screen with other sport scoreboard crawls along the bottom, with game score info in the top left, with PitchZone in the bottom right. TV screens are enormous now compared to the screens we all had as recently as 25 years ago. We could give up one inch along the bottom to a banner ad. Shit, most TV production still frames shots for 4:3 TV's, even though the vast majority of TVs are now 16:9.

    Someone upthread mentioned wanting to see innovations in TV production. I agree 100%. I'd love to see alternate camera angles, less reliance on the over-the-pitcher's shoulder shot. So many more.
     
  37. charlieoscar

    charlieoscar Member

    Messages:
    1,201
    They have already started "during inning" commercials. Perhaps not to the extent you suggest but they are there.

    And as for Dean Smith and his four corners, that was when I stopped watching college basketball (of course I was living in Virginia, then, and probably saw more of those games on tv than people up here did.
     
  38. Lose Remerswaal

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

    Messages:
    33,099
    I hadn't considered that, but this makes more sense than moving the bases out.

    And of course this won't work in probably 26 current ballparks without making a 200 foot HR possible.
     
  39. Plympton91

    Plympton91 bubble burster SoSH Member

    Messages:
    11,581
    Yeah, that’s what I was going to say. The problem of more foul balls is exacerbated by there being so much less foul territory in the new parks. I wonder if you could include that in the study. Has there been an increase in foul balls at stadiums that have been roughly unchanged over that period?
     
  40. joyofsox

    joyofsox empty, bleak Lifetime Member SoSH Member

    Messages:
    7,456
    No. Seeing commercials between batters or even between pitches (which may have been done during last year's World Series) are horrible. I'd rather have longer periods between half-innings.
     
  41. Lose Remerswaal

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

    Messages:
    33,099
    That's a good question.

    Of course, replying to my prior point, if you move Home Plate forward 10 feet suddenly you *can* widen Fair Territory without having to change the outlines of most ballparks. Yes, a Home Run to CF is now 10 feet shorter, but you can widen the field. All these moves increase offense, which the kids seem to like, too.
     
  42. Saints Rest

    Saints Rest Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

    Messages:
    6,925
    I too hated the in game commercials. I was suggesting a fixed banner ad at the bottom one inch of the screen. No crawl, no animation, no audio.
     
  43. Gdiguy

    Gdiguy Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

    Messages:
    2,135
  44. wade boggs chicken dinner

    wade boggs chicken dinner Member SoSH Member

    Messages:
    15,771
    Interesting idea, I guess, although he glosses over the biggest part of his proposal - how teams are going to use minor league call-ups or the injury list to create more de facto pitching spots.

    Plus, the idea that teams are suddenly going to be able to find 3 guys to pitch 195+ innings every year seems to be a bit far-fetched.

    But under this system, can you imagine how much a guy like Joe Kelly - someone who seems to be able to take the ball whenever and just throw - would be worth?

    You know, if the game would just start every hitter at 1-1, they'd reduce the number of relievers that had to be used because the best pitchers - the starters - would go much later into games.
     
  45. charlieoscar

    charlieoscar Member

    Messages:
    1,201
    I used Play Index on bb-ref to look at 2018 starters and found that there were 343 pitchers who made at least one start, which works out to an average of 11.43 per team. Their record was 1761-1768.

    I also looked at all pitchers who had at least 10 quality starts (QS is 6+ IP while allowing 3 runs or less). There were 97, which is an average of 3.23 per team. They accounted for 42.49% of all wins (and 58.66% of wins by starters) with a won-lost record of 1033-871.

    Finally, there were 133 pitchers (average of 4.43 per team) who had 1 to 9 QS, winning 1548 and losing 1550.

    While quality starts may not be the best way to measure pitchers' performance, the fact remains that pitchers who put up more of them tend to have better won-lost records than those who pitcher fewer and we are also faced with the fact that the average number of starters used by teams was 11.43 in 2018 when a 5-man rotation is commonplace. Yes, there are injuries, trades, call-ups, etc., but that is still more than twice the number required for a 5-man rotation. I still contend that there are not enough "stars" to go around.
     
  46. Lose Remerswaal

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

    Messages:
    33,099
    Per Rosenthal, 26 man roster with 13 pitcher max, and 28 man Sept roster (14 pitchers) is close to a done deal. So is 3 batter minimum for relievers (no mention of what happens with an injury). No pitch clock
     
  47. Plympton91

    Plympton91 bubble burster SoSH Member

    Messages:
    11,581
    Never mind, I failed at reading comprehension.
     
  48. DeadlySplitter

    DeadlySplitter Member SoSH Member

    Messages:
    15,587
    3 batter minimum is horrific, teams will circumvent it as necessary. I hate that's a concession the players' union is willing to make.

    what if a reliever ends up having a 15+ pitch battle with the first batter, and he's on a 20 pitch limit?
     
  49. MakeMineMoxie

    MakeMineMoxie Member SoSH Member

    Messages:
    592
    I like the roster changes but no pitch clock? JFC.
     
  50. Jack Rabbit Slim

    Jack Rabbit Slim Member SoSH Member

    Messages:
    1,076
    Is the 26 man roster for this season? I wonder if that would change the Sox thinking regarding the 3 catchers
     

Share This Page