ALCS 2018 - Houston Astros

dhappy42

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Oct 27, 2013
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Why do you think it would be a dead ball?
Because when a fan touches a ball in the field of play, it’s a dead ball.


There are two possibilities - Mookie’s glove was hit in the field of play, or it was hit reaching into the stands.
There is no video or photo showing that Betts’ glove crossed the invisible, extended plane of the outfield fence. All the video and photo evidence shows that it did not. It also shows that two or three fans reached into the field of play to try and catch the ball.

If the former, that’s interference and an out, and touching the ball is irrelevant, or just another instance of interference.
True.

If the latter, he has no right to the ball and it doesn’t matter if someone hits his glove or touches the ball after it hits his glove, it’s a HR.
There was no “the latter” on this play. Mookie, his glove, the ball and the fans’ hands were all in the field of play. Watch it again. Betts’s body was one to two feet away from the wall at the moment of contact between glove, hands and ball. After the ball deflects his body continues to move then bangs into the wall. His arm is extended upwards at a slight angle. Unless his left arm is four feet long, his glove was still in the field of play. It’s even more obvious if you look at the fans. Three of them are reaching into the field.
 

EllisTheRimMan

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Why do you think it would be a dead ball? There are two possibilities - Mookie’s glove was hit in the field of play, or it was hit reaching into the stands. If the former, that’s interference and an out, and touching the ball is irrelevant, or just another instance of interference. If the latter, he has no right to the ball and it doesn’t matter if someone hits his glove or touches the ball after it hits his glove, it’s a HR.
Correct. It was either an out or a HR. No chance for a third option based on the fan interference rules.

This is a useless discussion going on around a first inning play. Houston built their ballpark so the fans could be right on the field. You do that and you run the risk of a fan interference call that might come back to bite you like last night. The teams combined for 12 runs after the out call was made. I know the media (social and otherwise) love a good controversy. This is not a good controversy. Mookie would have caught it easily if the fans weren’t there. The fraction of a millimeter difference between out of play/in play was not close to being clear enough to overturn.

Thank Joe West for making the call on the field. I don’t think the opposite call could have been overturned by review either.
 

KillerBs

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Nov 16, 2006
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Two real stories here IMO:

1. Joe F'in West had a very difficult big time pressure call in an ALCS game and got it right. Well done/good call Joe.
2. Mookie made a fantastic 5* play (one of two last night) to get to point where only fan interference could "plainly prevent" him from catching the ball.
 

Sox and Rocks

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For all the talk about the start times, isn’t the ridiculous duration of just a 9-inning game the bigger problem, with the start time exacerbating the issue?

Darling’s monacle-dropping about “integrity” aside, I’d like to see some kind of solution implemented to reduce the frequency/impact of sign stealing strictly from a pace of play perspective. Last year’s ridiculous number of mound visits have been replaced by this year’s obscene number of timeouts, step-outs, and passed/balls wild pitches as teams devote more time and energy to protecting their signals than they spend executing pitches. It’s slow and sloppy and drags out the dead time between pitches in these critical games. I don’t have a solution, but I think we might be misidentifying the problem here. Every pitcher turning into Daisuke Matsuzska on the mound from a pacing standpoint is bad entertainment, no matter when the game happens to start.
This guy gets it.

Yes, it's a problem, but there are no easy, or even practical, fixes.
 

Savin Hillbilly

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The wrong side of the bridge....
There was no “the latter” on this play. Mookie, his glove, the ball and the fans’ hands were all in the field of play. Watch it again.
I've watched it several times, and I have no idea how you're seeing it as so clear-cut. It's very difficult to say exactly how close to the rail the guys directly behind Betts are at the moment the ball hits Mookie's glove (about 2:14 here). They're clearly close, but how close? A variation of a few inches in the answer would be the difference between out and HR. My best clue is the guy to the right of that group directly behind Mookie, in the light grey shirt, who's leaning to his right and grabbing the rail with his left hand. He seems to be leaning almost straight to the side, perhaps very slightly forward. Judging by the position of his body, it looks like his hand is maybe 4-6 inches behind the rail. And the ball appears to be a few inches forward of his hand--more or less right above the rail, in other words.

We'll never know what the true answer is. Probably nobody involved--Mookie or fans--knows for sure what the answer is. Astros fans will naturally feel robbed. Sox fans will naturally feel like the call was fine. On we go.
 

pvg44

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I've watched it several times, and I have no idea how you're seeing it as so clear-cut. It's very difficult to say exactly how close to the rail the guys directly behind Betts are at the moment the ball hits Mookie's glove (about 2:14 here). They're clearly close, but how close? A variation of a few inches in the answer would be the difference between out and HR. My best clue is the guy to the right of that group directly behind Mookie, in the light grey shirt, who's leaning to his right and grabbing the rail with his left hand. He seems to be leaning almost straight to the side, perhaps very slightly forward. Judging by the position of his body, it looks like his hand is maybe 4-6 inches behind the rail. And the ball appears to be a few inches forward of his hand--more or less right above the rail, in other words.
Totally agree that it's not clear cut because of the lack of a definitive camera angle. I posted this (admittedly not great) screen shot from a vide from a different angle than is on the MLB.com video you linked. To me it's not when the ball hits his glove, it's when his glove hits the guy, which is when the interference first occurred. From this angle it looks to me like it's right above the yellow line and not behind it.

 

chrisfont9

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I'll toss back that there are 250 million people who live in the eastern and central time zone who would like to watch these games too, especially the parts that matter in close ones. Its absurd that MLB wants moments like the Benintendi catch or the Bellinger walkoff to occur in the middle of night when nobody but devoted fans are watching. And then they wonder why nobody likes baseball anymore.

Is it better for fans on the west coast to miss the early innings of games, which almost by definition cannot be that dramatic because there's still so much game to come, or for fans on the east coast to miss the later innings of games, which are sometimes meaningless in a blowout but sometimes produce great drama? I would think more fans on the east coast and more drama in late innings would carry the day, but apparently not.
How is MLB supposed to accommodate this? They had 18 innings of baseball and maybe 15 of them were at a reasonable hour for you guys. About six of them happened at a reasonable time for us. I suppose they could swap the AL and NL times, given the teams involved.
 

bosockboy

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Totally agree that it's not clear cut because of the lack of a definitive camera angle. I posted this (admittedly not great) screen shot from a vide from a different angle than is on the MLB.com video you linked. To me it's not when the ball hits his glove, it's when his glove hits the guy, which is when the interference first occurred. From this angle it looks to me like it's right above the yellow line and not behind it.

Definitely the most compelling look I've seen thus far. Either call could be spun as correct, but we got this one. And frankly we are all pretty certain he was going to catch it anyway whether it was in front of or behind the yellow line. So it feels like the right thing was done.
 

KillerBs

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That's a generous approach and undoubtedly it was very close to the line, but everything I have seen strongly points to the fans reaching out on to the playing field side of the fence at the point of interference. That said, I am inclined to think that at some point in the transaction, Mookie "broke the plane" reaching over the fence the other way too. But as I read the rule, even if so, if a fan reaches over the plane on to the playing field side and plainly prevents the catch while doing so, that is fan interference even if the player is at more or less the same time reaching over the fence in the other direction. In other words, if both the player and the fan are on the wrong side, and the fan plainly prevents the catch, then it is fan interference.
 

Al Zarilla

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I don't see the start time as the problem as much as the length of the game.

A nine inning game should never take 4.5 hours. That was ridiculous, and talking to a lot of people at work today, they lost a lot of viewers because of it.
Yes, the length of these games is ridiculous. I need a day off, almost wishing today was a travel day. I mean, in football, even if a game goes into overtime, you're looking at 3 1/2 hours max +/- a few minutes; 3 hours without OT. Basketball 2 1/2 +/- a few minutes. And, our beloved team and the MFY have to have the longest of the longest games.
 

nvalvo

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Mookie Betts played travel ball with Tony Kemp. Kemp should have known not to run on him.
I thought Betts didn't learn to throw correctly until he remade his throwing mechanics in AA, adding the fifth tool.

Remember that he didn't stick as a shortstop because he made three errors in six innings at the position in rookie ball, and the Sox player development people suggested a move to second base.
 

patoaflac

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Yes, the length of these games is ridiculous. I need a day off, almost wishing today was a travel day. I mean, in football, even if a game goes into overtime, you're looking at 3 1/2 hours max +/- a few minutes; 3 hours without OT. Basketball 2 1/2 +/- a few minutes. And, our beloved team and the MFY have to have the longest of the longest games.
I'm in the Central time zone. Game ended at 12.15 and it is difficult to get to sleep after all the emotions. Getting up at 5, means I´m sleepy and also wishing today was a travel day. In the morning I was thinking the same many of you were thinking. How come adolescents will become fans, if they must sleep to go school and be good students? And we, devoted fans, only watch all the game if our team is involved if we must work and be alert on the morning after.
 

Oppo

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I’d go into this game knowing that Verlander is most likely to take over the game and try to steal the game ala Craig Counsell.

Alternate LHP/RHP every 1-2 innings and try to force Hinch’s hand. Price/Workman/EdRod/Hembree/etc. It either gives you a chance or you lose a game you were likely to lose anyway so you just save Kimbrel/Brasier/Barnes and Price can come back as needed in game 7.

If you start a LHP, you probably force Altuve to start at 2nd, with White/Gattis DH. After you bring in the RHP and Kemp pinch hits, go back to a LHP.
If you start a RHP, switch to LHP to try to get Kemp out of the game since he’s been a bit of a terror.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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That's a generous approach and undoubtedly it was very close to the line, but everything I have seen strongly points to the fans reaching out on to the playing field side of the fence at the point of interference. That said, I am inclined to think that at some point in the transaction, Mookie "broke the plane" reaching over the fence the other way too. But as I read the rule, even if so, if a fan reaches over the plane on to the playing field side and plainly prevents the catch while doing so, that is fan interference even if the player is at more or less the same time reaching over the fence in the other direction. In other words, if both the player and the fan are on the wrong side, and the fan plainly prevents the catch, then it is fan interference.
One thing that I wish the media would tumble to is where the actual plane is. If you look at the right field wall, the entire top of the wall is painted yellow which means that a ball that hits the top of the wall is in play. Contrast this to the Moster, where the shelf above the painted red line is not in play and is a home run. That means that for purposes of defining what constitutes the "playing field side of such fence, railing or rope" within the meaning of the rule's approved comment, the playing field side is the part of the fence that lies outside the plane that extends vertically upward from the inside (that is the part facing the spectators) part of the wall.

When this is understood, I really don't think the call is that debatable in the absence of a more dispositive angle. All the video evidence I've seen suggests it is more likely than not that Mookie's glove at the time of interference was on his side of that plane.

And one final point. The relevant question is where the fan's interfering body part is at the time of the interference, which may or may not be the same as where his body part is at the time he touches the ball. Interference is the act of preventing the catch, which started to occur here with contact with Mookie's glove not with contact with the ball.

Again, a view down the wall would be crucial. Without one, the evidence that exists to me suggests it's more probable than not that Joe West got this one right.

There is another part of the rule that is not really being talked about. The interference must prevent the catch, which means the umpire has to judge that the player was going to catch the ball. I think it's fair to say Mookie might have caught the ball. I'm kind of curious how umpires are taught to judge this. Do you presume the ability to make a spectacular play? Can you take the attributes of the player in question into account? Or do you assume something closer to ordinary effort? Is the rule that a ball that has the trajectory to be a home run should be presumptively judged likely to have made it or do you decide that you should never punish the player from being deprived of the opportunity to make a great player if the spectator violates the stadium rules? I think these are all pretty interesting questions and not obvious.
 

DrewDawg

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To paraphrase someone other writer a long time ago, listening to the "experts" while out grabbing lunch, the Astros lead this Series 1-3.
 

j44thor

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Totally agree that it's not clear cut because of the lack of a definitive camera angle. I posted this (admittedly not great) screen shot from a vide from a different angle than is on the MLB.com video you linked. To me it's not when the ball hits his glove, it's when his glove hits the guy, which is when the interference first occurred. From this angle it looks to me like it's right above the yellow line and not behind it.

It appears that the orange guys shirt bottom is touching the rail.
Even if he has trex arms they would still be out past his waist given his slight lean and thus in the field of play.
 

patoaflac

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For all the talk about the start times, isn’t the ridiculous duration of just a 9-inning game the bigger problem, with the start time exacerbating the issue?

Darling’s monacle-dropping about “integrity” aside, I’d like to see some kind of solution implemented to reduce the frequency/impact of sign stealing strictly from a pace of play perspective. Last year’s ridiculous number of mound visits have been replaced by this year’s obscene number of timeouts, step-outs, and passed/balls wild pitches as teams devote more time and energy to protecting their signals than they spend executing pitches. It’s slow and sloppy and drags out the dead time between pitches in these critical games. I don’t have a solution, but I think we might be misidentifying the problem here. Every pitcher turning into Daisuke Matsuzska on the mound from a pacing standpoint is bad entertainment, no matter when the game happens to start.
Maximum limits of 15 seconds for delivering the pitch and in order not to steal signs baseball should adapt some technology. Pitching coach, manager or a new specialist in the dugout presses a remote control and the catcher and pitcher have an earphone and get the pitch selected. If the pitcher doesn´t want to throw that particular pitch, he nods and the selected pitch is changed. When MLB adopts this strategy patoaflac would like some Red Sox courtesy tickets for the idea.
 

DrewDawg

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I thought Betts didn't learn to throw correctly until he remade his throwing mechanics in AA, adding the fifth tool.

Remember that he didn't stick as a shortstop because he made three errors in six innings at the position in rookie ball, and the Sox player development people suggested a move to second base.
I was kinda making a joke
 

ookami7m

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Two real stories here IMO:

1. Joe F'in West had a very difficult big time pressure call in an ALCS game and got it right. Well done/good call Joe.
Never forget Joe F'in West had two very difficult big time pressure calls in the 2004 ALCS and got them right. West gets a ton of flack for being the highest form of Ump Show but it's rarely rated to his calls on the field. He's terrible at handling players and escalating situations, but on the calls he's usually spot on.
 

dhappy42

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Oct 27, 2013
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It appears that the orange guys shirt bottom is touching the rail.
Even if he has trex arms they would still be out past his waist given his slight lean and thus in the field of play.
To me, it seems very clear in that photo that all three fans are reaching across the plane. As others have said, whether Bett’s glove did or didn’t break the plane, (I don’t think it did, before impact,) isn’t relevant.
 

JimD

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Never forget Joe F'in West had two very difficult big time pressure calls in the 2004 ALCS and got them right. West gets a ton of flack for being the highest form of Ump Show but it's rarely rated to his calls on the field. He's terrible at handling players and escalating situations, but on the calls he's usually spot on.
West was also the umpire at second base who called Dave Roberts safe in game 4.
 

Harry Hooper

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I’d go into this game knowing that Verlander is most likely to take over the game and try to steal the game ala Craig Counsell.

Alternate LHP/RHP every 1-2 innings and try to force Hinch’s hand. Price/Workman/EdRod/Hembree/etc. It either gives you a chance or you lose a game you were likely to lose anyway so you just save Kimbrel/Brasier/Barnes and Price can come back as needed in game 7.

If you start a LHP, you probably force Altuve to start at 2nd, with White/Gattis DH. After you bring in the RHP and Kemp pinch hits, go back to a LHP.
If you start a RHP, switch to LHP to try to get Kemp out of the game since he’s been a bit of a terror.
Given his physical status, making Altuve play in the field has some value to the Sox however Game 5 turns out.
 

joe dokes

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If you start a LHP, you probably force Altuve to start at 2nd, with White/Gattis DH. After you bring in the RHP and Kemp pinch hits, go back to a LHP.
If you start a RHP, switch to LHP to try to get Kemp out of the game since he’s been a bit of a terror.
I doubt Altuve is playing the field no matter who starts. Maybe Sox should put him on 4 times to make him run the bases.
 

DrewDawg

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Am starting to get annoyed with all the media referring to the "disputed Homerun". It was a disputed double - thanks to Mookie's brilliance.
No---some MLB guy said today it was an HR or an out, because it did hit fan in crowd.

DISCLAIMER: That does not mean the fan didn't lean over wall and interfere, because he did.
 

Pitt the Elder

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I know it's been said how special the Sox outfield defense is, but what has been especially impressive this postseason is how often the guys are cutting off hits up the gap and holding opponents to singles rather than doubles. I'm not exactly sure where to look that stat up, but it's felt like 2 or 3 plays like that per game.
 

JohntheBaptist

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I know it's been said how special the Sox outfield defense is, but what has been especially impressive this postseason is how often the guys are cutting off hits up the gap and holding opponents to singles rather than doubles. I'm not exactly sure where to look that stat up, but it's felt like 2 or 3 plays like that per game.
Betts keeping Gonzalez from scoring on Correa's double was one of the plays of the game. Betts is the luck from Clark's double going into the stands in 2004 taken human form.
 
I love early starts on the West coast: I can watch the game at work. 530 starts are extra annoying because I either have to leave early, or watch/listen while commuting.
Honestly, I strongly considered (and quite likely will eventually be) moving west just for the more beneficial starting times / time zone shifts. This whole "We miss the first 2 innings of the game!" thing that some people do is nonsense when games are getting over after midnight for people in the same time zones as the teams playing.
 

santadevil

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For all the talk about the start times, isn’t the ridiculous duration of just a 9-inning game the bigger problem, with the start time exacerbating the issue?

Darling’s monacle-dropping about “integrity” aside, I’d like to see some kind of solution implemented to reduce the frequency/impact of sign stealing strictly from a pace of play perspective. Last year’s ridiculous number of mound visits have been replaced by this year’s obscene number of timeouts, step-outs, and passed/balls wild pitches as teams devote more time and energy to protecting their signals than they spend executing pitches. It’s slow and sloppy and drags out the dead time between pitches in these critical games. I don’t have a solution, but I think we might be misidentifying the problem here. Every pitcher turning into Daisuke Matsuzska on the mound from a pacing standpoint is bad entertainment, no matter when the game happens to start.
Go to the pitch clock and eliminate the step-outs/timeouts by batters. The solution is available, MLB just has to figure out how to implement it.
Absolutely this to get the games moving more quickly.

I think the issue with signs is going to have to be solved with technology. The pitcher will have to start calling the game from his glove and the catcher will get the sign in an earpiece. I suppose you could do it the other way, but the catcher would need a way to communicate without the batter hearing or seeing what he's doing. Nobody is close enough to the pitcher to hear anything.
Just my own anecdotal evidence, but I haven't been able to watch much of the post season live. Maybe about 10 innings out of 72 played. So I'm typically on DVR. Rarely can I do a 30 second fast forward and not have a pitch delivered. These guys are getting the ball and throwing it, the bigger time suck is the number of pitches and walks. That is what is dragging the games out
 

Kevin Youkulele

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Just my own anecdotal evidence, but I haven't been able to watch much of the post season live. Maybe about 10 innings out of 72 played. So I'm typically on DVR. Rarely can I do a 30 second fast forward and not have a pitch delivered. These guys are getting the ball and throwing it, the bigger time suck is the number of pitches and walks. That is what is dragging the games out
Every pitching change during an inning adds about 3 minutes, too (including the time for the manager to walk out, then the reliever enters the field, commercial, and post-commercial reintroduction).
 

Muppet

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Someone needs to photoshop the two catches by Beni and the one by Mookie onto that Bregman tweet.
 

lapa

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What I don’t get is why are batters allowed to take time or step out of the box. Why can’t the rule be with a pitch clock to keep the pitcher and fielders from fannying about and then when ball is in pitchers hand the play is live, pitcher can throw and if batter steps out of box tough shit that’s on you. I agree that the pacing and tempo of the game actually isn’t so much of a negative as it’s sometimes claimed but it drives me nuts how often batters call time and back out of the box.
 

lapa

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Every post game interview with hinchcliffe only serves to highlight what a class guy he is that’s for sure.
 

benhogan

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I'll toss back that there are 250 million people who live in the eastern and central time zone who would like to watch these games too, especially the parts that matter in close ones. Its absurd that MLB wants moments like the Benintendi catch or the Bellinger walkoff to occur in the middle of night when nobody but devoted fans are watching. And then they wonder why nobody likes baseball anymore.

Is it better for fans on the west coast to miss the early innings of games, which almost by definition cannot be that dramatic because there's still so much game to come, or for fans on the east coast to miss the later innings of games, which are sometimes meaningless in a blowout but sometimes produce great drama? I would think more fans on the east coast and more drama in late innings would carry the day, but apparently not.
Here's the rub: The hardcore West Coast baseball fan that buys tickets to the Dodgers doesn't even show up to that game till the 4th or 5th inning. Running your schedule based on the fickleness of the West Coast TV market/viewer has to be bad business.

I live in LA and I'm 100% behind starting the games earlier (3pm works). Games finishing in the middle of the night ECT is beyond unfair and has to be somewhat uneconomical.
 

lapa

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I’d love to know the rational behind the 7:8 pm ET times I mean I get primetine but who is helped by the thrilling finishes hitting midnight and beyond. I imagine 5 is tough for people getting there from work though

What do you think would be a good way to schedule games to appeal both to the tv market and not overly piss off regular fans. Also what’s wrong with weekend day games and double headers even for the World Series. ?
 

Max Power

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The Red Sox are still the only team this season that hasn't lost four games in a row. The Astros on the other hand...
 

syoo8

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Bradley led the Sox with WPA of .680 in ALCS.

Brasier led the pitching staff with WPA of .390 (per Fangraphs)

(Betts, Benintendi Kinsler and Vazquez at the bottom.)

I would post a table but don't know how to export Excel to SoSH.
 

Dewey'sCannon

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I don't know if anyone else noticed this, but on Mookie's catch against Bergman last night, the two seats closest to where Mookie made the catch were empty. So not much chance for interference - the closest fan was in a Sox jersey who put his arms straight up, and you could tell from his expression he was making sure he kept his hands clear. All this made me laugh. I wonder if the two empty seats were the guys who interfered in G4 (asked not to return?), or just folks in the bathroom or beer line.
 

uk_sox_fan

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I fully admit I'm biased by the fact I live in a time zone 5 hours ahead of ET (Game 3 starting at 10pm was heaven though I did shut it off at 2am after JBJ's granny) but as for the argument about what's fair for the fans going to the game, I would think that missing the 1st 2 innings if you can't make it from work in time would be preferable to trying to get out of the city and drive 2 hours to your suburban home beginning at 12:45am...
 

JimD

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I’d love to know the rational behind the 7:8 pm ET times I mean I get primetine but who is helped by the thrilling finishes hitting midnight and beyond. I imagine 5 is tough for people getting there from work though

What do you think would be a good way to schedule games to appeal both to the tv market and not overly piss off regular fans. Also what’s wrong with weekend day games and double headers even for the World Series. ?
Pretty sure that the networks have a lot of influence, if not outright control, on the start times. They likely want maximum eyeballs from 8:00 to 11:00 p.m. eastern time and care a lot less about how many fans are left if a game runs late. This is likely codified in the contracts with MLB. In other words, it's all about the money, as always.