Baseball Is Broken (on the field, proposed rule changes, attendance, etc.)

Harry Hooper

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Price is supposed to be a great teammate, and guys on his teams are making a lot less. Plus, I seem to recall a member of the Brady-Bündchen household bemoaning the cost of a pool cover.
 

CarolinaBeerGuy

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Price is supposed to be a great teammate, and guys on his teams are making a lot less. Plus, I seem to recall a member of the Brady-Bündchen household bemoaning the cost of a pool cover.
Wait, are you saying they should pay EVERY player $5000 per game under 2:30? That’s over $21 million per team if they hit the target on a daily basis. This is a dumb idea and will never happen.
 

Lose Remerswaal

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And what if the other team is slowing things down? Price might work fast but if the opponents are taking their time. . . .
or a game heading into extra innings . . .

I think HH is doing some performance art here.

what was the argument against the pitch clock?
 

VORP Speed

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Apr 23, 2010
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Iterating on the pitch clock idea, I think it would be better to take the average over a start. Say Price is averaging 30 seconds/pitch and the target is set at 24 seconds to begin with. That forces him to hurry up on most pitches but if it gets stressful and he wants to slow it down, he won't be penalized for it. He just has to make up for it at other points.

Just have to figure out appropriate penalties for pitchers that the PA will agree with. Maybe a one game suspension and it escalates from there.
http://sonsofsamhorn.net/index.php?threads/manfred-16-team-postseason-likely-to-stay-as-an-overwhelming-majority-of-owners-endorsed-the-concept-before-covid.31477/post-4052951
 

Harry Hooper

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No, it wasn't performance art, but I confess I was a bit fried from doing my tax returns. I do think players like Manny Ramirez (with uncashed checks in his car) are the exception, and modest stipends for quicker games might have an impact. One of the distinctive features of baseball is its freedom from timeclocks. Before that gets jettisoned MLB should seriously try a few different interventions. VORP speed's post-game evaluation and suspension idea is interesting. Maybe apply it to the evaluation of umpires as well? Something like the robo-ump to call balls and strikes could help minimize arguments and delays. Also, it would free up the home plate ump to do more to encourage players to hustle and also devote more attention to other stuff like detecting pitchers applying foreign substances to baseballs.
 

The Gray Eagle

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Paying players to play faster could lead to some bad looks. Say it's late in the season and a team that's out of it is playing a lot of young guys who aren't making a lot of money. If that team started playing really fast, it would look like the players are putting those bonuses ahead of winning the game-- which even if it's not true, is a situation that should not be allowed, much less created.

It's also not necessary-- the umps have all the power they need right now to control the pace of play. The rules are already on the books. MLB could try a an evaluation system like the one mentioned above, but instead of using it to suspend players, use it as part of umpire evaluation. like Hooper said. Put pressure on the umps to get the game moving faster. Reward the ones who do.
 
In international cricket, players can get fined 20% of their match fee for every over their team fails to bowl within the allotted time (after allowing for time stoppages for which they aren't responsible). I bet it would be possible to come up with a mathematical format for baseball, in which you divide the number of pitches thrown by the amount of time a team spends in the field and start fining every player on the team a (small) fraction of their salary. If you also offered proportional bonuses for teams that play quickly, you might even have a prayer of getting the union to accept this concept. (You'd probably have to figure out how prohibit batters from calling time and stepping out of the box for this to work, of course.)
 

Max Power

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This should really be in the on-field issues thread, but I'm glad to see they're tinkering with the strike zone in the minors. I know the rulebook zone has been the zone for basically 130 years, but there's no harm in seeing if it can be made more fair. The reason there is a strike zone at all is to force batters to swing at pitches an average hitter should be able to put in play. If there's an area of the zone that basically nobody can handle pitches in (such as the top 3 inches), it shouldn't be a strike. That's not the spirit of the rule and should restore some balance to the game.
 

dhappy42

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Oct 27, 2013
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This should really be in the on-field issues thread, but I'm glad to see they're tinkering with the strike zone in the minors. I know the rulebook zone has been the zone for basically 130 years, but there's no harm in seeing if it can be made more fair. The reason there is a strike zone at all is to force batters to swing at pitches an average hitter should be able to put in play. If there's an area of the zone that basically nobody can handle pitches in (such as the top 3 inches), it shouldn't be a strike. That's not the spirit of the rule and should restore some balance to the game.
A lot of batters can hit the high fastball.

It's pitches on the corners that batters tend to have the most difficulty with. And that's why the current de facto strike zone looks like a fat oval.
 

Phil Plantier

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(disclaimer: I've watched one baseball game in the last 3 years)

I've been thinking forwards and backwards about the MLB playoff structure:

Backwards: did the MLB err by focusing on local markets and making 10 playoff teams? If they returned to the pre-1969 "regular season winner wins the pennant," the NL pennant race would be a huge, two-month-long national story. But maybe I'm underestimating the parochialism of baseball fans.

Forwards: someone in the "At this point in the season" thread mentioned that they'd like the wildcard game to be best of 3. Now that we have 7-inning doubleheaders, what if they played a doubleheader, and, if the teams split, play the next day? Minimal impact on scheduling, and a little more fair than 1 game.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Backwards: did the MLB err by focusing on local markets and making 10 playoff teams? If they returned to the pre-1969 "regular season winner wins the pennant," the NL pennant race would be a huge, two-month-long national story. But maybe I'm underestimating the parochialism of baseball fans.
I don't know if it's parochialism so much as two west coast teams plus a small market midwest team wouldn't garner a ton of attention from the entire eastern half of the country no matter how good the baseball is. Particularly when you factor in the time zones. The Dodgers-Giants battle this season has been epicly close, but most of the country's population is in bed by the time the games start, if not shortly thereafter. It would take some hardcore fans to sacrifice sleep in order to watch them night after night, no matter their normal rooting interests.

It might be mediocre baseball comparatively, but there's a close three-team race in the NL East that would be rendered meaningless in a one-division league. Not to mention another three teams still in the wildcard hunt. That's nine markets that are engaged in meaningful games in September as opposed to just three. I don't see how that can possibly be a bad thing for MLB.
 

jon abbey

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The currently idiotic thing is that if the two or three best teams in the league are in the same division, they are not only punished by playing each other 19 times during the regular season, but then they are herded into the same half of the bracket. So if the Padres were as good as they were supposed to be, they would still have to play the Giants/Dodgers in the wild card game and then the other one in the NLDS, while the other two division winners get to play each other. This happened in 2015, the best three records in MLB were all in the NL Central, but only one could make the NLCS.
 

OCD SS

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For me this is a feature, not a bug. weird match-ups, crazy long shots, and heroes emerging from unlikely places is why to have play offs in the first place.

I think sometimes people get too wrapped up trying to engineer a playoff system that duplicates the regular season standings and who the “best” team is. The point is not to slow Usain Bolt down so that Eliud Kipchige Wins the 100 meter; if that’s the goal just dispense with playoffs altogether.
 

The Gray Eagle

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Minor-league pitch clock cut game times by 21 minutes in 2021
https://theathletic.com/news/minor-league-pitch-clock-cut-game-times-by-21-minutes-in-2021/P9gjgRqcHZeR

The Low-A West League is speeding up time, in baseball games, since it began experimenting with a 15-second pitch clock in June. As a result, the league has cut game times by 21 minutes.
That's the direct opposite of MLB, where the average time of a nine-inning game is up by nearly 20 minutes, just over the last 10 years — and by more than a half-hour since the '80s. With major-league games filled with plenty of dead time, the MLB commissioner's office is taking notice of the pitch clock's impact on the Low-A West League (formerly the California League).
Games were 21 minutes shorter in this league, not to mention the faster pace of play that results when enforcing the clock.

Jayson Stark weighs in:

Jayson Stark, senior MLB writer:
The first time I watched a Low-A West League game, the first word that popped into my head was "rhythm." These games have it. And once that becomes clear, you can’t stop yourself from being obsessed with it.

I watched a Sept. 7 game between the Stockton Ports and San Jose Giants. It started a little after 6:30 p.m. It was over at 8:47. Do you know how many nine-inning major-league games have been over in 2 hours and 13 minutes this year? That would be two — out of more than 2,000!
Two words: Dead time. With a 15-second pitch clock, every ounce of dead time was suctioned totally out of that minor-league game. Gone. And not missed. Like at all.
Barring some surprise agreement with the players on phasing in a clock, there would seem to be an excellent chance that by next season, every minor league is playing with a 15-second clock. MLB wouldn't need union approval for that. And here's why expanding this clock to all leagues seems obvious:
  • Vastly increases the sample size so everyone can see if the impact on the game in the Low-A West League replicates itself on every level, in every way.
  • Allows more players to experience life with a 15-second clock. Which gives big-league players more firsthand input, from fellow players, on the pros and cons.
Then, if the results are similar, it feels logical for MLB to approach the union to try to negotiate the arrival of this — or any sort of clock — in the big leagues in 2023, 2024 or pick a year that works. Players are a good bet to resist. We've seen this movie before.
 

DJnVa

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Interesting it only impacted the Giants.
What do you mean? This isn't one team complaining that they would've hit better had, I don't know, the weather been warmer, but it's one team saying based on who the umps were they went away from what they feel got them there.

So yes, it is "only" affecting the Giants, because possibly the other team in that series decided not to change what they did.
 

Max Power

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A couple of magicians have come up with a way of conveying signs silently.

‘It’s magic, right?’ Meet PitchCom, the device created by two magicians to solve baseball’s sign-stealing problem – The Athletic

It involves a wrist mounted device for the catcher with buttons and a hat insert for the pitcher to hear the pitch being called. I wonder how slowly you could integrate it to the game. If it were only legal to use in the minors and it caught on quickly, catchers getting called up would be out of practice using the old fashioned finger signs. It's something that you'd have to approve all at once for the high minors and MLB.
 

grimshaw

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The draft lottery would be welcome. I'd take it a step further and randomize it every year regardless of where teams place.

I like the idea of a best of 3 wild card where the higher seed hosts all 3 potential games but 14 teams is too much hootenanny.
 

jon abbey

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That’s too many teams but that does sound like it would result in a more balanced bracket, which I am all for.
 

jon abbey

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Actually that doesn’t help with that at all as the #1 seed and the first two wild cards are still all in the same half, they need to remove the automatic top 3 seed for a division winner, so never mind. Three games instead of one is obv way better though.
 

curly2

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14 of 30 teams making the playoffs is ridiculous. They should expand to 32 -- actually they should have done that years ago, go with four-team divisions and six playoff teams in each league, four division winners and two wild cards. Top two teams in each league get byes, and first-round is best-of-three, so no more one-and-done. More teams will be in it, but being really good is crucial to get a bye. And with 12 of 32 making it, going to the playoffs is still kind of a big deal.


As a bonus, with 16-team league, you don't have to have an interleague series all the time.
 

Ale Xander

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Oct 31, 2013
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14 of 30 teams making the playoffs is ridiculous. They should expand to 32 -- actually they should have done that years ago, go with four-team divisions and six playoff teams in each league, four division winners and two wild cards. Top two teams in each league get byes, and first-round is best-of-three, so no more one-and-done. More teams will be in it, but being really good is crucial to get a bye. And with 12 of 32 making it, going to the playoffs is still kind of a big deal.


As a bonus, with 16-team league, you don't have to have an interleague series all the time.
They should have 4 8-team divisions

division winners plus next 2 in each league.

8/32 make playoffs
Top record in each league (top of 2 division winners) chooses opponent in LDS

LDS is best of 5
LCS is best of 7
make the regular season worth something
More of a Balanced schedule, get rid of inter league play (the horror!!!)
7*12
8*9
156 game schedule
Move start of season 1 week back
Get rid of 2 game series
Get rid of 4 game series
 

soxhop411

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Dec 4, 2009
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MLBPA had a counter proposal
A day of negotiating brought Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association no closer to a new collective bargaining agreement, according to sources familiar with the talks.

The sides met in Irving, Texas, on Tuesday, one day before the current agreement is set to expire at 11:59 p.m. ET Wednesday.

Though the sides have tweaked their proposals in recent days, the core economic issues are still the major road block to a new deal. The players want free agency after five years or 29.5 years of age, whichever comes first, while beginning the arbitration process after two seasons instead of three.

Owners won't agree to such a massive overhaul of the system, according to a person familiar with the league's thinking. Both free agency after six years and arbitration after three seasons have been tenets of the economic process in baseball for decades.
On Tuesday, players added potential revenue-generating ideas, such as allowing advertising patches on jerseys and a 12-team postseason, to their offer. But they also asked for the luxury-tax threshold to be raised to $240 million. It was $210 million last season.

To accommodate the playoff grid in a 12-team postseason, the union offered up each league realigning to two divisions, one with eight teams and one with seven.

The league wasn't moved by any of the proposals, which still include changes to free agency, arbitration and revenue sharing among the clubs.
https://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/32758345/major-league-baseball-players-union-no-closer-deal-collective-bargaining-agreement-set-expire-sources-say
 

allmanbro

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Though the sides have tweaked their proposals in recent days, the core economic issues are still the major road block to a new deal. The players want free agency after five years or 29.5 years of age, whichever comes first, while beginning the arbitration process after two seasons instead of three.

Owners won't agree to such a massive overhaul of the system, according to a person familiar with the league's thinking. Both free agency after six years and arbitration after three seasons have been tenets of the economic process in baseball for decades.
If that counts as a "massive overhaul", the owners are unwilling to do anything (and ESPN is carrying water for them here). I wish they could see that the huge divide in value between pre-FA assets (in length of control and cheapness) and FAs is itself a problem. I think a massive increase in the minimum salary is better than a salary floor (which is fine too); it might decrease spending on FAs while still increasing overall player earnings (both is good), and actually think 5 years of control was a conservative ask from the players.
 

jtn46

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How about rather than a bye, the teams with the worst records in each League are required to play best of 3's vs the teams with the best records in each League.
 

jon abbey

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Wonder if we'll now get a flurry of last-minute activity
No, I think we're past that, because it takes times to do physicals etc, and none of that can be done after midnight tonight.
 

DJnVa

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Dec 16, 2010
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What would happen if baseball killed the shift?

We’re here to explore that question. It’s a big one. It’s one that Theo Epstein and his rule-experiment patrol have looked at extensively, in fact. We’re grateful they have. They’ve given us real, helpful data to think about, even though you should know that much of it is likely to surprise and confuse you.
That means more than 51 percent of all balls put in play last year (not counting home runs) were hit into a shift. Incredible. And that’s just balls in play. Baseball Prospectus’ Russell Carleton broke this down by pitches thrown, and he found that for the first time in any full season, left-handed hitters saw more pitches with a shift than without one.
The league-wide batting average dropped by four points last year based solely on hits turned into outs by the shift.
Freeman tied Matt Olson for the honor of most shifted hitter in the sport last year, facing shifts on an unfathomable 580 plate appearances, according to Sports Info Solutions.
Maybe I need more coffee, but help me with this:

TONY CLARK: “I had the pleasure of being a switch hitter. So you could shift me if you wanted, but it didn’t really matter as much.
Dude, you were still going up there hitting from a certain side of the plate and the defense could shift-accordingly. What am I missing?
 

sean1562

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I definitely understand the hitters frustration with the shortstop positioned behind second base. I still intuitively feel like those balls are going to be hits once I see a player hit them up the middle. It is a buzzkill to see a SS there that quickly scoops it up for an easy out.

edit: I should have finished the article before commenting since the next paragraph refutes the claim that it makes much difference anyway.
 

jon abbey

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I think that’s bad reporting by Heyman, nothing is actually agreed on until everything is.
 

sodenj5

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Catchers would prefer the status quo I would guess. Can't fool a robo ump with a nice frame job.
Robo ump could change their position significantly.
Would also open the doors a bit to more offensive catchers that don’t have the same level of finesse as framing would become irrelevant and balls and strikes would be entirely reliant on pitchers.