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

amlothi

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MLB will test its automated ball-strike (ABS) system using T-Mobile’s 5G Private Mobile Network during select MiLB games this season. Real-time ABS data and video will be transmitted securely to help prevent signal interference via devices and the ABS application, all powered by T-Mobile 5G. This will help ensure ultra-reliable, low latency communications as players and officials review, challenge and analyze calls. As T-Mobile expands its sponsorship to MiLB, fans can also expect to see magenta in MiLB stadiums across the country this summer.

https://www.t-mobile.com/news/un-carrier/mlb-renewal-2023
 

joe dokes

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Jul 18, 2005
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MLB to test three more rule changes, including installing a designated pinch runner - The Boston Globe

In the Atlantic League:
The designated pinch runner rule allows a player who is not in the starting lineup to be used at any point of the game as a substitute baserunner. The player who was subbed out, as well as the pinch runner, would still be able to return to the game.

The “double-hook” designated hitter rule allows teams to use the DH throughout the game as long as the starting pitcher throws at least five innings. If that doesn’t occur, the team loses its DH and the pitcher’s spot would bat for the remainder of the game. The rule was also used in the Atlantic League last season.

There’s also a single-disengagement rule, which means pitchers can only take their foot off the rubber once per at-bat to attempt a pickoff or reset the pitch clock.
With no thought involved, I kind of like the second one (DH), I'm not sure on the pinch runner, but solidly no on the pickoff.
 

joe dokes

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The pickoff rule exists already, except that it's two disengagements rather than one, right?
Yes. While I never really thought pickoff throws were slowing the pace of play all that much anyway, dropping it from 2 to 1 seems a bit unfair to the defense, and doesn't do much for pace. If it's just simply to have more SBs, then I suppose it makes more logical sense, but I still think it handcuffs the defense too much.
 

LogansDad

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Got it. I've been on board with all of the recent rules changes. This one seems unnecessary.
It's one of those rules that I can admit sounds really dumb, but I love steals and plays on the basepaths so I am also pretty sure I would love it. If that makes sense.
 

8slim

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It's one of those rules that I can admit sounds really dumb, but I love steals and plays on the basepaths so I am also pretty sure I would love it. If that makes sense.
I'm with you on steals. But there's plenty of speedy and/or savvy players in the starting 9. This feels like a gimmick.
 

Sad Sam Jones

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If this was explained correctly, there's a loophole in replay that encourages infielders to always shove runners off the base. Brayan Rocchio slid head first safely into second base for a double against the White Sox. He slid a little beyond the bag but still had his hand on the base with control. The defensive player used his glove (with ball) to swipe his hand off the bag, but it was right in front of the umpire who had a great look at it and didn't hesitate to call him safe. Pushing a runner off the base is illegal (regardless of what Kent Hrbek and Drew Coble think) and is not reviewable. However, the White Sox requested and were granted that the play be reviewed. The call was overturned and ruled an out, because – and this is how the broadcast team explained it after the official call from NY was received – in review they can only rule on what they see on the camera and not consider the context of why a call was made. So they all agree it was illegal, but they don't consider the legality of it, only that they saw the runner tagged with the ball while not in contact with the base.

Tito got tossed and then when Cleveland took the field the next half-inning, the infielders asked the umpire (to no response) if it's okay to push all runners off the bases now.

EDIT: As I thought my way through that post, it boils down to the umpiring crew allowing the White Sox to review a play that can't be reviewed. At the very least, they've established that you should always ask, just in case the umpires are incompetent enough to go along with it. I don't recall all the ins and outs of what constitutes a legitimate protest, but umpires disregarding a clear rule is a pretty good starting point.
 
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jon abbey

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I don't recall all the ins and outs of what constitutes a legitimate protest, but umpires disregarding a clear rule is a pretty good starting point.
Yeah, you'd think, but there are no more protests of games allowed.
 

Humphrey

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Yeah, you'd think, but there are no more protests of games allowed.
Is that because in any case where there's a rule dispute (not judgement), they can call NY and get it straightened out before the game continues?
 

Sad Sam Jones

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Is that because in any case where there's a rule dispute (not judgement), they can call NY and get it straightened out before the game continues?
I don't know why it is, but that's the exact opposite of what they did in the Guardians/White Sox game Friday night (they broke a very clear-cut rule in allowing the White Sox to have a play reviewed in NY that had already been ruled correctly on the field... and no one involved in the process bothered to say, "hey you @#$*ing idiots, we can't do that!"), so obviously you can't rely on that happening.
 

redsoxdan

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Nov 25, 2005
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From The Athletic today. No matter what MLB officials say it's hard to take them seriously given, well, everything.


"For the first time since 2019, the sport’s collective batting average has risen year over year, improving from .243 last season to .248 heading into Wednesday’s games. The number of errors has fallen to the lowest tally per game in recorded history, 0.51, part of a gradual decline dating back to the 1970s. The league-wide fielding percentage, .986, is also an all-time high."

“Everything’s a hit,” Angels pitcher Patrick Sandoval said. “I have a little conspiracy about it: That they are telling the scorers to be more lenient with the hits so they can be like, ‘Oh, the new rules work. You have more hits.’”

"Chris Marinak, MLB’s chief operations and strategy officer, described these developments as a potential unintended consequence of the new rules, rather than part of a campaign designed to promote them. “I can tell you very clearly there has been no directive from MLB to score more hits versus errors this year, as it relates to the new rules or anything else, frankly,” Marinak said"


In MLB, plays that were once errors are now hits, as players wonder why
 

bosox188

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Anecdotally, I've kind of been wondering about how many clear errors are getting ruled hits, especially when it's a hit ruled in favor of the home team. Some of that home cooking has always been there, but it's stood out to me more this season. Interesting to hear it's not just me.
 

Heating up in the bullpen

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Anecdotally, I've kind of been wondering about how many clear errors are getting ruled hits, especially when it's a hit ruled in favor of the home team. Some of that home cooking has always been there, but it's stood out to me more this season. Interesting to hear it's not just me.
Definitely not just you. Joe C and Will F have been talking about it on the radio broadcast.
 

Heating up in the bullpen

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Has anybody else heard the promo spot, I think during radio broadcasts (I listen through the MLB at-bat app), hyping the 2023 rule changes. Drives me f'in crazy.
1. I don't have a problem with their messaging on the pitch clock -- it actually does what they say, speeds up the game.
2. Larger bases. They claim lead to more stealing. Maybe? I think more stealing comes more from the limit on pick-off throws. Bigger bases seems like a player safety change, not an action change. But I won't die on that hill.
3. But the shift ban messaging is a load of BS. They claim the shift ban increases/will increase balls in play. That's absurd. Where the defenders stand has no bearing on balls put in play. Just might yield a different distribution of whether they turn into hits or outs. Every time I hear this I want to beat the snot out of Manfred because it's so symptomatic of all the BS that surrounds that prick.
 

Max Power

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The other suggestion in the Athletic is that sports betting is leading to more errors being called hits. Draft Kings lets you bet if someone gets a hit in a certain game, so having it ruled an error would make people more upset. That's just dumb enough to be the real reason.

Unless you're a pitcher concerned about your ERA, it doesn't matter very much. Whatever you call it, the runner reached base. It just makes modern fielders look bad if they're not expected to make anything beyond the most routine plays.
 

joe dokes

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3. But the shift ban messaging is a load of BS. They claim the shift ban increases/will increase balls in play. That's absurd. Where the defenders stand has no bearing on balls put in play. Just might yield a different distribution of whether they turn into hits or outs. Every time I hear this I want to beat the snot out of Manfred because it's so symptomatic of all the BS that surrounds that prick.
I *think* the plausibly deniable reasoning is that the absence/limiting of shifting will lessen the need to swing for the fences every time; and that, in turn, will lead to more balls in play. Makes some sense in theory. (I don't know what the numbers are from this season, or whether that's a significant enough sample size, given that it requires a change in batting approach that has been around for several years now).
 

lexrageorge

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I *think* the plausibly deniable reasoning is that the absence/limiting of shifting will lessen the need to swing for the fences every time; and that, in turn, will lead to more balls in play. Makes some sense in theory. (I don't know what the numbers are from this season, or whether that's a significant enough sample size, given that it requires a change in batting approach that has been around for several years now).
Hits that are not home runs have gone up ever so slightly from 7.09 to 7.19 per game. Unclear if this is meaningful difference. Like the shift ban as nothing is more boring than a groundout into the shift, but its impact has been a bit muted it seems.
 

joe dokes

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Hits that are not home runs have gone up ever so slightly from 7.09 to 7.19 per game. Unclear if this is meaningful difference. Like the shift ban as nothing is more boring than a groundout into the shift, but its impact has been a bit muted it seems.
What about IF balls is play? On the assumption that a ball in play -- even one turned into an out -- is some craved-for "action" and might be the result of a change in approach.

(I fully realize I'm asking you to look up stuff that's out there somewhere for all to find).
 

lexrageorge

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What about IF balls is play? On the assumption that a ball in play -- even one turned into an out -- is some craved-for "action" and might be the result of a change in approach.

(I fully realize I'm asking you to look up stuff that's out there somewhere for all to find).
BB's and K's per game total 11.84 this season vs 11.45 last season. Total plate appearances per game are 37.79 and 37.46 for this season and last, respectively. That means there are roughly 25.95 balls in play this season vs 26.01 last year. So, no meaningful difference so far. I don't know how many of those balls in play are IF vs OF. However, it is interesting that BABIP has gone up slightly, from 0.290 to 0.297.

Unclear the reasons for the minimal difference noted in the basic stats. It could be that there are more subtle differences lurking in the data that will come out over multiple season. Or perhaps hitters still need time to adjust.
 

Fuzzy Bear

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Jul 30, 2023
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The AL is hitting .247 as a whole (compared to .261 in 1985). The NL is hitting .252 (WITH the DH) as opposed to .251 in 1985 (WITHOUT the DH).

The AL, as a whole, hit .230 in 1968. We are getting back to the Year of the Pitcher offense. 1968 baseball was boring. 2023 baseball is boring. One reason it is boring is the all-or-nothing nature of it. HRs are fun, but a game of HRs or Ks is not fun.
 

jon abbey

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Could compensate for this by moving the pitchers’ rubber back 3 feet, equidistant from home and second base.
You could strap a big rock to their forearm too, but pretty sure anything that makes pitching even more physically taxing will likely result in even more arm blowouts.
 

ookami7m

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Moving the mound back wouldn’t increase pitching injuries.
he asserts with no evidence…..

sorry but that doesn’t pass the smell test, anything that increases the force a pitcher will use (such as throwing farther) will increase injury risk.
 

Max Power

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he asserts with no evidence…..

sorry but that doesn’t pass the smell test, anything that increases the force a pitcher will use (such as throwing farther) will increase injury risk.
You're assuming pitchers aren't throwing with maximum effort right now. I know they say they'll give 110%, but they really can't go over 100.
 

ookami7m

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You're assuming pitchers aren't throwing with maximum effort right now. I know they say they'll give 110%, but they really can't go over 100.
I think it’s just basic physics - to move an object a greater distance requires greater force.
 

shaggydog2000

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I think it’s just basic physics - to move an object a greater distance requires greater force.
If you're carrying it yes. If you're throwing it, not necessarily. Have you never softly tossed something?

It's more likely that the pitchers are already throwing at maximum force and are going to just have to adjust the arc of their throws, and the ball will be moving maybe 1% slower when it crosses the plate. It shouldn't be a huge change, but the extra time for batters to see the ball might make a difference.
 

dhappy42

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Makes more sense to lower the mound, might not impact pitchers durability as much.
I don’t think moving the mound back three feet would adversely affect pitcher health/durability much if at all. Most pitchers are already throwing at max effort in terms of velocity and spin.
 

Ale Xander

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Seeing the Guards being buyers, MLB needs to move the Guards and Tigers to the east, the Twins and Royals to the west.

Move Pirates and Reds to the NL east, move the Brewers, Cardinals and Cubs to the west.

Move the White sox to Nashville (NL East) (relatively short trip for fans that stay) Will create great rivalry with Braves.

I’d love to contract the A’s and Marlins (and have 7 teams in each division in each league but you really can’t contract multiple WS winners)
 

dhappy42

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Seeing the Guards being buyers, MLB needs to move the Guards and Tigers to the east, the Twins and Royals to the west.

Move Pirates and Reds to the NL east, move the Brewers, Cardinals and Cubs to the west.

Move the White sox to Nashville (NL East) (relatively short trip for fans that stay) Will create great rivalry with Braves.

I’d love to contract the A’s and Marlins (and have 7 teams in each division in each league but you really can’t contract multiple WS winners)
MLB will expand to 32 teams, not contract. Nashville, Salt Lake City, and Charlotte are the favorites.

32 teams seems to be the maximum practical number of teams unless MLB ditches inter-league play.
 

Ale Xander

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MLB will expand to 32 teams, not contract. Nashville, Salt Lake City, and Charlotte are the favorites.

32 teams seems to be the maximum practical number of teams unless MLB ditches inter-league play.
Fine
White Sox to ALW
Charlotte to ALE
Nashville to NLE

ALE
MFY
BOS

TOR
CLE
DET

BAL
CHA
TPA

ALW
LAAA
LV

HOU
TEX
KC

SEA
MIN
CHW

NLE
ATL
NASH

NYY
PHL

PIT
CIN

MIA
DC


NLW
LAD
SDP
SF

AZ
COL

MIL
STL
CUB

Sorry, SLC
(Although you can replace Nash w/ SLC and move MIL or CUB to east. )
 

jon abbey

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They really should dump divisions and go back to two leagues and just take the top six finishers, a division as consistently weak as the AL Central getting a #3 seed every year is ridiculous.
 

dhappy42

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They really should dump divisions and go back to two leagues and just take the top six finishers, a division as consistently weak as the AL Central getting a #3 seed every year is ridiculous.
Or consolidate to two 8-team divisions in each league, East and West. Division winners get first-round playoff byes, four wild cards play to face division winners in round 2.
 

jon abbey

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Or consolidate to two 8-team divisions in each league, East and West. Division winners get first-round playoff byes, four wild cards play to face division winners in round 2.
That still runs the (fairly small) risk of one division winner being worse than the five playoff teams from the other divison and still getting a #2 seed and a bye.

Or keep divisions as they are, and just order the six postseason teams by record, regardless of how they got in. If the Central winner has the 5th or 6th best record, give them the #5 or #6 seed.
 

zenax

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They really should dump divisions and go back to two leagues and just take the top six finishers, a division as consistently weak as the AL Central getting a #3 seed every year is ridiculous.
My thought has been that they should add two teams, change to four leagues that play within their own league. The regular season could be shortened (140 games, perhaps), which would allow All-Star Games and play-offs to be revamped to keep teams' money in the same place.