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

charlieoscar

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That's interesting. Does not seem like a rule that should be enacted unilaterally. Surprised MLBPA isn't fighting it more....
According to the CBA, MLB may impose on-field rule changes unilaterally when at least one year of notice is given to the union.
 

Plympton91

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Seems like a hard ass bargaining chip. Implement something the union hates in order to give it back in exchange for something meaningful.
 

charlieoscar

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...So it [increase in bag size] would shorten distance between 1st and 2nd and 2nd and 3rd by 4-1/2 inches...
Wouldn't this mean that a runner could take a lead off first that is 4.5 inches longer than he did in the past? He would thus get to 2nd base in less time than under the old rule and as long as his slide didn't take him closer to home plate, the catcher would not gain and advantage on the throw. So, will we see more steals of 2nd and/or a higher success rate for those attempts?

Similarly, both the infielders and the batter gain three inches to the bag; however, a throw is roughly three times as fast in mph as the runner, so the fielder gets the edge. Fewer infield hits? Also, with regard to double plays, in particular those involving a runner on first, the infielder making the play at second could gain more than three inches if his foot hits the bag on the extended portion. Do we expect to see a slight rise in GIDP?
 

SirPsychoSquints

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Wouldn't this mean that a runner could take a lead off first that is 4.5 inches longer than he did in the past? He would thus get to 2nd base in less time than under the old rule and as long as his slide didn't take him closer to home plate, the catcher would not gain and advantage on the throw. So, will we see more steals of 2nd and/or a higher success rate for those attempts?

Similarly, both the infielders and the batter gain three inches to the bag; however, a throw is roughly three times as fast in mph as the runner, so the fielder gets the edge. Fewer infield hits? Also, with regard to double plays, in particular those involving a runner on first, the infielder making the play at second could gain more than three inches if his foot hits the bag on the extended portion. Do we expect to see a slight rise in GIDP?
I think you’re thinking about the infield hit thing backwards. The throw travels faster, so it saves 1/3 the time that the runner saves. Assuming the first base bag is centered in the same place, it advantages the runner.

I don’t know if I’m confident in the exact placement of the bag. Is the corner in the same place it used to be? Or the center?
 

Plympton91

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That isn't actually what I said, that's just how you assumed it. I said that the two parties, in a negotiation, sat down and agreed upon what his value is. Given that nobody forced Jimenez to do so in any manner (he absolutely would've been free to tell them to go screw and play for free agency and the BIG payday if he wanted,) hence the indentured servitude take is fucking idiotic.
Jimenez had 3 options: retire, negotiate with the White Sox, wait 7 years for the right to actually have the right to negotiate a fair market-determined salary.

I don’t understand how you can say, “Nobody forced Jimenez to do so,” when he is prohibited from talking with 29 other potential employers about his current or future value.

He is forced to play for the White Sox for a minimum of 7 more years. That means the White Sox have massively disproportionate power in the negotiation. That you can’t see and admit that is mind blowing.

Indentured servitude is exactly what baseball imposes on prospects, with the complicity of American courts and the union that seems to be beholden mostly to star players’ agents.
 
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jon abbey

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He got to choose his organization to begin with (international player) and was allowed to start playing without mandatory time in college, that’s two huge plusses over basketball or football along those lines.
 

Plympton91

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He got to choose his organization to begin with (international player) and was allowed to start playing without mandatory time in college, that’s two huge plusses over basketball or football along those lines.
And indentured servants got to choose who they did their apprenticeship with.
 

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And indentured servants got to choose who they did their apprenticeship with.
The problem with the indentured servitude argument is that it would make it very difficult to root for the home team if players were constantly changing teams. I agree that the system is fucked, but the system is more concerned with consumer than the product (the players).
 

Plympton91

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The problem with the indentured servitude argument is that it would make it very difficult to root for the home team if players were constantly changing teams. I agree that the system is fucked, but the system is more concerned with consumer than the product (the players).
If the initial decision to choose your organization were a free choice with no salary cap like the international free agent system used to be, and you were signing a convoluted 7- to 13-year contract based on your upfront signing bonus and the assigned annual stipends, that would be a little better. But now that they are so blatantly screwing over poor kids from Latin America with the bonus caps it doesn’t even hold for them.

There should also be more freedom in that initial time commitment. The very best players used to have the ability to negotiate to be placed on the 40-man immediately, which reduced the 7-year minimum commitment to 3 or 4 years. Players should actually be free to negotiate anything along those lines that fits their development timetable, like saying they have to be put on the 40-man after their first full minor league season rather than after 3 (or sometimes 4) as it is now, but all those nuances have been bargained away by the union, which capitulated on that moderately free market feature, to owners who didn’t like players having that little but more bargaining power.
 

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If the initial decision to choose your organization were a free choice with no salary cap like the international free agent system used to be, and you were signing a convoluted 7- to 13-year contract based on your upfront signing bonus and the assigned annual stipends, that would be a little better.

There should also be more freedom in that initial time commitment. The very best players had the ability to negotiate to be placed on the 40-man immediately, which reduced the 7-year minimum commitment to 3 or 4 years. Player should be free to negotiate anything along those lines, like saying they have to be put on the 40-man after their first full minor league season rather than after 3 or 4 as it is now, but all those nuances have been bargained away by the union, which capitulated on that moderately free market feature, to owners who didn’t like players having that little but more bargaining power.
We may be talking past each other, but the problem with the indentured servitude argument is that, if it was a totally free market, then the Yankees would have over a hundred World Series trophies. There must be some mechanism to level the playing field. What we have now is sure as shit not perfect, but it's better than nothing.

Edit: Do you have a practical solution to the problem? I'm not trying to be snarky, or combative, I'm honestly open to ideas. Letting teams negotiate with all players, once their contract is over just seems to be a way to make it a system of haves and have-nots, even more than it is today.
 

Plympton91

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We may be talking past each other, but the problem with the indentured servitude argument is that, if it was a totally free market, then the Yankees would have over a hundred World Series trophies. There must be some mechanism to level the playing field. What we have now is sure as shit not perfect, but it's better than nothing.

Edit: Do you have a practical solution to the problem? I'm not trying to be snarky, or combative, I'm honestly open to ideas. Letting teams negotiate with all players, until their contract is done just seems to be a way to make it a system of haves and have-nots, even more than it is today.
I think that if baseball (or any sport) wants to argue that they need to operate as a monopsony purchaser of labor in order to thrive, then they should be subject to much stricter regulation of their labor practices. For instance, the major league players union should not be able to bargain away the rights of high school baseball players. I am all for the government butting out of competitive markets, but sports aren’t that.
 

Darnell's Son

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I think that if baseball (or any sport) wants to argue that they need to operate as a monopsony purchaser of labor in order to thrive, then they should be subject to much stricter regulation of their labor practices. For instance, the major league players union should not be able to bargain away the rights of high school baseball players. I am all for the government butting out of competitive markets, but sports aren’t that.
I get that, but how does a system like that allow Evan Longoria go to the Rays instead of the Yankees (or Red Sox, don't want to hurt Yankees' fans feelings) scooping him up and the Rays ending up with Darnell Plympton?
 

OCD SS

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The problem with the indentured servitude argument is that it would make it very difficult to root for the home team if players were constantly changing teams. I agree that the system is fucked, but the system is more concerned with consumer than the product (the players).
No, MLB is worried about the product, which is the game as a whole. It’s looking at incoming revenue and franchise valuations. In your analogy the players provide not only the labor, but are the raw materials that connect fans to the teams, driving up those values.

The flip side to the players being paid as unrestricted free agents from day one is competitive balance. The economics of the game have shifted in the last 10-15 years; it wasn’t so long ago that conventional wisdom was the Sox really couldn’t go head to head with “the MFY” on the basis of revenue and spending. From a certain perspective of addressing competitive balance, the system is working as it is starting to break up a team that has won its division for 3 straight years…
 

Harry Hooper

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It’s going to take baseball a LONNNNNNG time to recover from this strike (if it even recovers)
I think you're interpreting this reticence/secrecy by the players the wrong way. The issue is the players are not close to united about striking, which is what happened in the last CBA round where the owners fared better than they had since the 1970's.
 

Darnell's Son

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No, MLB is worried about the product, which is the game as a whole. It’s looking at incoming revenue and franchise valuations. In your analogy the players provide not only the labor, but are the raw materials that connect fans to the teams, driving up those values.

The flip side to the players being paid as unrestricted free agents from day one is competitive balance. The economics of the game have shifted in the last 10-15 years; it wasn’t so long ago that conventional wisdom was the Sox really couldn’t go head to head with “the MFY” on the basis of revenue and spending. From a certain perspective of addressing competitive balance, the system is working as it is starting to break up a team that has won its division for 3 straight years…
Shifted how? I'm worried that the Yankees, Red Sox, and both Chicago teams have figured out the system, and we'll never see a Cleveland/Oakland/Colorado World Series championship. That's the death knell of the sport.

The bolded is hot fire.
 

jon abbey

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Shifted how? I'm worried that the Yankees, Red Sox, and both Chicago teams have figured out the system, and we'll never see a Cleveland/Oakland/Colorado World Series championship. That's the death knell of the sport.

The bolded is hot fire.
I don't think the White Sox have figured out anything, their wave of very talented prospects has mostly fizzled so far.

And Milwaukee was a game from the World Series last year, baseball is too unpredictable for the kind of oligopoly you're describing I think to ever fully happen. That being said, the final four AL playoff teams have been the same two years in a row and there's a good chance they make it three this year.
 

Darnell's Son

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I don't think the White Sox have figured out anything, their wave of very talented prospects has mostly fizzled so far.

And Milwaukee was a game from the World Series last year, baseball is too unpredictable for the kind of oligopoly you're describing I think to ever fully happen. That being said, the final four AL playoff teams have been the same two years in a row and there's a good chance they make it three this year.
Including the less-good Sox was a dumb mistake based on market power.

However, the italicized is kinda making my point.

What do we want as baseball fans? More competition is inherently good, I think, but how do we go about achieving that while paying players as much as they deserve?

To offer an answer to my own question: I think a salary floor is a great way to make teams more competitive. If you can't afford it then move to Montreal, or Oklahoma City, or whatever booming metropolis you want to.
 

Harry Hooper

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Including the less-good Sox was a dumb mistake based on market power.

However, the italicized is kinda making my point.

What do we want as baseball fans? More competition is inherently good, I think, but how do we go about achieving that while paying players as much as they deserve?

To offer an answer to my own question: I think a salary floor is a great way to make teams more competitive. If you can't afford it then move to Montreal, or Oklahoma City, or whatever booming metropolis you want to.
Historically, the MLBPA opposed a salary floor since they valued consistency with their position against a salary ceiling. They've managed to stumble into what is effectively a salary ceiling situation via the MLB luxury tax/revenue sharing provisions. Without a salary floor, it's a bit of a lose-lose status for the players now.
 

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I think that if baseball (or any sport) wants to argue that they need to operate as a monopsony purchaser of labor in order to thrive, then they should be subject to much stricter regulation of their labor practices. For instance, the major league players union should not be able to bargain away the rights of high school baseball players. I am all for the government butting out of competitive markets, but sports aren’t that.
That doesn't really answer the question. What should baseball do to maintain competitive balance while making sure young players are paid more when they're their most productive? I'm a big believer in maintaining years of control, but removing salary limits, but I recognize that's likely to result in the rich teams getting most of the best young talent in the game. If Blake Snell were making $25 million this year, Tampa probably would have traded away the rights for his next 3 years than keeping him.
 

jon abbey

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A little off topic, but any list of franchises that have been pushing the sport forward in recent years has to lead with the Astros and Dodgers, three World Series plus an ALCS appearance between them in the past two seasons and probably both favorites again this year (BOS/NYY are both knocked down a notch for being in the same division). Both also still have very good farm systems somehow, the latest BA farm rankings from last month of the current powerhouses:

5-HOU
9-LAD
16-CLE
17-WAS
20-NYY
29-CHC
30-BOS
 

Cesar Crespo

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Random, but I always thought baseball would benefit from a max contract of 4-5 years. In return, players would reach FA after 4 seasons instead of 6. Kinda like the NBA where they had to make rules to protect the owners from harming themselves. Maybe this would punish small market teams too much, I dunno. It would be different than the NBA because there would be no max dollar amount.

I think we may be headed in that direction anyway and I think it would end up benefiting the players and the game.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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To offer an answer to my own question: I think a salary floor is a great way to make teams more competitive. If you can't afford it then move to Montreal, or Oklahoma City, or whatever booming metropolis you want to.
The salary floor won't make teams more competitive in the current environment where a pick in the top-10 of the draft is probably the most valuable asset a team can have in terms of building a championship team.

I mean I know I'm repeating myself from upthread but it simply amazes me that baseball (and basketball for that matter) have created a system that if the team isn't going to make the playoffs, there is literally no incentive for trying to win more games and every incentive to lose.

To put this more plainly, here is a BProspectus article on the value of draft picks. It uses a $11MM per win number. Given the chart in the article on projected surplus (see below), any GM who doesn't think his team is going to the playoffs and is not doing everything possible to get the #1 pick is committing malpractice.

Frankly, what Os fans don't get is that Chris Davis is almost as valuable to their endeavor as Mookie is to the Red Sox as who else can give the Os the appearance of trying but singlehandedly bring them 4 games closer to the "promised land". (I think it would be hilarious if Davis figure out how to hit 50 HRs again and this lead the Os to a 75 win season instead of the 55 wins I think they are projecting).

 

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Manfred gave his take on player salaries recently.

https://www.chron.com/sports/article/Manfred-Journeymen-must-realize-analytics-sank-13721438.php

"Obviously what the clubs are saying, the Bryce Harpers, the Mike Trouts, these free agents, Manny Machado, they have tremendous value," Manfred said Wednesday.

Then he cited the example of a 33-year-old player with a 1 Wins Above Replacement last season.

"That price has been disappointing for some players, but that's the market," Manfred said. "What we've said to the players is look, if that's your issue, you've got to tell us. That's a distribution issue. That means some guys are getting too much. Some guys are getting too little. We're largely agnostic on that one."
The players union has been fighting for years for the biggest deals for the biggest stars, effectively leaving everyone else behind once the owners caught onto who is really producing wins. There's going to have to be a long discussion among the union members about how that pie should be split and how to get it to that point.
 

charlieoscar

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There's going to have to be a long discussion among the union members about how that pie should be split and how to get it to that point.
For some time, now, I have felt that the players should be granted their share of the proceeds and they get to divvy up the money amongst themselves.
 

Papelbon's Poutine

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The salary floor won't make teams more competitive in the current environment where a pick in the top-10 of the draft is probably the most valuable asset a team can have in terms of building a championship team.

I mean I know I'm repeating myself from upthread but it simply amazes me that baseball (and basketball for that matter) have created a system that if the team isn't going to make the playoffs, there is literally no incentive for trying to win more games and every incentive to lose.

To put this more plainly, here is a BProspectus article on the value of draft picks. It uses a $11MM per win number. Given the chart in the article on projected surplus (see below), any GM who doesn't think his team is going to the playoffs and is not doing everything possible to get the #1 pick is committing malpractice.

Frankly, what Os fans don't get is that Chris Davis is almost as valuable to their endeavor as Mookie is to the Red Sox as who else can give the Os the appearance of trying but singlehandedly bring them 4 games closer to the "promised land". (I think it would be hilarious if Davis figure out how to hit 50 HRs again and this lead the Os to a 75 win season instead of the 55 wins I think they are projecting).

I have to ask what I'm missing on the bolded? Which of the 4 major sports does this not apply to?

I'm also missing how Chris Davis is as important as Mookie, could you expand on that?
 

jon abbey

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He means that Davis is so bad that it helps BAL be worse and get a higher draft pick.
 

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I haven't gone through the entire thread, but there is something that I have been wondering about when it comes to the pace/length of the game. Has anyone discussed how the home run may have affected this? The past three seasons there has been an onslaught of home runs. In fact those seasons represent three of the four highest HR totals ever. What's the reason for this? Is the ball different? If so how many of these home runs would have been outs and may have shortened innings? How many of these home runs resulted in a pitching change and have extended innings? How many games might have been tied and extended into extra innings because of it? These are all rhetorical questions that I'm not sure anyone can give a precise answer to, but if it is the case how will forcing a pitcher who may not have his best stuff to face extra batters help?
 

ledsox

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Robot home plate ump experiment starts next month in the Atlantic league. Per MLB network. Like it.
 
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MakeMineMoxie

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So May 2019 saw the most home runs ever hit in one month, 1,135 & MLB is on pace to hit 6,500+ HR's in 2019, 400 more than 2017.

Am I the only one that's getting bored to death by this HR barrage, along with the other two Three True Outcomes?
 

Madmartigan

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So May 2019 saw the most home runs ever hit in one month, 1,135 & MLB is on pace to hit 6,500+ HR's in 2019, 400 more than 2017.

Am I the only one that's getting bored to death by this HR barrage, along with the other two Three True Outcomes?
You’re not. The home run used to be one of the most exciting plays in sports; now it’s pedestrian, boring and seemingly anyone can hit one with relative ease. MLB needs to unjuice the baseball soon.
 

Dehere

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So May 2019 saw the most home runs ever hit in one month, 1,135 & MLB is on pace to hit 6,500+ HR's in 2019, 400 more than 2017.

Am I the only one that's getting bored to death by this HR barrage, along with the other two Three True Outcomes?
For me it’s not the increase in HRs by itself, it’s the increase in the three true outcomes coupled with slower pace of play.

In a typical game this season you’ve got basically 50 plate appearances that don’t result in one of the three true outcomes in a three hour game. That’s a playable ball roughly once every three and a half minutes.

Go back to 1979, which I picked just because that’s roughly when I became a fan as a kid, and it was more like 59 playable balls in a 2.5 hour game, or closer to a playable ball every 2.5 minutes.

Just for some context, even accounting for commercials and halftime a play gets run in the NFL about once every 90 seconds. In the NBA a shot goes up about every 40 seconds. Three and a half minutes between playable balls is just unacceptable. It’s the biggest problem facing baseball IMO.
 

jon abbey

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For me it’s not the increase in HRs by itself, it’s the increase in the three true outcomes coupled with slower pace of play.

In a typical game this season you’ve got basically 50 plate appearances that don’t result in one of the three true outcomes in a three hour game. That’s a playable ball roughly once every three and a half minutes.

Go back to 1979, which I picked just because that’s roughly when I became a fan as a kid, and it was more like 59 playable balls in a 2.5 hour game, or closer to a playable ball every 2.5 minutes.

Just for some context, even accounting for commercials and halftime a play gets run in the NFL about once every 90 seconds. In the NBA a shot goes up about every 40 seconds. Three and a half minutes between playable balls is just unacceptable. It’s the biggest problem facing baseball IMO.
This post implicitly says that fly outs are more exciting than home runs and groundouts are more exciting than strikeouts, both of which IMO are ludicrous. What was Chris Sale's most memorable start by far this season of the 12 he's made? Now why was that exactly?
 

Dehere

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Add the home runs into the balls in play and it won’t change the larger point.

Extreme occurrences are always exciting. Night in, night out I feel like the current version of the game is less enjoyable than it was a generation ago.
 

jon abbey

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Night in, night out I feel like the current version of the game is less enjoyable than it was a generation ago.
Fair enough, and plenty of people seem to agree with you.

Personally I love how the sport continues to develop and seeing new things all the time, I love massive defensive shifts for instance (four outfielders against Joey Gallo!) and seeing if players can take advantage of them. Just this week I saw Todd Frazier with a kind of swinging push bunt to second base (which had been left vacated) to beat a shift, and four infielders on the right side of the infield in a bottom of the ninth/tie game/bases loaded/one out situation (it didn't work as I believe the batter hit a deep fly to win the game).
 

MakeMineMoxie

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For me it’s not the increase in HRs by itself, it’s the increase in the three true outcomes coupled with slower pace of play.

In a typical game this season you’ve got basically 50 plate appearances that don’t result in one of the three true outcomes in a three hour game. That’s a playable ball roughly once every three and a half minutes.

Go back to 1979, which I picked just because that’s roughly when I became a fan as a kid, and it was more like 59 playable balls in a 2.5 hour game, or closer to a playable ball every 2.5 minutes.

Just for some context, even accounting for commercials and halftime a play gets run in the NFL about once every 90 seconds. In the NBA a shot goes up about every 40 seconds. Three and a half minutes between playable balls is just unacceptable. It’s the biggest problem facing baseball IMO.
I really hate the current pace of play (or the lack thereof). PLEASE give us a pitch clock. By speeding up the pace, I think we might see more balls in play, and even if not, at least it would make the games more watchable. Jon Abbey, your're right, the new analytics do take watching games to a different level, I'd just like to see more baseball action and the 3TO aren't very exciting.
 

jon abbey

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thats the problem, no? HRs are so common that 1 per 6 games doesn't matter to you.
No, people can't remember the difference between 12 and 13 HRs over a week of baseball, 20 hours of action and one differing event. For me, how entertaining or not a specific game is not easily reduced to how many HRs or balls in play or whatever, each game is different. Some certainly are pretty lousy, but for me I don't think the percentages have changed over time.
 

jon abbey

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I really hate the current pace of play (or the lack thereof). PLEASE give us a pitch clock. By speeding up the pace, I think we might see more balls in play, and even if not, at least it would make the games more watchable. Jon Abbey, your're right, the new analytics do take watching games to a different level, I'd just like to see more baseball action and the 3TO aren't very exciting.
Yeah, this is fair, I never go to games in person anymore and I often let them build up an hour or two in advance on the DVR before starting them (but I do that for hoops and football too). To me, homers and strikeouts are some of the best things about baseball and even walks sometimes can be awesome, McCutchen was a master down the stretch last year for NY, same with Judge and Hicks when they are on.
 

Big John

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Whatever it takes to get more balls in play, I'm for it. There are too many strikeouts and walks, and not enough hits that stay in the park. Sure, strikeouts, walks and home runs can be exciting. So can doubles and triples, stolen bases, squeeze plays, hit and run plays, going the opposite way to beat the shift, diving catches, pickoffs, double plays and all the things that make baseball a richer experience for fans.

Nowadays there is a sameness to most games. Starter goes 6, then two setup men and a closer. The players strike out or walk for the most part until someone hits a home run, and some players trot around the bases.
 

rguilmar

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1 HR per 6 games is not noticeable when watching games, sorry. It’s noticeable when looking at stats.
To be fair, it’s not like the claim is that 2017 was awesome and this year is terrible in terms of enjoyment. The claim, at least the way I’m reading it, is that the long term trend is making the game less fun to watch.

Cherry picking 2014, for example, where 4186 homers were hit. That’s a 55% increase in home runs over a five year span. That’s about one per game. I’d imagine that would be noticeable, especially when we’re talking about an event that occurs less than three time a game.

I’m saying I agree with the point about the entertainment of the game, which is an individual experience anyways. Just saying that year to year stats aren’t really indicative of the overall trend and it’s real impact on the game.