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

geoduck no quahog

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I'm beginning to support infield positioning rules and pitch clocks. As for the infield, it needn't be so restrictive to prevent an outfielder from becoming a 5th infielder (who can play anywhere) as long as 4 are situated within their restricted zones. I'm a traditionalist but this un-traditional rule would make fielding more like it used to be and allow batters to use more of the field. This wasn't an issue when shifts were used on a few hall-of-fame hitters but, think about it, do you want kids to start playing baseball with shifts straight through high school? It's a fundamental change in the way the game is played. Perhaps that doesn't matter - but it's true.

Stroman yesterday pushed me over the edge in terms of pitch clocks. It's simply not fair to the hitter (or the umpire) to delay the game in order to mess with a batter's mind set. Same with the quick pitch.

Baseball requires action on the bases to be thrilling. Homeruns and strikeouts kill that...and walks are the least exciting thing of all unless the game is on the line. The "new swing path" designed to beat shifts results in more whiffs, making strikeouts less (not more) exciting. I wonder how many K's Pedro would have added if almost everyone he faced was swinging for fly balls.

I guess there are other factors (aren't there always?). Short porches, big alleys and other ballpark designs have a huge impact on hitting. I think today's approach is the equivalent of moving the mound closer to the plate (more K's) and the bringing the outfield boundaries in (more homeruns). That would make a lot of people furious.
 

Lose Remerswaal

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I'm beginning to support infield positioning rules and pitch clocks. As for the infield, it needn't be so restrictive to prevent an outfielder from becoming a 5th infielder (who can play anywhere) as long as 4 are situated within their restricted zones. I'm a traditionalist but this un-traditional rule would make fielding more like it used to be and allow batters to use more of the field. This wasn't an issue when shifts were used on a few hall-of-fame hitters but, think about it, do you want kids to start playing baseball with shifts straight through high school? It's a fundamental change in the way the game is played. Perhaps that doesn't matter - but it's true.
Did you see Matt Carpenter's bunt double last week?

Banning the shift is weak. Beating the shift is how it's done.
 

jon abbey

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Yeah, pitch clocks with no runners on are fine, but infield positioning rules would be awful IMO.
 

geoduck no quahog

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The other minor rule change I've been advocating for a while (I'm brand new to infield shifts) is simple: Any throw to 1B while the runner is on the bag is a balk. It's rare, but would introduce new strategy designed to prevent stalling while a reliever completes his warm ups. If a pitcher is struggling and the manager was late in getting the reliever up, a base runner could choose to give up his lead (on any base, I guess) and force the pitcher to throw home. It's a relatively rare occurrence, but one of those things that drives me nuts during a game: obvious stalling tactics to make up for poor decisions by the fielding team's manager.
 

The Gray Eagle

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Washington Post ran a story that pitcher velocity has pushed baseball to three true outcomes. Now the Globe takes it further:

Gasper identifies "Monotheism" as the problem.
If all the teams are indeed thinking the same way and valuing the same players, then a smart team will go after the undervalued players who are different, that the other teams won't pay much for-- contact hitters and good bunters who beat shifts, pitchers with low strikeout rates but are still effective, pitchers who don't throw hard but are still effective, guys who add value with good baserunning. In addition to signing veterans with those profiles, teams could easily draft players like that in later rounds. Pitchers who can't crack 90 mph and slap hitters probably don't even get drafted or signed at all anymore, which seems like an opportunity for teams to try to take advantage of.

The best thing for baseball would be for some team to collect those type of players and win with them while not spending much money. Other teams would follow.
That's what has always happened with baseball, smart teams react to the changes by going the other way, and the game changes back.

The only rule change they need to implement right away is a pitch clock, and even that wouldn't be necessary if the umpires enforced the rules that are already on the books. They have shown they won't, so the clock should be added.
 

jon abbey

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Jon, why not pitch clocks with runners on base, too?
The tricky thing is with a runner on second, because the signs from the catcher get much more complicated. Ideally there would just be some kind of pitch signalling electronic device between the pitcher and catcher, that way signs couldn't be stolen and things would move much faster.

FWIW, when MLB experimented with this during spring training, these were the rules, a 20 second pitch clock:

"The timer will begin when the pitcher receives the throw back from the catcher. It will not be used for the first pitch of an at-bat but then will be used for each subsequent pitch.

There are exceptions. The pitch clock will not be used after a foul ball, a mound visit or the umpire calls “time." The timer will reset to 20 seconds after a pickoff play, wild pitch or passed ball, or if a pitcher steps off the rubber with runners on base."
 

azsoxpatsfan

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The tricky thing is with a runner on second, because the signs from the catcher get much more complicated. Ideally there would just be some kind of pitch signalling electronic device between the pitcher and catcher, that way signs couldn't be stolen and things would move much faster.

FWIW, when MLB experimented with this during spring training, these were the rules, a 20 second pitch clock:

"The timer will begin when the pitcher receives the throw back from the catcher. It will not be used for the first pitch of an at-bat but then will be used for each subsequent pitch.

There are exceptions. The pitch clock will not be used after a foul ball, a mound visit or the umpire calls “time." The timer will reset to 20 seconds after a pickoff play, wild pitch or passed ball, or if a pitcher steps off the rubber with runners on base."
It also seems that if there were a pitch count with runners on, the runners would be able to know when the pitcher had to pitch and could get good jumps much more easily
 

OfTheCarmen

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The tricky thing is with a runner on second, because the signs from the catcher get much more complicated. Ideally there would just be some kind of pitch signalling electronic device between the pitcher and catcher, that way signs couldn't be stolen and things would move much faster.

FWIW, when MLB experimented with this during spring training, these were the rules, a 20 second pitch clock:

"The timer will begin when the pitcher receives the throw back from the catcher. It will not be used for the first pitch of an at-bat but then will be used for each subsequent pitch.

There are exceptions. The pitch clock will not be used after a foul ball, a mound visit or the umpire calls “time." The timer will reset to 20 seconds after a pickoff play, wild pitch or passed ball, or if a pitcher steps off the rubber with runners on base."
So if this were more stringently enforced, do you think there would be potential for the catcher to delay things if he felt his pitcher/team/etc needed a few more moments? Adjusting equipment before throwing it back, inspecting ball and unnecessarily asking for a new one, standing up to relay signals to the infield, etc?
 

jon abbey

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Heh, I'm not a pitch clock expert, I've said before in this thread I am fine with on field baseball being exactly the way it is currently.
 

Max Power

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Heh, I'm not a pitch clock expert, I've said before in this thread I am fine with on field baseball being exactly the way it is currently.
Didn't you also say you don't watch any games in real time? Or was that someone else?

I'd like to see baseball start by making the ball more like it was even 5 years ago. The one they're using now is likely resulting in 50% more homers (going by what happened when they introduced the same ball in AAA), which changes the game in almost every way. Hitters all try to get the ball in the air, since there's a decent chance it goes out of the park if it does. Pitchers try to prevent any kind of contact, since anyone can hit the ball out to any field. So we have a game filled with fly balls and strikeouts where pitchers all throw high four seam fastballs and curves. The incentives have homogenized the game.

I'd bet a lot of the delay in the game is also the result of the new max effort way in which the game is played. Both pitchers and hitters need to rest and focus between every single pitch if they're throwing and swinging as hard as possible all the time. If there were more times a pitcher could relax and let the fielders do their jobs, the whole thing might go quicker.
 

jon abbey

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Didn't you also say you don't watch any games in real time? Or was that someone else?
Yes, also true, since DVR, I don't watch football/basketball/baseball in real time almost ever. College football is the worst, 4+ hour games that you can watch in an hour or so.
 

geoduck no quahog

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Yes, also true, since DVR, I don't watch football/basketball/baseball in real time almost ever. College football is the worst, 4+ hour games that you can watch in an hour or so.
This is something that must now be common enough that stations are upping their obnoxious in-game advertisements. Commercial skipping (4 clicks on the Tivo 30-second advance) makes watching a game more pleasurable, which mean you need to delay watching for (say) 30 minutes at the start. Well, once you've done that, you sometimes find yourself fast forwarding through slow in-game parts - particularly on semi-meaningless games, or games that are out of hand. All of this leads to an unfortunate impatience with pace-of-play because there's now a work-around...and that kind of sucks. There was a time when baseball had its own internal clock which meant reading a bit of the newspaper between innings or (particularly at the park) having short conversations between pitches. I'm as subject as anyone to the new impatience (the David Price 15-second jump ahead) and I'm ashamed of it.

A pitch clock could help vaccinate some of the worst of that stuff. That's my problem, not baseball's.
 

MakeMineMoxie

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I don't watch games in real time either. Having to sit through the same idiotic commercials every half-inning would drive me nuts. This year I'm using MLB.TV instead of MLB Extra Innings on Direct TV and EI is much better for speeding through pitching changes, mound visits, slow pitchers/hitters, etc.

It's not just the pitchers that need a kick in the ass. Batters are a big part of the problem, too.
MLB Pace Has Never Been Slower. Who’s to Blame?

While it was just a one-game sample, I doubt batters deviated far from their normal routines and practices. They didn’t know I had placed a stopwatch on them from high above the PNC Park playing surface. This is what I found then:
190 times that evening a batter left the batter’s box after a pitch. … Pirates and Cardinals hitters spent a combined 39 minutes, 51 seconds outside the batter’s box. The average stroll outside the box took 12.58 seconds.
40 minutes strolling around before they get back in the box? WTF? I'm assuming the Player's Union made too much of a stink about the rule of keeping one foot in the box so now the umps don't/can't enforce it.
 

Hawk68

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Feb 29, 2008
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It seems to me DVR posts above are an exemplar for why we have a thread "Baseball is broken".

Those who love baseball enough to post tens of thousands of times use technology to filter out the non-entertaining portions of the game. And the elements of the game that have created more non-entertaining stretches:

1) Big data now statistically identifies the elements of player performance that improve win probability. This reduces game variance and entertaining/unexpected outcomes.
2) Technology combined with Big data marketing now alter the placement of advertising (in park and broadcast) hence disturbing the flow and enjoyment of the game.

Perhaps minor league and amateur baseball will be the last redoubt of the most passionate fan.
 

dhappy42

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Oct 27, 2013
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It seems to me DVR posts above are an exemplar for why we have a thread "Baseball is broken".

Those who love baseball enough to post tens of thousands of times use technology to filter out the non-entertaining portions of the game. And the elements of the game that have created more non-entertaining stretches:

1) Big data now statistically identifies the elements of player performance that improve win probability. This reduces game variance and entertaining/unexpected outcomes.
2) Technology combined with Big data marketing now alter the placement of advertising (in park and broadcast) hence disturbing the flow and enjoyment of the game.

Perhaps minor league and amateur baseball will be the last redoubt of the most passionate fan.
There’s a great college game on TV right now. College World Series in Omaha. Game 1, Michigan v Vanderbilt. Stadium is full.
 

jon abbey

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It seems to me DVR posts above are an exemplar for why we have a thread "Baseball is broken".
No, if baseball games were still 2:15, I would still watch them that way, it's just the nature of the sport (as opposed to soccer or tennis, which don't save you much time DVRing, although the new replay system in soccer is changing that). Again, football and basketball have more dead time (they can be watched faster than baseball), college football as I said above is the worst. One year as a test I think I started watching the two national championship semifinal games something like 4 hours after they began and still easily caught up before the end.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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If the whole point is to watch more action and less, well, non-action, why doesn't MLB just go to 3 balls and 2 strikes? :)

edit: they could test it out in spring training.
 

Pandarama

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There’s a great college game on TV right now. College World Series in Omaha. Game 1, Michigan v Vanderbilt. Stadium is full.
How many regular season home games did either one of those teams sell out this year? I’m guessing they both played some great ones to half-empty stadiums.
 

dhappy42

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Oct 27, 2013
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Your post: “Stadium is full.”

The ballparks are full for the MLB World Series, too.
Yes. Of course they are. I still don’t understand your point about low attendance at regular-season college games.

My original comment about the Michigan-Vandy game was in support of Hawk 68’s remark that minor league and amateur baseball being “the last redoubt” of passionate fans. I love college baseball. I’d rather watch Michigan (or Fordham) play in half-empty stadiums than any MLB team not called the Boston Red Sox.
 

DrewDawg

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No, if baseball games were still 2:15, I would still watch them that way,
Baseball games haven't been 2:15 since 1948. In 1999, average game time (for 9 innings) was 2:53. This year it is 3:03. Is that noticeable? I *like* baseball, I don't mind an extra 10-15 minutes of what I find entertaining. But some of it isn't entertaining.

I 100% understand *why* it's done, but man, my baseball brain hates see a ball ripped through the pitcher's legs, and a SS just standing there. Or what looks like a line drive into short RF that falls right into the glove of a 2B who's playing what a short-fielder in slow-pitch softball plays. It just looks off to me.
 

dhappy42

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Oct 27, 2013
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Michigan
I’m the opposite. I *love* shifts. I love when they work. Dashing expectations is exciting to me, especially when it’s the result of clever positioning. It’s sort of like when an outfielder “steals” a home run.

And I love it even more when batters beat the shift, especially on purpose with a bunt or hitting the other way. Because, again, smarts.

So I obviously *hate* the idea of adding shift-defeating rules. Let the boys play.
 

Hawk68

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Feb 29, 2008
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MODS - please move if this fits in a better venue.

Baseball may be broken, but the game is bigger than us all.

For your viewing pleasure 1931 BP for the Babe and Iron Horse. Untutored in modern ways, they are here nevertheless, and connect us to a more raw and ad hoc day.

 

Boggs26

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If Verlander allowed this he's pathetic. Guy has made $200M pitching, is a grown-ass 35 year old, and married to a supermodel. And he allowed Joe Torre to chew him out?
Depends on your definition. If he goes and publicly retracts/apologizes for the statement then I kinda agree with you. If he accepted getting yelled at by league officials and then walked away, I think that's about the appropriate reaction of an adult professional. What would you rather he do, fight Torre? Scream back at him?