MLB 2020: We're Playing, but We Can't Agree on Anything

joe dokes

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Here’s the thing: baseball has to adapt. They have to change. “HAR! GET OFF MY LAWN! I want the same game that they played in 1890! It’s a perfect game!”

It isn’t. Society as a whole has changed dramatically. People don’t have the attention span for a game like baseball. The NFL is constantly tweaking the rules. The game now is much different than it was 20 years ago because they changed the rules and made offense and passing far more prevalent.

You see it as a dumb rule change. I see it as something different and would like to see how it plays out. People want to see runs, not a 12 inning, 4 hour game.
Baseball does have to adapt. But this doesn't accomplish anything towards that necessary adaptation. How many games lasted 12 innings last year?
Attention span deficits aren't about runs, they're about holding people's attention, which relates directly to pace of play. Serious pitch clocks and serious directives about hitters staying in the box will take care of about 75% of pace of play issues.
 

Minneapolis Millers

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I don’t know what is being diluted. Football has unique OT rules. Hockey and Soccer have unique overtime rules.

This isn’t like they’re having a 10 swing HR derby to determine the winner. They’re giving teams one additional inning with no handicap, and from that point on it shifts to a scenario more likely to produce runs and a result.
True, but soccer shootouts suck. Players score over 70% of the time. So much for the “beautiful game.” Hockey shootouts are also bad, but far less bad (more like 30%). And I actually like reducing of the # of players on the ice In OT.

Has anyone proposed that for baseball? Play with 8 defensive players. (In slow pitch softball, I have always liked playing OF when my team’s been short-handed. More action and opportunity to make great plays!) Would people prefer that to giving the offensive team a base runner?

(Note: Edited to fix weird auto-correct.)
 
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SirPsychoSquints

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In order, I'd prefer:
  1. Leave it alone. Very few games get extended extra innings, they're fun, no one forces you to stay there, etc.
  2. Just declare ties eventually.
  3. Do something weird that changes actual gameplay.
 

DJnVa

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In order, I'd prefer:
  1. Leave it alone. Very few games get extended extra innings, they're fun, no one forces you to stay there, etc.
  2. Just declare ties eventually.
  3. Do something weird that changes actual gameplay.
Tom Tango on twitter proposed the "I cut, you deal" idea. One team picks the base/out scenario, other team decides if they are hitting or in the field. Hitting team scores, they win.
 

joe dokes

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True, but soccer shootouts suck. Players score over 70% of the time. So much for the “beautiful game.” Hockey shootouts are also bad, but far less bad (more like 30%). And I actually like ruddying the # of players on the ice.

Has anyone proposed that for baseball? Play with 8 defensive players. (In slow pitch softball, I have always liked playing OF when my team’s been short-handed. More action and opportunity to make great plays!) Would people prefer that to giving the offensive team a base runner?
How about removing one defensive player per team each inning after the 12th? (up to 3 or 4).
 

djbayko

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It's very rare that I'll actually sit down and watch a baseball game these days. But when I hear a game is in the 14th inning between 2 teams I don't care about whatsoever....sure as shit I'll watch.
 

Humphrey

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In order, I'd prefer:
  1. Leave it alone. Very few games get extended extra innings, they're fun, no one forces you to stay there, etc.
  2. Just declare ties eventually.
  3. Do something weird that changes actual gameplay.
It's only the games that go more than 12 that I'd like to eliminate in the regular season. Stands are emptied out. Third rate bullpen guys are usually in there, especially if the game was a slugfest. Pitching depth of both sides affected the next few games the way the game is played these days.
 

Ford Frick's Asterisk

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I've seen the extra inning rule used in the minors and it's terrible baseball. It serves no purpose other than to get the game over with… and even then it's quite likely to take a few innings before both teams don't get the same result. It immediately slows down the pace of play to have a runner in scoring position with no one out, and it creates a lot of at-bats where the batter is bunting or otherwise giving himself up just to advance the runner. I understand the circumstances, but it's truly sad that of the things they've tested in the minors MLB will give this a trial run but not pitch clocks.
 

Captaincoop

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It's very rare that I'll actually sit down and watch a baseball game these days. But when I hear a game is in the 14th inning between 2 teams I don't care about whatsoever....sure as shit I'll watch.
This is exactly true for...just about everyone?

They should be concerned about how long and slow every game is, rather than shaving time off the rare parts of games that are guaranteed to grab fans' attention.

The 1-2 random 15+ inning games each Sox season are my favorite times as a baseball fan. The fact that they can happen is one of the great things that separates baseball from every other sport. So let's kill those, instead of addressing the 90 minutes of completely dead time that exists within every 9 inning game?
 

crow216

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This is exactly true for...just about everyone?

They should be concerned about how long and slow every game is, rather than shaving time off the rare parts of games that are guaranteed to grab fans' attention.

The 1-2 random 15+ inning games each Sox season are my favorite times as a baseball fan. The fact that they can happen is one of the great things that separates baseball from every other sport. So let's kill those, instead of addressing the 90 minutes of completely dead time that exists within every 9 inning game?
I think that the "baseball is too slow" argument has legs but maybe too many. It's okay for games to be slow but it's not okay if they are consistently stalled in a short period of time. For example, a pitcher throwing to first 5 times or a manager changing pitchers 3 times in a half inning. Those events make even the best fans sigh. Extra innings though, who cares? How does extra baseball reduce revenue or interest in the game? It sounds like a stupid way to reduce the average game time but not have any impact whatsoever on fan enjoyment of the product.
 

nvalvo

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I think that the "baseball is too slow" argument has legs but maybe too many. It's okay for games to be slow but it's not okay if they are consistently stalled in a short period of time. For example, a pitcher throwing to first 5 times or a manager changing pitchers 3 times in a half inning. Those events make even the best fans sigh. Extra innings though, who cares? How does extra baseball reduce revenue or interest in the game? It sounds like a stupid way to reduce the average game time but not have any impact whatsoever on fan enjoyment of the product.
Yes! The real improvements come from improving the pace of routine play.

If you actually wanted to shorten the game you would implement a pitch clock. You would begin enforcing limits on batters stepping out. You would cut 20 or 30 seconds from the intra-inning time. You might consider adjusting the rules on pick-off throws.

This is why it is more important, in fixing replay review challenges, to eliminate video consultation before managers decide to challenge, than it is to accelerate the pace of the review. Managers consider challenging far more often than they actually challenge. And saving however many seconds on intentional walks is fine — they are almost never fun to watch, so we don't lose anything except some lusty booing from the stands. But intentional walks are rare, so they don't actually save you much time.

Extra inning games are also rare, and many are tedious. But some of them are incredibly exciting. And as you note, it might have more of an impact on the statistical average game duration than it does on the actual experience of watching, which has more to do with pace than duration.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Yes! The real improvements come from improving the pace of routine play.
Yes. They're attacking the length of games citing audience attention span issues, yet the NFL's average game length is pretty much the same as MLB and they've got just as much dead time during the broadcasts as baseball does. What the NFL does have is assured game action every 30-40 seconds. Their pace is steadier.

Baseball's problem isn't 12 inning games. it's 30+ seconds of dead time between pitches.
 

tims4wins

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Yes. They're attacking the length of games citing audience attention span issues, yet the NFL's average game length is pretty much the same as MLB and they've got just as much dead time during the broadcasts as baseball does. What the NFL does have is assured game action every 30-40 seconds. Their pace is steadier.

Baseball's problem isn't 12 inning games. it's 30+ seconds between pitches.
And 30-40 seconds between pitches is way more problematic because almost every NFL play gets an immediate replay. Whereas most pitches aren’t worth replaying.
 

Captaincoop

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Yes. They're attacking the length of games citing audience attention span issues, yet the NFL's average game length is pretty much the same as MLB and they've got just as much dead time during the broadcasts as baseball does. What the NFL does have is assured game action every 30-40 seconds. Their pace is steadier.

Baseball's problem isn't 12 inning games. it's 30+ seconds of dead time between pitches.
Correct. I've been watching a bunch of classic games from the 60s and 70s during our little global shitshow. The way pitchers keep throwing pitches and batters stay in the box between pitches feels like the whole thing.
 

grimshaw

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The pitch clock ship sailed earlier during the stoppage. I remember them tossing that around as well as playing deep into November in hot weather areas and players wearing mics. It's not like MLB was going to be able to ram it down the unions throat after even half a season was feasible given how contentious things are. If the owners would have been willing/able to schedule more games or pay them, I'm sure the players would have been much more receptive. Yet another infuriating roadblock to improving the game.

This base runner thing is a cosmetic change to throw out there to see if it means a microscopic percentage of a rating point increase during extra inning games. If it sticks, meh. It just means one or two games a year I'm less bleary eyed in the morning after watching an extra innings game on the west coast.

I don't see major changes to improve the quality of the game unless there are big concessions from both sides. I'm sure all of our suggestions and many more have been proposed and shot down. It's mystifying how little players seem to care about making a more watchable product.
 
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jon abbey

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Well I`m excited. Nashville will have MLB players playing each other this year.
Oh, nice, this answers my question in the other thread about what if teams lose a lot of guys to injuries and/or Covid:

"The Sounds and Major League Baseball have been in discussions for the past month or so about a 32- to 44-game season that would consist of two teams of either 20 or 30 free agents each. Those players would serve as a pool of emergency call-ups for every big-league team.

Games would be played every Thursday through Sunday at First Horizon Park, home of the Sounds, and probably would begin July 23.

Sounds general manager and COO Adam Nuse said he has a list of about 70 potential free agents who were either in Triple-A or the major leagues last year who could play here."

 

staz

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Red Sox player tests positive


this season ain’t happening
I don’t know... I mean, is this really news? 40 players have already tested positive. Not sure what the cutoff point is, but there seems to be a good measure of ’calculated risk‘ built into the equation.

Would have been much smarter to punt 2020, to focus on a safe and full 2021, but both sides seem hell-bent to mush on.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Red Sox player tests positive


this season ain’t happening
Not sure this is the best example of "this season ain't happening". The player in question was at home, isolated from the team, and is asymptomatic. Sounds like whoever it is will be cleared to join the team for training camp when it opens.

Far more concerning are the multiple positive tests occurring in various training facilities last week. Hopefully much of that was due to the extremely lax protocols in those states, and that once things start up, players take everything seriously and don't engage in any risky activities outside the ballpark. I'm not optimistic about that happening though. Lot of headstrong, immature young men in the game who act like they're invincible. I don't see this season finishing, if they're even able to start.
 

Lose Remerswaal

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No, this case isn't going to stop the season. But there are going to be ones and twos testing positive from now until camps open. And then you're going to get groups quarantining when it starts spreading. This isn't going to work. I want it to work, but it isn't going to work.

Someone should start a poll asking if folks think the season will proceed as planned without any teams having to drop out or be significantly impacted by Covid-19
 

Salem's Lot

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Would have been much smarter to punt 2020, to focus on a safe and full 2021, but both sides seem hell-bent to mush on.
Not to single your post out, but I keep saying this in regards to all sports. My question is, what indications do we have that this is going to be over by 2021? The way this is being handled (or more accurately ignored) at the federal level, we could be dealing with players testing positive for this for years. It’s easy to say ok just punt and we’ll see if everything is better in 2021, but there’s a good chance that it won’t be. They need to start figuring out how they can safely play games and generate whatever income that they can now, or teams are going to start folding in 2022 or 2023 when we’re on the 3rd or 4th ineffective vaccine that the FDA thinks “might be the one!”.
 

lexrageorge

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Not to single your post out, but I keep saying this in regards to all sports. My question is, what indications do we have that this is going to be over by 2021? The way this is being handled (or more accurately ignored) at the federal level, we could be dealing with players testing positive for this for years. It’s easy to say ok just punt and we’ll see if everything is better in 2021, but there’s a good chance that it won’t be. They need to start figuring out how they can safely play games and generate whatever income that they can now, or teams are going to start folding in 2022 or 2023 when we’re on the 3rd or 4th ineffective vaccine that the FDA thinks “might be the one!”.
By the time baseball regular season rolls around in 2021, if there's no vaccine on the horizon, the only realistic solution will be herd immunity with hopefully improved treatment protocols. Not a popular opinion, but also one that reflects the reality of the situation. But trying to get a season in 2020 was always going to be challenging, and the resurgence of cases in the south and west will make it more challenging.
 

staz

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Not to single your post out, but I keep saying this in regards to all sports. My question is, what indications do we have that this is going to be over by 2021? The way this is being handled (or more accurately ignored) at the federal level, we could be dealing with players testing positive for this for years. It’s easy to say ok just punt and we’ll see if everything is better in 2021, but there’s a good chance that it won’t be. They need to start figuring out how they can safely play games and generate whatever income that they can now, or teams are going to start folding in 2022 or 2023 when we’re on the 3rd or 4th ineffective vaccine that the FDA thinks “might be the one!”.
Poll numbers indicate 2021 may usher in a change at the top of the federal government. Also, with each passing day, more best practice info emerges from other leagues like Bundesliga who are active and successfully dealing with it. It may not be over when pitchers and catchers report in February, but we should be a heck of lot smarter by then.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Poll numbers indicate 2021 may usher in a change at the top of the federal government. Also, with each passing day, more best practice info emerges from other leagues like Bundesliga who are active and successfully dealing with it. It may not be over when pitchers and catchers report in February, but we should be a heck of lot smarter by then.
I agree that there are plenty of best practice info that can be gleaned from the numerous sports leagues that are up and running in other countries. I honestly have no concerns at all about protocols on the field for North American leagues. It's entirely the off-field stuff that is the issue. It's impossible to isolate the sports participants (players, coaches, officials, etc) from the rest of society for the length of the season, and it's the rest of society that poses all the dangers.

KBO can operate without a hitch because Korea has done a remarkable job at curbing the spread of the virus. Bundesliga is operating because Germany has done a good job of curbing the spread of the virus. MLB and NBA and NFL are fucked because the US can't get its shit together.
 

bankshot1

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So with NY state imposing a 14 day quarantine on travelers from high-risk states that have not bent the curve like a Koufax 12-to-6 hook, how is it going to work with Rays and Marlins playing against the Ys and Mets. Is MLB going to get a special consideration?
 

SirPsychoSquints

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So with NY state imposing a 14 day quarantine on travelers from high-risk states that have not bent the curve like a Koufax 12-to-6 hook, how is it going to work with Rays and Marlins playing against the Ys and Mets. Is MLB going to get a special consideration?
They're trying to keep the players relatively quarantined from the outside world anyways, right?
 
May 9, 2018
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Sorry if you all have moved on from the speed-things-up discussion. I agree that the issue is less length of games, especially in low-frequency situations like extra innings, and is far more the dead time between pitches, and the amount of time with no activity at all other than pitches.

I have watched a lot of youth and high school baseball over the last few years, and find that these games are almost always far more interesting and exciting than MLB games. I thought a lot about why that seems to be so, and eventually realized that there is a lot more activity: in addition to the fact that umps keep the batter in the box, and the pitcher throwing, NOW, the runners reach more often, there is more stealing, bunting, hit and run, etc., plus all of the defenses shenanigans to deal with same-- all the "small ball" things that have been largely set aside by higher level teams, or at least the ones that aren't dumb. I suppose the reality is that the defensive skills of players at that level is such that these things pay off more. As long as you don't have a game where pitchers can't throw strikes, games are rarely a bore. I really can't say that about most MLB games.

It is weird because if you saw your MLB team doing these things now, you'd be pissed at their dumbness, but on the whole, they make the game more engaging for the ones watching.

I would fully support keeping the batters in the box and getting the pitcher to throw the ball, whether through use of a pitch clock or some other means. I also think that they should explore other things that would subtly shift the probabilities on a lot those things which increase the activity level during an inning. I don't have anything particular in mind, and I'm not even sure that it would be possible, but if I were commissioner and Grand Poohbah for a day, this is where I would focus.
 

Papelbon's Poutine

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Oh, nice, this answers my question in the other thread about what if teams lose a lot of guys to injuries and/or Covid:

"The Sounds and Major League Baseball have been in discussions for the past month or so about a 32- to 44-game season that would consist of two teams of either 20 or 30 free agents each. Those players would serve as a pool of emergency call-ups for every big-league team.

Games would be played every Thursday through Sunday at First Horizon Park, home of the Sounds, and probably would begin July 23.

Sounds general manager and COO Adam Nuse said he has a list of about 70 potential free agents who were either in Triple-A or the major leagues last year who could play here."

So would this work like waivers protocol or just first come, first serve? Like fantasy, after you pick someone up, you move to back of the line?
 

bankshot1

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IMO since fans attending games are irrelevant perhaps it would be advantageous for the Marlins and Rays to relocate north for the summer months and get the hell out of covid-rampant Florida and move to a bluer state that practiced some self-control and regard for public health and safety and closed down to bend the Uncle Charlie.

For example, there's a hardly used empty stadium in Pawtucket that could accomodate a MLB team like, the Blue Jays, who might need to relocate out of Canada, and find a place to play for 30 games

Just spit ballin'

NM-can't do that anymore.
 

jon abbey

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So would this work like waivers protocol or just first come, first serve? Like fantasy, after you pick someone up, you move to back of the line?
That article I linked is literally all I have seen about it, but presumably first come, first serve I'd think.
 

Papelbon's Poutine

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That article I linked is literally all I have seen about it, but presumably first come, first serve I'd think.
Not to belabor - as you note, we don't know much right now, so I'm just espousing - but it brings up a lot of questions. Is it only for COVID positive players that need to be quarantined? Can they use it if their 1B blows his knee out? What happens when a player returns? I'm just wondering if there's hazard to essentially using it as a taxi squad.
 

keninten

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So would this work like waivers protocol or just first come, first serve? Like fantasy, after you pick someone up, you move to back of the line?
They are not even sure if MLB is going to be involved yet, it`s being negotiated. They are going to do it with or without MLB. So I would think it would be regarded as any Indy League.
 

Ale Xander

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Sam Kennedy is apparently hopefully there will be fans in Fenway this year.

(NBC sports)
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Sam Kennedy is apparently hopefully there will be fans in Fenway this year.

(NBC sports)
They're all hopeful. Though with the trends in the virus spread, if any city could get away with it, it might be Boston. Certainly better odds than, say, Phoenix. I'd still bet on the league shutting back down before we get to opportunities for fans to enter stadiums.
 

Ale Xander

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They're all hopeful. Though with the trends in the virus spread, if any city could get away with it, it might be Boston. Certainly better odds than, say, Phoenix. I'd still bet on the league shutting back down before we get to opportunities for fans to enter stadiums.
Chase had a lot more experience with distancing though. Good luck trying that in Fenway grandstands