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If this is a problem that needs to be addressed, move the fences back. Bring back the 450 center fields that have existed in the past. That would definitely cut down on homers, and probably on strikeouts as well because:
1. Removes the incentive for hitters to swing from the heels.
2. Makes pitching to contact more rewarding.
The obvious solution would be to decrease the size of the strike zone and/or lower the mound as they did in 1969.
Calling high strikes is just going to add more strikeouts...
Moving the mound back would never happen. Pitchers skilled at throwing a breaking ball at 60'6" aren't going to want to adjust to 62'. I agree with moving fences back, or just making them taller. A deader ball accomplishes the same thing. I don't agree that this is more "exciting" baseball. Grounders to SS aren't that exciting.
Suddenly how a catcher 'frames' a pitch becomes irrelevant, rookie or vet doesn't matter as a strike is a strike is a strike. Probably would change things a bit and make it a more 'fair' game thus easy to sell to fans (who probably wouldn't even notice).
Probably would change things a bit and make it a more 'fair' game thus easy to sell to fans (who probably wouldn't even notice).
Baseball is more exciting when the ball is in play, not out of play.
If "too many relievers" is the problem I would favor limiting the # of roster spots for pitchers to 11.
Suddenly guys like Micah Owings might see a boost to their value.
Just saying it could be handled doesn't mean it's a good idea though. Any attempt to limit the number of pitcher used, what do you do when you're losing 15-2 and nobody you've put on the mound can get an out?
How about: You can use additional pitchers, but the pitcher substituted for (i.e., the last pitcher eligible by rule) has to go on the 15-day DL? Teams will probably still play around with that by putting in pitchers they don't care about losing for 15 days, but so be it. I'd put something like a mandatory 30-pitch minimum on it, too.
It also means fewer chances for players to leg out extra base hits and fewer close plays on the bases. It’s exciting to watch defenders chasing balls and runners speeding around the bases and we don’t get to see so much of that anymore.
How much more often are these true outcomes happening? I’ll get into more detail below, but they have increased from 17 per game for both teams in 1981 to 24 last year and so far this year. That is about a 40% increase which is huge.
it's the mid-inning pitching changes that suck the excitement out of the game.
they should not be playing in smaller parks than baseball played back in the old days
but k and bb increases are the function of the baseball culture which you can't just tell them to change.
Does removing astroturf in favor of grass have an effect?
I think deeper fences is intriguing, but it's not going to happen. I suspect the only way to reduce Ks without increasing offense is to employ a 2-step solution: 1) lower the mound or move it back, and 2) deaden the ball enough to keep HRs from exploding.
I'd like to see the data broken down into starting pitchers and relievers. If I'm correct, and I'm pretty sure I am, then any wholesale solution like strike zones, or bats, or fences, would create rather larger unintended consequences.
How about if you strike out, your next time up, or your lineup spot's next time up, the count starts 0-1? The punishment for striking out needs to be bigger if you want to get rid of them.
Yeesh, no way. The incentives for the pitcher with that rule are outrageous. K's and BB's would be way up.
A really radical idea that might actually work would be, presuming balls/strikes called by auto-ump, would be that a pitch in a small "bulls-eye" mid-plate, waist-high, that the hitter takes for the first strike, is an automatic strikeout.
The problem with that is it goes a step too far in assigning roles to players in order to put them on a roster. The roster is 25 'players', and though most listings break them down by position, that's irrelevant.
IOW, who counts as a pitcher? Suddenly guys like Micah Owings might see a boost to their value.
You could make teams declare who is eligible to pitch before the game starts. If he's on the roster as a !B, then he can't pitch that game.
Just saying it could be handled doesn't mean it's a good idea though. Any attempt to limit the number of pitcher used, what do you do when you're losing 15-2 and nobody you've put on the mound can get an out? How about when you've got the last pitcher you're allowed to use and he gets hurt?
Anyway, the solution to pitching changes is obvious: institute a rule that no pitcher may be removed before he has either completed the current inning or yielded a run chargeable to him. Any pitcher removed in violation of this rule is ineligible to pitch for the next 15 days. Managers can use a new pitcher every inning if they want; it's the mid-inning pitching changes that suck the excitement out of the game.
I would caution against 'big' changes. most dynamic systems it only takes small things to generate significant change
also, one should always seek to return to the basics and find out what has already been defined and not being followed
so establishing that baseball could call the defined strike zone and see what happens
and call batters out for messing with the batters box. maybe you move the batter off the plate by 2 inches by moving the box.
but moving fences or deadening the ball are more extreme measures and I would put them down the list.
Expanding the strike zone without changing anything else would just cause strikeouts to explode, I expect. You wouldn't see guys striking out 300 times a year (I think about 250 is the most you can get away with without losing your job) but all the guys that typically strike out 80 times a year would jump right to striking out 125 times a year and we'd be back in 1968, or worse.
Any attempt to limit the number of pitcher used, what do you do when you're losing 15-2 and nobody you've put on the mound can get an out?
Before a pitcher can be pulled at all for "not being able to get anyone out," he needs to have thrown a minimum number of pitches. He can't be pulled before this minimum threshold for any reason, other than actual injury. Thirty was really just a discussion starting point.
Whatever solution there is, it should involve eliminating warmup pitches in the middle of an inning. It would take 30 seconds to change pitchers without them.
That first part baffles me. As bad as excessive strikeouts are, the last thing on earth baseball needs is more walks.
Once upon a time (holy crapoli, this was about 27 years ago now!) I was at this game. LaMarr Hoyt was in his last season with the Padres and, on this particular day, he just could not get anybody out. My seats were such that I could see both Hoyt on the mound and Padres manager Dick Williams (standing on the steps of the dugout) pretty well
San Diego starter LaMarr Hoyt, 2-4, surrenders 13 hts and nine earned runs in 3 1-3 innings. Tim Stoddard, Mark Thurmond and [outfielder Dane] Iorg allowed the other nine runs and eight hits.
Thurmond, normally a starter, volunteered to pitch Monday after an early kayo Sunday. [Manager Steve] Boros said he had been hoping for at least six innings from Hoyt.
"We had a tough series in Los Angeles," said Boros. "We played three excellent ball games, but we had to go to our bullpen in all three games. We'll be in better shape tomorrow. [Emphasis added]"
Pitching IP H R ER BB SO HR
Dave Dravecky 5.1 6 2 2 2 1 1
Lance McCullers W (3-1) 1.2 2 1 1 0 0 0
Rich Gossage S (11) 2 1 1 1 2 1 0
Team Totals 9 9 4 4 4 2 1
Pitching IP H R ER BB SO HR
Andy Hawkins 5.2 6 5 1 2 7 0
Tim Stoddard 0.1 1 0 0 0 0 0
Craig Lefferts 1 2 0 0 1 0 0
Gene Walter 1 1 1 1 0 2 1
Rich Gossage 3 2 1 1 0 1 0
Lance McCullers W (4-1) 3 0 0 0 1 4 0
Team Totals 14 12 7 3 4 14 1
Pitching IP H R ER BB SO HR
Mark Thurmond 4 6 4 1 3 2 0
Gene Walter 1.1 1 0 0 3 2 0
Craig Lefferts W (5-2) 3.2 2 0 0 0 3 0
Team Totals 9 9 4 1 6 7 0
I guess it depends in what school of thought you are on why strikeouts are happening. I'm in the school of thought that strikeouts are increasing because the batters accept it as part of the package of more power and more walks. (there are other factors, of course)
Use a larger, softer baseball.
Bring IN the fences 100'. Make them 40 foot (60')? concrete or brick (pad the bottom 10). Remove 1 outfielder.
I don't think this is what Ruth was doing. He only K'd 12% of the time, batted .342...
and I would guess his walk rate was mostly due to pitching around him
I think it's fair to say Ruth took a lot of pitches.
AB H 2B 3B HR BB BA OBP SLGHome 519 162 47 17 11 102 .312 .425 .532Road 591 180 35 13 38 87 .305 .394 .601
I'm with GuyM that you can't consider reducing K's solely (or even primarily) from the hitter's side. The reason K's have been ever-increasing is that there are unbalanced incentives between the pitcher and hitter. For the pitcher, more K's are always good*,
But they've always been good, and always been perceived as being good (or at least the last 100 years) for the pitcher.
But there once was a strong anti-strikeout culture among batsmen. Striking out was considered a greater failiure than any other kind of out. It's been the relaxing of that attitude on the offensive side that has preceded the high K era we're in. There is no anti-strikeout stigma, even among light hitting types.
the thing that jumped out besides the steady increase in strikeouts (delayed by the lowering of the mound)
As you can see, not really a HR threat in Boston (those 11 HR are a substantial portion of the HR hit there in that time frame. It was practically an impossible HR park back then) and he actually walked more in Boston than on the road.
Assuming this cultural change did occur, I suspect the causal arrow runs the other direction. In a world in which 20% of PA result in Ks, the stigma had to be abandoned.
To the extent that reduced stigma did change batter behavior, this should be celebrated. It means hitters are maximizing their production, which is their job. To the extent that a hitter's approach at the plate is shaped by a stigma, this means -- by definition -- they are not doing their job.
But that's not true: K% held steady (or bumped up) in 1969 and 1970.
As I said, from both an aesthetic POV and a simple philosophy of the game itself (born, in all likelihood, out of playing the game for so long), there should be more of a results gap between swinging and missing and making contact
So you were a high-contact slap hitter? (said jokingly).
YR Ruth Everybody else1919 9 51918 0 51917 1 61916 0 21915 1 8Total 11 26
#88 In Ruth's time in Boston there just weren't very many RH hitters trying to hit flyballs (I can't think of any in the AL. Cravath was an opposite field flyball hitter and was of course playing in the NL). Flyballs were regarded as a pitcher's friend back then. Indeed some pitchers used to dare the hitters with a less than overwhelming fastball deliberately thrown up in the zone.
I don't see any reason why pitching skill would have increased so greatly while contact ability remained stagnant, accounting for these higher K percentages.
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