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Pace Of Play Newsbeat

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Why MLB games are FIVE MINUTES longer this season

But as with two-homer games on Opening Day, this pace would not hold. Baseball added back four minutes per contest last year, and this year’s games will almost certainly set a new record. Despite a few small changes for the 2017 season—requiring managers to decide more promptly whether to challenge an umpire’s call and making intentional walks automatic—the average nine-inning contest is now 3 hours, 5 minutes—the longest average in baseball history and up five minutes from last year. That’s also already the second-largest year-over-year increase since integration. And since games get slower with September call-ups, the final month will quite possibly add a minute or two to that average.


Sunday, July 30, 2017

Olney: Madison Bumgarner might not rediscover his velocity - Buster Olney Blog- ESPN

Bumgarner’s velocity has also been down to some of the lowest readings of his career. In his final outing before the accident, he averaged 92.1 mph with his fastball (April 19 vs. Royals). Here are his average readings in the three starts since he returned, per FanGraphs:
July 15: 89.7 mph
July 20: 90.4 mph
July 25: 90.4 mph

It’s too early to interpret the diminishment in velocity. It could be that, much like a pitcher working his way through spring training, Bumgarner is still in the process of building velocity. That’s something that the Giants saw from him in March, when sluggish readings early in the month eventually got better.

Giants pitching coach Dave Righetti also acknowledged another possibility Saturday: The 27-year-old, who has logged more than 1,500 innings in his career, is simply not going to throw as hard as he used to—maybe because of natural wear and tear, maybe partly because of the April accident.

“It was a serious injury,” Righetti said.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 30, 2017 at 09:25 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: giants, madison bumgarner, notes, orioles, pace of play

Thursday, July 13, 2017

COLUMN: CAN’T SOMEBODY SPEED UP THE GAME OF BASEBALL?

I’ve criticized the All Star game format and the pace of play separately and previously. The reason for the huge drop in ratings for the game, however, isn’t either of those things. When I was a kid, the only chances to see a NL player (and some AL players) were the Saturday afternoon game of the week and the All Star Game. We can watch every player *every day*. I can literally watch any game I want to watch Friday.

The reasons are varied, and not hard to find. Interleague play has taken the mystique off the All-Star Game, baseball doesn’t manufacture stars like other sports and the game itself is becoming one-dimensional with many of its subtleties fading away.

Mostly, though, it’s because baseball is simply too slow for today’s limited-attention viewers. They’re finding better things to do than watch endless pitching changes, long replay challenge delays and games that always seem to revolve around home runs or strikeouts.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 13, 2017 at 06:52 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: all star game, pace of play

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Baseball’s pressing question: What happens to a sport when nothing happens?

Over the course of three minutes shy of four hours, 90 batters came to the plate and only 40 of them put the ball in play, or once every six minutes. Nine pitchers, all of whom hit 93 to 99 mph on the radar gun, including L.A. starter Clayton Kershaw, paraded to the mound to strike out a National League–record 42 batters. Nobody managed a hit in 13 tries with runners in scoring position. All three runs scored on solo home runs.

Unlike most sports, baseball’s beauty is not only in its action but also in the anticipation of its action. The brief interludes allow conversation among friends, a pondering of the strategies and outcomes that may come next, and the hope—with caps turned backward and inside out—for the greatest excitement the game can allow, the extended rally.

That game is disappearing. In its place grows a game obsessed with power. It is driven by the pursuit of the most blunt of outcomes: strikeouts by pitchers and home runs by batters. Both outcomes, which render useless defense, baserunning and teamwork, happen more frequently this year than ever before.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 20, 2017 at 01:26 PM | 78 comment(s)
  Beats: home run spike, pace of play

Monday, June 19, 2017

Putting the future in focus: The blueprint for baseball in 20 years

In 20 years, all players will be monitored to an intense degree. Heart rate and brain function will be watched in several ways, including through the bloodstream, and will detect when the stress level, among other levels, is too high. The monitors will determine when a player reaches failure capacity, which could reduce the risk of injury and alert a performance risk. It’s a paradox: Players are bigger, stronger and fitter today, but they get hurt more often. There will be far more healthy players and less use for the disabled list in 2037.

There will be a greater effort to outlaw takeout slides at second base, further eliminating the artistry of our best middle infielders, and rewarding those middle infielders with poor footwork and poor decision-making around the bag. Penalties will increase—a 20-game suspension, at least—for pitchers that gratuitously hit a batter with a 98 mph fastball because that pitcher—the latest being the Giants’ Hunter Strickland hitting Bryce Harper—simply wasn’t good enough to get him out. But baseball is filled with remorseless, vengeful players; retaliation is never going away; it will always be a hard game played by hard men. Human emotion is a difficult variable to control or eliminate.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 19, 2017 at 10:54 AM | 23 comment(s)
  Beats: future, pace of play, player safety, rules

Friday, June 09, 2017

Baseball keeps getting slower, but change will come by 2018 - Buster Olney Blog- ESPN

New rules won’t matter if umpires don’t enforce them.

Jim Furtado Posted: June 09, 2017 at 06:42 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: pace of play

Thursday, June 08, 2017

Baseball keeps getting slower, but change will come by 2018

The preference on both sides is for a negotiated solution—a common ground found through conversation and an exchange of ideas. Manfred spoke about this in March, about how he wants to have more dialogue from the players, more input on how to improve the pace of games. But some players recognize that one way or another, rule changes are coming. One player told teammates recently that they better get used to the idea of a pitch clock “because it’s inevitable.”...

But MLB wants a formal mechanism to push along the pace of action, and by holding the power to change rules on its own, it’s in a strong position to negotiate the terms of a pitch clock and to restrict the number of mound meetings between teammates.

Through negotiation, the players would be in position to get something in return, and in recent weeks some have privately mentioned their hope that the union will push for an automated strike zone, with balls and strikes determined electronically. This would remove the constant debate over strike zone decisions, according to players.


Friday, May 26, 2017

FiveThirtyEight: Pitchers Are Slowing Down To Speed Up

Despite consternation from the commissioner and rule changes to speed up the game, baseball has never been slower than it is right now.1 Even in the short time since last season, the average delay between pitches has jumped a full second. It’s all part of a decadelong trend toward more sluggish play, and there’s an alarming reason baseball’s pace problem is likely to get even worse going forward: Slowing down helps pitchers throw faster.

Compared with 2007, the average MLB pitcher now holds the ball a full two seconds longer between consecutive pitches. This leisurely behavior has helped drag the average game out to a full three hours, five minutes — roughly 10 minutes longer than it was two years ago. Some have argued that the pace of the game isn’t a problem, but MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has announced that he intends to make baseball faster “for the benefit of the game and the fans.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 26, 2017 at 12:35 AM | 33 comment(s)
  Beats: fivethirtyeight, pace of play

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Rob Manfred has a vision to improve baseball and it’s more radical than you think

Maybe the major leagues can borrow from the more joyous fan experiences in Asia and Latin America, even at the risk of adding five minutes to the game. Maybe television broadcasts can shorten commercial breaks by adding ads to a corner of the screen during play. And, yes, maybe the players and coaches could cut back on the in-game caucuses.

“The stuff where nothing is going on – Yadi Molina is making his 93rd trip to the mound, or whoever the catcher is, I don’t mean to pick out a guy – dead time is an issue,” Manfred said.

That might be the relatively easy part of the change Manfred seeks. The much more challenging part involves accelerating action within the game itself, and the trial balloons have included restrictions on defensive shifts, altering the strike zone and limiting the use of relief pitchers.

Should Manfred really be legislating strategy? Teams now pay millions of dollars to baseball operations executives to devise clever and efficient ways to win. If a team believes its best chance to win includes a lineup of walk-prone, strikeout-prone sluggers that rarely put the ball in play, and an eight-man bullpen that makes four or five pitching changes per game a common occurrence, should that not be the team’s decision?

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 20, 2017 at 12:23 PM | 80 comment(s)
  Beats: pace of play, rob manfred

Monday, April 17, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 4-17-2017

Brattleboro Daily Reformer, April 17, 1917:

Nine-inning pastimes pulled off in less than an hour are rather rare, but not quite so scarce as hen’s molars. The first game of this kind was pulled off in Dayton, O., 32 years ago, when Dayton and Ironton hustled through a regulation contest in 47 minutes.
...
In the early days of baseball—the era of big scores—it was by no means unusual for a pastime to drag out through three or four hours.

A nine-inning baseball game that lasts three hours? That’s insane! Who could sit through that?

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: April 17, 2017 at 10:38 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, pace of play

Friday, April 14, 2017

As in-person and TV viewers clash in MLB’s pace-of-play debate, there’s one obvious solution

Accordingly, MLB over the last year has commissioned a pace-of-play study to help it better understand how its product is viewed by fans. And it has only reinforced that finding a solution to satisfy both will be at the heart of whatever changes do arrive within the next year.

There is a growing consensus, a half-dozen league, front office and player sources told Yahoo Sports, that the most effective fix would be a 20-second pitch clock. With a pitch clock already in place in the minor leagues and both between-innings and manager-replay-decision clocks ticking away at the major leagues, enough Pandora’s boxes are open to force the issue.

Whether the players will accede to MLB’s request for the clock remains unlikely – nearly half of union members, after all, are pitchers – but a compelling argument in favor of the clock exists: It might be the one substantial change that can significantly increase a game’s pace, cut back on its time and not aggrieve at least one side of the actual debate.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 14, 2017 at 12:48 AM | 127 comment(s)
  Beats: jeff passan, pace of play, pitch clock

Thursday, April 13, 2017

The Pace-of-Play Problem began in 1884

Baseball in 1976 was a bunch of guys throwing 86 and dialing it up to 91 now and again, pitching to a league where half the hitters couldn’t reach the warning track with two helpings at breakfast and an aluminum bat. Baseball in 2016 is beasts averaging 93 and then leaving after a couple of hours so beasts throwing 97 can go to work, taking on a league where everyone can turn around a fastball. Why, I mean, in the world, would we expect these two things to take anywhere close to the same amount of time? They are barely, just barely, the same sport. If you want baseball players in 2016 to play 2:30 games, then stop after seven innings.

You’ve probably seen the Grant Brisbee bit about why games are so long. He concludes, “Time between pitches is the primary villain.” He’s right, but it’s not because of sloth; it’s because baseball is a lot harder now. Baseball is harder now because the batters are bigger and stronger and the pitchers throw a lot harder, and they have things like cut fastballs. No one in that 1984 game had ever seen a 94-mph cut fastball. The presence of Dwight Gooden notwithstanding, no one had seen a 93-mph slider or a 90-mph changeup, praise Thor. Edinson Volquez was in that Brisbee piece, and no one thinks he’s any good, and he throws 93. It takes an extra tick or two to gear up to throw that kind of stuff, and it takes an extra tick or two to gear up to hit that kind of stuff.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 13, 2017 at 05:24 PM | 28 comment(s)
  Beats: joe sheehan, pace of play

Sunday, April 02, 2017

SB Nation: WHY BASEBALL GAMES ARE SO DAMNED LONG

Grant Brisbee watches an 1984 and 2014 game with the same score, the same # of pitches, the same # of pitching changes, and the same # of batters faced and figures out why the games are so damned long.

“Commercials aren’t the primary villain. They don’t help the pace of the modern game, but I figured that was going to be the half-hour difference right there, and the conclusion would be simple. But the 1984 game had 33 minutes and 13 seconds of commercials, and the 2014 game had 42 minutes and 36 seconds. Considering the times of the respective games, the older game actually devoted a similar chunk of their broadcast to time away from the action.”

Sean Forman Posted: April 02, 2017 at 02:27 AM | 23 comment(s)
  Beats: harry caray, pace of play

Monday, March 27, 2017

THE B/R Q&A: ROB MANFRED WANTS MLB TO ‘OWN THE NEXT GENERATION’ OF SPORTS FANS

B/R: You’ve talked about the need to create more action, and certainly the numbers support your desire. In the 2016 regular season, a record 30.2 percent of all plate appearances failed to produce a fair ball, instead ending in a strikeout, walk or hit batter. How much are you alarmed by this and where does adjusting the strike zone up stand?


RM: It’s not about whether or not we should change the game. The game has changed. The question is, should we be more like other professional sports and more actively manage that change to produce the kind of product we want to have out there on the field. Me? I’m one for active management of that change. I think it’s really important for us to look at.

Strike zones, great example of it. Years ago, we thought when the strike zone was higher on the knee that the low pitch wasn’t getting called. We moved it to the hollow of the knee to try to get the umpires to call that. Interesting thing happens: Technology gets laid on top of that, our umpire force starts to turn over, they all get used to being evaluated and all of a sudden, they’re actually calling it where we told them to call it. You can’t blame the umpires on this. They’re doing exactly what we told them, and the technology told them that they were doing what we told them to do. The problem with that pitch is, it’s tough to hit. So the question becomes do you make an adjustment? And honestly, if we moved it from the hollow of the knee up to where it was before, I think modern civilization is going to survive.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 27, 2017 at 05:16 PM | 217 comment(s)
  Beats: fans, international teams, pace of play, rob manfred

 

 

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