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Monday, April 16, 2018

10 Degrees: MLB’s enormous attendance drop due to bad weather or something far worse for baseball?

Even if some are obviously weather-related, the numbers are nevertheless staggering. The average crowd of 27,532 over the 221 MLB games played this season is about 2,700 fans per game lower than last year through the same point. Over the course of a full season, that would amount to a drop of more than 6.5 million fans.

neck Posted: April 16, 2018 at 12:50 PM | 120 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: attendance

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   1. Tim M Posted: April 16, 2018 at 01:30 PM (#5654630)
I doubt it accounts for all of it, but the weather up north has been horrific. Let's admit it, the season is too long. They could carve off 1 month in each direction and it would be a better product.

Also the time-of-game issue has really taken hold in perception. Even Politifact is on the case. Look at that pie graph. Blue = downtime, red = action, and the ratio is not good. Maybe not noticeable by itself in any one game, but perception is far greater that the games are too damn slow.

My .02.
   2. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: April 16, 2018 at 01:32 PM (#5654632)
Doesn't help that the Marlins have played 12 of 15 at home.
   3. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: April 16, 2018 at 01:34 PM (#5654635)
Marlins have averaged 13,171 for 12 games.
   4. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: April 16, 2018 at 01:36 PM (#5654639)
The Cubs have played only 5 of 14 at home, averaging 34,345.
   5. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: April 16, 2018 at 01:38 PM (#5654641)
Reverse those 2 (Cubs 11 of 14 at home, Marlins 3 of 15) keeping the averages the same, and total attendance goes up by nearly 88,000.
   6. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: April 16, 2018 at 01:43 PM (#5654645)
FTA:

Compared to last season at this juncture, the Boston Red Sox are down about 2,500 fans a game. For the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals, it’s nearly 5,000.


At this point last year, the Cubs played 6 games at home, 3 against the Cardinals, 3 against the Brewers. 3 of those games were Saturday or Sunday. This year, they have played 5, 3 against the Pirates, and 2 against the Braves, with only 1 weekend game, where is was 35 degrees and raining.
   7. BDC Posted: April 16, 2018 at 01:47 PM (#5654647)
One day I couldn't figure out was the first of April in Arlington. It was the fourth game of an Astros series, and the first three had gone 47, 35, and 37K. A Sunday day game on 4/1 (in great weather) drew only 27K, though. It was Easter Sunday, but the Catholic in me wonders WTH a Good Friday night game would draw 35,000 but an Easter game only 27. StubHub tickets for Sunday were a third of the price of the middle two games.

I guess it's a Bible Belt thing where Easter Sunday is for family dinners and egg hunts and maybe talk shows about the NFL Draft, not for baseball.
   8. Panik on the streets of London (Trout! Trout!) Posted: April 16, 2018 at 01:59 PM (#5654656)
NFL Draft


TRIGGERED! Haha. I know it's irrational but when people talk about football during baseball season it drives me nuts. To be clear not talking about you, more just ESPN and their never ending NFL/NBA coverage!
   9. This is going to be state of the art wall Posted: April 16, 2018 at 02:08 PM (#5654667)
I believe there were 25 PPD games last year -- there have already been 22 this year. MLB might want to file an amicus curiae brief against Exxon at this rate for lost revenue due to climate change.
   10. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: April 16, 2018 at 02:09 PM (#5654668)
One day I couldn't figure out was the first of April in Arlington. It was the fourth game of an Astros series, and the first three had gone 47, 35, and 37K. A Sunday day game on 4/1 (in great weather) drew only 27K, though. It was Easter Sunday, but the Catholic in me wonders WTH a Good Friday night game would draw 35,000 but an Easter game only 27. StubHub tickets for Sunday were a third of the price of the middle two games.


Just for what it's worth (because I found this both interesting and easy to look up) the last time the Rangers were home on Easter weekend was 2014;

2014 - 40,671, 44,811, 35,702 (April 18-20)
2018 - 35,469, 36,892, 26,758

In both cases they saw pretty sizable drops in attendance for the Easter Sunday game.
   11. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: April 16, 2018 at 02:10 PM (#5654669)
Incidentally there was some talk about the Marlins changing the way they count the gate (counting actual turnstiles rather than tickets sold or something), are we on an apples to apples here? Has the league as a whole made changes to the counting process?
   12. McCoy Posted: April 16, 2018 at 02:14 PM (#5654676)
Also the time-of-game issue has really taken hold in perception. Even Politifact is on the case. Look at that pie graph. Blue = downtime, red = action, and the ratio is not good. Maybe not noticeable by itself in any one game, but perception is far greater that the games are too damn slow.

Not really. We're getting articles because there is a noticeable drop in attendance and blaming it on the game is an easy article to write. Whereas pinning it on the weather and mix of games would only fill up a twitter post.
   13. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: April 16, 2018 at 02:21 PM (#5654682)
Look at that pie graph.


It is indeed a terrible graph. Awful design.
   14. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: April 16, 2018 at 02:42 PM (#5654701)
The wind chill in Fenway during yesterday's game was 22.6 degrees. The announced crowd was 32,489, and at least on TV I didn't see many empty seats, even if about 30,000 of those spectators (and all the position players) looked as if they'd just undertaken a bank robbery.
   15. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: April 16, 2018 at 02:47 PM (#5654706)
I just clicked on the link, and that first "Open Mike" video riff was the best thing I've seen in years, though it had nothing to do with the weather or game times. Sometimes the best ideas are the simplest.
   16. Lassus Posted: April 16, 2018 at 02:50 PM (#5654708)
Weather. Occam's Razor.
   17. zachtoma Posted: April 16, 2018 at 04:02 PM (#5654754)
I doubt it accounts for all of it, but the weather up north has been horrific. Let's admit it, the season is too long. They could carve off 1 month in each direction and it would be a better product.



I'm increasingly in favor of the idea of going back to the 154-game schedule. That's how it was done for over half a century, so it's no real incongruity with baseball's past. What tipped me over is just how long the playoffs have become. You could take a week-plus out of the season, and probably another week out of Spring Training, and now you're playing the World Series in mid-October like you're supposed to. Or maybe you could start in mid-April instead if the weather is going to be this bad.
   18. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 16, 2018 at 04:08 PM (#5654757)
I'm sure the weather is a factor, but the product is indisputably worse than 25 years ago. The pace is brutal, and American attention spans have gotten much shorter.
   19. dlf Posted: April 16, 2018 at 04:13 PM (#5654761)
Incidentally there was some talk about the Marlins changing the way they count the gate (counting actual turnstiles rather than tickets sold or something), are we on an apples to apples here?


The Marlins still count tickets sold rather than turnstiles, but no longer count give-aways and deeply discounted tickets.
   20. The Yankee Clapper Posted: April 16, 2018 at 04:17 PM (#5654764)
It was the fourth game of an Astros series, and the first three had gone 47, 35, and 37K. A Sunday day game on 4/1 (in great weather) drew only 27K, though.

But what was the temperature? I hear the Texas heat can kill all but the hardiest year-round, necessitating a new climate-controlled, domed facility for the Rangers as a public health measure.
   21. McCoy Posted: April 16, 2018 at 04:18 PM (#5654766)
144 games. There, I said it.
   22. Panik on the streets of London (Trout! Trout!) Posted: April 16, 2018 at 04:19 PM (#5654767)
the product is indisputably worse than 25 years ago


American attention spans have gotten shorter. That I will not dispute. I agree the pace could use some work. I do not think the product is worse today than 25 years ago.
   23. Larvell B Posted: April 16, 2018 at 04:21 PM (#5654769)
I'm sure the weather is a factor, but the product is indisputably worse than 25 years ago. The pace is brutal, and American attention spans have gotten much shorter.


Correct. Unquestionably correct.

But we'll see if and how the trend continues through the spring and summer -- assuming those things still actually exist in the NE United States. But we do know from the NFL's experience the past couple years that when it starts to go, it can go quickly. There's no basis to reject out of hand the possibility that there's a there there.
   24. McCoy Posted: April 16, 2018 at 04:23 PM (#5654770)
I'm sure the weather is a factor, but the product is indisputably worse than 25 years ago. The pace is brutal, and American attention spans have gotten much shorter.

The pace of the game has been brutal since about the mid 80's and I'm sure if you get some old fart (paging Andy) he'd tell you it has sucked since 1963 or some such time.
   25. Don August(us) Cesar Geronimo Berroa Posted: April 16, 2018 at 04:30 PM (#5654779)
so, the Reds are doing so bad they are already basically giving away tickets to their home games Reds Top 6 Ballpark pass - $29.99 per month for all Home games

edit: They have 68 home games in May-September, so, basically $2.21 per ticket. Not sure the 2018 Reds are worth $2.21 per game...
   26. Larvell B Posted: April 16, 2018 at 04:38 PM (#5654784)
The pace of the game has been brutal since about the mid 80's and I'm sure if you get some old fart (paging Andy) he'd tell you it has sucked since 1963 or some such time.


But his point was two parts -- the pace and the shortening attention spans. Both are very bad for baseball the way it's currently played.

My opinion remains one of 90%+ confidence that the quick and very noticeable attendance decrease in the student sections at most or all of the nation's football factories starting in around 2010 was the canary in the coal mine to all of this. It will eventually hit baseball and likely already has. When you can't get Michigan or Alabama or Florida students away from their HD and their devices to watch Michigan or Alabama or Florida football games in person, something new is going on.
   27. Walt Davis Posted: April 16, 2018 at 04:39 PM (#5654785)
It's because of the players kneeling during the national anthem.

the product is indisputably worse than 25 years ago. The pace is brutal, and American attention spans have gotten much shorter.

And everybody finally noticed this year?

I know you took "25 years ago" out of the ether but that was 1993, the transition year to sillyball when batters changed their approach and started hammering pitches ... and a year before the strike.

Average attendance in 1993 was under 31,000 which was a massive jump over 1992 (a jump of 4,400 per game). That is a bit above where it's been the last couple of years. (The real question of course is revenue, not number of tix sold.)

So 25 years ago looks very much like today. The 1993 game was also transitioning offensively with jumps in Ks, HRs and on-contact production on its way to sillyball. That's roughly what's been going on for 2015-17.

Then there's the "tankers." 2018 to date vs 2017 season. Presumably the 2018 numbers will get better in the summer ... then drop again in Sept.

CWS 15,000 20,000
Cin 21,000 23,000
Det 21,000 29,000
KCR 18,000 27,000
MIA 13,000 20,000
SDP 28,000 26,000
TBR 19,000 15,000

How come nobody's talking about the great revival in TB? Those teams are a combined 27-73. Why anybody shows up for the Reds I have no idea.

Extra crappy weather, extra crappy teams.



   28. Larvell B Posted: April 16, 2018 at 04:41 PM (#5654787)
And everybody finally noticed this year?


And everybody finally noticed the long, replay-addled NFL games that drag you away from your HD and your devices and your Red Zone and your fantasy team and concuss the players real badly ... in the fall of 2016?

When it goes, it can go quickly.

How come nobody's talking about the great revival in TB?


Because there isn't one. They've played four home games, all against the Red Sox. (As an aside, the Rays being on the road in Boston, Chicago, and New York for the last ten days when they have a nice climate-controlled dome in Tampa puts the absurd in ridiculous.)
   29. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: April 16, 2018 at 04:58 PM (#5654796)
WTH a Good Friday night game would draw 35,000


The key Good Friday hours are 12-3**, so after a dose of the gloomiest 3 hours in Christianity, why not go to a ball game to perk things up?

** When I was little, my then very observant RC parents made us keep silent between 12 and 3 on GF. Being obedient children (or else), we did it. I remember one beautiful GF, lying on the hill in our backyard silently watching the clouds with my best friend. I think he moved on after about 15 minutes. ;)
   30. zachtoma Posted: April 16, 2018 at 04:58 PM (#5654797)
I'm sure the weather is a factor, but the product is indisputably worse than 25 years ago. The pace is brutal, and American attention spans have gotten much shorter.


Arguably true that the product is "worse", but if it is, it isn't mainly due to the pace. It's due to the spiraling rise of three true outcome ball, HR-K-BB ball is very far from the best version of baseball to watch. As Joe Sheehan recently said, baseball was designed as a ball-in-play game that has increasingly turned into a ball-out-of-play game.
   31. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 16, 2018 at 05:09 PM (#5654801)
Arguably true that the product is "worse", but if it is, it isn't mainly due to the pace. It's due to the spiraling rise of three true outcome ball, HR-K-BB ball is very far from the best version of baseball to watch. As Joe Sheehan recently said, baseball was designed as a ball-in-play game that has increasingly turned into a ball-out-of-play game.

It's both, but the pace is oppressive. I'm sitting there thinking "throw the damn ball, throw the damn ball" between half the pitches.
   32. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 16, 2018 at 05:10 PM (#5654802)
I know you took "25 years ago" out of the ether but that was 1993, the transition year to sillyball when batters changed their approach and started hammering pitches ... and a year before the strike.


What can I tell you. I'm getting old. I was thinking 1980's and pulled 25 years out of my hat, when it's really 30+.

But, I would argue sillyball was more entertaining than what we have now. If we're going to have rampant HRs, might as well have high scoring games. Also, the K-rate wasn't nearly as high.
   33. JAHV Posted: April 16, 2018 at 05:12 PM (#5654804)
Arguably true that the product is "worse", but if it is, it isn't mainly due to the pace. It's due to the spiraling rise of three true outcome ball, HR-K-BB ball is very far from the best version of baseball to watch. As Joe Sheehan recently said, baseball was designed as a ball-in-play game that has increasingly turned into a ball-out-of-play game.


I agree with this, although I think the two are linked. I would guess that finding a way to increase contact would also help the pace. It could even be true that increasing the pace by forcing pitchers to pitch quicker might increase contact.
   34. Larvell B Posted: April 16, 2018 at 05:28 PM (#5654813)
It's both, but the pace is oppressive. I'm sitting there thinking "throw the damn ball, throw the damn ball" between half the pitches.


Between pitches I'm sort of more like, "What the #### are you doing? Play!"

But, I would argue sillyball was more entertaining than what we have now. If we're going to have rampant HRs, might as well have high scoring games. Also, the K-rate wasn't nearly as high.


Never thought I'd say it in a million years, but I much prefer roid ball, even 2003-04 roid ball, to this. I preferred 2010 and thereabouts to roid ball, but much prefer roid ball to 2018. Rightly or wrongly, the K rate to me signals "incompetence." And it's not just the swings and misses, it's the flailing swings and misses at trash pitches. (*) The number of garbage swings at pitches eleventy billion miles out of the strike zone has to have at least doubled even since the not-so-long-ago roidiest of roid years.

I don't like watching major league athletes routinely look incompetent. It's highly aesthetically unpleasing.

(*) After letting great hitting pitches go by.
   35. Jess Franco Posted: April 16, 2018 at 05:31 PM (#5654816)
Beer league softball. Plus the last game I went to (on a Friday night at Turner), a large contigent was there to socializein the outfield bars.

Fewer and fewer fans are there to pay attention to the game, outside of shrines like Fenway and Wrigley

YMMV
   36. Larvell B Posted: April 16, 2018 at 05:37 PM (#5654818)
Incredibly small sample size (though if he were an Anonymous Middle Reliever he'd have already done a-half to a-third of a year's work), but 45YO Bartolo Colon is K'ing 8.2/9IP, more than any year since 2000 and the second-highest yearly rate of his career. In his Cy Young year, deep in the heart of the 'roid era, at age 32, he K'd 6.3/9.
   37. This is going to be state of the art wall Posted: April 16, 2018 at 05:40 PM (#5654819)
I'd like to see a plot of k% as a function of average FB velocity. I suspect it is a linear relationship. At a certain point I think lowering the mound will be a remedy. There are too many three outcomes, it is a problem. Deep counts, strikeouts and walks make the game both longer and less full of action.
   38. Lance Reddick! Lance him! Posted: April 16, 2018 at 05:46 PM (#5654822)
I'm sitting there thinking "throw the damn ball, throw the damn ball" between half the pitches.

I believe "Hit the ball, Sergio" is the proper exhortation.
   39. Larvell B Posted: April 16, 2018 at 05:56 PM (#5654825)
I'd like to see a plot of k% as a function of average FB velocity. I suspect it is a linear relationship.


Nah, there's more going on. A guy like Rick Porcello is a perfect example, since he kind of straddles the before and after nicely. Bit of an outlier K rate in 2013, but from 20 to 25 his K rate hovered in the 4s and 5s consistently and as late as 2014 was 5.7. Then a secular jump in 2015 (*) to 7.8, then 7.6, 8.0, and 7.8.

Fastball hasn't really budged his whole career and is lower in 2018 than it's ever been. Small jump from 90.4 to 91.1 the year his K rate took the big jump, but since then the velo has gone 90.2, 91.1, and 89.7.

With the change in the gun and the measuring criteria (can't remember exactly when; snapper would probably know better), Porcello's a guy that in 70s/80s terms probably throws "88." He's got an average FB, at best -- in 2018, 2008, 1998, 1988, or 1978. Yet he had a big, secular K jump and now K's around 8/9. In 1985 his current K rate would have been second in the American League, just behind Floyd Bannister's 8.5. By the time you get to third place in 1985, you're already down to Britt Burns at 6.819.

Rick. Porcello. Striking out guys at a headier clip than all but one 1985 AL pitcher. His K rate is essentially 1985 Nolan Ryan's -- just a small smidge lower.

That's just crazy.

(*) Which I suspect is a common theme.
   40. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: April 16, 2018 at 06:11 PM (#5654835)
There are too many three outcomes, it is a problem.

Dear Baseball,

There are too many true outcomes. Please eliminate two.

P.S. I am not a crackpot.
   41. The Honorable Ardo Posted: April 16, 2018 at 06:57 PM (#5654855)
(double post)
   42. The Honorable Ardo Posted: April 16, 2018 at 06:59 PM (#5654856)
I'm increasingly in favor of the idea of going back to the 154-game schedule. That's how it was done for over half a century, so it's no real incongruity with baseball's past.

I like a 154-game schedule, too, as it makes for easier math.

14 each against division opponents (56 total)
8 each against league opponents in the other two divisions (80 total)
18 inter-league, 3 vs. the "natural rival" and 15 vs. opposite-league division in 3-year cycle (18 total)

That's one easy permutation to reach 154. Others are possible, of course.
   43. This is going to be state of the art wall Posted: April 16, 2018 at 07:21 PM (#5654871)
@40 -- four strikes urrrrrr out! Doesn't quite have the same ring.
   44. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: April 16, 2018 at 07:37 PM (#5654877)
@40 -- four strikes urrrrrr out! Doesn't quite have the same ring.
Yeah, but it would make "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" more interesting musically, with a quirky extra half-measure near the end.
   45. Walt Davis Posted: April 16, 2018 at 07:38 PM (#5654878)
They've played four home games, all against the Red Sox.

Hold on ... are you claiming we can't tell #### from small, biased samples? Who'd a thought.
   46. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: April 16, 2018 at 07:47 PM (#5654885)
I'm increasingly in favor of the idea of going back to the 154-game schedule. That's how it was done for over half a century, so it's no real incongruity with baseball's past. What tipped me over is just how long the playoffs have become. You could take a week-plus out of the season, and probably another week out of Spring Training, and now you're playing the World Series in mid-October like you're supposed to. Or maybe you could start in mid-April instead if the weather is going to be this bad.


I'm in favor of the 154 game schedule, but I think I would probably take that extra week in April rather than late October/early November. Way more teams playing in brutally bad weather in April. Have winter-like storms been a factor in the postseason lately and I'm just not remembering? Anyway, watching the WS on TV in November rather than October is no skin off my nose.

I also don't think there's anything indisputable about the idea that the game is less interesting than it was in the 80s. That's just the same old-guy BS that we all used to slam the Furman Bishers of the world for, except now we're the ones spouting it. Clearly plenty of people like the current version of baseball.
   47. Larvell B Posted: April 16, 2018 at 07:49 PM (#5654886)
I also don't think there's anything indisputable about the idea that the game is less interesting than it was in the 80s. That's just the same old-guy BS that we all used to slam the Furman Bishers of the world for, except now we're the ones spouting it. Clearly plenty of people like the current version of baseball.


Oakland Coliseum attendance. Screams volumes about the game's inherent appeal over time.

People like Furman Bisher were stupid. There's nothing stupid about saying far fewer balls in play over a longer game time is a less optimal aesthetic form of baseball. It would be stupid and Bisheresque if the argument was something like "the players used to be better" or "there are too many teams, the talent is diluted."

If today's players with today's media infrastructure were playing in today's parks under 1988 strategies and philosophies, the game would be better than it was in 1988.
   48. Larvell B Posted: April 16, 2018 at 08:00 PM (#5654889)
Goldschmidt and Myers tied for the NL lead in Power/Speed number last year at 24. That's the lowest NL leader since 1954, when the game was also a yawnfest. The leaders from around 1985 to around 2009 were virtually always significantly higher. Soriano as late as 2006 was at 43.4.

The game has slowed down on the basepaths at the same time it's slowed down in terms of overall length and time between balls in play. It's a relative snorefest in any number of obvious objective measurements.
   49. greenback is on a break Posted: April 16, 2018 at 08:03 PM (#5654890)
Why anybody shows up for the Reds I have no idea.

The Cardinals just played four in Cincinnati. We Cardinals fans travel well in general, but it's a lot cheaper to see a game in Cincinnati than in St. Louis or Chicago.
   50. Larvell B Posted: April 16, 2018 at 08:05 PM (#5654892)
In 1986, Rickey hit 28 dingers and stole 87 bases. In 1990, he hit 28 dingers and stole 65 bases and slugged .577. Those are the kind of players and statistical outputs the sport desperately needs. No one really wants to see OafBall instead of that. People will defend OafBall because they're baseball fans and baseball supporters -- and because OafBall has the illusory patina of "Advanced Analytics" -- but no one truly prefers OafBall to Rickey in his prime.
   51. The Duke Posted: April 16, 2018 at 08:07 PM (#5654893)
Everyone wants to be the one to find a story. The weather is atrocious. I have season tickets and haven’t been to a game yet. But I will say the prices I am getting on stub hub are higher than I have ever gotten so I think everything is fine.

I, too, love baseball before the three true outcomes phase but this version isn’t horrible, just different.

It does seem like someone drafting for speed and contact would have a field day right as those skills are out of favor. I’m anxiously awaiting the return of the runnin’ Redbirds with Coleman, McGee and Lonnie smith amongst others.

I’m just leaving this here. Tommy herr had 8 HRs and 110 RBIs in 1985
   52. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: April 16, 2018 at 08:11 PM (#5654895)
The pace of the game has been brutal since about the mid 80's and I'm sure if you get some old fart (paging Andy) he'd tell you it has sucked since 1963 or some such time.

The game in the 60's was much quicker because of the high mound, the big strike zone, and less emphasis on banjo hitters straining to get 15 homers a year. But the sheer talent improvement over the past 50 years more than makes up for it. All the game really needs now is to bring back the general admission ticket for the entire upper deck, and to figure out a way to prevent speculators from hogging the best tickets for the so-called "premium" games. It's bad enough that clubs are using "dynamic pricing" for games against the most popular teams, but it gets even worse when speculators grab some of the best seats and then drive the price up even further.
   53. Dale Sams Posted: April 16, 2018 at 08:13 PM (#5654897)
Weather

Tanking....the abomination that was allowed to happen in Miami.


A perception that the game is changing too quickly.Baseball is a nostalgia game. Change it too quickly, TPTB tacitly telling fans they watch a boring game. That's a turn-off man.

It has shitall to do with actual pace of the 2018 games. There's been a ton of exciting games already played.
   54. Dale Sams Posted: April 16, 2018 at 08:16 PM (#5654900)
it's the flailing swings and misses at trash pitches. (*)


Become a Sox fan. Most of the players seem to have developed psychic powers cause when they do strike out like you say....its an aberration and really stands out.

Now LAST year? Yeah that happened way too much.
   55. AndrewJ Posted: April 16, 2018 at 08:18 PM (#5654902)
I like a 154-game schedule, too, as it makes for easier math.

As do I. And with a few scheduled day/night doubleheaders sprinkled in (which the players might go for) you could end the regular season around September 20th, thus ending the postseason by October 20-22.
   56. Larvell B Posted: April 16, 2018 at 08:22 PM (#5654903)
I'm fine with 154 and actually think it has a chance of happening -- but the trade-off is going to be more playoff teams.
   57. RMc's Unenviable Situation Posted: April 16, 2018 at 08:23 PM (#5654904)
I'm increasingly in favor of the idea of going back to the 154-game schedule. That's how it was done for over half a century

Sure. And while we're at it, let's go back to playing in scratchy woolen uniforms on Thursday afternoons, moving up each runner with bunts. And let's play all the games north and east of St. Louis, in rickety wooden ballparks, where the only black folks in the place are shining shoes.

As Bill James said, the tramp tramp tramp of history is not a death march.
   58. Walt Davis Posted: April 16, 2018 at 08:35 PM (#5654907)
Average attendance

1985 22,000
1986 22,600
1987 24,700 (big HR year)
1988 25,200
1989 26,300
1990 26,100
1991 27,000
1992 26,600
1993 31,000
1994 31,200
... oops we broke baseball
2006 31,300
2007 32,700
2008 32,400
2009 30,200
2010 30,100
2011 30,200
2012 30,800
2013 30,500
2014 30,300
2015 30,400
2016 30,100
2017 29,900

Other than the big jump between 92 and 93 ... followed by the big drop post-strike ... baseball attendance by numbers has been stagnant for 33+ years. By ticket revenue, it seems to have gone up substantially but I don't have data for that. But there's no evidence in any of this that attendance ebbs and flows with aesthetics. There are essentially two series breaks ... between 92 and 93 and between 94 and 95. If anything, the break between 92 and 93 would be evidence that fans like the TTO aesthetic but it's more likely the arrival of the Rockies and Marlins (3 M in year 1).

Given a constant number of teams, the peak for # of BIP in a season was 2003 at 133,700. In 2017 that was down to 121,500 so a drop of 12,200 or about 5 per game (or 2.5 per team-game). It seems unlikely this is turning fans away, especially since some of those are turning into HRs.

The shift from 2016 to 2017 is interesting -- we saw essentially the exact same number of hits, the same BA ... what we saw was about 600 singles turned into doubles and mostly HRs. You're telling me fans find that less exciting?

Strikeouts have of course been trending upwards for a long time. But a big shift occurred between 1992 and 1993 as batters shifted to a more TTO-style approach ... and we saw scoring boom (and attendance go up, related or not). The next big jump was between 2011 and 2012 which was largely due to the well-documented expansion of the lower end of the strike zone (and thereby the entire strike zone) which resulted in lower scoring but pretty much the same outcomes on anything that was hit (until 2014). The last two years has seen batters doubling down on the lessons of 93-94 and scoring going up. Other than possibly 93-94 when attendance went up no down, none of those changes seem to have had any substantial impact on attendance numbers.

Of course the US population continues to grow. But almost all of this growth is the result of working-age adult immigration -- not likely a huge part of baseball's potential market, at least not until they've been here for a while and had kids. You never know, maybe recently-arrived Latin Americans are a big market. Still, probably, we should have seen some attendance growth rather than stagnation due to an increasing population ... but that just brings us back to ticket prices and how they've fared relative to inflation. If ticket prices have gone up in real terms, that would at least reduce the impact on attendance numbers of a growing population. US society has also seen rapidly increasing income and wealth disparities that, coupled with ticket inflation, might impact on attendance numbers (i.e. there aren't more "regular" people now than 10-20-30 years ago who can afford a ball game).
   59. PreservedFish Posted: April 16, 2018 at 08:43 PM (#5654911)
Pure attendance seems almost orthogonal to the question of how popular baseball is. That's only one way to consume the product, and it is also a hugely complex number, not just because of the new attractions at mallparks but also because of the fact that they're building smaller ballparks on purpose these days.
   60. Larvell B Posted: April 16, 2018 at 08:43 PM (#5654912)
Those attendance numbers, particularly given the private and public capital investment in greatly improved physical plant since 1993 are ... not good. Not sure why they're being proferred as good. (Assuming they are; it's kind of hard to tell.)

Again, look at the Oakland Coliseum time series attendance numbers for a good gauge on "inherent interest in the game itself." Then extend that lesson and logic to places like Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and even San Francisco. Baseball in Candlestick Park is almost certainly no longer a viable business. Baseball in Three Rivers Stadium would almost certainly no longer be a viable business. Football in Candlestick Park very much would still be. Basketball in the old Oakland Coliseum Arena still very much is.
   61. BDC Posted: April 16, 2018 at 08:54 PM (#5654918)
I complain about the pace, but my own attendance is as frequent as its ever been. The years I went to fewer games were 2002-08. This is probably due to lots of extrinsic factors, but I will say that I didn’t like the really high-scoring era as much as before or since. I like close games, and high scores mean fewer of them. (But few enough to really tell the difference? Hard to say.) Scoring dipped after 2009, and I started going to tons of games - but the Rangers also got really good for once.

Scoring peaked in 1999-2000, when I went to a lot of games; but in those years I was getting paid to watch baseball rather than paying. So again it’s really the extrinsic factors that win out. Maybe that’s true for all fans.
   62. This is going to be state of the art wall Posted: April 16, 2018 at 09:04 PM (#5654923)
Of course the US population continues to grow. But almost all of this growth is the result of working-age adult immigration -- not likely a huge part of baseball's potential market, at least not until they've been here for a while and had kids. You never know, maybe recently-arrived Latin Americans are a big market. Still, probably, we should have seen some attendance growth rather than stagnation due to an increasing population ... but that just brings us back to ticket prices and how they've fared relative to inflation. If ticket prices have gone up in real terms, that would at least reduce the impact on attendance numbers of a growing population. US society has also seen rapidly increasing income and wealth disparities that, coupled with ticket inflation, might impact on attendance numbers (i.e. there aren't more "regular" people now than 10-20-30 years ago who can afford a ball game).


the fact of the matter is that it's revenue (not that I didn't find your post interesting) and by that matter baseball is doing quite well. Maybe that's a TV bubble but they've done well with MLB.tv and not watering down the product (other than interleague). Tanking is a problem, but on a hot July evening in 2018 baseball is just a diversion anyways a win or loss really isn't even that important to the casual fan, who is coming out as "part of summer" regardless. sell 'em a few local brews and get the sponsorship ("the Craft Corner Presented by The Craft Beer Company") and you've got some millenial money coming in as you build the brand. (I swear this describes half of the Safeco crowd, but the diehards are as knowledgeable and passionate as any).

baseball has done a good job decoupling attendance from revenue, maybe too good of a job in some cases...
   63. Lassus Posted: April 16, 2018 at 09:21 PM (#5654936)
Lotsa Grandpa Simpson in this thread.
   64. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: April 16, 2018 at 09:24 PM (#5654941)
but that just brings us back to ticket prices and how they've fared relative to inflation. If ticket prices have gone up in real terms, that would at least reduce the impact on attendance numbers of a growing population. US society has also seen rapidly increasing income and wealth disparities that, coupled with ticket inflation, might impact on attendance numbers (i.e. there aren't more "regular" people now than 10-20-30 years ago who can afford a ball game).

Just one opinion, but the biggest change in ticket prices AFAICT is one that simply reflects the growing income gap, on both ends of the spectrum.

Cheap seats for low demand games are cheaper than ever in real dollar prices, thanks to Stub Hub and related resale sites.

OTOH good seats for high demand games are more expensive than ever, for the same reason and also due to dynamic pricing. Plus you have to buy them way in advance in order to avoid buying from resellers, which effectively kills all chances of spontaneity. It's like buying tickets to a Bears-Packers game.

Just to take one example, you can often see Nats tickets advertised in wraparound Washington Post ads for five or ten bucks. But you can also see games against the Yankees being sold for $89.00, and even bleacher seats for those games, over 400' from home plate, are $46.00.

Obviously these prices don't affect fans with plenty of disposable income. What's $200 for a pair of baseball tickets for someone with a six figure income? But for other fans it means that either they're not going to go to as many games as they otherwise would, or that they'll stick to low demand games, or that they'll choose only to buy the cheapest tickets possible, even if that means sitting in the nosebleed sections.

And that's not even taking the insane parking and concession prices into consideration. When I last went to a Nats game last Summer, I parked for free on a street that's about a 15 minute walk from the park, but on the way all the parking lots I passed wanted $35.00 to $50.00. Sorry, but that's just ####### crazy. And now some of their beers are priced as much as sixteen bucks.

On one level there's nothing wrong with that. Supply and demand. Duh. But for fans with limited incomes that means that deciding to go to a "premium" baseball game on the spur of the moment in the hope of getting a decent seat at a reasonable price is pretty much a thing of the past. Thank God for Extra Innings.
   65. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: April 16, 2018 at 09:26 PM (#5654944)
Lotsa Grandpa Simpson in this thread.

Maybe, but without all those Grampas in the stands, the Marlins wouldn't be the only team with permanent attendance problems. Those cute little 8 year olds you see in the box seats on TV aren't paying for those tickets on their own.
   66. Dale Sams Posted: April 16, 2018 at 09:34 PM (#5654951)
Lotsa Grandpa Simpson in this thread.


Obviously the solution is This
   67. Walt Davis Posted: April 16, 2018 at 09:41 PM (#5654957)
The primary issue with a 154-game schedule is that it's a 5% reduction in games, meaning a X% reduction in attendance (not 5% presumably since they'd drop weekday games ... unless you think they're shortening the season in weeks too). If the teams were for some reason to agree to the drop in revenue and profit, they would demand a 5% reduction in player salaries (esp on existing contracts negotiated based on a 162-game schedule) and it seems unlikely the players would be in favor of that. It also means fewer games broadcast and so lower revenues for the broadcasters and so lower payments to teams. Getting all sides to agree to take money out of the game strikes me as unlikely.

less emphasis on banjo hitters straining to get 15 homers a year

There are almost no guys left who should be "banjo hitters" and the one guy that is (Altuve) is tearing it up.

Reggie Jackson is listed at 6', 195 lbs. Now Reggie might have added an inch or two to get up to 6' and 195 was probably his young weight. But from 22-25, he had a 5.4% HR/PA rate, higher than ages 26-30, as high as ages 31-35 in NY.

Javier Baez is listed at 6' 190. Is there some reason he shouldn't swing for the fences like Reggie? Corey Seager is listed at 6'4" 220. Correa is 6'4" 215. DJ LeMahieu is at 6'4" 215. Schoop at 6'1 215; Iglesias at 5'11, 185 is at least within the range of what we used to see from a SS (e.g. Kessinger 6'1, 170). Without question, Billy Hamilton (6', 160) would be a much better hitter with more contact and probably fewer FBs.

And what did those banjo hitters hit when they were hitting banjos? Kessinger had a 73 OPS+. Felix Millan (5'11, 172 ... I have some doubts about that height) put up an 87. Manny Trillo (6'1 150) put up an 81. Vic Davalillo is listed at 5'7", 150 lbs for crying out loud -- he'd be lucky to make a college team these days probably.**

Shawon Dunston was 6'1 175, wild-swinging, didn't K a lot, didn't walk, sometimes got to 15 HRs and had a career 89 OPS+ only once reaching 100 from ages 22-28 (then was hurt for two years).

Javier Baez is wild-swinging, K's a LOT, doesn't walk, would probably hit 25 HRs if given the PT and has a career 92 OPS+ although that's dragged down a full 8 points by his horrible age 21 debut. Baez may not be better than Dunston but he's not worse.

Nothing was added aesthetically by Felix Millan or the awesome contact ability of Glenn Beckert. Banjo hitters stunk and provide no entertainment value -- OK, Manny Sanguillen was kinda fun. But at least Baez or Tony Batista or Joey Gallo is occasionally entertaining (and frequently frustrating) to watch.

** For the last decade, 15 players listed at 5'8" or shorter have made it to 300 PAs in the majors. Altuve is easily the best, Jimmy Rollins is easily 2nd best. Furcal makes the list but his best years were the decade before. Josh Harrison is here and is 3rd in HRs for this group with 45 in 2700 PA (exactly 1 per 60 so about 10 per full season). Ozzie Albies (5'8 165) is the next great hope for the truly short man. An 86 OPS+ is the median among this group. And among the current guys ... Albies is K'ing only about 14% of the time so far, Altuve 11% and Harrison 15%, clearly not flailing by today's standards. Leury Garcia is probably the only guy today who fits the description of a flailing banjo hitter who might hit 15-20 HRs in a full season ... but then he's managed a 100 OPS+ over the last bit while getting his K-rate down to 21% at least.

Not that there were a ton back in the day either. 16 such players made it to 300 PA from 1969 to 78 with Morgan leading the way. Don Buford is in the Harrison role with 52 HR in 2350 PA. And of course Larvell Blanks and his 87 OPS+ are here too. That's also the median OPS+ for these guys with Morgan, Buford and Al Bumbry being productive hitters.

So tiny guys who should be hitting banjos seem to mostly still be tiny guys who mostly hit banjos ... or are Morgan and Altuve. The issue is that middle infielders and CF are generally pretty big guys these days. It's not Javy's fault he's the same (listed) size as Ernie Banks and probably stronger.

To risk pointing out the obvious, the physics of exit velocities, launch angles and direction angles haven't changed. Ernie Banks, give or take, hit the ball as hard as or harder than Corey Seager. The knowledge/training (and park dimensions) have changed. It's unfortunate that Javy apparently has to flail more to generate something close to Ernie's power but the notion that he can generate that much power shouldn't be surprising at all. Nor does it seem likely he'd be a better hitter by cutting down his swing to strike out less, reducing his XB power.

EB, ages 23-25, on-contact: 323/579
JB, ages 23-25, on-contact: 375/640

So Javy's got some to work with and might be able to cut down on his Ks while maintaining good on-contact production. At least teams are pitching around him in the #8 spot more this year (league-leading 4 IBB already). FWIW, I'm seeing a smidgen of Sosa 98 in him -- not that I'm expecting 60+ HRs. Sosa's K-rate didn't actually drop in 98-00 and he still flailed at lots of pitches. But he got a bit better at laying off some of the extreme junk, he took a few more pitches the other way and pitchers weren't able to get away with quite as much as they used to. Javy has had plenty of flailing moments this year but he's also had a number of PAs where he's seemed better focused, took some junk and even close pitches -- like in the PA where he hit the double against the Braves. In 98, Sosa seemed to have a big jump in those sorts of PAs and I'm hoping this early trend continues for Javy.

By the way, so far this year, 8 of Javy's 9 hits have been for extras. The K-rate is actually down a smidgen ... it's the 167 BABIP that's killing him. Give him his career BABIP and he'd be hitting about 300/400/650 right now (a whopping 55 PA!)
   68. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: April 16, 2018 at 09:41 PM (#5654960)
but in those years I was getting paid to watch baseball rather than paying.


Do tell.
   69. Blastin Posted: April 16, 2018 at 09:51 PM (#5654974)
For me, I started paying attention during sillyball, and it was fun.

This current thing is basically fake sillyball, and it's not as good.

But personally, I truly loathed the little blip where a .750 OPS meant you were a strong, robust hitter. Years where the best OPS was under 1.000. Hated it truly. But we kept the strikeouts, added homers back, never added the other hits back.

   70. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 16, 2018 at 10:16 PM (#5655009)
With the change in the gun and the measuring criteria (can't remember exactly when; snapper would probably know better), Porcello's a guy that in 70s/80s terms probably throws "88." He's got an average FB, at best -

Yes. Here's a good analysis.

why-its-almost-impossible-for-fastballs-to-get-any-faster/

Early radar guns clocked the pitch close to the plate. Nolan Ryan's famous 100.9 MPH pitch was measured right as it crossed the plate. Aroldis Chapman's 105 MPH pitch was clocked right out of his hand.

A fastball decelerates approximately 1 MPH for every 5-7 feet. The author of the article I linked estimates that Ryan's pitch could have been as fast as 108 MPH out of the hand. He estimates Feller's fast pitch was 107 MPH.

Basically everyone is gaining 1-2 MPH since Tracman replaced Pitch f/x, and 3-5 MPH vs. the radar guns of the 1970's and 1980's.

Chapman probably doesn't throw any harder than Gossage. There's also evidence that humans simply can't throw harder. The physical strength of tendons and ligaments just won't allow it. A pitcher throwing 120 MPH would shred their arm very, very quickly.
   71. BDC Posted: April 16, 2018 at 10:32 PM (#5655018)
Late 1998 thru early 2001 I wrote a baseball column for a web magazine and had press access. Didn’t earn a lot, just about 5-6 times more than I’ve made for all my academic writing put together :)

I wouldn’t trade the experience, but there really is no cheering in the press box. It took a while afterwards for me to become a partisan fan again.
   72. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: April 16, 2018 at 11:31 PM (#5655039)
In 1986, Rickey hit 28 dingers and stole 87 bases. In 1990, he hit 28 dingers and stole 65 bases and slugged .577. Those are the kind of players and statistical outputs the sport desperately needs. No one really wants to see OafBall instead of that. People will defend OafBall because they're baseball fans and baseball supporters -- and because OafBall has the illusory patina of "Advanced Analytics" -- but no one truly prefers OafBall to Rickey in his prime.
So yeah, I'm with you in general that baseball circa 2018 has at least a few fairly significant aesthetic issues, but "not as exciting as Rickey Henderson in his prime" might be just a bit of an unfair standard.
   73. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: April 16, 2018 at 11:32 PM (#5655040)
A pitcher throwing 120 MPH would shred their arm very, very quickly.
"I think he's got another couple innings in him. Gotta protect this 8-1 lead." --D. Baker
   74. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: April 16, 2018 at 11:39 PM (#5655042)
but "not as exciting as Rickey Henderson in his prime" might be just a bit of an unfair standard.


Forget it, he's on a roll.
   75. zachtoma Posted: April 17, 2018 at 05:28 AM (#5655068)
It does seem like someone drafting for speed and contact would have a field day right as those skills are out of favor. I’m anxiously awaiting the return of the runnin’ Redbirds with Coleman, McGee and Lonnie smith amongst others.


One of the reasons I've long believed that Dee Gordon is among the most underrated players in the modern game. A guy who can hit a light .300 for you and steal 60 bases may not be the league MVP, but hell it's a lot more than nothing. And yet people talk about him like he's trash. All the savvy Dodgers fans couldn't wait to see the back of him. It's almost like his style of play offends their refined sensibilities.

Sure. And while we're at it, let's go back to playing in scratchy woolen uniforms on Thursday afternoons, moving up each runner with bunts. And let's play all the games north and east of St. Louis, in rickety wooden ballparks, where the only black folks in the place are shining shoes.


Lol ok. It's racist to think that the regular season could stand to be a little bit shorter. You caught me. I admit it, the reason I want to cut 8 games from the schedule is that I hate black people. But first the schedule, then we can work on re-establishing the color line.
   76. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: April 17, 2018 at 05:31 AM (#5655069)

Other than the big jump between 92 and 93 ...
There wasn't any jump between 92 and 93. In 1993, the National League switched from its traditional reporting method of turnstiles turned to the American League's method of tickets sold.
   77. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: April 17, 2018 at 05:39 AM (#5655071)

Chapman probably doesn't throw any harder than Gossage. There's also evidence that humans simply can't throw harder. The physical strength of tendons and ligaments just won't allow it. A pitcher throwing 120 MPH would shred their arm very, very quickly.
And hence... one inning pitchers who don't pitch two days in a row, requiring 14 man pitching staffs with a minor league shuttle.
   78. McCoy Posted: April 17, 2018 at 06:28 AM (#5655072)
I don’t think it is correct to say that attendance has been stagnant for 30+ years because looking at per game ignores the fact that we have more teams playing now than then.

It’s like saying a company has no growth because their revenue per store has been the same for years but ignores the fact that they have increased their store count by 15%.
   79. RMc's Unenviable Situation Posted: April 17, 2018 at 07:02 AM (#5655076)
Hey, we can still play 162 games in a shorter season if they schedule more doublehe--BUWAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Sorry, I knew I couldn't say that with a straight face!
   80. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: April 17, 2018 at 07:16 AM (#5655079)
less emphasis on banjo hitters straining to get 15 homers a year.

There are almost no guys left who should be "banjo hitters" and the one guy that is (Altuve) is tearing it up.

Reggie Jackson is listed at 6', 195 lbs. Now Reggie might have added an inch or two to get up to 6' and 195 was probably his young weight. But from 22-25, he had a 5.4% HR/PA rate, higher than ages 26-30, as high as ages 31-35 in NY.

Javier Baez is listed at 6' 190. Is there some reason he shouldn't swing for the fences like Reggie? Corey Seager is listed at 6'4" 220. Correa is 6'4" 215. DJ LeMahieu is at 6'4" 215. Schoop at 6'1 215; Iglesias at 5'11, 185 is at least within the range of what we used to see from a SS (e.g. Kessinger 6'1, 170). Without question, Billy Hamilton (6', 160) would be a much better hitter with more contact and probably fewer FBs.

And what did those banjo hitters hit when they were hitting banjos? Kessinger had a 73 OPS+. Felix Millan (5'11, 172 ... I have some doubts about that height) put up an 87. Manny Trillo (6'1 150) put up an 81. Vic Davalillo is listed at 5'7", 150 lbs for crying out loud -- he'd be lucky to make a college team these days probably.


Walt, you're arguing with a strawman, since I wrote in the part that you didn't copy that "But the sheer talent improvement over the past 50 years more than makes up for it." And your point about the Kessingers and Millans is one I've been making for years about the relative talent levels of 50 or 60 years ago to the talent level of today. Hell, AFAIC you could take some of those 1950's AL rosters and find maybe 5 (at most) players who could make today's Major Leagues.

But that said, there are still enough players who can serve as examples of what I meant. Just looking at last year's White Sox, a team I chose at random, here are a few choice sets of numbers:

Tim Anderson: 606 PA, 17 HR, 13 BB, 162 strikeouts, 81 OPS+

Adam Engel: 336 PA, 6 HR, 19 BB, 117 strikeouts, 40 OPS+


And even some of the players who hit greater numbers of home runs are of dubious value, like the DH for that same team....

Matt Davidson: 443 PA, 26 HR, 19 BB, 165 strikeouts, 88 OPS+

You can argue that the issue here is that these are simply bad players on a bad team, but two points remain: Pitchers still have to fear hitters like this** in a way that they don't have to fear hitters with similar OPS+ rates but who arrive at those rates with more singles and fewer home runs.*** And I don't think it's a stretch to say that hitters like these could benefit from, er, being taught a few basic hitting skills on the way up, like strike zone knowledge. Unless you think that today's crop of players have some sort of genetic defect that prevents them from acquiring and using these sort of skills, I think what we're seeing is one of the reasons why strikeouts today are way up, and why games now last quite a bit longer than they used to----which was my original point if you look at the entirety of the comment you were responding to.

** You might call them "T[wo]TO" hitters, since one of the Three True Outcomes is conspicuously missing from their resumes.

*** They fear them as they'd have to fear playing Russian Roulette using a gun with 1 bullet and 20 to 50 chambers. Their odds of dying with any one pull of the trigger would be slim, but there's always that one bullet to consider.
   81. Jay Z Posted: April 17, 2018 at 08:24 AM (#5655092)
I like a 154-game schedule, too, as it makes for easier math.

14 each against division opponents (56 total)
8 each against league opponents in the other two divisions (80 total)
18 inter-league, 3 vs. the "natural rival" and 15 vs. opposite-league division in 3-year cycle (18 total)

That's one easy permutation to reach 154. Others are possible, of course.


162:

16 each against division opponents (64 total)
8 each against league opponents in the other two divisions (80 total)
18 inter-league, 3 vs. the "natural rival" and 15 vs. opposite-league division in 3-year cycle (18 total)

Wow, you're right. 154 is truly the Rosetta Stone of baseball scheduling. Descended from the gods, it did.
   82. Panik on the streets of London (Trout! Trout!) Posted: April 17, 2018 at 08:30 AM (#5655095)
Yeah, but it would make "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" more interesting musically, with a quirky extra half-measure near the end.


Definitely would be pretty proggy :)
   83. Rally Posted: April 17, 2018 at 08:42 AM (#5655097)
One example from the 80s, Wade Boggs, of course was a high average hitter with little power (except for 1987.)

Boggs was not a little guy, listed at 6'2 and 190. My guess is if a Boggs like talent came up today he would not be allowed to be Wade Boggs, they would try to turn him into Joey Votto. And to some extent, I think it would work.
   84. McCoy Posted: April 17, 2018 at 08:54 AM (#5655101)
Hell, it took the Red Sox forever to bring up the real Boggs as well!
   85. mathesond Posted: April 17, 2018 at 08:58 AM (#5655103)
How much of the attendance bump from 92 to 93 could be attributed to the expansion Marlins & Rockies? Colorado broke 4 million, I believe, so that would be ~50K/game alone, and Miami had yet to go through the fire sales.
   86. McCoy Posted: April 17, 2018 at 08:59 AM (#5655104)
16 each against division opponents (64 total)
8 each against league opponents in the other two divisions (80 total)
18 inter-league, 3 vs. the "natural rival" and 15 vs. opposite-league division in 3-year cycle (18 total)

Wow, you're right. 154 is truly the Rosetta Stone of baseball scheduling. Descended from the gods, it did.


Except 16 and 8 don't really make sense since baseball plays 3 games series. You could do 18 against your divisional rivals (72 games), 6 against the rest of the league (60 games), 18 against a division in the opposing league plus 3 against your natural rival (with once every 3 years it being a Home/Away matchup). That puts you at 150 games.
   87. Random Transaction Generator Posted: April 17, 2018 at 09:25 AM (#5655115)
Except 16 and 8 don't really make sense since baseball plays 3 games series.


16 works fine (four 3-game series and one 4-game series). The Jays played eleven 4-game series last year, and six of them were against teams outside their division.
This would suggest that 8 games against league opponents works fine (each team getting a home 4-game series).
   88. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: April 17, 2018 at 09:28 AM (#5655116)
16 each against division opponents (64 total)
8 each against league opponents in the other two divisions (80 total)
18 inter-league, 3 vs. the "natural rival" and 15 vs. opposite-league division in 3-year cycle (18 total)

Wow, you're right. 154 is truly the Rosetta Stone of baseball scheduling. Descended from the gods, it did.


Except 16 and 8 don't really make sense since baseball plays 3 games series.

I'd much rather see the season begin in mid-April with a 154 game schedule, but MLB routinely schedules both 2 and 4 game series.

EDIT: coke to RTG
   89. McCoy Posted: April 17, 2018 at 09:29 AM (#5655117)
It works but doesn't make much sense. I mean a 16 games series works as well. A 3 game series has a clear winner of the series. You can make up ground or lose ground against a foe in a 3 game series. In a 4 game series you can split it. Baseball doesn't believe in ties.
   90. Panik on the streets of London (Trout! Trout!) Posted: April 17, 2018 at 09:29 AM (#5655118)
I wish they would go to a 365 game schedule and eliminate football completely.
   91. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 17, 2018 at 09:30 AM (#5655120)
And hence... one inning pitchers who don't pitch two days in a row, requiring 14 man pitching staffs with a minor league shuttle.

And hence the need for rule changes. No more than 11 pitchers on the active roster. A pitcher cannot be removed until he retires 3 batters or allows a run on his own record. If a pitcher is hurt and must be removed before the previous rule is satisfied, he is immediately placed on the 15 day DL.
   92. McCoy Posted: April 17, 2018 at 09:39 AM (#5655130)
And hence the need for rule changes. No more than 11 pitchers on the active roster. A pitcher cannot be removed until he retires 3 batters or allows a run on his own record. If a pitcher is hurt and must be removed before the previous rule is satisfied, he is immediately placed on the 15 day DL.

I don't know why or how you could possibly restrict the amount of pitchers on a roster. I mean you can certainly call Jon Lester a first baseman or a PH if you wanted to do that and how could MLB stop you from doing that? Outside of the playoffs mid-inning pitching switches aren't really a problem.
   93. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: April 17, 2018 at 09:40 AM (#5655132)
Not directed at any on person here, but if there is anything small sample size teaches us is that it reinforces our priors and supports changing the stuff we wanted to change already!
   94. Panik on the streets of London (Trout! Trout!) Posted: April 17, 2018 at 09:41 AM (#5655133)
I mean you can certainly call Jon Lester a first baseman or a PH if you wanted to do that and how could MLB stop you from doing that?


I love watching position players pitch! Can we make that happen?
   95. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 17, 2018 at 09:44 AM (#5655134)
I don't know why or how you could possibly restrict the amount of pitchers on a roster.

It's trivial. Any player who had more PAs than Batters Faced in the previous season is a batter. Anyone with BF > PA is a pitcher. Done.

If you want to give a RP 300 PA so you can carry 12 pitchers next year, have at it.

I want to do it because seeing 8 anonymous RPs throw 1 inning each in every game is boring. I want to bring back platoons, and PHers and SPs going 8 or 9, which are interesting things.
   96. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: April 17, 2018 at 09:48 AM (#5655137)
I don't know why or how you could possibly restrict the amount of pitchers on a roster. I mean you can certainly call Jon Lester a first baseman or a PH if you wanted to do that and how could MLB stop you from doing that?


How about this extremely complicated and convoluted rule: If someone is not registered as one of your 11 pitchers, he can't pitch unless it's extra innings.

Lotsa Grandpa Simpson in this thread.


Dear Mr. President, there are too many Florida teams nowadays. Please eliminate two. I am not a crackpot.
   97. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: April 17, 2018 at 09:52 AM (#5655138)
I don't know why or how you could possibly restrict the amount of pitchers on a roster. I mean you can certainly call Jon Lester a first baseman or a PH if you wanted to do that and how could MLB stop you from doing that? Outside of the playoffs mid-inning pitching switches aren't really a problem.
It’s not exactly tough for MLB to say, “No, Jon Lester isn’t a 1bman, sorry.” (Of course, there’s an easier way that doesn’t even require such judgment calls: if a team designates him as a non-pitcher, then he isn’t allowed to pitch. (Maybe an exception if the game goes >12 innings or the team otherwise runs out of pitchers - in other words, the same sort of scenarios when any position player would be called upon.))
   98. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: April 17, 2018 at 10:28 AM (#5655150)
And hence the need for rule changes. No more than 11 pitchers on the active roster. A pitcher cannot be removed until he retires 3 batters or allows a run on his own record. If a pitcher is hurt and must be removed before the previous rule is satisfied, he is immediately placed on the 15 day DL.
I’ve long been a proponent of forcing pitchers to go longer before being replaced, but I’ve been convinced by people on BBTF that this won’t solve the problems that I want it to. While I don’t like excessive mid-inning pitching changes, that hasn’t caused the biggest problems. They do hurt game length and pace, but not that much.

I have come around to the idea of limiting the number of pitching slots on the roster. I think that reducing the number of pitchers would make the game more aesthetically pleasing in that it would:

(A) reduce total pitching changes (including mid-inning ones) which would improve pace and game length;
(B) allow for more specialization, since teams could carry defensive replacements, pinch hitters, and pinch runners;
(C) reduce strikeouts, since pitchers would have to pace themselves a bit more;
(D) reduce roster shuffling, since the top relievers on the team are less interchangeable with the AAA bullpen than the back few are; and
(E) have fewer games decided by whether the 12th - 16th best pitcher in the organization can strike out the other team’s 7th and 8th place hitters.
   99. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: April 17, 2018 at 10:43 AM (#5655161)
How much of the attendance bump from 92 to 93 could be attributed to the expansion Marlins & Rockies?

Between 1992 and 1993 NL attendance as a whole jumped 53%, while the NL without the Rockies and the Marlins rose 22%. 58% of the difference between the 1992 NL and the 1992 NL can be attributed to the two expansion teams.
   100. Tony S Posted: April 17, 2018 at 12:03 PM (#5655204)
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