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Sunday, July 15, 2018

Don’t fix baseball, even if it’s broken

Today’s all-or-nothing baseball is too one-dimensional. There are too many strikeouts… Also, too many of the hits are home runs. It was imprecise for Crash Davis (Kevin Costner’s character in “Bull Durham”) to say that strikeouts are “fascist,” but he was right that they are “boring,” a… And “on average, you have to wait [3 minutes and 45 seconds] between balls put in play — 41 seconds longer between movement than 20 years ago.” Steals (hence pitchouts), sacrifice bunts, hit-and-run plays — interesting things for fans — are becoming rarer…

I miss my rotary phone and getting up to change channels on my black and white TV.

NattyBoh Posted: July 15, 2018 at 10:30 AM | 22 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: attendance, george will, shifts, speed-up-the-game, strikeouts

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   1. Bote Man Posted: July 15, 2018 at 01:34 PM (#5710256)
"There are too many strikeouts."

"There are too many home runs."

"There are too many walks!"

Three True Outcomes that come out together, now married in a treat that everybody loves! Manfred's Lower Pitching Mound!
   2. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 15, 2018 at 07:04 PM (#5710354)
Ugh. Don't click through - it's George Will, and it's essentially a wet sloppy hummer to The Market (peace be upon it) disguised as a baseball article.
   3. bookbook Posted: July 16, 2018 at 02:18 AM (#5710415)
Sure, but the logical argument is to get rid of umpires. Their pesky enforcement of regulations gets in the way of the perfection of marketsfrom the getgo.
   4. Dale H. Posted: July 16, 2018 at 05:20 AM (#5710418)
Easiest solution is to ban velcro from batting gloves. Hitters, with nothing else to do, will stand in the box.
   5. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: July 16, 2018 at 08:23 AM (#5710437)
Incessant radical shifting will persist until it is moderated by demand summoning a supply of some Rod Carew-like hitters. A Hall of Famer, Carew was a magician who wielded a bat like a wand, spraying hits hither and yon, like Wee Willie (“Hit ’em where they ain’t”) Keeler.
Just find Hall of Fame-caliber players with legendary bat control. No problem! The "market" saves the world!

He continues:

The market is severely meritocratic, so some hitters who cannot modify their tendencies and learn to discourage shifts by hitting away from them might need to consider different careers.
The problem is that the shift doesn't take home runs or walks away from anyone, and for a great many batters losing a bunch of those to gain some opposite field singles might not be a winning proposition. I.e., the best approach to the shift might be to double down on Three True Outcome baseball. This would be a Very Bad Thing.
   6. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: July 16, 2018 at 08:44 AM (#5710442)
One gets the feeling that Will and his ilk would have sat around waiting for The Market's "severely meritocratic" action to slowly end Nazi death camps while tut-tutting anyone who might use a regulatory power to intervene from their holy procedural faith.
   7. Spahn Insane Posted: July 16, 2018 at 09:00 AM (#5710446)
Well, now that he’s quit the GOP, I suppose Will needs *some* outlet for his free market idolatry.

I may have to click through contra ElRoy’s advice, but only because a journalist friend of mine does the world’s greatest lampooning of George Will’s prose on the planet.
   8. Rally Posted: July 16, 2018 at 09:01 AM (#5710447)
Homerun derby tonight has a big change to it, instead of equally representing both leagues 7 of the 8 sluggers are National League guys. Only Alex Bregman from the AL.

My 2012 brain looked at the list and saw no AL players at all. My 1982 brain saw only 1 AL guy, Jesus Aguilar of the Brew Crew.

If I had been alive during the 1970 season I would have recognized 2 AL participants, the ones wearing the Milwaukee and Washington uniforms.
   9. McCoy Posted: July 16, 2018 at 10:55 AM (#5710499)
I think Will goes a bit overboard in that the powers that be are always tinkering with the game. I mean at the very least the game changes because the owners change who they let play. It doesn't happen by accident. Then on top of that the owners tinkers with the rules and regulations which again changes who gets to excel and who doesn't.
   10. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: July 16, 2018 at 11:00 AM (#5710503)
Don't click through - it's George Will


Piffle?
   11. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 16, 2018 at 11:06 AM (#5710511)
MLB is not, and never was, a "market of any sort. It's a zero sum game; the whole premise of the market is their are mutual gains from trade.
That can't happen in a zero sum interaction.

Also, it's an entertainment product. It should be managed to make the game as entertaining as possible.
   12. Nasty Nate Posted: July 16, 2018 at 11:14 AM (#5710517)
Also, it's an entertainment product. It should be managed to make the game as entertaining as possible.
That's an oversimplification. It's also an athletic competition, a team sport, a contest, or however you want to phrase it. It shouldn't be run like it is a TV series (not completely anyway).
   13. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 16, 2018 at 11:29 AM (#5710530)
That's an oversimplification. It's also an athletic competition, a team sport, a contest, or however you want to phrase it. It shouldn't be run like it is a TV series (not completely anyway).

Obviously it shouldn't be scripted. But rules should be managed to produce more entertaining action. There is no change to the rules that anyone has contemplated that would make it less of an athletic contest.

Deader ball. Thicker bat handles. 12 second max between pitchers. RPs must face at least 3 batters. No more than 11 pitchers on the active roster.

None of those make the game even one iota less of a contest.
   14. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: July 16, 2018 at 11:39 AM (#5710533)
The problem is that the shift doesn't take home runs or walks away from anyone, and for a great many batters losing a bunch of those to gain some opposite field singles might not be a winning proposition. I.e., the best approach to the shift might be to double down on Three True Outcome baseball. This would be a Very Bad Thing.
MLB has already quadrupled down on TTO baseball; there's likely little more to be gained from that. Nobody's still saying "Well, I was going to hit a grounder to the right side, but now that I see that they've shifted there I'm going to try to hit a HR to the right side instead."

EDIT: I don't think I phrased that well; my point is that we've maxed out on that situation.
   15. SandyRiver Posted: July 16, 2018 at 11:41 AM (#5710534)
Homerun derby tonight has a big change to it, instead of equally representing both leagues 7 of the 8 sluggers are National League guys. Only Alex Bregman from the AL.

Had not realized this. I suppose it's only fitting, as the top 5 in homers are all in the AL. (And their lone rep currently ranks 13th, though he is having a great season.)
   16. Petunia inquires about ponies Posted: July 16, 2018 at 03:04 PM (#5710668)
[13] There is no change to the rules that anyone has contemplated that would make it less of an athletic contest.

Wrong. Regulating where fielders can stand would do that, and is advocated by many participants on this very forum.
   17. Jay Z Posted: July 16, 2018 at 03:21 PM (#5710676)
Wrong. Regulating where fielders can stand would do that, and is advocated by many participants on this very forum.


Hitting is also part of the athletic contest.

All regulating where fielders can stand is enabling more take and rake, TTO. It's unfair that fielders moved to where I hit the ball, I shouldn't have to adjust. Please fix it for me.

The shift should enable more contact hitters, hitters that can't be shifted against. Apparently the anti-shift brigade wants TTO.
   18. Batman Posted: July 16, 2018 at 03:31 PM (#5710683)
Ichiro is on the most similar batters list for both Carew and Keeler. He could be summoned if he wanted to.
   19. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 16, 2018 at 03:32 PM (#5710686)
Wrong. Regulating where fielders can stand would do that, and is advocated by many participants on this very forum.

Why? Athleticism will still determine who catches the most balls in play, and turns them into outs.

I'm not in favor of banning the shift, but it would not reduce the importance of athleticism at all. It would reduce the importance of analytics and team defensive positioning, but I think that's a good thing.
   20. Jay Z Posted: July 16, 2018 at 03:37 PM (#5710690)
I'm not in favor of banning the shift, but it would not reduce the importance of athleticism at all. It would reduce the importance of analytics and team defensive positioning, but I think that's a good thing.


It would only reduce analytics for fielding. Analytics determined take and rake. You aren't getting rid of that at all. You're enhancing it, encouraging it.
   21. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: July 16, 2018 at 03:45 PM (#5710692)
I'm not in favor of banning the shift, but it would not reduce the importance of athleticism at all. It would reduce the importance of analytics and team defensive positioning, but I think that's a good thing.

It would only reduce analytics for fielding. Anlytics determined take and rake. You aren't getting rid of that at all. You're enhancing it, encouraging it.

That could be countered by banning uppercut swings and mandating that all batting coaches be disciples of the late Charlie Lau.

Seriously, all that banning the shift would do would be to reward hitters who can't or won't adjust to it, i.e., affirmative action for dummies.
   22. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 16, 2018 at 03:49 PM (#5710696)
It would only reduce analytics for fielding. Analytics determined take and rake. You aren't getting rid of that at all. You're enhancing it, encouraging it.

I didn't propose banning shifts. Look at [13]. I don't mention it.

I was just answering the point about making it less of an athletic contest.

Deadening the ball, and requiring thicker bat handles should get rid of take and rake. When 180 lb. IFs can only hit 8 HRs instead of 30, the value of take and rake plummets.

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