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Tuesday, September 18, 2018

How to fix baseball? Two ways MLB can improve its product without changing the game on the field

Let me start by saying baseball is not perfect. It never will be perfect because everyone has a different idea of what perfect is. Some like small ball. Some like dingers. Some want to return to the glory days when starting pitchers finished what they started. Some like the widespread bullpenning we see today. Everyone has their own platonic ideal of baseball and that is totally cool.

And yet, there seems to be a prevailing narrative in the sports corner of the internet that baseball needs to be saved, or at least fixed. A lot people seem to think something is wrong is baseball. Plug “how to fix baseball” into the ol’ Google machine and you get over 90 million results. Ninety million! That’s a lot of fixing. As long as there is baseball, there will be people trying to fix it.

I come here to tell you baseball—the actual game on the field—does not need to be fixed. The game is played at a higher level right now than ever before. Look at all the young talent! Guys like Juan Soto and Ronald Acuna are doing incredible things. Young veterans like Bryce Harper and Mike Trout are historically great. The talent and athleticism in the game right now is mind-boggling. Better than it’s ever been.

If memory hasn’t failed me, How To Fix Baseball was one of Robert Benchley’s least-popular short subjects from when he was working at Paramount.

 

QLE Posted: September 18, 2018 at 09:06 AM | 70 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: blackouts, problem-solving, the high cost of living, yes, another of these columns

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   1. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: September 18, 2018 at 09:27 AM (#5746303)
Guys like Juan Soto and Ronald Acuna are doing incredible things. Young veterans like Bryce Harper and Mike Trout are historically great. The talent and athleticism in the game right now is mind-boggling. Better than it’s ever been.


This is a point that doesn't get mentioned nearly often enough. The level of athleticism in the game is just unbelievable. While I don't like replay one of the positive benefits has been an increase in those Matrix style slides where a guy manages to avoid a tag.
   2. PreservedFish Posted: September 18, 2018 at 09:36 AM (#5746307)
Snapper hates those.
   3. Rally Posted: September 18, 2018 at 09:38 AM (#5746310)
Young veterans like Bryce Harper and Mike Trout are historically great.


That's an interesting way to spell "Mookie Betts"
   4. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 18, 2018 at 09:47 AM (#5746318)
This is a point that doesn't get mentioned nearly often enough. The level of athleticism in the game is just unbelievable.

True. But, athleticism translates less into entertainment value in baseball, than in any other sport. The short, fat, skinny, and gawky players are just as entertaining, or even more entertaining, than the physical specimens.
   5. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: September 18, 2018 at 09:49 AM (#5746320)
Getting rid of blackouts is a great idea. I'm a victim of the Iowa six team blackout. It accomplishes nothing. All it does is drive me to an illegal stream where they don't count me as a viewer and they don't show me commercials.
   6. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 18, 2018 at 09:51 AM (#5746322)
Some like the widespread bullpenning we see today.
Oh really? Name me 5 people who aren't MLB front office people, managers or players.
   7. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 18, 2018 at 09:53 AM (#5746324)
I see two ways Major League Baseball can polish its product. In no particular order:
Or, in one of the two possible particular orders.
   8. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: September 18, 2018 at 10:00 AM (#5746329)
Oh really? Name me 5 people who aren't MLB front office people, managers or players.

1) Brian Kenny
2) ???
3) ???
4) ???
5) ???
   9. BDC Posted: September 18, 2018 at 10:04 AM (#5746330)
Some like the widespread bullpenning we see today

Name me 5 people who aren't MLB front office people, managers or players


Relief pitchers' mothers?

Last night I saw a two-hit shutout. The Rangers got shut out, so that was too bad, and the game didn't feature much action. But BIT onion-on-belt days, a two-hit shutout would have meant a complete "gem" of a game, at least. This one featured six innings of a starter who threw 86 pitches; and he was OK to watch, but then three anonymous relievers closed it out. Or rather two plus Sergio Romo, maybe the last visiting reliever I know by name. The game was that much less fun than 2-hit shutouts were 40 years ago.

I still often say that an inning in play isn't greatly different than innings used to be, and I still love to watch the game unfold. But yeah, nobody likes "widespread bullpenning."
   10. puck Posted: September 18, 2018 at 10:05 AM (#5746332)
Oh really? Name me 5 people who aren't MLB front office people, managers or players.


Realtors, car dealers, strip clubs, there's a real multiplier effect.
   11. PreservedFish Posted: September 18, 2018 at 10:08 AM (#5746335)
Put an end to #bullspreading
   12. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 18, 2018 at 10:52 AM (#5746379)
Relief pitchers' mothers?
Relief pitchers have no mothers. They don't come from the usual human conception/gestation/birth cycle. They're mass-produced through cloning in labs in Utah, the Dominican and Venezuela.
   13. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 18, 2018 at 11:02 AM (#5746394)
This one featured six innings of a starter who threw 86 pitches; and he was OK to watch, but then three anonymous relievers closed it out. Or rather two plus Sergio Romo, maybe the last visiting reliever I know by name. The game was that much less fun than 2-hit shutouts were 40 years ago.
Now imagine if you'd seen a game with the Rays' usual pitcher usage.
   14. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: September 18, 2018 at 11:33 AM (#5746436)
I love bullpening and shifts. I love the strategy that is changing the game.

You mopes spent the last hundred years acting like the sacrifice bunt and double-switch was strategy of the highest minds. "The game inside the game" and all this bullshit about very minor moves that didn't amount to much.

Real strategy arrives, and you're all ######## that the game is no longer watchable. wah wah wah.
   15. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: September 18, 2018 at 11:35 AM (#5746437)
The game was that much less fun than 2-hit shutouts were 40 years ago.

It was so thrilling to see Jim Palmer use his secondary pitches to mow down a bunch of guys who hit .240 with 2 HR.

   16. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 18, 2018 at 11:40 AM (#5746440)
I love bullpening and shifts. I love the strategy that is changing the game.

You mopes spent the last hundred years acting like the sacrifice bunt and double-switch was strategy of the highest minds. "The game inside the game" and all this bullshit about very minor moves that didn't amount to much.

Real strategy arrives, and you're all ######## that the game is no longer watchable. wah wah wah.
...in which the author conflates strategy and aesthetics.

Yes, people did argue that the bunt and double-switch were optimal strategy for a long time. And many people also preferred that type of baseball for aesthetic and entertainment reasons.

No one here is disputing that bullpenning might well be strategically optimal (although I don't think we have enough data yet to have a definite conclusion). But you're one of the very few who apparently likes it aesthetically...is it simply because it is (probably) the best strategy and you don't differentiate between strategy and aesthetics, or is Relieverball actually more fun for you to watch?
   17. Panik on the streets of London (Trout! Trout!) Posted: September 18, 2018 at 11:41 AM (#5746441)
I love bullpening and shifts. I love the strategy that is changing the game.

You mopes spent the last hundred years acting like the sacrifice bunt and double-switch was strategy of the highest minds. "The game inside the game" and all this bullshit about very minor moves that didn't amount to much.

Real strategy arrives, and you're all ######## that the game is no longer watchable. wah wah wah


I have said in the past that I don't like shifts or bullpening but this is a very well put argument. I do think that contact and less walks is more aesthetically pleasing but that is a personal preference and I probably don't foresee a time where I don't watch baseball anymore no matter what happens within reason.

Coke to Billy/Elroy
   18. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 18, 2018 at 11:41 AM (#5746442)
You mopes spent the last hundred years acting like the sacrifice bunt and double-switch was strategy of the highest minds. "The game inside the game" and all this bullshit about very minor moves that didn't amount to much.

You've got the wrong huckleberries. I've always hated bunt and double switches.

To me, the less intervention by the manager into the game, the better. In it's ideal state baseball is played 9 vs 9, with no outside interference.

In fact, it would be awesome if there were no coaches, and your manager had to be an active player.
   19. PreservedFish Posted: September 18, 2018 at 11:49 AM (#5746455)
I love shifts.

Believe it or not, the excessive bullpen spreading doesn't bother me as much in the playoffs. Late innings of a big game: a new pitcher doesn't bother me. Tension can actually build over little breaks like that, and I'm paying enough attention that the strategic implications are worth considering. If you've got one LOOGY, and the big lefty is up in the 6th, do you use him now? I find that situation interesting.

But in the regular season it's just exhausting.
   20. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: September 18, 2018 at 12:13 PM (#5746488)
I like the aesthetics of bullpenning. MLB is finally maximizing their roster and players.

You may yearn for the days when Jimmy Cheekchaw threw his 122nd 83 mph fastball to Johnny SlickFielder, who is hitting .240 with 2 HR on the season. While the bench just sat there, rarely used. The bullpen was a bunch of "failed starters", so they were never going to come in with a lead, they were just for mopup. Real men started and finished the game.

I like the constant march of 97 mph fireballers. They are pitching because they're good, not just because their arm isn't hurt, yet. I'd rather see them come in to face a 2Bman who can actually do some damage with the bat.

Pace of play is a real issue. Relievers shouldn't get warmup pitches. Players shouldn't leave the box. But pace of play can be fixed without ruining the areas of strategy and specialization that has improved the game.



   21. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 18, 2018 at 12:13 PM (#5746489)
Believe it or not, the excessive bullpen spreading doesn't bother me as much in the playoffs. Late innings of a big game: a new pitcher doesn't bother me. Tension can actually build over little breaks like that, and I'm paying enough attention that the strategic implications are worth considering. If you've got one LOOGY, and the big lefty is up in the 6th, do you use him now? I find that situation interesting.


In theory yes. But, I can't watch a 5 hour game. For one of the Yankees-Astros games last year, I turned it on, and the Yankees were winning. But, it was close to 10 already and they were in the 3rd inning, and I just turned it off immediately.
   22. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 18, 2018 at 12:17 PM (#5746494)
I like the constant march of 97 mph fireballers. They are pitching because they're good, not just because their arm isn't hurt, yet.

They're only good because they have to throw only 10-20 pitches. If they had to throw 100, they'd suck.

That's one of the things I hate about bullpen spreading. It gives jobs to a cohort of uniform FB/slider throwers, and takes them away from guys who can actually throw 3 or 4 pitches, change speeds, and work the zone.

Aesthetically, I think a junk baller is far more entertaining than a flame thrower. You get to watch him think and outsmart the hitters. Rearing back and throwing isn't that interesting.
   23. PreservedFish Posted: September 18, 2018 at 12:23 PM (#5746500)
In theory yes. But, I can't watch a 5 hour game.

I can, but it's definitely limited to the playoffs, and maybe even just to the World Series. But I had a great time watching the recent Cubs and Astros wins - tons of great, loooooong games that were very satisfying.
   24. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 18, 2018 at 12:25 PM (#5746502)
Pace of play is a real issue. Relievers shouldn't get warmup pitches.
I was thinking about this the other day - I don't think restrictions on pitcher usage such as a minimum number of batters would be (as) urgently needed if pitching changes were made with no mound visit (by any player, coach or manager), with a bullpen cart, and with no warmup pitches. That would probably be acceptable from a pacing standpoint.

Aesthetically, I still don't think I would be a big fan, not because of any "real men pitch 9 innings, hoo-ah!" crap, but because of the Storm Trooper aspects of the bullpens. Who roots for the Storm Troopers?
   25. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 18, 2018 at 12:26 PM (#5746504)
I can, but it's definitely limited to the playoffs, and maybe even just to the World Series. But I had a great time watching the recent Cubs and Astros wins - tons of great, loooooong games that were very satisfying.
PerverseFish, is more like it. You probably also like your steak well done.
   26. PreservedFish Posted: September 18, 2018 at 12:35 PM (#5746515)
I have little kids. I never go to bars. I don't spend a ton of time one-on-one with male friends, except for fleeting moments at BBQs and kiddie birthday parties and such. A 5 hour WS game is an opportunity to go to a sports bar, hang out with friends, drink and eat at a long leisurely pace, etc. It's nice.
   27. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 18, 2018 at 12:35 PM (#5746516)

I can, but it's definitely limited to the playoffs, and maybe even just to the World Series. But I had a great time watching the recent Cubs and Astros wins - tons of great, loooooong games that were very satisfying.


https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/PIT/PIT196010130.shtml

This is more my cup of tea. 10-9 game, 24 hits, 5 BBs, 7 pitching changes, and a game time of 2:36.
   28. PreservedFish Posted: September 18, 2018 at 12:40 PM (#5746523)
I like that too. I'd watch a lot more baseball at that pace. I mean I'm not crazy.
   29. PreservedFish Posted: September 18, 2018 at 12:43 PM (#5746528)
But seriously, if you couldn't enjoy this game, I don't get it.
   30. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 18, 2018 at 12:44 PM (#5746529)
A 5 hour WS game is an opportunity to go to a sports bar, hang out with friends, drink and eat at a long leisurely pace, etc. It's nice.

See, I would like that if I didn't really care about the outcome. Fun night out. For a game where my team is involved, I much rather watch the game alone.

I like that too. I'd watch a lot more baseball at that pace. I mean I'm not crazy.

Best thing about that game. Zero strikeouts.
   31. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 18, 2018 at 12:47 PM (#5746534)
But seriously, if you couldn't enjoy this game, I don't get it.

A game can still be enjoyable, but have a dozen times when I get pissed because it's a critical moment and instead of action I get a 5 minute delay. Or it take 40 seconds between pitches.

I'm fine with regular season being 2:30 game time average, and playoffs creeping up to 3:00.

But routine 3:30 to 4 hour games is a bit much.
   32. JAHV Posted: September 18, 2018 at 12:48 PM (#5746537)
Aesthetically, I think a junk baller is far more entertaining than a flame thrower. You get to watch him think and outsmart the hitters. Rearing back and throwing isn't that interesting.


Strategically, he's more entertaining as well. When fireballers were the exception, there was actual strategic choice about when to deploy those guys. You'd usually have one for the ninth inning and have to figure out when to play the other one. Now you can just trot them out there, one after the other, until their arms break or until they walk a run in, then call for another one while your GM has already sent the first one back to the minors. No one knows the names of these guys because it's hard to build up any sort of familiarity with a guy who spends half the season on the AAA roster and is one of 20 different relievers.

With relievers (or starters, for that matter) who have to pitch rather than just throw hard, there's actual scouting and decision-making involved. Does this guy's breaking ball present a better match up for this batter's swing? Is this guy vulnerable to stolen bases? Are the platoon splits relevant? Now it's just a series of easy questions to answer. Is the current pitcher elite? Nope, question 2. Is this the third time through the batting order? Yep, question 3. Did a guy get on base? Yep - reliever time. Call in Flameballer McGee. No, the other one. Whaddya mean, they got sent down to AAA? Then get Flameballer Ramirez! On the DL? Okay, Flameballer Romero then!

Parades of endless no-name relievers who all throw the same two pitches are not fun to watch.

For the record, I'm fine with shifts, although I hope that hitters start making adjustments soon.
   33. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 18, 2018 at 12:53 PM (#5746543)
For the record, I'm fine with shifts, although I hope that hitters start making adjustments soon.

I'm agnostic on shifts. I like that they penalize one-dimensional inflexible hitters. I don't love them aesthetically.

I too wish that hitters would adjust and make them no longer useful. I hate hitters who won't even consider bunting/changing their swing. If Mickey Mantle could bunt, so can you.
   34. Swoboda is freedom Posted: September 18, 2018 at 01:04 PM (#5746564)
But routine 3:30 to 4 hour games is a bit much.

Especially when you have to work the next day. I also have kids, so meeting up at a bar for 5 hours is impossible. And hard on the wallet and liver.

The changes I would make, no mound visit by anyone. If you want to change the pitcher, you signal. Reliever get 2 minutes. If he rushes, he gets warm-ups.

I think I would also change the rule for mid-inning reliever. A mid inning reliever would have to face 2 batters or to the end of the inning. If you come in at beginning, no restrictions. I also would use the 15 second clock for between pitches. I went to a minor league game this year and they had it. It was unobtrusive and moves it along.

No stepping out by batter.
   35. BDC Posted: September 18, 2018 at 01:08 PM (#5746572)
I stayed up till the end of Game Seven in 2016, but I admit I was asleep at the end of the great long Series games in 2017. I just had to work the next morning.
   36. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 18, 2018 at 01:31 PM (#5746594)
The changes I would make, no mound visit by anyone. If you want to change the pitcher, you signal. Reliever get 2 minutes. If he rushes, he gets warm-ups.


This is good.

I think I would also change the rule for mid-inning reliever. A mid inning reliever would have to face 2 batters or to the end of the inning. If you come in at beginning, no restrictions. I also would use the 15 second clock for between pitches. I went to a minor league game this year and they had it. It was unobtrusive and moves it along.

But the pitch clock is the must. There's already a 12 second rule no one on. Give them 20 with men on base, and prevent the batter from leaving the box unless he makes contact. Poof! 30 minutes gone from the game.
   37. Bote Man Posted: September 18, 2018 at 01:44 PM (#5746613)
I stayed up till the end of Game Seven in 2016, but I admit I was asleep at the end of the great long Series games in 2017. I just had to work the next morning.

I think we've struck upon one major problem that keeps surfacing in this thread: MLB needs to pay us to stay up late watching baseball, then we won't have to worry about going to work the next day. I mean, it's not like they don't have the money.
   38. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: September 18, 2018 at 01:58 PM (#5746620)
That's an interesting way to spell "Mookie Betts"


No kidding. They are the same age,and despite Harper's 2 additional years, Betts has more career WAR. A lot more.
   39. SandyRiver Posted: September 18, 2018 at 01:59 PM (#5746621)
Pace of play is a real issue. Relievers shouldn't get warmup pitches.

The 8 warmup pitches take about the same time as is used between one pitch and the next during the game, and I think it's valuable for the in-game catcher to see how the reliever's pitches are moving that day. 8 pitches don't enable a full diagnosis, but it's better than zero.

I'd also give the batter a break if he gets knocked down, fouls one off his foot (a longer break than for, say, a foul into the stands), etc.
   40. jmurph Posted: September 18, 2018 at 02:51 PM (#5746682)
You've got the wrong huckleberries. I've always hated bunt and double switches.

To me, the less intervention by the manager into the game, the better. In it's ideal state baseball is played 9 vs 9, with no outside interference.

In fact, it would be awesome if there were no coaches, and your manager had to be an active player.

This is the quintessence of a perfect snapper post on style of play/rules changes:

Reasonable point/Reasonable point/Totally outlandish solution

"Too many relievers are ruining the game, we have to find a way to address it. In fact, teams should only get one human reliever, and one dog reliever, and that's it."

I love it.

(This is meant to be taken in jest, for the record!)
   41. Tom Nawrocki Posted: September 18, 2018 at 02:58 PM (#5746691)
No stepping out by batter.


New rule: Once the batter takes his place in the box, the pitcher is entitled to throw a legal pitch at any time, unless the batter makes contact with a pitch or the umpire grants time.

Want to step out and adjust your batting gloves? Fine - my pitcher can throw two strikes while you're standing there farting around.
   42. Tom Nawrocki Posted: September 18, 2018 at 03:13 PM (#5746715)
I'm totally on board with the dog reliever. For one thing, you could also use him or her as a pinch-runner.
   43. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: September 18, 2018 at 03:17 PM (#5746719)
That's an interesting way to spell "Mookie Betts"

No kidding. They are the same age,and despite Harper's 2 additional years, Betts has more career WAR. A lot more.

Mookie's got but 0.9 fewer WAR over the last 3 years than Harper has in his entire 7 year career.
   44. The Yankee Clapper Posted: September 18, 2018 at 03:27 PM (#5746730)
Baseball isn't broken, stop trying to fix it. There seems to be a bit of a bandwagon effect with people claiming their time is too valuable to watch pitching changes, but those folks may not be using their time properly, or just seek to boost their own self-esteem. It's OK to focus on pace of play a bit, but when you impose limits on pitching changes, deployment of fielders, or roster utilization, you're moving away from "sport" and getting into "entertainment activity presented to fit TV time slot". I wouldn't go there.
   45. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: September 18, 2018 at 04:40 PM (#5746807)
True. But, athleticism translates less into entertainment value in baseball, than in any other sport. The short, fat, skinny, and gawky players are just as entertaining, or even more entertaining, than the physical specimens.

If this isn't the most entertaining baseball gif of the year, I don't know what is.
   46. villageidiom Posted: September 18, 2018 at 05:09 PM (#5746831)
I'm totally on board with the dog reliever. For one thing, you could also use him or her as a pinch-runner.
It'd be like a tee-ball game out there. Fido's the runner on first. He takes a lead, what a good boy! Here's the pitch, the batter squares, and he lays down a perf - AND FIDO'S GOT THE BALL! As soon as the pitch was thrown he took off for home, and grabbed the ball in his mouth. He's running all over the place! And now the rest of the bullpen is chasing after him, running and barking.
   47. Tom Nawrocki Posted: September 18, 2018 at 05:29 PM (#5746846)
You'd want to leave a hunk of raw beef on second base. Is that legal?
   48. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 18, 2018 at 05:31 PM (#5746847)
You might have some difficulty in getting the dog runner to go from first to third on a single without pausing to urinate on second.

That would be nothing compared to the issues with dog relievers, though. Imagine what managers would do with the possibilities of front and back legs. Dave Roberts would use a FLOOGY, a BLOOGY, a FROOGY and a BROOGY every damn game.
   49. Perry Posted: September 18, 2018 at 05:59 PM (#5746867)
While the bench just sat there, rarely used.


Not true. In the days of 10-man pitching staffs, there was a lot more pinch-hitting, pinch-running, and platooning, which you can barely do at all with the 4-man benches of today. Much more interesting than the Parade of Relievers you get now.
   50. dejarouehg Posted: September 18, 2018 at 07:49 PM (#5746936)
Was listening to A Swing and a Belt podcast with Dan Schulman and Jayson Stark and they brought up some interesting points (that probably everyone here already knows, and I'm just late to the dance):

Compared to 2009, there are now 7,000 less balls put in play.

On pace to have 1000 more K's than hits. Just 3 years ago, there were 5,000 more hits than K's.

They anecdotally mentioned a BOS/NYY game when there wasn't one ball put in play for 48 minutes.





   51. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 18, 2018 at 08:35 PM (#5746972)
They anecdotally mentioned a BOS/NYY game when there wasn't one ball put in play for 48 minutes.
Well, that probably just meant that Price struck out a batter on three pitches.
   52. AndrewJ Posted: September 18, 2018 at 08:37 PM (#5746975)
These days a trip to the ballpark for a family of four can easily become a $200 outing between tickets, parking, food, and getting the kids the hat they want.


Eat at home before the game, get general admission tickets, skip the souvenirs and it's a lot cheaper.
   53. bachslunch Posted: September 18, 2018 at 10:19 PM (#5747058)
@52: absolutely agreed with this approach. Take public transportation to the game as well (though that’s not an option really in Arlington TX or Kansas City, sorry to say).

And a definite yes to that dog reliever idea. Though as the old “Peanuts” comic strip demonstrates, a beagle shortstop is also very cool (Joe Cool, of course). Like me that “Ptui” double play a whole lot.
   54. flournoy Posted: September 18, 2018 at 11:43 PM (#5747130)
Some of you guys have touched on it already, but my objection to the modern bullpen climate is twofold:

1. Most of the relievers are anonymous and interchangeable. Teams have eight guys in the bullpen, with at least another half dozen on retainer (either stashed in AAA or on the DL). Many of them are guys with no more than a year or two of big league experience, and probably most of them will have disappeared from the league in another year or two. It's really hard to keep track of, and it's ultimately pointless to try, since the turnover rate is so high. Steady bullpens featuring a well-known closer, two or three guys who had been around forever, and one or two young guys were a lot more fun. I knew who those guys were.

2. The expanded bullpens have necessarily resulted in shortened benches. Teams now often carry only 3 or 4 guys on the bench. So that's your backup catcher, and then a few guys in the "jack of all trades" mold, since there's little room for anyone else. I want to see some variety. Give me some platoon players, defensive specialists, pinch-hitting specialists, pinch-running specialists, etc. Give me all the specialists. Baseball is a lot more interesting when you have some players who do one or two things really well, rather than only guys who do a lot of things passably.
   55. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 18, 2018 at 11:47 PM (#5747133)
Give me all the specialists.
Well, except the 10-pitch flamethrowing specialists.
   56. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: September 18, 2018 at 11:52 PM (#5747135)
Eat at home before the game, get general admission tickets, skip the souvenirs and it's a lot cheaper.


What fun is that?
   57. John Northey Posted: September 19, 2018 at 12:24 AM (#5747146)
Want to make it more fun? Add another race - for first draft pick.

Top non-playoff team gets first overall, 2nd best non-playoff 2nd overall, etc. So if you act like the Orioles this year or the Marlins do regularly you don't get rewarded. Then teams that push hard until the last game get rewarded instead. Suddenly even bad teams have something to play for. Even the worst teams will want to keep winning to get a slightly better pick. Give incentives to win, not to lose.
   58. John Northey Posted: September 19, 2018 at 12:26 AM (#5747148)
As to speeding up the game, no more in-inning pitching changes unless the guy on the mound has given up a run (or allowed an inherited runner to score) or is injured. If removed for injury he is automatically on the 10 day DL so to cut down the risk of guys going 'oh, my ovaries' and the manager getting to let a reliever take their time getting ready.
   59. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 19, 2018 at 12:38 AM (#5747149)
Top non-playoff team gets first overall, 2nd best non-playoff 2nd overall, etc. So if you act like the Orioles this year or the Marlins do regularly you don't get rewarded. Then teams that push hard until the last game get rewarded instead. Suddenly even bad teams have something to play for. Even the worst teams will want to keep winning to get a slightly better pick. Give incentives to win, not to lose.
This is an interesting concept, but wouldn’t it lead to races to avoid the playoffs at the margins, at least as the playoffs are currently structured? Which would you rather have: A one-game playoff as the second wild card, or a guaranteed #1 draft pick if you finish a half game out?
   60. flournoy Posted: September 19, 2018 at 12:40 AM (#5747150)
Well, except the 10-pitch flamethrowing specialists.


Hey, honestly, those guys are cool too. Just not a whole overstuffed bullpen of them, at the expense of everyone else. I wouldn't like it if every team had 7 no-hit, all-glove backup shortstops on its bench and little in the way of anything else, either.
   61. flournoy Posted: September 19, 2018 at 12:45 AM (#5747152)
This is an interesting concept, but wouldn’t it lead to races to avoid the playoffs at the margins, at least as the playoffs are currently structured?


I think you'd have a very hard time getting that one past the players. Setting aside the question of which outcome is preferable, the players don't care one whit about who gets which draft picks. I imagine the blowback from the players would be fierce and swift if they thought their team's management was intentionally sabotaging their playoff chances down the stretch.
   62. JAHV Posted: September 19, 2018 at 02:27 AM (#5747158)
Well, except the 10-pitch flamethrowing specialists.


It's hard to be a specialist when you're one of eight on every team.
   63. bachslunch Posted: September 19, 2018 at 08:20 AM (#5747172)
@56: I get tremendous satisfaction out of beating a system that's trying to squeeze as much money as possible out of me. Depriving the overpriced purveyors of money for parking, souvenirs, food/beverage, and the most expensive seats is kind of fun, and I don't enjoy the game any less because of it. Sorry, but I neither need nor want a foam finger or watered-down beer or front-row seat to enjoy myself at a ballgame.
   64. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 19, 2018 at 08:21 AM (#5747173)
I think you'd have a very hard time getting that one past the players. Setting aside the question of which outcome is preferable, the players don't care one whit about who gets which draft picks. I imagine the blowback from the players would be fierce and swift if they thought their team's management was intentionally sabotaging their playoff chances down the stretch.
Indeed. But then again, the same would apply to any of the ideas in this thread, or seemingly any meaningful changes whatsoever. Which is of course a huge part of the problem.
   65. PreservedFish Posted: September 19, 2018 at 08:31 AM (#5747176)
Draft pick race would suck.
   66. Swoboda is freedom Posted: September 19, 2018 at 10:04 AM (#5747210)
As to speeding up the game, no more in-inning pitching changes unless the guy on the mound has given up a run (or allowed an inherited runner to score) or is injured.

I think you would have to add an inning count to this as well. What happens if started has pitched 6 inning but gets tired. You have to be able to pull a pitcher if he has already pitched a full inning say.
   67. PreservedFish Posted: September 19, 2018 at 10:11 AM (#5747224)
As to speeding up the game, no more in-inning pitching changes unless the guy on the mound has given up a run (or allowed an inherited runner to score) or is injured.


This rule sucks too.

Listen chumps, we just need a damn pitch clock. Quit inventing weird unnecessary rules.
   68. manchestermets Posted: September 19, 2018 at 11:32 AM (#5747317)
And a definite yes to that dog reliever idea. Though as the old “Peanuts” comic strip demonstrates, a beagle shortstop is also very cool (Joe Cool, of course). Like me that “Ptui” double play a whole lot.


Why does Snoopy wear a glove when he catches the ball in his mouth?
   69. RMc's Daps of the Dope Artists Posted: September 19, 2018 at 11:42 AM (#5747326)
1) Get in the damn box, and stay there.
2) Throw the effing ball.

There, baseball fixed. (You're welcome.)
   70. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: September 19, 2018 at 01:48 PM (#5747462)
Was listening to A Swing and a Belt podcast with Dan Schulman and Jayson Stark


Is that a good show? Both of those guys are likable. The only baseball podcast I listen to now is Effectively Wild.

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