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Monday, February 19, 2018

MLB announces pace of play initiatives | MLB.com

I don’t see a pitch clock. Of course, they can just enforce the current rules.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 19, 2018 at 01:35 PM | 124 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: rules of the game

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   101. Robert S. Posted: February 21, 2018 at 10:14 PM (#5628424)
The idea smacks of complete desperation. The fundamental numbers Manfred is seeing must be pretty bad. Only 7 percent of his TV audience is under 18 and his average viewer's age has gone from 52 to 57 in just the last ten years.

I think he juiced the ball to try to appeal to highlights viewers and this new idea also smacks of faux excitement and forced waiting around until the "good parts." Other than kind of with HRs, baseball and modern viewing devices simply don't go together well.

Those long-term cable deals don't exactly mesh well with a country that is cutting the cord or never subscribing in the first place, either. How many of those RSNs are even going to exist in 10 years?

MLB spent Selig's tenure extracting as much revenue from Boomers as possible by pulling most of its games off broadcast television, jacking up ticket prices far beyond the rate of inflation, marketing the laundry over the players, and allowing the aesthetics of the on-field product to deteriorate. I haven't seen anything from Manfred that indicates they have the slightest idea of how to address the looming demographic problem.
   102. Sunday silence Posted: February 21, 2018 at 11:12 PM (#5628435)
All these silly ideas being floated about because they wont enforce the existing pitch clock. Its utterly bizarre. This is pretty much a player driven issue, right?

THere is an issue with aesthetics which may be as relevant as pace of play. THe lack of pinch hitters or even interesting substitutes off the bench. The unstoppable trend of more Ks and HRs...
   103. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: February 22, 2018 at 07:37 AM (#5628503)
All these silly ideas being floated about because they wont enforce the existing pitch clock. Its utterly bizarre. This is pretty much a player driven issue, right?


Yes. 100%.
   104. Rusty Priske Posted: February 22, 2018 at 09:53 AM (#5628561)
It kind of boggles the mind that there are people against the new rule, but support a pitch clock.

A pitch clock would be WAY more jarring and damaging to the game than stopping the catcher from going to the mound too often.
   105. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: February 22, 2018 at 09:58 AM (#5628564)
A pitch clock would be WAY more jarring and damaging to the game

You mean the way it's jarred and damaged the game in the minors, to the extent that no one notices or complains about it?
   106. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: February 22, 2018 at 10:02 AM (#5628568)
Very similar complaints were moaned in the 1950s when the NBA instituted the 24 second shot clock.

You will of course say how dare you, baseball is vastly different from (and superior to!) basketball, a clock will ruin it! RUIN it!

Just like a clock was going to ruin basketball in 1953, yeah.

I predict the pitch clock will quickly settle into being far less intrusive in MLB than it is in the NBA, because after a short adjustment period pitchers will get sufficiently used to working at an adequate pace, and the clock will actually be called about twice a year. In the NBA there are a half dozen or so shot clock violations in a game, but that's because there are defensive players actively trying to prevent you from getting a shot off. There is no impediment to the pitcher getting the ball out of his hand in time besides his own carelessness.

In a notional Tempo League that competes with MLB by offering fast paced baseball that can finish a nine inning, 7 to 5 game in two hours, I would set the pitch clock at 15 seconds--from the time the catcher receives the ball (from the pitcher or, in the case of a foul ball, the umpire) to the time the ball has to be out of the pitcher's hand. No dilly dallying. Get your ass back on the mound and throw the next pitch.

Yes, that would make holding runners difficult. That's a feature, not a bug. Stolen base attempts are exciting.
   107. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: February 22, 2018 at 10:56 AM (#5628626)

It kind of boggles the mind that there are people against the new rule, but support a pitch clock.

A pitch clock would be WAY more jarring and damaging to the game than stopping the catcher from going to the mound too often.
I think you're misunderstanding the argument. It's not that a pitch clock would be less jarring (though I think that would be a short term effect and then everyone would be used to it and it wouldn't be a problem); it's that a pitch clock would be much more effective.
   108. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: February 22, 2018 at 10:57 AM (#5628628)
Very similar complaints were moaned in the 1950s when the NBA instituted the 24 second shot clock.

You will of course say how dare you, baseball is vastly different from (and superior to!) basketball, a clock will ruin it! RUIN it!

Just like a clock was going to ruin basketball in 1953, yeah.
But this isn't a good argument on the other side. "Ruin" is in the eye of the beholder, to be sure -- but nobody could argue that the shot clock didn't drastically change basketball. A game would look very different without one -- and by "a game" I don't mean the surrounding spectacle; I mean actual game play.


But a pitch clock in baseball shouldn't affect game play at all, after a brief adjustment period.
   109. nick swisher hygiene Posted: February 22, 2018 at 11:20 AM (#5628657)
Let me ask again: how can ALL the players think that the current slowness of play benefits them? Individual pitchers and hitters can think that faster ABs will hurt them, but collectively, a pace of play change can't hurt both groups.

It seems like different kinds of stalling are involved: batters screw around in the batters box to control the AB, pitchers screw around with runners on and when they feel out of sync, managers screw around to buy time.

So you need to balance the remedy. If you're gonna force batters to be in the box, then cut way down on throws to the bases and stepping off. This will save MORE time, while also telling the batters, who are both the biggest offenders and the majority of players, that you're not just screwing them.
   110. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: February 22, 2018 at 11:51 AM (#5628706)

Let me ask again: how can ALL the players think that the current slowness of play benefits them? Individual pitchers and hitters can think that faster ABs will hurt them, but collectively, a pace of play change can't hurt both groups.
Because people don't think collectively; they think individually. A classic example is standing up to see better. (Whether at a play, ballgame, whatever.) It's a benefit for each individual member of the audience to stand up to get a better view over the crowd. But obviously, collectively, standing up doesn't help; if everyone stands up it's just as hard for any one person to see.

Each batter thinks, "I can maximize my own performance if I take more time"; each pitcher does the same. They don't think, "But if I get more time and the pitcher gets more time, it cancels out and I'm no better off."
   111. Sunday silence Posted: February 22, 2018 at 12:55 PM (#5628784)
the question I wanted to ask: When Manfred has these press conferences and other public announcements, doesnt anyone ask him: "Why isnt the existing clock rule being enforced?"

Is no journalist asking him this one? It seems ridiculous, these yearly pace of play rules.
   112. Rusty Priske Posted: February 22, 2018 at 01:03 PM (#5628804)
I still stand by a basic sentiment: fix things that are wasting time but not actually advancing the game. (The new rules fall into this category, as does the called intentional walk).

Don't change things that are part of actually playing - like pitching and hitting. Adding a pitch clock will rush pitchers - even those that do not take too long when pitching. That is a bad thing.

(That 15 second pitch clock mentioned upthread is nearly as bad as some of the more ridiculous proposals mentioned elsewhere, like the 'bat anyone in the 9th' one, or the 'bonus runners in extras' one.)

The NBA example is a good 'bad' analogy. The NBA was broken. MLB isn't. Baseball, at most, needs to be tweaked to tighten up some pace of play issues. The NBA shot clock completely changed the game of basketball. Do we really want that for baseball? I know I don't.
   113. DL from MN Posted: February 22, 2018 at 01:12 PM (#5628823)
How many of those RSNs are even going to exist in 10 years?


Since Disney is going to own most of the RSNs and the streaming MLBAM I'm not sure it matters. Disney will decide what rights are worth going forward for video.
   114. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: February 22, 2018 at 01:13 PM (#5628826)
Don't change things that are part of actually playing - like pitching and hitting.

And here we come back again to (i) unfastening and refastening your batting gloves after every pitch is not actually part of hitting, and (ii) wandering around the mound for 30 seconds before you pitch is not actually part of pitching - in fact, it's definitionally *not* pitching.
   115. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: February 22, 2018 at 01:17 PM (#5628831)

Only 7 percent of his TV audience is under 18 and his average viewer's age has gone from 52 to 57 in just the last ten years.


In my circle of acquaintances, I've noticed old people seem to start liking baseball because they are home every day and have the time to watch 162 games. I am facebook friends with a couple of my friend's moms, and they're suddenly diehard baseball fans because they're home all day every day.

The structure of the baseball season lends itself to old people, and will continue to appeal to them as each generation ages.

   116. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: February 22, 2018 at 01:49 PM (#5628857)
I still stand by a basic sentiment: fix things that are wasting time but not actually advancing the game.
Like wandering around the pitcher's mound instead of pitching.

The NBA shot clock completely changed the game of basketball. Do we really want that for baseball? I know I don't.
There's no reason to think it would do that. All it does is eliminate down time. Yeah, for the first few weeks/months, when some pitchers get penalized for delay of game, it'll be a minor change. Then pitchers will stop doing it, and it'll look just like it does now, only more enjoyable.
   117. BDC Posted: February 22, 2018 at 01:57 PM (#5628865)
There's no reason to think it would do that. All it does is eliminate down time. Yeah, for the first few weeks/months, when some pitchers get penalized for delay of game, it'll be a minor change. Then pitchers will stop doing it, and it'll look just like it does now, only more enjoyable

Agreed. The better comparison is to the football play clock, which operates semi-independently of the game clock. It doesn't figure much in anyone's perception of the game. It just makes them (in certain circumstances) get on with the play.
   118. I Am Merely a Fake Lawyer Posted: February 22, 2018 at 01:59 PM (#5628868)
"Ruin" is in the eye of the beholder, to be sure -- but nobody could argue that the shot clock didn't drastically change basketball. A game would look very different without one -- and by "a game" I don't mean the surrounding spectacle; I mean actual game play.


College basketball, which actually used to be significantly more popular than the NBA, didn't institute a shot clock until the mid-80s and pre-shot clock, teams with leads in the second half used to from time to time, use possessions to try to run time off the clock. Dean Smith even invented the "four corners" offense to bleed time, wherein the four players other than the point guard would stand on each corner on the baseline and center stripe. The five-second rule prevented players from just holding onto the ball, so the offense would basically be the point guard passing to one of the corners, getting the ball right back, dribbling in open space keeping the ball away from the defense which was trying to steal it, passing to another corner, rinse and repeat.

With a point guard like Phil Ford or Magic Johnson, it could actually be kind of cool to watch, as the opposing defense would kind of haplessly chase them around as they dribbled to and fro -- but the game is better with a shot clock.

The change was nothing like "dramatic." Even without a shot clock and playing four corners, the players were actually moving around, being creative, passing and dribbling, playing basketball. They weren't standing around with one guy holding the ball where everyone else adjusted their socks for 40 seconds. And of course even without a shot clock, teams played actual basketball the vast, vast majority of the time and in fact ran far more fast breaks. The average pace and scoring of a game in the late 70s was probably higher than today, even with the shot clock.

...

/gets curious, googles

...

The round of 8 in the 1979 NCAA tournament, no shot clock, no three point shot, had scores of 64-62; 80-68; 73-71; and 95-91. The round of 8 in the 2017 NCAA tournament, with a shot clock and three point shot, had scores of 77-70; 83-59; 74-60; and 75-73. More points in 1979. Almost certainly, given the three, faster paced (i.e., more possessions) in 1979.
   119. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: February 22, 2018 at 03:46 PM (#5629008)
In my circle of acquaintances, I've noticed old people seem to start liking baseball because they are home every day and have the time to watch 162 games. I am facebook friends with a couple of my friend's moms, and they're suddenly diehard baseball fans because they're home all day every day.

The structure of the baseball season lends itself to old people, and will continue to appeal to them as each generation ages.


I think this is essentially true, that in the 21st century baseball appeals primarily to old people who can sit in the chair all evening and watch a game.

It doesn't logically follow that therefore MLB shouldn't care about whether people under age 65 enjoy the product--which increasingly, they don't--but it's true.
   120. BDC Posted: February 22, 2018 at 04:03 PM (#5629016)
Jeez, now I'm looking forward to the time I can sit in a chair all evening and watch baseball.
   121. DL from MN Posted: February 22, 2018 at 04:35 PM (#5629030)
Instead of a 20 second pitch clock that says a pitcher has to deliver a pitch, how about a 10 second clock that says the pitcher has to get on the pitching rubber? That should be able to deal with not upsetting the running game and it would keep things moving faster.
   122. The Yankee Clapper Posted: February 22, 2018 at 05:32 PM (#5629053)
Since Disney is going to own most of the RSNs and the streaming MLBAM I'm not sure it matters. Disney will decide what rights are worth going forward for video.

Aren't we moving away from those who distribute the broadcast controlling much of anything? There used be the Big 3 broadcast TV networks, eventually joined by ESPN, other cable networks, then RSN channels, and now a variety of streaming options. Seems like the market barriers are much reduced, and if the content providers don't like the deal they're offered, they can cut out the middlemen and deliver their product directly to the consumer.
   123. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: February 22, 2018 at 08:14 PM (#5629145)
When Manfred has these press conferences and other public announcements, doesnt anyone ask him: "Why isnt the existing clock rule being enforced?"


No one asks because no one at these press conferences knows that there is an existing rule.
   124. jmurph Posted: February 23, 2018 at 09:47 AM (#5629416)
Aren't we moving away from those who distribute the broadcast controlling much of anything? There used be the Big 3 broadcast TV networks, eventually joined by ESPN, other cable networks, then RSN channels, and now a variety of streaming options.

ESPN (well technically Disney) is actually in the process of acquiring all of the Fox RSNs, so that might change things a bit for the immediate future.
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