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Wednesday, March 20, 2019

MLB concerned at number of strikeouts, says Torre

TOKYO (Reuters) - Major League Baseball is concerned at strikeouts surpassing the number of hits and needs more balls in play to arrest the dip in popularity, the league’s chief baseball officer Joe Torre said on Wednesday.

Last season was the first in the league’s history to feature more strikeouts than hits, leading to calls for changes to increase interest.

Average attendance for regular season games in 2018 fell four percent from the previous year to 28,830 per game, according to MLB, while the total number of fans who showed up at the ballpark fell below 70 million for the first time since 2003.

So, do you have a solution for fixing this, Joe, or are you like Manfred?

 

QLE Posted: March 20, 2019 at 07:42 AM | 113 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: joe torre, mlb, strikeouts

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   101. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 22, 2019 at 07:03 PM (#5824761)
i am not saying i know how to fix the current boring game, but i bet no stepping out and minimal time between pitches would help


Absolutely. The batter should never be allowed to leave the box voluntarily unless he makes contact, or "falls out" after a hard swing. A batter leaving the box in any other circumstance is an automatic strike. To avoid the BS "something in my eye" routine, allow each team two batter timeouts per game for "something in my eye". Any time-out beyond the second, the batter must be removed.

The 12 second pitch clock should be rigidly enforced with no one on. The clock should be 18 seconds with a baserunner. To avoid BS throws to first to stall, no pitcher may throw to first more than twice in a PA. Should help goose the running game too, which is fun.
   102. Cleveland (need new name) fan Posted: March 23, 2019 at 11:55 AM (#5824813)
Absolutely. The batter should never be allowed to leave the box voluntarily unless he makes contact, or "falls out" after a hard swing. A batter leaving the box in any other circumstance is an automatic strike. To avoid the BS "something in my eye" routine, allow each team two batter timeouts per game for "something in my eye". Any time-out beyond the second, the batter must be removed.

The 12 second pitch clock should be rigidly enforced with no one on. The clock should be 18 seconds with a baserunner. To avoid BS throws to first to stall, no pitcher may throw to first more than twice in a PA. Should help goose the running game too, which is fun.


BBTF threads should have a rule that anyone who proposes rule changes like in this thread has to justify them by identifying the problem, show how the proposal solves the problem and most important, identify the potential unintended consequences of the proposal. Not picking on this one since all the suggestions in this thread are equally guilty, but these thoughts are not fleshed out and will likely cause problems in other areas.

Some examples with this proposal:

With two strikes, is it a strikeout if the pitcher throws the ball inside and the batter leaves the box to avoid the pitch? This question appears ludicrous on its face, but you specifically mention "hard swing" as the one and only reason to leave the box without making contact.

Assume that you mean 2 time-outs as an off-the-cuff number. What criteria do we use to determine the right number, since there are legitimate reasons for the batter to call time-out in games? Do we make the number the normal amount of times this situation occurs in games or some version of the maximum amount it has occurred historically? Make it too small and it could potentially hurt a player that really does need to call time-out (e.g., having to bat with blurred vision), but make it too big and its meaningless. Does the number change in extra innings?

What happens if a fielder has an equipment failure? Does this count against the shot clock.

A 12 second pitch clock limits fielders from repositioning based on the count and the pitch? It takes time for the IFs to get the signs and determine if they want to adjust based on the pitch, move to their new locations, and be ready for the pitch. This doesn't even address the implications on the shift (i.e., do you want to put on a shift or remove the shift based on count). Is this good or bad?

Does this make sign stealing easier because you must use simpler signs with a 18 second shot clock?

In a long extra inning game, if there are no available replacements (through starting pitchers pinch running/pinch hitting or unavailable through minor injures) and a batter leaves the box and must be replaced, is this a forfeit?

How much will this proposal goose the running game? Since SB percentage is about 70% today, it would not take too much goosing for it to become too easy, essentially turning every single/walk into a double. What criteria should we use to determine if we goosed running too much?
   103. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: March 23, 2019 at 12:10 PM (#5824817)
How much will this proposal goose the running game? Since SB percentage is about 70% today, it would not take too much goosing for it to become too easy, essentially turning every single/walk into a double. What criteria should we use to determine if we goosed running too much?


After 2 unsuccessful PO throws, the runner will be all but granted 2B. Which means no one will want to make a second throw. Which means the runner at first will get to take a much larger lead after a first unsuccessful PO throw. Which means no one will want to make a first throw. Which means the runner at first will get to take a larger than normal lead. The running game is fun, but because it's competitive. If players are running at will at a 90+% success rate, I suspect it will quickly become less fun.
   104. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 23, 2019 at 12:10 PM (#5824818)
With two strikes, is it a strikeout if the pitcher throws the ball inside and the batter leaves the box to avoid the pitch? This question appears ludicrous on its face, but you specifically mention "hard swing" as the one and only reason to leave the box without making contact.


To me that's not voluntary, so no strike.

Assume that you mean 2 time-outs as an off-the-cuff number. What criteria do we use to determine the right number, since there are legitimate reasons for the batter to call time-out in games? Do we make the number the normal amount of times this situation occurs in games or some version of the maximum amount it has occurred historically? Make it too small and it could potentially hurt a player that really does need to call time-out (e.g., having to bat with blurred vision), but make it too big and its meaningless. Does the number change in extra innings?

Worst case the player steps out and takes a strike. I don't view this as a major issue. Players rarely actually need a time out.

What happens if a fielder has an equipment failure? Does this count against the shot clock.

He waits until the next batter. We can also give the defense two timeouts per game. There are never three equipment failures in a game.

A 12 second pitch clock limits fielders from repositioning based on the count and the pitch? It takes time for the IFs to get the signs and determine if they want to adjust based on the pitch, move to their new locations, and be ready for the pitch. This doesn't even address the implications on the shift (i.e., do you want to put on a shift or remove the shift based on count). Is this good or bad?

It's necessary, and I don't care if fielders can't get signs. The fielders will need to know where to go without coaches help. The less the coaches impact the game the better.


In a long extra inning game, if there are no available replacements (through starting pitchers pinch running/pinch hitting or unavailable through minor injures) and a batter leaves the box and must be replaced, is this a forfeit?


He just takes the strike, clears his eye and goes back in. He is only removed if there's an actual physical reason he can't bat.

How much will this proposal goose the running game? Since SB percentage is about 70% today, it would not take too much goosing for it to become too easy, essentially turning every single/walk into a double. What criteria should we use to determine if we goosed running too much?

SB are at a very low level. If more guys try stealing, the success rate won't go up that much, since they're going to be less effective steal opportunities.

In the 1970's when pitchers too 10 seconds between pitches instead of 25, a man on first was nothingclose to an automatic double.

I don't see any serious issues with your objections.
   105. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: March 23, 2019 at 12:11 PM (#5824819)
Well, I don't enjoy the stadium experience at all anymore. The pace is dreadful, the prices are exorbitant, and the product on the field is not very interesting.

The reasons I watch games at home rather than at the stadium have little to do with the "product" on the field. They have much more to do with ticket prices for non-nosebleed seats, the lack of free off-site parking, the time it takes from home to your seat, and the contrasting bargain of the Extra Innings package. If I lived in New York City and the Yankees still had cheap upper deck seats between the bases, I'd probably go to 20 or 30 games year, but now I can watch every game on HDTV for about 60 cents a day. It's not that tough a choice.

   106. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 23, 2019 at 12:12 PM (#5824821)
After 2 unsuccessful PO throws, the runner will be all but granted 2B. Which means no one will want to make a second throw. Which means the runner at first will get to take a much larger lead after a first unsuccessful PO throw. Which means no one will want to make a first throw. Which means the runner at first will get to take a larger than normal lead. The running game is fun, but because it's competitive. If players are running at will at a 90+% success rate, I suspect it will quickly become less fun.

But once they take the big league, the calculus changes, and the pick-off throw becomes worth the risk. Pitchers also can still vary their timing. The quick pitch is totally in bounds b/c the batter can't step out.
   107. Baldrick Posted: March 23, 2019 at 01:33 PM (#5824834)
BBTF threads should have a rule that anyone who proposes rule changes like in this thread has to justify them by identifying the problem, show how the proposal solves the problem and most important, identify the potential unintended consequences of the proposal. Not picking on this one since all the suggestions in this thread are equally guilty, but these thoughts are not fleshed out and will likely cause problems in other areas.

Hmmm, with this rule, who is tasked with enforcing it? Is Jim supposed to closely follow every thread and identify violators? Is he required to hire deputies who will patrol the threads? Is this all supposed to be done on a volunteer basis?

What are the punishments for violating this rule? Demerits? Banning? A fine jar?

And how many potential unintended consequences must be discussed? Just the most significant one? All of them? Who determines whether it passes the test? Are there any actual standards, or is it just subjective? And if so, how is a commenter supposed to know whether they have met the standard before posting their comment?

Given the massive uncertainty, doesn't it seem likely that your proposal would massively reduce the number of comments? Is that the actual objective?
   108. pikepredator Posted: March 23, 2019 at 01:58 PM (#5824838)
I'm on board with smaller gloves. Well, ideally I would increase the size of the outfields so there is way more space for balls to fall in and roll around for more doubles and triples but that's just not feasible. I disagree that current glove size is somehow optimal for creating high-light reel plays. If the players were bare-handed you'd *still* see highlight reel plays. In fact the barehand grab-and-throw is breathtaking because of the degree of difficulty and excitement generated, whether it is successful or results in a two-base error or whatever. I have no doubt there will still be amazing plays made, on a regular basis, by players with smaller gloves.

I don't want more pitcher injuries, and I feel like moving the mound back and making the ball heavier could do that. Changing the strike zone is loaded with unintended consequences. I like the shift because it adds strategy and also creates more opportunities for bunting for a hit.

A pitch clock/don't step out rule is also critical for pace of play (although could potentially increase pitcher injuries). I will never forget the classic Joey Votto at-bat where he just stays in the box and stares down the pitcher.

I have no idea how to reduce max-effort style pitching and it's impact on pitch counts, in an effort to get pitchers deeper into games without getting them hurt.
   109. Lance Reddick! Lance him! Posted: March 23, 2019 at 02:34 PM (#5824842)
In the 1970's when pitchers too 10 seconds between pitches instead of 25, a man on first was nothingclose to an automatic double.

That was without your restrictions on throws to first, which seem unnecessary considering such a rule didn't exist during the era you pine for.
   110. TDF, trained monkey Posted: March 23, 2019 at 02:39 PM (#5824844)
I don't see any serious issues with your objections.
Of course you don't. People who actually like baseball think those ideas are awful.
   111. Blastin Posted: March 23, 2019 at 03:08 PM (#5824848)
I.... really hate the idea of a 1920s sad little singles and doubles game. But I don't know how to decrease Ks without the rest. Frankly I'd rather they just shrink the strike zone.
   112. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 23, 2019 at 05:55 PM (#5824878)
Of course you don't. People who actually like baseball think those ideas are awful.

I like baseball. I hate 30 seconds of dicking around between pitches.

You seriously wouldn't accept a doubling in the number of SB if it cut 30 minutes of dead time from the game?

You actually don't appear to like baseball, you appear to like dead time with players strategizing endlessly to get the most optimum advantage on every pitch.

Speed up the game. Who cares who gets an advantage from it? Baseball is a zero sum game on the field. Any advantage lost by one player has to be gained by another.

If we could get a 2:15-2:30 avg. game time and the side effect was players stealing 100 bases a year again, and teams making 150 errors per year, that would be an awesome trade-off.
   113. Howie Menckel Posted: March 23, 2019 at 09:03 PM (#5824898)
how are people supposed to predict all - or even most - of the "unintended consequences?"
it's a curious statement.
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