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Friday, October 19, 2018

MLB must fix glaring problem that ruined an all-time classic

The games start too late and last too long. I love baseball but there is no way I can make the kind of commitment it takes to watch complete games. Five o’clock in the morning comes too quick.

Despite the length, the TBS ratings for Game 4 were still good (the most watched show on all of cable Wednesday) — but that has much to do with mammoth numbers in Boston and Houston. Elsewhere, devilish decisions between sleep or not on a work night were undertaken as the game ebbed toward a 1:12 a.m. Eastern conclusion that brought the average time for a nine-inning 2018 postseason game to 3 hours, 36 minutes.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 19, 2018 at 09:12 AM | 119 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: playoffs

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   1. Rennie's Tenet Posted: October 19, 2018 at 09:54 AM (#5770945)
Play 5 innings one night, finish the game the next.
   2. The_Ex Posted: October 19, 2018 at 10:21 AM (#5770977)
According the the Red Sox fans in the LCS Omnichatter, complaints about the length of games are getting old and played.
   3. RoyalFlush Posted: October 19, 2018 at 10:47 AM (#5771019)
The older I get, the more games I miss the end of.

Doesn't really matter to me if they do something about it or not. I'm probably not going to see more of the beginning if they start earlier, so I'm still watching for the same amount of time regardless.
   4. Rusty Priske Posted: October 19, 2018 at 10:47 AM (#5771022)
I have defended the length of games many times.

That game was too damned long.
   5. McCoy Posted: October 19, 2018 at 10:48 AM (#5771024)
Tell those damn West Coasters to eff off.
   6. Tom Nawrocki Posted: October 19, 2018 at 11:01 AM (#5771040)
Play 5 innings one night, finish the game the next.


That worked in the 2008 World Series.
   7. Batman Posted: October 19, 2018 at 11:10 AM (#5771054)
I blame bat flips.
   8. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 19, 2018 at 11:10 AM (#5771055)
From TFA:

It should be an easy watch. It was a classic, thus linking to great games of the past. But it also was everything the modern game should be.

The ball was in play. Just 14-of-92 batters struck out. That showcased that the greatest athletes in the sport’s history are playing right now. Just watching Mookie Betts and Alex Bregman defend is worth the price of admission. It was dramatic, tense, strategic, back and forth, poignant from the first pitch to the last out — a sprawling, game-saving catch by Red Sox left fielder Andrew Benintendi with two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth.

It also was four hours and 33 minutes long.
Bingo. Games, and postseason games especially, have gotten so long and poorly paced that just about everything has to break right for them to be fun to watch for the fan without a dog in the race. This game was great, because it had all of the above, but of course would have been even better had it been more crisply paced. But when it's something less than a classic, action-packed game - or something way, way less than that, as with the Dodgers-Brewers game the night before where it was 1-1 after 9 innings and 4 hours (give or take) - it's just brutal. MLB can't depend on every postseason game being a great one to be able to retain fans and attract new ones.
   9. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: October 19, 2018 at 11:13 AM (#5771059)

Not gonna lie. I fell asleep during both games 4 and 5.
   10. caspian88 Posted: October 19, 2018 at 11:29 AM (#5771076)
What rhymes with a famous British director known for his psychological thrillers and inventive cinematography?

You have twenty seconds to answer.
   11. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 19, 2018 at 11:36 AM (#5771086)
What rhymes with a famous British director known for his psychological thrillers and inventive cinematography?
Yes, we do need to get all the rich jocks to speed it up.
   12. Endless Trash Posted: October 19, 2018 at 11:56 AM (#5771110)
I don't get it. We removed four pitches for an intentional walk. How are games still taking so long?
   13. Batman Posted: October 19, 2018 at 12:02 PM (#5771118)
Bringing back Sterling Ditchblock is your answer for everything.
   14. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: October 19, 2018 at 12:03 PM (#5771119)
I don't get it. We removed four pitches for an intentional walk. How are games still taking so long?

Starting the 12th inning with a ghost runner on 2nd will fix the rest of the problem.
   15. Nasty Nate Posted: October 19, 2018 at 12:06 PM (#5771120)
What rhymes with a famous British director known for his psychological thrillers and inventive cinematography?

You have twenty seconds to answer.
Mr. Holt can play lots of different positions, but I don't see how doing the switch brock will help with pace of play.
   16. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 19, 2018 at 12:16 PM (#5771138)
Although I suppose playing twitch rock between pitches instead of the awful "everybody clap your hands!!" crap would be an improvement. I assume you mean later-era Radiohead.
   17. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 19, 2018 at 01:09 PM (#5771198)
Not gonna lie. I fell asleep during both games 4 and 5.

I'll stay up if it's a close Yankees game or a close game 7 of any World Series, otherwise 12:30's my limit. Funny how this is never a problem with the NFL postseason, but then what does the NFL know?
   18. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 19, 2018 at 01:12 PM (#5771203)
Despite the length, the TBS ratings for Game 4 were still good (the most watched show on all of cable Wednesday) — but that has much to do with mammoth numbers in Boston and Houston. Elsewhere, devilish decisions between sleep or not on a work night were undertaken as the game ebbed toward a 1:12 a.m. Eastern conclusion

And bad as that was, Game 4 of the NLCS ended in the East at 2:24. I only wish the lights had gone out in Dodger Stadium and forced them to make up the game the next day.
   19. SandyRiver Posted: October 19, 2018 at 01:18 PM (#5771209)
With my alarm set for 5 AM, our set turns off 2 hours before yours, though I was happy about game 3's early start.

And IMO, the NFL owns the worst overly-dragged-out event in US professional sport. Fortunately it's the final game of the season.
   20. Perry Posted: October 19, 2018 at 01:35 PM (#5771229)
I'll repeat a little factoid I came across the other day and posted in another thread. The winner-take-all game 5 of the 1972 NLCS ended with a 4-3 Reds win over the Pirates on a walkoff WP. There were 7 runs, 15 hits, 12 Ks, 3 walks, 6 pitching changes (3 mid-inning), 3 pinch hitters, 2 pinch runners. It was completed in 2:19.
   21. Colin Posted: October 19, 2018 at 01:44 PM (#5771243)
As we approached the 2.5 hour mark I thought this was getting pretty tense here in the late innings. Then I looked in the corner and saw they were in the fifth. Turned it off after that.
   22. SandyRiver Posted: October 19, 2018 at 01:45 PM (#5771244)
Farther back - game 3 of the 1957 series featured 90 PA, 17 hits, 19(!!) BB, 12 K, and was 75 minutes shorter than Thursday night's event.
   23. Davo and his Moose Tacos Posted: October 19, 2018 at 01:57 PM (#5771253)
Baseball is a local sport, news at 11.
   24. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: October 19, 2018 at 02:00 PM (#5771256)
Starting playoff games after 8pm EST when the teams are in Eastern and Central time is stupid. Start em at 7:30 or 7 and you're either done well before midnight OR you've got an extra-innings extravaganza. I can see a later start for series involving west coast teams, but even then first pitch should be at 8:00pm sharp.
   25. RoyalFlush Posted: October 19, 2018 at 02:24 PM (#5771275)
I don't get it. We removed four pitches for an intentional walk. How are games still taking so long?


We even limited mound visits to 6!
   26. Batman Posted: October 19, 2018 at 02:26 PM (#5771278)
The final score of the Bill Mazeroski game was 10-9, and it only took 2:36.

It was a very efficient 19-run game. The teams only left a combined seven runners on base- only one by the Pirates. There were five walks and apparently nobody struck out. Since Maz's HR led off the bottom of the ninth, there were only 51 outs. There were five mid-inning pitching changes, though.
   27. winnipegwhip Posted: October 19, 2018 at 02:27 PM (#5771279)
The final score of the Bill Mazeroski game was 10-9, and it only took 2:36.

It was a very efficient 19-run game. The teams only left a combined seven runners on base- only one by the Pirates. There were five walks and apparently nobody struck out. There were five mid-inning pitching changes.


You had to have the game over for Casey to have his afternoon nap.
   28. Baldrick Posted: October 19, 2018 at 02:36 PM (#5771292)
Three Theses on Modern Baseball:
1. Games are too long. They could cut down on dead time in the middle of the game, and it would be more enjoyable.
2. Also, too many relievers
3. It's still baseball. It's still great.
   29. Jay Seaver Posted: October 19, 2018 at 02:50 PM (#5771314)
According the the Red Sox fans in the LCS Omnichatter, complaints about the length of games are getting old and played.


Aside from it being all or most of what some people have to say, to the point where it seems like they're watching the game just to gather evidence about how games are too long/slow, I also think that a thread where fans are excited about the game they're watching is not the time or place to yell "this is boring! something has to be done!" For that, you go to something like this thread and let people enjoy things.
   30. Mirabelli Dictu (Chris McClinch) Posted: October 19, 2018 at 02:51 PM (#5771315)
It is still great, but it's a problem when you can't reasonably expect that the games will end by the time you need to turn in. This is something the NFL finally figured out with Monday Night Football--that if the entire country may only be able to watch three quarters of the game, it's better for everyone to be able to see the end than for everyone to be able to see the beginning live. After all, if I turn in in the third inning, I'm more than happy to watch through the ninth, but if I know I'm going to have to go to bed in the seventh, I'll just read that evening and check the box score and highlights in the morning.
   31. Red Voodooin Posted: October 19, 2018 at 02:57 PM (#5771324)
Aside from it being all or most of what some people have to say, to the point where it seems like they're watching the game just to gather evidence about how games are too long/slow, I also think that a thread where fans are excited about the game they're watching is not the time or place to yell "this is boring! something has to be done!" Like this thread, for instance.


*Standing Ovation*
   32. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 19, 2018 at 03:00 PM (#5771326)
Aside from it being all or most of what some people have to say, to the point where it seems like they're watching the game just to gather evidence about how games are too long/slow,
I know I'm the, or a, target of this, but rest assured that's not my purpose. I just don't usually post with the play-by-play or a "MOOKIE!!!!!" like the team fans do (and like I usually do for Cubs games). No need to have a dozen different people narrating the games.

I also think that a thread where fans are excited about the game they're watching is not the time or place to yell "this is boring! something has to be done!"
Eh, I tend to think people should be allowed to say what they want to say about the games. Or about whatever tangents come up in the conversation.
   33. Srul Itza Posted: October 19, 2018 at 03:12 PM (#5771342)
the NFL owns the worst overly-dragged-out event in US professional sport


Yeah, but you don't have to watch the interminable pre-game coverage; they kick-off at 6:30 EST; and even with the bloated half-time show, it is usually over before 10 pm EST, barring over time.


EDIT: Of course, being out here mid-pacific, a WS game can end at 1 am, and it is still early in the evening.

   34. Mark Armour Posted: October 19, 2018 at 03:38 PM (#5771362)
Last October I watched a World Series game from 1991 (because I happen to have it on DVD) simultaneously with the actual 2017 World Series. The 1991 at bats were flying by. The between-inning differences were trivial, it was nearly all within an at bat.
   35. Dandy Little Glove Man Posted: October 19, 2018 at 03:50 PM (#5771371)
Starting playoff games after 8pm EST when the teams are in Eastern and Central time is stupid. Start em at 7:30 or 7 and you're either done well before midnight OR you've got an extra-innings extravaganza.

This is my only issue. It's cruel. Whoever decided that prioritizing out-of-market viewers at the expense of the participants' fanbases might be a ratings genius, but that person is also a jerk.
   36. Mark Armour Posted: October 19, 2018 at 04:12 PM (#5771379)
I have long suggested that all playoff games be at 7pm local time. If the Red Sox play the Dodgers, they get four games at ideal times for their local fans, and three games at bad times for their local fans. The Dodgers get the reverse.

The rest of the country adjusts accordingly. More kids will able to watch more games. Adults will have some games much harder to watch, and some games much easier to watch. But the biggest fans would deal.
   37. winnipegwhip Posted: October 19, 2018 at 04:46 PM (#5771395)
Last October I watched a World Series game from 1991 (because I happen to have it on DVD) simultaneously with the actual 2017 World Series. The 1991 at bats were flying by. The between-inning differences were trivial, it was nearly all within an at bat.


I mentioned in another thread that I was watching the fifth game of the 1976 ALCS the other night while the Brewers and Dodgers were on. At the end of the Dodger inning I flipped to the dvd. I watched a complete fourth inning (both teams batting and commercials) and when I turned back Fox was showing Kenley Jansen's stats ....a pitch had not been thrown.

I also turned back at one point and saw Milwaukee challenging the slide into second base. I had just seen Thurman Munson take out Cookie Rojas on the right field side of the bag. When shown in instant replay, color analyst Reggie Jackson stated how it was "a great play which doesn't show up in the stats."
   38. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 19, 2018 at 05:10 PM (#5771403)
I have long suggested that all playoff games be at 7pm local time. If the Red Sox play the Dodgers, they get four games at ideal times for their local fans, and three games at bad times for their local fans. The Dodgers get the reverse.

The rest of the country adjusts accordingly. More kids will able to watch more games. Adults will have some games much harder to watch, and some games much easier to watch. But the biggest fans would deal.


That's fairest for the local fans, but if you had an Dodgers - Angels or Giants - A's World Series you're essentially writing off about 2/3 of the country.

There are always going to be conflicts in a continent with 4 major time zones,** but IMO common sense says that maximizing the viewership for the final innings is much more important than maximizing it for the first half of the game. And it's equally important to maximize the number of school age viewers, to get them into the habit of watching the entire World Series in real time. Whether or not every fan gets to see the start of every game is IMO of much lesser importance.

** Sorry, Srul and Sarah
   39. base ball chick Posted: October 19, 2018 at 05:23 PM (#5771405)
even starting here at 7:05- games run too long and too late.

it isn't the long into the night that is the problem for me. it is the endless wait between pitches and the batters stepping out all the time. really slows down the action. of course i hate all the walks and homers and zillion pitching changes and stupid replay - AND waitin for the manager to check with their video guys - of did someone's shirt barely brush the baseball and did joe's hand come off the stolen base for a billionth of a second

i know - kidz gotta get offn mah lawn

MLB doesn't care because they gonna get great ratings for the red sox in the WS

nothing will hppen until the income goes down. but of course we will FIRST have to blame Those Greedy Players for taking all the $$$

oh yeah
all the astros chris correa shttt has GOT to stop. and the other teams gotta stop it too. all the electronic stealing stuff is far FAR worse than any steroid ever was
   40. PreservedFish Posted: October 19, 2018 at 06:01 PM (#5771414)
but IMO common sense says that maximizing the viewership for the final innings is much more important than maximizing it for the first half of the game.


Not sure if the marketers agree with you on this one.
   41. PreservedFish Posted: October 19, 2018 at 06:04 PM (#5771415)
Do they discuss this problem on the MLB channel? I don't have it so I don't have a feeling for how much of a house organ it is.
   42. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 19, 2018 at 06:35 PM (#5771420)
but IMO common sense says that maximizing the viewership for the final innings is much more important than maximizing it for the first half of the game.

Not sure if the marketers agree with you on this one.


Obviously they don't. That's been evident since 1971.
   43. manchestermets Posted: October 19, 2018 at 07:50 PM (#5771435)
Baseball is a local sport, news at 11.


When an evening game lasts 4 hours 33 minutes, the locals are getting screwed too.


A pitch clock is absolutely the right way to go - in the playoff games I've seen there have been a minimum of 30 seconds between pitches. It's insane, and not fun to watch.
   44. AndrewJ Posted: October 19, 2018 at 08:21 PM (#5771440)
A pitch clock is absolutely the right way to go - in the playoff games I've seen there have been a minimum of 30 seconds between pitches. It's insane, and not fun to watch.

Word. Cut the time between pitches to 15 seconds, and with 250 pitches a game you'd eliminate an hour of dead time.
   45. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 19, 2018 at 08:41 PM (#5771443)
A pitch clock is absolutely the right way to go - in the playoff games I've seen there have been a minimum of 30 seconds between pitches. It's insane, and not fun to watch.


Word. Cut the time between pitches to 15 seconds, and with 250 pitches a game you'd eliminate an hour of dead time.

Read an article today where a pitcher said that one way to cut 20 minutes from a game would be to let the pitcher to be able to get verbal signals from his catcher via a closed circuit wireless mic. He said it would eliminate the need to keep changing signals and also the need for so many mound visits with runners on second and spies in the bleachers. He didn't address the hacking question, but if that could be overcome it seems like a good suggestion.
   46. Walt Davis Posted: October 19, 2018 at 09:00 PM (#5771451)
The starting times are set by the networks -- y'know, the corporations that live and die by ratings. I'm not a big believer in universal economic rationality but it seems unlikely that those folks have been totally screwing this up for the last two decades, costing themselves many millions every year. MLB obviously has control over pace of play ... which is a fine thing to criticize as long as you don't also rely on the ratings superiority of the NFL to bolster your argument of how hopeless MLB is.

Despite the length, the TBS ratings for Game 4 were still good (the most watched show on all of cable Wednesday) — but that has much to do with mammoth numbers in Boston and Houston. Elsewhere, devilish decisions between sleep or not on a work night were undertaken as the game ebbed toward a 1:12 a.m. Eastern conclusion that brought the average time for a nine-inning 2018 postseason game to 3 hours, 36 minutes.

Note there are no facts presented there about the ratings. I'm sure Hou and Bos led the way but what were the numbers and did they tail off late. Following that intro, one certainly expects numbers of how dismal viewership was elsewhere and how everybody turned off late but all we get is prattle about "devilish decisions."

And 1:12 am Eastern is indeed quite late ... but it's just 12:12 am Central which is not such a big deal (there are people on the E Coast who watch the Colbert et al still right? Does NYC close down at midnight now?) ... and just 10:12 pm out West which is ideal.

But sure, 4.5 hours for a 9-inning game is too long. The other 9 inning game times so far:

Rox at Milw 3:45
Milw at Rox 3:14
Atl at LA 3:13
Atl at LA 2:35 (!!)
LA at Atl 3:35
LA at Atl 3:42
LA at Mil 4:02 (just 76 PA)
LA at Mil 3:32
Mil at LA 3:25
Mil at LA 3:35
Oak at NY 3:25
NY at Bos 3:41
NY at Bos 3:31
Bos at NY 3:41 (86 PA in the 16-1 blowout)
Bos at NY 3:28
Hou at Bos 4:03
Hou at Bos 3:45
Bos at Hou 3:52
Bos at Hou 4:33 (92 PA, the dreaded game)
Bos at Hou 3:32
Cle at Hou 3:36
Cle at Hou 3:12
Cle at Hou 4:02 (84 PA)

So that's one 4.5 hour game, two 4 hour games, one 2.5 hour game, three 3:15 games and 16 games around 3:30 to 3:45. 3:30 to 3:45 is a pretty good sweet spot for the networks -- 12-12: 30 on the east, 9-9:30 on the west, they really can't hope for better than that.

You folks expect them to set starting times based on a relatively worst-case scenario of a 4.5 hour game (or extra innings, etc.)

92 batters is 15-29% more than a typical 9-inning game (76-80 give or take). That's a difference of 41-55 minutes on a per-PA basis for this game. Without all the scoring, the game comes in at 3:45-4:00.

Nobody in their right mind would schedule a national game for 7:30 eastern because there's about a 4-5% chance it will go 4.5 hours (OK, probably 15% if we include extras). And, at least this postseason, to get that long the game has to have a relatively large number of PAs meaning (a) it's a blowout and everybody turned it off after 2 hours anyway; (b) it's a close high-scoring game; (c) it's a tied extra-inning game.
   47. Omineca Greg Posted: October 19, 2018 at 09:37 PM (#5771466)
What rhymes with a famous British director known for his psychological thrillers and inventive cinematography?

You have twenty seconds to answer.

Oh, I suck. I thought the answer was Diddley Squat.

And the whole time it was Wan German.

I still don't know who that's a reference to. I sure hope it's not Rainer Maria Rilke.

Je weiter ich lebe, desto nötiger scheint es mir, auszuhalten, das ganze Diktat des Daseins bis zum Schluss nachzuschreiben; denn es möchte sein, dass erst der letzte Satz jenes kleine, vielleicht unscheinbare Wort enthält, durch welches alles mühsam Erlernte und Unbegriffene sich gegen einen herrlichen Sinn hinüberkehrt.

Rainer Maria Rilke

And to think, some ############# are pissing and moaning about having to stay up to the ninth inning. Schändlich.

I mean it fits and everything...but Rainer Maria Rilke was born in Prague (they have awesome Highland Games there), so he's not really German (not even Neville Chamberlain would think that he was, "I can see the Sudetenland from Rilke's house, however, as much as we may sympathise with a small nation confronted by a big and powerful neighbour, we cannot in all circumstances undertake to involve the whole British Empire in a war simply on her account. And bup bup ####### cheerio", and nothing really rhymes with "Bohemian", so I can't help but feel the initial question was a little misleading...kind of dickish actually...

Sie sind so jung, so vor allem Anfang, und ich möchte Sie, so gut ich es kann, bitten, lieber Herr, Geduld zu haben gegen alles Ungelöste in Ihrem Herzen und zu versuchen, die Fragen selbst liebzuhaben wie verschlossene Stuben und wie Bücher, die in einer sehr fremden Sprache geschrieben sind. Forschen Sie jetzt nicht nach den Antworten, die Ihnen nicht gegeben werden können, weil Sie sie nicht leben könnten. Und es handelt sich darum, alles zu leben. Leben Sie jetzt die Fragen. Vielleicht leben Sie dann allmählich, ohne es zu merken, eines fernen Tages in die Antwort hinein.

Rainer Maria Rilke


I guess.

Hey, as long as you know German and can think of rhymes for some of Britain's greatest directors, this is a pretty awesome post, so for the three of you out there that can makes heads or tails of it, Herzliche Glückwünsche!
   48. BDC Posted: October 19, 2018 at 10:08 PM (#5771480)
I think you're onto something, Greg. Rilke was aware early on of the problems with ballgames dragging on till all hours of the night. As he wrote in Der Pitcher,

Mein Blick ist von Vorübergehen der Fernseher
so müd geworden, daß er nichts hält mehr.
Ihm ist, als ob es tausend Innings gäbe -
und diese tausend Innings langweilen sehr.
   49. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 19, 2018 at 10:36 PM (#5771500)
The starting times are set by the networks -- y'know, the corporations that live and die by ratings. I'm not a big believer in universal economic rationality but it seems unlikely that those folks have been totally screwing this up for the last two decades, costing themselves many millions every year.

I don't think anyone disputes the short term economic wisdom of our Lords and Master Beancounters. It's just that not everyone gives a #### about whether they can squeeze the last sou out of the networks. Fans are allowed to have different priorities.

MLB obviously has control over pace of play ... which is a fine thing to criticize as long as you don't also rely on the ratings superiority of the NFL to bolster your argument of how hopeless MLB is.

My only point about the superiority of the NFL's playoff programming has to do with their starting times and ending times, and nothing else. Don't watch hockey, but the Big Three sports all have their stalling problems, although caused by different reasons.
   50. Omineca Greg Posted: October 19, 2018 at 11:27 PM (#5771545)
Rilke was aware early on of the problems with ballgames dragging on till all hours of the night. As he wrote in Der Pitcher...

Oh, I love that one. And this one he wrote about rain delays, it really makes you think...

Vor dem Sommerregen

Auf einmal ist aus allem Grün im Park
man weiß nicht was, ein Etwas, fortgenommen;
man fühlt ihn näher an die Fenster kommen
und schweigsam sein. Inständig nur und stark

ertönt aus dem Gehölz der Regenpfeifer,
man denkt an einen Hieronymus:
so sehr steigt irgend Einsamkeit und Eifer
aus dieser einen Stimme, die der Guß

erhören wird. Des Saales Wände sind
mit ihren Bildern von uns fortgetreten, a
ls dürften sie nicht hören was wir sagen.

Das Füllen der Kassen ist das einzige Ziel
von denen, die die Liga führen
Die Jahreszeiten sind nicht gezähmt
Regenschauer reißen ihre Herzen

Es spiegeln die verblichenen Tapeten
das ungewisse Licht von Nachmittagen,
in denen man sich fürchtete als Kind.

Ruf das verdammte Spiel schon an
   51. KronicFatigue Posted: October 19, 2018 at 11:55 PM (#5771588)
With everyone now attached to their smartphones, I wonder if pace of play is less of an issue than even a few years ago. Baseball is the only sport I can half watch, multi talk etc. Do young people even WANT to be focused on one thing for any extended period of time?
   52. strong silence Posted: October 20, 2018 at 12:18 AM (#5771620)
If you haven't played soccer you'll never understand why it's much more appealing to watch than MLB.

One day, soon, soccer will overtake baseball in TV ratings. Adjust for time of game (uefa championship is played in the afternoon) and household demographic (if < 18, you prefer the soccer game) and soccer might be equal to playoff baseball in ratings.
   53. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: October 20, 2018 at 01:23 AM (#5771639)
I've played soccer. It isn't appealing to me to watch. I can't, despite tries, watch MLS. It's biggest problem (from a US perspective) is obviously the best product is several time zones away. I'm 'doing' family stuff during this UEFA window. That's an enormous hurdle long term. I'd rather watch a top shelf women's volleyball match (I realize that's a very obscure sport). Though I'd rather watch that over NBA or NFL as it is . Perhaps its strange, but baseball is optimal for me, because I can walk away at home, rip through the paper, do laundry, putz around (listen on radio). I'm always keeping an eye one it or an ear. I might 'sit through' a couple college football games. My only gripe with baseball is in game stalling, guys hopping out of box, off the mound. The bullpenning isn't a problem for me. I just want to see ABs.

NFL's biggest TV advantage. One game, on a weekend, usually Sunday.
   54. Red Voodooin Posted: October 20, 2018 at 01:55 AM (#5771644)
One day, soon, soccer will overtake baseball in TV ratings.

No.

No, it won't.
   55. Dr. Vaux Posted: October 20, 2018 at 03:49 AM (#5771646)
And Rob Manfred and all the people who think they know what everyone wants fail to see one of the key appeals of soccer: the low scoring level makes the game almost guaranteed to be close and exciting at the end. (And it doesn't take all day.)
   56. manchestermets Posted: October 20, 2018 at 05:28 AM (#5771647)
Read an article today where a pitcher said that one way to cut 20 minutes from a game would be to let the pitcher to be able to get verbal signals from his catcher via a closed circuit wireless mic. He said it would eliminate the need to keep changing signals


This is clearly nonsense - they aren't changing signals between every pitch. A much better way would be for him to throw the damn ball.
   57. McCoy Posted: October 20, 2018 at 07:35 AM (#5771650)
And Rob Manfred and all the people who think they know what everyone wants fail to see one of the key appeals of soccer: the low scoring level makes the game almost guaranteed to be close and exciting at the end. (And it doesn't take all day.)

Geezus, no. The low scoring of soccer is what makes it boring, tedious, and often times pointless to watch.
   58. McCoy Posted: October 20, 2018 at 07:42 AM (#5771651)
If you haven't played soccer you'll never understand why it's much more appealing to watch than MLB.

This is a weird argument to make. I don't understand the logic of it.


I've played both and I don't find watching soccer more appealing.

Now having gone to an Atlanta United game last year I would say going to a soccer game in person is a far better experience than going to a baseball if I knew nothing about either sport or their leagues. But having said that I've gone to other soccer games in the past that were uneventful and or boring. The same thing could be said about hockey. The first game I went to for the Philadelphia Phantoms was an exciting and fun game and it made me want to watch more hockey in person. The second game I went to was tedious and all of the kids and their screeching gave me a headache. I figured NHL hockey would be better and while the 15,000 kids were no longer present I didn't find the game anymore exciting or better.
   59. . Posted: October 20, 2018 at 08:18 AM (#5771657)
Now having gone to an Atlanta United game last year I would say going to a soccer game in person is a far better experience than going to a baseball if I knew nothing about either sport or their leagues.


Yes, exactly. If baseball were starting from scratch today in the entertainment marketplace, it would have no chance. Its promoters would get laughed out of every VC's office and at some point maybe even had the cops called on them.
   60. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 20, 2018 at 08:42 AM (#5771660)
If you haven't played soccer you'll never understand why it's much more appealing to watch than MLB.

Fortunately not too many people have played soccer on much more than the playground level. There's only so much appeal to a sport where you can't even use your hands, the average score is about 1.5 to 0.9, and the star players are even more prima donnas than our current president.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Read an article today where a pitcher said that one way to cut 20 minutes from a game would be to let the pitcher to be able to get verbal signals from his catcher via a closed circuit wireless mic. He said it would eliminate the need to keep changing signals

This is clearly nonsense - they aren't changing signals between every pitch. A much better way would be for him to throw the damn ball.


Look, I'm completely in favor of a 15 second pitch clock, but the author's point (in part) was that it's not just with runners on second that teams are paranoid about sign stealing these days.

But it's not just the pitchers in many cases. Last night Wade Miley was ready to pitch a la Bob Gibson, getting back on the mound as soon as he got the ball back from his catcher. But the Dodgers kept stepping out of the box between pitches in a move to upset his rhythm, a move that was noted by both of the announcers. One more reason why I was glad to see the Dodgers get pinned back on their collective butts last night.
   61. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 20, 2018 at 08:44 AM (#5771663)
Now having gone to an Atlanta United game last year I would say going to a soccer game in person is a far better experience than going to a baseball if I knew nothing about either sport or their leagues. But having said that I've gone to other soccer games in the past that were uneventful and or boring. The same thing could be said about hockey. The first game I went to for the Philadelphia Phantoms was an exciting and fun game and it made me want to watch more hockey in person. The second game I went to was tedious and all of the kids and their screeching gave me a headache. I figured NHL hockey would be better and while the 15,000 kids were no longer present I didn't find the game anymore exciting or better.

Hockey and soccer have one problem in common: You never have a clue as to when you're going to see a score. There's absolutely no sense of anticipation as there is when the bases are loaded or when a football team is driving down the field, or when a basketball team is on a run. It's just completely random.
   62. PreservedFish Posted: October 20, 2018 at 09:24 AM (#5771666)
Basketball sure doesn’t fit your thesis.

A soccer goal is not like a baseball rally, no. But they also involve more build up and anticipation than many baseball scoring events. A solo homer is random and takes about 3 seconds.
   63. Lyford Posted: October 20, 2018 at 09:24 AM (#5771667)
the Dodgers kept stepping out of the box between pitches in a move to upset his rhythm

That's on the umpire, isn't it? Hasn't the league mandated that batters not leave the box? If the ump refuses and calls strikes on all pitches thrown with the batter having stepped out, that would stop pretty quickly, I'd think...
   64. . Posted: October 20, 2018 at 09:44 AM (#5771670)
Hockey and soccer have one problem in common: You never have a clue as to when you're going to see a score. There's absolutely no sense of anticipation as there is when the bases are loaded or when a football team is driving down the field


This is just comically absurd. Rest assured hockey and soccer fans know when a chance is building and when a chance is occurring. A 2 on 1 in overtime in a Stanley Cup playoff game is breathtaking in its anticipation.
   65. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: October 20, 2018 at 09:52 AM (#5771672)
Rather than respond to SBB, I'll let him respond to himself:

59. -- Posted: October 20, 2018 at 08:18 AM

Yes, exactly. If baseball were starting from scratch today in the entertainment marketplace, it would have no chance. Its promoters would get laughed out of every VC's office and at some point maybe even had the cops called on them.


64. -- Posted: October 20, 2018 at 09:44 AM

This is just comically absurd.
   66. , Posted: October 20, 2018 at 10:22 AM (#5771680)
I don't understand how people don't like any of these sports. I get having a favorite. I get having a least favorite.

But they all involve strategy, athletics, chance and, often, drama. Soccer is beautiful and, yes, I love that I know it'll be about two hours start to finish. I love low scoring games, they make any score a major victory.

My least favorite sport is American football but, damn, even there, there are unbelievable physical feats, strategy and a good game is exciting and tense. Over time, baseball pace of play has moved steadily from close to that of soccer to more of that of football and that, to me, is annoying.

A baseball game should be crisp. The on-deck guy should be ready to get in there as soon as the previous batter reaches or is out. The pitcher should always be ready to throw. Fix those two things, and it would improve the game. But, even without it, a good baseball game is still great. It's just that it could be better.

There are lots of things to be mad about in the world. Sport isn't one of them (well, maybe our foolish and disproportionate allocation of resources to it. But that's another story).
   67. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 20, 2018 at 10:24 AM (#5771681)
Basketball sure doesn’t fit your thesis.

A basketball game goes through multiple ebbs and flows of momentum, where there's a keen sense of anticipation that it'll keep going, whether or not you hope it will. Where's the comparable sense of anticipation in soccer when the score is 0-0 and the ball is nowhere near the goal, and in a sport where nearly every shot at the goal gets rejected by the goalie?

A soccer goal is not like a baseball rally, no. But they also involve more build up and anticipation than many baseball scoring events. A solo homer is random and takes about 3 seconds.

That's one baseball play out of (very) many. But every game has many times when men get on base, a pitcher shows signs of tiring, a good hitter comes up, an accomplished base stealer is on first, the game is late and close, and so on. Soccer has nothing like this.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

the Dodgers kept stepping out of the box between pitches in a move to upset his rhythm

That's on the umpire, isn't it? Hasn't the league mandated that batters not leave the box? If the ump refuses and calls strikes on all pitches thrown with the batter having stepped out, that would stop pretty quickly, I'd think...


I completely agree with you here. The umpires are to stalling what Republicans are to Donald Trump. As long as the umps keep looking the other way, the violations will continue.
   68. , Posted: October 20, 2018 at 10:48 AM (#5771684)
A basketball game goes through multiple ebbs and flows of momentum, where there's a keen sense of anticipation that it'll keep going, whether or not you hope it will. Where's the comparable sense of anticipation in soccer when the score is 0-0 and the ball is nowhere near the goal, and in a sport where nearly every shot at the goal gets rejected by the goalie?

Here's the thing, all of us know some sports better than others. Most Americans don't understand soccer. I'd say that's triply true of Americans over the age of 50 and doubly true of Americans over the age of 25. So, Jolly, I can assure you that while <b>I'm</i> not good at anticipating plays in soccer, watch it with European or South American fans and they clearly know what's going on and when something is likely to occur.

I watch baseball a lot differently than I watch football. I know one sport very well and the other not so much. That doesn't mean there isn't a lot going on in the sport I don't know much about.
   69. BDC Posted: October 20, 2018 at 11:15 AM (#5771687)
I don't understand how people don't like any of these sports. I get having a favorite. I get having a least favorite


I'd agree. I can see not caring for a sport, especially if you don't understand it. I don't understand Olympic wrestling, and therefore I am unlikely to watch much of it.

I can see critiquing a sport that you do understand because of something extrinsic to play, or for the occasional rules glitch that makes it less fun. I love American football, and sort of understand it, but I don't like concussions, the beauty-contest nature of the Division-I playoffs, or the infamous NFL catch "rule."

What I don't get is knocking a sport that you don't understand.

As to soccer, which I partly understand … the analogy to bases loaded is a corner kick. The analogy to a football team driving down the field is … a football team driving down the field :)
   70. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 20, 2018 at 11:57 AM (#5771694)
A basketball game goes through multiple ebbs and flows of momentum, where there's a keen sense of anticipation that it'll keep going, whether or not you hope it will. Where's the comparable sense of anticipation in soccer when the score is 0-0 and the ball is nowhere near the goal, and in a sport where nearly every shot at the goal gets rejected by the goalie?

Here's the thing, all of us know some sports better than others. Most Americans don't understand soccer. I'd say that's triply true of Americans over the age of 50 and doubly true of Americans over the age of 25. So, Jolly, I can assure you that while <b>I'm</i> not good at anticipating plays in soccer, watch it with European or South American fans and they clearly know what's going on and when something is likely to occur.


I don't like to quote HuffPost on politics, but here's something one of their writers had to say about this:
Take the best of The World Cup teams, the Group winners — Uruguay, Argentina, United States, Germany, Netherlands, Paraguay, Brazil and Spain. These eight elite “sides” had, according to Match Analysis, an average of 656 touches per-game for each team. How many of these 656 touches per-game do you think turned into a shot on goal, an actual chance to score? An anemic 6.3 in a 90 minute contest. Argentina has been — by far — the most aggressive offensive team, taking an average of 9.7 shots on goal per game. Argentina averages 753 touches per-game. So, that means the most aggressive scoring threat in World Cup soccer attempts a shot on goal 1.28% of the time it touches the ball.

Nuf sed.

I watch baseball a lot differently than I watch football. I know one sport very well and the other not so much. That doesn't mean there isn't a lot going on in the sport I don't know much about.

I also know a lot more about the finer points of baseball than I do about the other two major sports I follow (the NFL and basketball). Football jargon leaves me scratching my head, and when I played basketball in high school all I wanted to do was shoot.

But you don't really have to know much about football to appreciate the obvious skill involved in passing, receiving, and open field running towards the goal line. And you don't have to know anything but the most basic of basics to know that with each successful play a team is that much closer to scoring. You also know that once a team scores, the other team will immediately get an opportunity to match it. Same thing in baseball and basketball.

There's absolutely NOTHING like that in soccer. The skill and athleticism may be off the charts, but the nature of the game is so lopsidedly stacked against the offense that most of the time those skills and athleticism just exist in a vacuum, with nothing coming of them except a pass that gets deflected and then it's start all over from scratch.

One thing I'll concede about soccer, though: Its simplicity and lack of need for expensive equipment lends itself to a universal language that doesn't require much specialized knowledge to appreciate. Basketball's a lot like this, which greatly explains its popularity around the globe. American football and baseball, however, are sports you almost have to grow up with to appreciate fully, sort of like cricket. Some sports are international by nature, and others are more likely to be found in only a handful of culturally connected countries. It doesn't mean that one sport is "better" or "worse" than any other, it's just that their appeals are fundamentally different.
   71. BDC Posted: October 20, 2018 at 12:09 PM (#5771700)
You also know that once a team scores, the other team will immediately get an opportunity to match it. Same thing in baseball and basketball.

There's absolutely NOTHING like that in soccer


I was actually going to ask that in #69, whether much of this preference just boils down to liking sports where teams take definite turns. That's valid as a subjective preference, naturally, but I don't think it equates to any objective or intrinsic inferiority of sports where teams don't.
   72. Endless Trash Posted: October 20, 2018 at 12:24 PM (#5771705)
One day, soon, soccer will overtake baseball in TV ratings.


This could be true.

Of course, it is at a time where TV ratings have lost all relevance.
   73. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 20, 2018 at 01:08 PM (#5771710)
You also know that once a team scores, the other team will immediately get an opportunity to match it. Same thing in baseball and basketball.

There's absolutely NOTHING like that in soccer


I was actually going to ask that in #69, whether much of this preference just boils down to liking sports where teams take definite turns. That's valid as a subjective preference, naturally, but I don't think it equates to any objective or intrinsic inferiority of sports where teams don't.


I totally admit it's all subjective, just like one's taste in movies or art or women. And as one of the rare exceptions to the argument that the most compelling matches necessarily involve taking turns, I offer you Eklent Kaçi vs Alex Pagulayan, or I should say Eklent Kaçi vs Alex Pagulayan's chair.

FTR this is a sport that not that long ago was totally dominated by Americans, but now is almost the exclusive province of Europeans and Asians at the highest level. I can't think of any other sport that fits that description.
   74. manchestermets Posted: October 20, 2018 at 01:39 PM (#5771716)
There's only so much appeal to a sport where you can't even use your hands, the average score is about 1.5 to 0.9, and the star players are even more prima donnas than our current president.


Only so much appeal? You're aware it's the number one spectator sport (and maybe participation sport, but I'm not sure about that) in the world, right?


Hockey and soccer have one problem in common: You never have a clue as to when you're going to see a score. There's absolutely no sense of anticipation as there is when the bases are loaded or when a football team is driving down the field, or when a basketball team is on a run. It's just completely random.


Oh, sorry, I didn't realise you meant amongst people with zero attention span.
   75. . Posted: October 20, 2018 at 01:44 PM (#5771718)
Rather than respond to SBB, I'll let him respond to himself:

59. -- Posted: October 20, 2018 at 08:18 AM

Yes, exactly. If baseball were starting from scratch today in the entertainment marketplace, it would have no chance. Its promoters would get laughed out of every VC's office and at some point maybe even had the cops called on them.


64. -- Posted: October 20, 2018 at 09:44 AM

This is just comically absurd.


Huh?
   76. . Posted: October 20, 2018 at 01:46 PM (#5771719)
That's one baseball play out of (very) many. But every game has many times when men get on base, a pitcher shows signs of tiring, a good hitter comes up, an accomplished base stealer is on first, the game is late and close, and so on. Soccer has nothing like this.


Every good buildup in soccer is like this.
   77. stig-tossled, hornswoggled gef the typing mongoose Posted: October 20, 2018 at 01:47 PM (#5771720)
Only so much appeal? You're aware it's the number one spectator sport (and maybe participation sport, but I'm not sure about that) in the world, right?


Calling to mind my life's mantra yet again -- people are stupid, & they should be shot.
   78. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 20, 2018 at 02:13 PM (#5771729)
There's only so much appeal to a sport where you can't even use your hands, the average score is about 1.5 to 0.9, and the star players are even more prima donnas than our current president.

Only so much appeal? You're aware it's the number one spectator sport (and maybe participation sport, but I'm not sure about that) in the world, right?


Not aware? Are you kidding? Christ, the New York Times devotes about twice as many column inches over the course of a year to the first part of your handle as it does to the second part. If I didn't know any better, I'd think Manchester United's home town was New York City.

And the participation part wouldn't surprise me, either, since soccer has got fewer equipment requirements than any other sport on Earth. That's a virtue I'm more than willing to concede.

Hockey and soccer have one problem in common: You never have a clue as to when you're going to see a score. There's absolutely no sense of anticipation as there is when the bases are loaded or when a football team is driving down the field, or when a basketball team is on a run. It's just completely random.

Oh, sorry, I didn't realise you meant amongst people with zero attention span.


More like amongst people who like to watch a dog chasing his tail for hours on end.

   79. Khrushin it bro Posted: October 20, 2018 at 02:19 PM (#5771730)
The only thing that ruined this all time classic was my softball game at the same time.
   80. puck Posted: October 20, 2018 at 02:56 PM (#5771735)
If you haven't played soccer you'll never understand why it's much more appealing to watch than MLB.


I don't about the latter half, but you don't need to have played soccer to find it more appealing to watch for yourself.

Most sports are boring to the uninitiated. In baseball they stand around all the time and most of the time the pitcher and catcher are just playing catch. NFL, violence punctuated by committee meetings (and now video review lawyering), etc. A lot happens in basketball, but then it's the same damn thing over and over for 48 minutes (in the NBA), which feels pointless.

If you don't enjoy the ebb and flow of the game and the grace of the athletes basically doing what they need to for the team to be competitive, you wouldn't like any sport.
   81. KronicFatigue Posted: October 20, 2018 at 06:16 PM (#5771768)
Soccer is my favorite sport to watch, but I'm still pretty raw in terms of understanding what I'm watching. But I do know the idea that lack of scoring means lack of action is flat out wrong. Buildup play is like getting base runners, and then not scoring is like stranding them on base. It's exciting to see a scoring chance build up and frustrating when it doesn't happen; even when you know you're going to be frustrated most of the time.

One of the underrated things I like most about soccer is how the game "changes" so much based on the score. It's really not like that in any other sport. Football has it to a bit, but only in the sense that you're playing against the clock (so a team that's up a lot will run more, etc). The perfect game state, IMO, in soccer is the underdog being up 1-0. Watching a better team try and pound the ball against a lesser team holding on desperately to the lead is fantastic.

Soccer also has the benefit of better designed leagues with balanced schedules, lack of playoffs, promotion, relegation, champions league qualifications, etc. Finishing fourth in the league means a great deal!
   82. PreservedFish Posted: October 20, 2018 at 11:51 PM (#5771946)
Andy is pretty insufferable in this thread. He doesn't understand soccer's appeal but is acting like he knows everything he needs to know.

You know what though? I've actually had a similar debate with soccer fans. I think that the tension in baseball over a really big pitch - runners on base, bottom of the ninth, one run lead, etc etc - is the best thing in sports. I really do. Soccer doesn't quite have an equivalent to that big pitch in the bottom of the ninth.

But soccer has its own superior attributes. I think we all treasure when we get to see a great shortstop or centerfielder make a creative, athletic play. In baseball we get to see that maybe 2-3 times a game. Maybe zero times. In soccer it happens, I dunno, 50 times a game? That's just one factor off the top of my head. There are others.
   83. Baldrick Posted: October 21, 2018 at 12:01 AM (#5771954)
You know what though? I've actually had a similar debate with soccer fans. I think that the tension in baseball over a really big pitch - runners on base, bottom of the ninth, one run lead, etc etc - is the best thing in sports. I really do. Soccer doesn't quite have an equivalent to that big pitch in the bottom of the ninth.

But soccer has its own superior attributes. I think we all treasure when we get to see a great shortstop or centerfielder make a creative, athletic play. In baseball we get to see that maybe 2-3 times a game. Maybe zero times. In soccer it happens, I dunno, 50 times a game? That's just one factor off the top of my head. There are others.

It's perfectly fine for people to dislike some sports, even if those sports are popular with other people. But the assumption that the sports I grew up with are superior and interesting while the sports other people grew up with are inferior and boring is just parochial nonsense.

There's room for discussion about the objective qualities of a sport--as PF's comment quoted above does quite nicely--so long as you're willing to engage in just a little bit of self-reflection.
   84. PreservedFish Posted: October 21, 2018 at 12:06 AM (#5771960)
Tonight we saw Yasiel Puig hit an important homerun. The pitch looked like any other, the swing looked like any other. That he happened to hit it hard enough to go over the wall is attributable to a matters barely discernible to the human eye - a millimeter here, a millisecond there, and it's a routine out. The ball that went over the fence looked like most homeruns. It was not contested by any fielder, it just went over their heads. There were about 4 seconds of uncertainty, between the swing and the ball landing behind the wall, even less if you believed that it was gone during that very first sentence, as Puig's body language hinted. It was an important swing but ultimately it's kind of a boring play.

Most soccer goals take a lot more than 4 seconds to develop, they are contested by multiple players at multiple points, and they require teamwork and unique displays of athleticism. They don't resemble each other. They aren't boring, they're critical viewing and supremely entertaining.

Now, granted, there were runners on base for Puig's homerun, which builds some anticipation. But there were runners on base many times during the game, and most of those chances petered out, just like most chances in soccer peter out.
   85. PreservedFish Posted: October 21, 2018 at 12:16 AM (#5771964)
The chances in soccer do seem to happen quicker. A rally in baseball takes minutes to develop. One guy has a gutsy AB, gets on base, the next guy gets a quick hit, a third makes a productive out, a fourth plates two with a rocketing double. That could be 15-20 pitches, which under present circumstances could easily be 10 minutes.

But how much game action is there? A pitch is mere seconds. A clean single is only uncertain for about 2 seconds. A walk, zero seconds. A double, perhaps 6-7 seconds. The whole thing might add up to a minute of action.

I would bet that the average soccer goal has the same amount of critical game action lead-up as does the average baseball run. The major difference is in the pauses. This isn't another pitch clock argument. I think the pauses are good, they allow us to process what's happening, to think through what might happen next, and such. Moments of inaction can increase the tension. But let's be clear. We're talking about inaction.
   86. The Yankee Clapper Posted: October 21, 2018 at 12:41 AM (#5771969)
If you haven't played soccer you'll never understand why it's much more appealing to watch than MLB. One day, soon, soccer will overtake baseball in TV ratings. . . .

We're on the 6th decade of soccer being touted as about to take off in this country. Could happen, but so far it's more just increased access to a niche sport due to the proliferation of cable, satellite & Internet options. It hasn't displaced or surpassed the more popular professional sports, and I doubt it will.
   87. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 21, 2018 at 01:16 AM (#5771989)
Andy is pretty insufferable in this thread. He doesn't understand soccer's appeal but is acting like he knows everything he needs to know.

I'll ignore the personal stuff, but you're confusing not understanding soccer's appeal with not appreciating it myself.

You know what though? I've actually had a similar debate with soccer fans. I think that the tension in baseball over a really big pitch - runners on base, bottom of the ninth, one run lead, etc etc - is the best thing in sports. I really do. Soccer doesn't quite have an equivalent to that big pitch in the bottom of the ninth.

But soccer has its own superior attributes. I think we all treasure when we get to see a great shortstop or centerfielder make a creative, athletic play. In baseball we get to see that maybe 2-3 times a game. Maybe zero times. In soccer it happens, I dunno, 50 times a game? That's just one factor off the top of my head. There are others.


But here's the difference as I see it: A great and creative play in baseball almost always leads to a positive result for the player making it, and it affects the course of the game to the benefit of his team, if not necessarily decisively. It's something that shows up in the box score as well as being aesthetically appealing.

I've already granted the athleticism involved in soccer, but how many of those great and creative plays actually cause or prevent a goal, as opposed to winning style points? It seems like many of them are the equivalent of an infielder who makes a flying stop of a ground ball up the middle and makes a great throw to first on top of it, only to see the runner beat it out. Exciting, yes. Aesthetically pleasing, of course. But as far as the outcome of the game was concerned, it would've made no difference if the ball had gotten through to the outfield.

And take a case in soccer where a team makes 5 or 6 incredibly skillful passes in a row, only to have the 7th pass go awry or be broken up by a defender, completely negating the first 6. Seems that while you've had a lot of aesthetics during that sequence, it didn't really lead to much, sort of like a sequence of great passes in basketball that ends in a turnover. I can fully appreciate the skill and the athleticism that led up to the point of negation, but I guess I'm just a bit too results-oriented to find it as compelling as a sequence that leads to an actual goal.

But obviously from an international standpoint my opinion here is in the minority, and as they say, 40 million Frenchmen can't be wrong, nor can hundreds of millions of soccer fans from around the globe. And as a sport that's accessible to great masses of people at all levels of income---children, specifically---its only real rival is basketball. That's not an attribute to be dismissed lightly.

I would bet that the average soccer goal has the same amount of critical game action lead-up as does the average baseball run. The major difference is in the pauses.

Well, that plus the vast difference in the usual run totals. That's another thing about baseball and American football that sets them apart from pretty much all other sports: The incredible range of typical final scores. How many goals does an average World Cup game have, compared to the number of runs in an average World Series game, or the number of scores in a typical NFL game? How far do outlier results in these sports deviate from the mean, and how frequently do outlier results occur?
   88. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: October 21, 2018 at 02:12 AM (#5771996)
I think that the tension in baseball over a really big pitch - runners on base, bottom of the ninth, one run lead, etc etc - is the best thing in sports. I really do. Soccer doesn't quite have an equivalent to that big pitch in the bottom of the ninth.

Spoken like someone who has never watched a penalty shootout.
   89. BDC Posted: October 21, 2018 at 09:39 AM (#5772005)
A great and creative play in baseball almost always leads to a positive result for the player making it, and it affects the course of the game to the benefit of his team


Part of this, though, is an artifact of the way we count things in baseball. Every play is discrete and goes into the individual totals of the players involved. But even at that (as you go on to acknowledge) there are a lot of guys left on base who mean nothing to the outcome.

Of course, recently there has been a big move to count everything that happens on a soccer field and develop baseball-like analytics. But it's a much more difficult task because of all the moving parts and their interactions.

Fish, I think, makes the best points here:

It was an important swing but ultimately it's kind of a boring play.

Most soccer goals take a lot more than 4 seconds to develop, they are contested by multiple players at multiple points, and they require teamwork and unique displays of athleticism. They don't resemble each other


Hence baseball is very amenable to the radio, because it's so easy to envision the plays. Whereas soccer lends itself to treatments like the old-fashioned find-the-ball puzzles where you get a photograph with the ball removed, and have to locate it. Very challenging because, as you say, every play is unique.

Again, I think a lot of this comes down to whether you prefer sports with discrete plays, distinct possession of the ball, and incremental progress toward scoring. Americans do tend to prefer those sports. But it's not like one style is inherently better.

As Kronic said above, the best soccer matches are those where a team leads 1-0 and the outcome is constantly in doubt. I think that, for all Americans' love of incremental progress, we've evolved to a point where football and basketball take that form more and more. Not that there's only one score in a game, but that you get to the final two minutes and teams are separated by one score, or if by two, they're easily scorable in that time frame. puck notes that this leads to a lot of NBA games where you might as well not play the first 46 minutes. So Americans seem to appreciate the very same level of tension in "our" sports as you get in a soccer match.

Baseball games, as Andy notes, routinely get out of hand, which has its good points and bad points. To each their own.
   90. PreservedFish Posted: October 21, 2018 at 09:45 AM (#5772006)
Again, I think a lot of this comes down to whether you prefer sports with discrete plays, distinct possession of the ball, and incremental progress toward scoring.


It ultimately comes down to irrational factors, some of which are obvious, like a boyhood spent only miles from where Mays and Mantle were plying their trade, and others that we can only guess at. I think the discussion about the structural differences between games is interesting but a sizable amount of this thread is pure rationalization.

I was accused above of ignorance of hockey shoot-outs. It's true, I am basically ignorant. I have no interest in hockey. It's not because of the way the game moves, or the rules, or the frequency of scoring. It's because the sights and sounds are uninteresting and unattractive to me. It's irrational, but when I see a hockey game, I'm instantly bored.
   91. BDC Posted: October 21, 2018 at 09:57 AM (#5772009)
It ultimately comes down to irrational factors


That is quite true. While I like almost any sport (to the point where I've had to deliberately limit my consumption, or I'd do nothing but watch sports on TV :) I am fondest of baseball (by far) but also football and horse racing, because of personal, family, and cultural associations.
   92. PreservedFish Posted: October 21, 2018 at 10:18 AM (#5772015)
(to the point where I've had to deliberately limit my consumption, or I'd do nothing but watch sports on TV :)

I'm still troubled by the smile also closing the parenthetical.
   93. perros Posted: October 21, 2018 at 10:29 AM (#5772021)
I almost wanted the Dodgers to lose so I could get some sleep this week. I could watch delayed broadcasts, but I don't have the patience for a game already in the books.

So we'll see, but it's possible I watch only a game or two, or parts of games, despite my team playing against a team I hate (sorta).

Baseball's gonna die with us.
   94. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 21, 2018 at 10:32 AM (#5772023)
It ultimately comes down to irrational factors, some of which are obvious, like a boyhood spent only miles from where Mays and Mantle were plying their trade, and others that we can only guess at. I think the discussion about the structural differences between games is interesting but a sizable amount of this thread is pure rationalization.

I can't discount that possibility, but one of the reasons I've been making some of these comments is to see how they'd be answered by people who obviously know soccer a hundred times more than I do.

I was accused above of ignorance of hockey shoot-outs. It's true, I am basically ignorant. I have no interest in hockey. It's not because of the way the game moves, or the rules, or the frequency of scoring. It's because the sights and sounds are uninteresting and unattractive to me. It's irrational, but when I see a hockey game, I'm instantly bored.

Finally something we agree on, although I will say I did find hockey a LOT more entertaining in person than I've ever found it to be on TV. But overall the same problem I have with soccer is pretty much the same problem I have with hockey. In both cases I definitely get the feeling I'd enjoy playing it** much more than watching it, which is the exact opposite sentiment I have with American football.

** Or would have, about 40 to 55 years ago. (smile)

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

That is quite true. While I like almost any sport (to the point where I've had to deliberately limit my consumption, or I'd do nothing but watch sports on TV :) I am fondest of baseball (by far) but also football and horse racing, because of personal, family, and cultural associations.

I'm just glad I never got into horse racing or golf, because those are two sports with addictive qualities that are easy for me to grasp: The lure of the track; the eternal quest for the perfect swing, which is quite similar to pool.
   95. Baldrick Posted: October 21, 2018 at 11:14 AM (#5772036)
I can't discount that possibility, but one of the reasons I've been making some of these comments is to see how they'd be answered by people who obviously know soccer a hundred times more than I do.

The word for this is trolling.
   96. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 21, 2018 at 11:47 AM (#5772038)
I can't discount that possibility, but one of the reasons I've been making some of these comments is to see how they'd be answered by people who obviously know soccer a hundred times more than I do.

The word for this is trolling.


Apparently you're unfamiliar with the dialectical method of arriving at a consensus, or at least an agreement to disagree. Trolling is either hit-and-run or a continuing distortion of the other person's argument and a refusal to admit that the other person may have a point. Neither of these have anything to do with what's been going on in this thread. If you want to see what real trolling looks like, go to the OTP threads and see what Ray's got down to an art form.
   97. , Posted: October 21, 2018 at 11:50 AM (#5772039)
Jolly, you’ve had plenty of answers and you post increasingly ignorant (dictionary definition) rebuttals. YOU don’t understand soccer, so, therefore, no one does.

You don’t have to like or understand soccer. It’s fine. Just as when I watch baseball with my European friends they don’t get it no matter how I explain it. But they’re generally polite enough not to tell me I’m stupid for enjoying it.
   98. PreservedFish Posted: October 21, 2018 at 12:09 PM (#5772042)
Apparently you're unfamiliar with the dialectical method of arriving at a consensus...


Oh bullshit. You've acted smug and smarmy and superior in this thread. Trolling is saying inflammatory #### in order to raise a response. "Nuf sed."

If you were at all interested in what other people thought, there's no internet law against politely asking.
   99. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 21, 2018 at 12:39 PM (#5772049)
Jolly, you’ve had plenty of answers and you post increasingly ignorant (dictionary definition) rebuttals. YOU don’t understand soccer, so, therefore, no one does.

Nothing I've written here has been as ignorant as that comment. When have I ever conflated my own lack of understanding with that of those who understand and follow soccer? It's as if you selectively pick the parts of what I've written that make your blood boil, and ignore all the rest of it. See #87 in particular.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Apparently you're unfamiliar with the dialectical method of arriving at a consensus...

Oh bullshit. You've acted smug and smarmy and superior in this thread. Trolling is saying inflammatory #### in order to raise a response. "Nuf sed."

If you were at all interested in what other people thought, there's no internet law against politely asking.


Sorry to see you two taking things so personally. But I've taken the defenses of soccer seriously and allowed credit for points I hadn't considered. Trolls don't generally do that. Again, see #87.

And if I weren't interested in the opinions of soccer fans, I'd simply make a few negative comments and then disappear, or resort to name calling,** which I also haven't done.

I'm the farthest thing from being a Brit, but have you ever seen a British debate? I'm sure you'd also consider it just one continuous trolling performance, but it's simply another way of getting the ball rolling. What I've done here is no different from that.

** The one comment I made that could be construed as name calling (in #78) was in direct response to an equally sarcastic comment by manchestermets about "people with zero attention span".
   100. Baldrick Posted: October 21, 2018 at 02:52 PM (#5772088)
Apparently you're unfamiliar with the dialectical method of arriving at a consensus, or at least an agreement to disagree. Trolling is either hit-and-run or a continuing distortion of the other person's argument and a refusal to admit that the other person may have a point. Neither of these have anything to do with what's been going on in this thread. If you want to see what real trolling looks like, go to the OTP threads and see what Ray's got down to an art form.

Ah yes, how could I forget the famous chapter in the Phenomenology when Hegel discussed throwing out obnoxious opinions and then claiming it was all done to further intellectual conversation?

Also, another thing that a troll never does is try to whatabout their behavior by bringing up some random other person from some other terrible thread.
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