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Thursday, February 22, 2018

MLB Should Embrace Rule That Lets Teams Bat Anyone They Want In 9th Inning

According to Rich Eisen, one MLB exec recently told him that there is a rule being discussed by some in the game that would basically cause a riot. It goes like this: In the 9th inning only, the manager of the trailing team would be allowed to send up any three players he wants for the first three at-bats of the inning. It doesn’t matter where a team is in the batting order during the game. The skipper can send up anyone he wants in any order for the first three at-bats in the 9th.

 

 

Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: February 22, 2018 at 11:34 AM | 147 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: dumbness

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   101. Howie Menckel Posted: February 22, 2018 at 11:37 PM (#5629320)
bump
   102. flournoy Posted: February 22, 2018 at 11:39 PM (#5629321)
There are elements of cricket that are more amenable to this scheme – including stopping play overnight, in which case teams may use a "night watchman" late in the day, whose instructions are just to stay alive till better batsmen can take over the following morning.


Sounds interesting. Does the Night Watchman camp out on the warning track in center field to make sure no fans get onto the field from the stands? What would he do when something completely crazy happens down in the right field corner?
   103. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: February 22, 2018 at 11:39 PM (#5629323)
In a way this is the idea of the DH taken to the extreme.


No, it really isn't. The DH taken to the extreme would be platoon baseball -- nine designated hitters who never have to field and eight defensive wizards who don't have to hit (somebody still has to pitch, and those guys aren't going to be selected for their fielding prowess). Throw in a few designated runners for good measure. BTW, Howard Cosell was sure that he would see this in MLB in his lifetime.
Obviously he got that one wrong.

You're not tweaking the participation rules, you're doing away with them.
   104. davekemp Posted: February 23, 2018 at 12:34 AM (#5629340)
Bat or run until you make an out (resets after an inning)
Free substitutions after any play
No batting order
Different offense and defensive teams


Exactly! DH taken to the extreme.

I hear the numbers argument, but:
Ballpark dimensions are wacko
Integration
Regular Season length
Strike zone changes
Postseason length!
PED
DH
Expansion

I would rather watch Giancarlo hit 120 HR but again to each his or her own.

Either way it’s a fun thought experiment :)
   105. The Yankee Clapper Posted: February 23, 2018 at 12:51 AM (#5629343)
If the idea is to change the rules to appeal to a younger audience, just ban the protective cup. Other guys getting hit in the balls has always been widely popular with the younger set.
   106. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: February 23, 2018 at 03:53 AM (#5629354)
Sounds interesting. Does the Night Watchman camp out on the warning track in center field to make sure no fans get onto the field from the stands? What would he do when something completely crazy happens down in the right field corner?


The Night Watchman has a far more important job, of course - to safeguard the homesteads of Man against the nocturnal encroachments of Those Who Hunger, who would seek to rip and claw and shred soft, mortal flesh, and also wants to convert us to metric.

In what other sport are the best players unable to participate in a large percentage of plays?


Cricket's actually a good example of this; in the most popular forms, each bowler is only allowed to bowl a maximum of 20% of the deliveries of their team's total, and obviously there's the batting order of 11. That makes the strategy greater as I see it; captains and coaches have scarce resources to deploy and have to decide when and where to deploy them. Cue analogies to military leadership . . .

The best players don't only show up and play the best; they also rise to the occasion by being able to make a difference at turning points in the game, by wanting to be in the middle of things, and by making the other players around them better (or, in the case of a cricket batting order, by protecting the less-accomplished as long as they can).
   107. manchestermets Posted: February 23, 2018 at 06:12 AM (#5629356)
Bat or run until you make an out (resets after an inning)


What does this mean?
   108. bunyon Posted: February 23, 2018 at 08:24 AM (#5629383)
I just want to say that this thread is why BBTF is (still) great.

Whatever else we get in the coming year, more crazy talk about baseball.


And let davekemp type as much as he wants...as long as we keep him well away from Manfred.


It is curious that MLB appears to be driving (flailing) for the youth demographic when it has the older demographic sewn up. Baseball is slower and better suited to older, slower folks. Who are wealthier. It seems to me you let everyone else attempt to compete with snowboarding games in vain while you stay traditional and grab the older eyes. But that could be my older brain talking.


My crazy rule: I'll copy from above. I like the idea of 87 foot basepaths. Putting the ball in play is more valuable because a fast runner can beat out some routine grounders to the left side. It would also pull the fielders in giving line drives and ground balls a better chance to go through. PUsh the walls back 10-15 feet in each park and you dramatically increase OF space and lower (a little) HR.

Basically, shrinking the basepaths gives you a game with more importance on contact/speed than power.


Calling the rule book zone would be nice, too.
   109. bunyon Posted: February 23, 2018 at 08:28 AM (#5629385)
Bat or run until you make an out (resets after an inning)


What does this mean?


I don't know either but if it means a runner who scores gets to bat, that could be crazy without going the full davekemp (sorry, Dave). So, if Trout homers, the Angels would have the option to move him to the next spot in the lineup. Meaning, if he keeps homering, he could just bat all day. Cricket like in that respect. If he walks and comes around to score, he could immediately bat again.

I mean, I don't WANT this change. But it would be exciting and create a lot of strategy. You would very much want to tag or force him out, to the extent you might take some crazy risks. Let's say Trout is on second with a man on first. You try to make the play at third rather than turn two. Or, if he's on third you walk the bases loaded to set up a force.

Again, not a good change long term but would be fun in the backyard.
   110. Greg Pope Posted: February 23, 2018 at 08:50 AM (#5629388)
How about a rule that there isn't a batting order, just a list of the 9 players in the game at any given time. The players can bat in any order the manager wants, but no one can bat again until all of the other players in the game (or pinch hitters for them) have batted once this cycle.

I don't think that this is a good idea at all, but it would at least require strategic thinking and attempts at foresight. It might be a fun mod for OOTP or something.


I suspect it would result in a batting order like we have now for the first 5-6 innings, then you'd see players moved up or down based on the handedness of the relief pitcher.

I think there would be some strategy. First 2 guys get out in the first inning? Send out your pitcher so that your "3rd" place hitter can lead off the next inning. Pitcher happens to get a hit? Send out your weak hitting SS. If he makes an out, you lead off the next inning with your good hitter. But if he happens to get on, send out a good hitter to take advantage of the fluke.
   111. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: February 23, 2018 at 08:53 AM (#5629389)
Another nutty rule change: expand the strike zone (add some space on the outside edge and the top and bottom) and enforce it, with robot umps if needed; and in conjunction make it three balls for a walk. The combination encourage pitchers to pound the zone by expanding the zone and by increasing the risk of nibbling one's way to a walk. And it might reduce the incentive for batters to always swing from the heels if they have to cover a larger plane.

Plus I like symmetry, and three balls, three strikes is symmetrical.
   112. Rally Posted: February 23, 2018 at 09:35 AM (#5629407)
No, it really isn't. The DH taken to the extreme would be platoon baseball -- nine designated hitters who never have to field and eight defensive wizards who don't have to hit (somebody still has to pitch, and those guys aren't going to be selected for their fielding prowess).


Why bat your 7th to 9th best hitters when the fans are paying to see David Ortiz Jr. and Edwin Encarnacion? The minimum number of batters a lineup could have is 6 without getting into designated runners. You lead off, get on base. In the next 4 spots two teammates reach base and two make outs. The 6th hitter is up, you are now the 3rd base runner and the on deck batter. Maybe you can swing a bat with a donut on it while leading off third base.

Then again, we fans aren't paying to watch Victor Martinez run the bases! So all we need is one great hitter to take all of his teams at bats, and a bunch of track stars to run for him every time he reaches base. After all, for the amount of revenue we give to this sport MLB should be delivering their best at all times.

Here's a winning 25 man roster:

Batter: Joey Votto
Runners: Billy Hamilton, Jarrod Dyson, Rajai Davis
C: Tucker Barnhart, Jeff Mathis
1B: Jedd Gyorko (highest DWAR among players with any time at 1B for 2017). He can also serve as backup IF, in which case a catcher or OF would have to cover first. I'd rather not make Votto pull double duty, 50-60 PA per game will be tiring enough.
IF: Andrelton Simmons, Addison Russell, Brandon Crawford
OF: Kevin Kiermaier, Dyson, Hamilton (rare two way players), Davis is a backup in case of injury.

Still have room for 14 pitchers, who should all be hard throwing, 1-2 inning relievers.
   113. dlf Posted: February 23, 2018 at 09:59 AM (#5629426)
If the idea is to change the rules to appeal to a younger audience, just ban the protective cup. Other guys getting hit in the balls has always been widely popular with the younger set.


Where is the thread we had on how much money it would take to stand in front of a pitching machine and take one a few inches below the belly-button? That thread was a jewel.
   114. SoSH U at work Posted: February 23, 2018 at 10:16 AM (#5629437)
Where is the thread we had on how much money it would take to stand in front of a pitching machine and take one a few inches below the belly-button? That thread was a jewel.


That's the RJ signal.
   115. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: February 23, 2018 at 11:27 AM (#5629527)
Where is the thread we had on how much money it would take to stand in front of a pitching machine and take one a few inches below the belly-button?


http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/newsstand/discussion/man_hit_in_groin_at_batting_cage_awarded_12_million/

Wow. Nearly ten years ago.

I'm proud of my contribution to that thread.
   116. Rally Posted: February 23, 2018 at 11:45 AM (#5629547)
I only made one comment in that thread, which doesn't speak well for my ability to predict the financial markets. Without checking, the ratio of gold to dollars is in the same ballpark as it was 10 years ago.

At the time of the thread I had one child, now I have two. I'm glad I did not express unconditional willingness to sign up for the 1.2 million.

Glad Craig Calcaterra (#29) found his escape from the law profession. Though I think he has been divorced since then. And still bald.
   117. Hysterical & Useless Posted: February 23, 2018 at 11:50 AM (#5629553)
I remember that thread, though I didn't add anything to it. Because all I would've said is that there is quite literally no amount of money which would induce me to take a fastball to the groin. Money is only money. Pain hurts far more than money salves. And potentially going through the rest of my life without testicles is something I prefer not to contemplate.

Oh, and the various rule changes proposed in this thread are uniformly insane and reprehensible. Having read them, I am embarrassed on behalf of the various proposers. I will not shun them at any future meetings, but I will make quite certain never to be alone in a room with any of them.
   118. Booey Posted: February 23, 2018 at 11:53 AM (#5629555)
Oh, and the various rule changes proposed in this thread are uniformly insane and reprehensible. Having read them, I am embarrassed on behalf of the various proposers. I will not shun them at any future meetings, but I will make quite certain never to be alone in a room with any of them.


With a few of the suggestions, I'm wondering if the posters even like baseball. They're flat out calling for a different game.
   119. SoSH U at work Posted: February 23, 2018 at 11:59 AM (#5629562)
With a few of the suggestions, I'm wondering if the posters even like baseball. They're flat out calling for a different game.


While I would try other, less earth-shaking changes first, I believe reducing the distance between the paths (perhaps combined with larger parks) may be the only effective way to truly move away from the all or nothing approach to batting. Some other suggestions would make homers harder to hit, but wouldn't make contact more valuable, which is an essential part of the equation.
   120. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: February 23, 2018 at 12:09 PM (#5629573)
What is the most radical rule change you can devise that isn't completely stupid?


I want to take soccer's "three subs" rule and apply it to baseball. A manager has 6 subs per game. They can be pinch hitters, pinch runners, defensive replacements, or relief pitchers. But he has six of them, and when he's used them in whatever combination he chooses, that's it. The remainder of the game, barring injury he plays with who's on field. In the event of an injury, an extra sub can be made, but the injury subbed out player would not be available for the next three games played. In the event of extra innings, each manager gets one extra sub.
   121. Booey Posted: February 23, 2018 at 12:10 PM (#5629574)
While I would try other, less earth-shaking changes first, I believe reducing the distance between the paths (perhaps combined with larger parks) may be the only effective way to truly move away from the all or nothing approach to batting. Some other suggestions would make homers harder to hit, but wouldn't make contact more valuable, which is an essential part of the equation.


I would be willing to give this one a shot. The low batting averages and lack of balls in play is one of my biggest gripes with the current game. And I don't personally think that base path distances are one of the defining features of the sport that should be set in stone (like 4 balls and 3 strikes, or batting through your entire lineup rather than choosing who gets to hit). The mound has been raised and lowered. HR fences are moved in and out all the time. The resiliency of the ball fluctuates from era to era. This doesn't seem that much different than those types of changes, IMO.

Your suggestion wasn't one of the ones that I thought was loony tunes. ;-)
   122. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: February 23, 2018 at 12:42 PM (#5629596)
I want to take soccer's "three subs" rule and apply it to baseball. A manager has 6 subs per game. They can be pinch hitters, pinch runners, defensive replacements, or relief pitchers. But he has six of them, and when he's used them in whatever combination he chooses, that's it. The remainder of the game, barring injury he plays with who's on field. In the event of an injury, an extra sub can be made, but the injury subbed out player would not be available for the next three games played. In the event of extra innings, each manager gets one extra sub.

You know what, I think this would be great. It would solve an awful lot of problems. I would say that once you've used all six subs and a player gets hurt, too bad, though. You play with one fewer player. Don't want that to happen? Be careful with your subs.
   123. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: February 23, 2018 at 01:36 PM (#5629652)
Here's a winning 25 man roster:

Batter: Joey Votto


Don't you think Votto would get a little fatigued batting 35-40 times a game?
   124. Rally Posted: February 23, 2018 at 01:49 PM (#5629675)
Don't you think Votto would get a little fatigued batting 35-40 times a game?


Good question, but he doesn't have to run the bases or play in the field so that should help a bit. Think of it as a marathon BP session. 35-40 is a serious underestimate though. He's going to make 27 outs. If he puts up a .470 OBP that's 24 times on base in 51 PA. Maybe 2-4 outs on base or double plays, so 45-50 times per game.

Here's a weakness with the plan though: the next best hitter on that roster is probably Gyorko or Crawford. Votto gets hurt, there goes the offense. Kind of like playing the Cavaliers with or without Lebron James in the lineup.
   125. Jarrod HypnerotomachiaPoliphili (TeddyF.Ballgame) Posted: February 23, 2018 at 02:24 PM (#5629713)
I've always wanted to see what would happen if there were no outfield walls. McGwire hits a moon shot 530 feet? Great, let's see if Mike Cameron can track it down. Even if it lands, is Big Mac fast enough to make it all the way home? Ichiro hits a gapper? Great, another home run, of the kind we used to call an inside-the-parker.

To get more radical, hit it far enough and try to go for five or six bases if you can. Crossing home plate counts as a run only if you declare it; stay on base for another go-round and get two runs the second time you reach home or risk getting nothing by getting caught before the second score.
   126. manchestermets Posted: February 23, 2018 at 02:30 PM (#5629715)
Don't you think Votto would get a little fatigued batting 35-40 times a game?



Good question, but he doesn't have to run the bases or play in the field so that should help a bit.


Does he have to run to first, or is there a designated runner on a line parallel to the first base line?



I want to take soccer's "three subs" rule and apply it to baseball. A manager has 6 subs per game. They can be pinch hitters, pinch runners, defensive replacements, or relief pitchers. But he has six of them, and when he's used them in whatever combination he chooses, that's it. The remainder of the game, barring injury he plays with who's on field. In the event of an injury, an extra sub can be made, but the injury subbed out player would not be available for the next three games played. In the event of extra innings, each manager gets one extra sub.


You know what, I think this would be great. It would solve an awful lot of problems. I would say that once you've used all six subs and a player gets hurt, too bad, though. You play with one fewer player. Don't want that to happen? Be careful with your subs.


Also, ejected players can't be replaced.
   127. Howie Menckel Posted: February 23, 2018 at 02:39 PM (#5629719)
The latest Mensa Bulletin has new rules suggestions for many sports.

for baseball:

- if you charge the mound, you are ejected AND the team is charged with an out

- enlarge the strike zone to the "old style" - and a walk is on Ball 3, not 4

- mostly automate the game using video cameras and computers to make decisions

- more rewards for division winners, such as giving that team a 1-0 lead as playoff game 1 begins

- 3 outs in the 1st inning, then 4 outs for the "other" 6 innings, so 27 outs still
   128. bunyon Posted: February 23, 2018 at 02:51 PM (#5629722)
- enlarge the strike zone to the "old style"

Objectively, this is the easiest to do and would have the same basic effect as some of the other suggestions. In the near term it would increase strikeouts which is negative but decrease walks which is positive. It should lower pitch counts a little. Eventually, teams and batters would adjust and go back to a more contact oriented game.

I don't think baseball needs HUGE changes. A couple of tweaks here and there would be really nice.

And, like I say, the sport is doing fine. They only have a demographic crisis coming in the event that the new old people 20 years from now don't see their interests change. I don't think any group has ever had that happen. And, if it is going to happen, there really isn't any form of "traditional" entertainment that will escape the collapse.
   129. bunyon Posted: February 23, 2018 at 02:52 PM (#5629723)
I also like the idea to not have fences. Oakland should have tried this. Instead of tarping off the upper deck, just eliminate the OF seats and make it open. (Okay, not as easy as the tarp is).
   130. Tom Nawrocki Posted: February 23, 2018 at 02:58 PM (#5629727)
We have our answer: Every team's balls will be humidored.
   131. I Am Merely a Fake Lawyer Posted: February 23, 2018 at 03:06 PM (#5629732)
3) the NHL, which although I don't follow and sadly can not name 5 active players at the moment, and I genuinely think has the most exciting playoffs of any sport, has it's stars on the ice for (a guess only) 35% of the game?


In the playoffs, forwards about 22 of 60 minutes, defensemen about 28. The league has kept time on ice numbers, including on the power play and PK, for every game since 1997-98.
   132. Ziggy's screen name Posted: February 23, 2018 at 03:38 PM (#5629755)
In a way this is the idea of the DH taken to the extreme.


I knew there was a reason that I didn't like it.
   133. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: February 23, 2018 at 03:57 PM (#5629766)
In addition to providing a strategic hand brake to the on-going LaRussafication of bullpens, the six subs rule would subtly revaluate second and third tier players around the league. The Trouts and Harpers would still be high demand superstars, but players like Omar Infante who can cover multiple positions, pitchers who can go multiple relief innings, athletic pitchers who can fake a corner OF slot or pinch run, and Christian Bethancourt types who can spot relieve occasionally would be more useful.
   134. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: February 23, 2018 at 04:41 PM (#5629794)
Here's a weakness with the plan though: the next best hitter on that roster is probably Gyorko or Crawford. Votto gets hurt, there goes the offense. Kind of like playing the Cavaliers with or without Lebron James in the lineup.


That's why you hedge your bets and put someone like Arenado or Machado at 3B.
   135. Zach Posted: February 23, 2018 at 06:38 PM (#5629852)
We have our answer: Every team's balls will be humidored.

This was going to be my suggestion for most radical change that wouldn't be fundamentally crazy. Really bear down on the coefficient of restitution for the balls and hope for more balls in play.
   136. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: February 23, 2018 at 08:05 PM (#5629878)
I also like the idea to not have fences. Oakland should have tried this. Instead of tarping off the upper deck, just eliminate the OF seats and make it open. (Okay, not as easy as the tarp is).

You should like Frankie Frisch's description of a 1931 doubleheader at Sportman's Park in St. Louis, which drew a crowd of 45,713 at a time when the nominal seating capacity was roughly 30,000. This is from Frisch's memoir, The Fordham Flash:

The mob broke up the Cubs' infield practice, moving in front of the infielders to grab ground balls and run away with them. It was a hot, sultry day, with a threat of rain, and with that rich box office bonanza in danger, [Cardinals' owner Sam] Breadon marshaled help from the office and from the dugout to push back the crowd so the doubleheader could be started.

It was a joke. When they pushed back the center field section of the crowd, the mob bulged out behind first and third base. When they tried to push the ends, the middle bulged toward second base. Fans in foul territory blocked both dugouts and also the view of the box seat customers, who had to stand up to see the players on the field. Spectators in fair territory were only about 70 feet beyond first base, perhaps 100 feet behind third, and not more than 150 feet behind second....

Conditions were worse in the second game, which we won by the ridiculous score of 17 to 13. There were 32 doubles hit in the doubleheader, a record 23 of them in the second game. Not more than 5 or 6 of them were legitimate two-baggers.

During the intermission between games the crowd milled around curiously, surrounding the pitcher and his catcher warming up. By this time the sun was bearing down. It was red hot and the crowd tried to move from the sunny right field locations to shadier spots on the left field or third base side. Most of the mob, as the second game was played, was bunched behind third base, not more than 50 or 75 feet behind the second baseman, and that's where most of the pop flies dropped for doubles.

Fans even climbed to the dusty pavilion roof and many stood on top of the grandstand wall behind home plate. It's a wonder foul balls didn't kill somebody, but remarkably nobody got hurt.

Now that's my idea of a day at the ballpark!
   137. RMc Has Bizarre Ideas to Fix Baseball Posted: February 23, 2018 at 08:34 PM (#5629884)
This reminds me of something:

April 3, 1974
The formation of the World Baseball Association is formally announced at a news conference in Washington, DC. Franchises have already been awarded to Columbus, Jersey City, Birmingham, Memphis, Tampa-St. Petersburg, Washington (DC), and Mexico City.

Play is to begin in late January of 1975. (...)

Rule changes will include the use of 5 designated hitters to replace defensive players who will remain in the game, the use of one designated runner per game, the pitcher will be required to throw a pitch within 20 seconds, 3 balls instead of 4 for a walk, and stealing home after the sixth inning will count 2 runs.


The WBA (which never played, of course) was founded by Morton Downey, Jr. Yes, that guy, the future loud-mouth talk-show host.
   138. Tony S Posted: February 24, 2018 at 09:41 AM (#5629959)
I realize this is (largely) not a serious thread, but I just don't get the mindset that baseball needs the "adjustment" of giving the big stars greater leverage in game outcomes. Part of baseball's appeal is that game impacts are decentralized enough that teams can (and do) win championships without dominant superstars. Any move towards NBA-style determinism (you either have a big superstar, in which case you're a title contender, or you don't, in which case you aren't) would be seriously detrimental to the game and pretty much destroy interest in the markets that can't afford the marquee players.
   139. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: February 24, 2018 at 11:03 AM (#5629975)
I realize this is (largely) not a serious thread, but I just don't get the mindset that baseball needs the "adjustment" of giving the big stars greater leverage in game outcomes. Part of baseball's appeal is that game impacts are decentralized enough that teams can (and do) win championships without dominant superstars. Any move towards NBA-style determinism (you either have a big superstar, in which case you're a title contender, or you don't, in which case you aren't) would be seriously detrimental to the game and pretty much destroy interest in the markets that can't afford the marquee players.

It's the same mindset that introduced Poochie into Itchy and Scratchy, minus the conscious parody part.
   140. Morty Causa Posted: February 24, 2018 at 11:33 AM (#5629978)
Once there were only a few hitters who adopted the strategy and tactics of philosopher-king Ted Williams (and Ruth before him even). Now, it's almost all hitters on a team. The pace and length of games have its origins in the coming of power. Unless it is addressed, and it won't be, we get more and more complicated, Rube Goldberg-like proposals to get around that elephant in the living room.
   141. Sunday silence Posted: February 24, 2018 at 08:03 PM (#5630088)
- enlarge the strike zone to the "old style"

Objectively, this is the easiest to do and would have the same basic effect as some of the other suggestions. In the near term it would increase strikeouts which is negative but decrease walks which is positive. It should lower pitch counts a little. Eventually, teams and batters would adjust and go back to a more contact oriented game.



How do you justify this? Strikeouts are going through the roof and your solution is MORE STRIKE OUTS. THat makes no sense. And why in the "near term"? What factors are going to stop this? Everyone is through 95+ and now they have a bigger strike zone. So ba. goes down, so does HRs...

The simplest sol'n is this:

1. Lower the mound. 2. Deaden the ball

This will slow down pitching speeds and lower KOs.
Deading the ball will prevent the HR increase which comes from lower pitch speeds.

You wont be messing with any fundamental rules which I think preserves some semblance of the old records.

Also both of these changes have been made in the past; which sort of justifies why you arent messing with old rules. Mounds have changed and the ball has changed and players adapt, you cant say this makes the records different because these issues have always existed.

Also more balls in play, so the HR wont dominate the game. etc.
   142. BDC Posted: February 24, 2018 at 10:04 PM (#5630102)
Part of baseball's appeal is that game impacts are decentralized enough that teams can (and do) win championships without dominant superstars. Any move towards NBA-style determinism (you either have a big superstar, in which case you're a title contender, or you don't, in which case you aren't) would be seriously detrimental

I agree, although one thing I miss about the baseball I grew up with from the '60s through the '80s is the reduction of ace starters to six-inning pitchers. As late as 1988 there were 32 ERA-title-qualified pitchers in the majors who threw seven or more innings per start. In 2017 there was one (Corey Kluber).

More and more, watching visiting bullpens is (for all but the most intense fans) like watching NFL defenses. They're just random guys wearing the other laundry.
   143. Morty Causa Posted: February 25, 2018 at 07:37 AM (#5630131)
How many more pitchers do teams now carry than in erstwhile halcyon days of yore when the games were played more briskly? And why the change?
   144. Tony S Posted: February 25, 2018 at 08:19 AM (#5630136)
I agree, although one thing I miss about the baseball I grew up with from the '60s through the '80s is the reduction of ace starters to six-inning pitchers. As late as 1988 there were 32 ERA-title-qualified pitchers in the majors who threw seven or more innings per start. In 2017 there was one (Corey Kluber).

More and more, watching visiting bullpens is (for all but the most intense fans) like watching NFL defenses. They're just random guys wearing the other laundry.


Very true, and I miss that too. But even having a great lights-out starting pitcher back then was no guarantee of contention, nor did lacking one prevent one from winning (the Big Red Machine). There are many different ways to put together a championship roster in baseball, and that's a virtue worth preserving.

Couldn't agree more about the bloated bullpens, though, and to this day I really don't quite get it. It's MUCH easier to control matchups from the offensive end, and are pitchers really getting hurt less often than they did in the 1970s?

   145. bunyon Posted: February 25, 2018 at 09:48 AM (#5630157)
enlarge the strike zone to the "old style"

Objectively, this is the easiest to do and would have the same basic effect as some of the other suggestions. In the near term it would increase strikeouts which is negative but decrease walks which is positive. It should lower pitch counts a little. Eventually, teams and batters would adjust and go back to a more contact oriented game.



How do you justify this?


Why do I (or anyone) have to justify calling the rulebook strikezone?

As for deadening the ball, by all means, do so. Batters should be encouraged to swing the bat. A dead ball and rule book zone would do that. Lowering the mound would be fine. But we don't see a reduction in K (or BB) unless batters have incentive to swing. I don't see how you provide such incentive that doesn't increase K if batters keep trying to play the way they're playing.

As others have said, fundamentally the problem is that every batter better understands how to be effective today than they used to. A strikeout is no worse than any other out. If batters understand that fact, we're going to see a lot of strikeouts because being selective becomes the best option. However, if they know they might strikeout on three pitches that aren't hittable with power, they will start looking to make contact instead of hit homers. Right now, with the zone called by most umps, that isn't going to happen.
   146. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: February 25, 2018 at 11:14 AM (#5630174)
You should like Frankie Frisch's description of a 1931 doubleheader at Sportman's Park in St. Louis, which drew a crowd of 45,713 at a time when the nominal seating capacity was roughly 30,000
True story: Every player who participated in that doubleheader, and 2/3 of the fans, are now in the Hall of Fame.
   147. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: February 25, 2018 at 01:39 PM (#5630225)
Why do I (or anyone) have to justify calling the rulebook strikezone?


I think he was trying to ask why you think it would help, and just worded it a bit weirdly. Like he said, a big part of the problem is too many strikeouts and your solution is more strikeouts. The adjustment you think hitters will make will take some time, and the interim could wind up being very very ugly.
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