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Monday, April 07, 2014

Team exec thinks shortening games to seven innings is what baseball needs

Better idea: How about we actually enforce the rule where it’s automatically a ball if the pitcher hasn’t thrown it in whatever-amount-of-time-it-is?

Gamingboy Posted: April 07, 2014 at 04:19 PM | 79 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: mlb

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   1. alkeiper Posted: April 07, 2014 at 04:38 PM (#4681315)
Obviously it'll never fly, but it's not the worst idea. In the minor leagues you often get doubleheaders that consist of two seven-inning games. It doesn't sap my enjoyment in the slightest.
   2. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: April 07, 2014 at 04:51 PM (#4681335)
Fine, then let's reinstitute single admission price Major League doubleheaders while we're at it. I'm sure the owners would love that.
   3. The District Attorney Posted: April 07, 2014 at 04:52 PM (#4681337)
Well, it takes all kinds. A team can benefit from having unique, unusual perspectives present in its decision-making process.

Having said that, clearly this person should be shot into the sun.
   4. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 07, 2014 at 04:55 PM (#4681342)
Also keep a running clock. And let players tackle each other. And replace them with football players. And replace the baseball with a football, and replace kids in the stands with cheerleaders.
   5. nick swisher hygiene Posted: April 07, 2014 at 04:56 PM (#4681344)
#1 well, I dunno: we have a 60-post thread going right now in which literally every suggestion is better!
   6. DL from MN Posted: April 07, 2014 at 04:57 PM (#4681346)
Are they reducing ticket prices 25% too? If so, I'm on board.
   7. I am the Can Posted: April 07, 2014 at 04:59 PM (#4681350)
I've got it, I've got it: let's keep it nine innings, but play it on two diamonds simultaneously. On one diamond, one team is always playing defense, and on the other, it's always batting. So when a fielder's at-bat comes up on the other diamond, he has to sprint away from his position over to the batter's box on the other field. Man would that speed things up.

Oh, and pools of glowing lava. Because, well, lava.
   8. Hang down your head, Tom Foley Posted: April 07, 2014 at 05:00 PM (#4681352)
Seven innings instead of nine would mean the games would finish closer to two-and-a-half hours than three hours or longer. That would be a better fit for the common attention span in 2014.
I don't watch anything on YouTube if it's more than three minutes. Let's just shorten the game to one hitter.
   9. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 07, 2014 at 05:03 PM (#4681355)
I don't watch anything on YouTube if it's more than three minutes. Let's just shorten the game to one hitter.


That's a pre-Vine mentality.
   10. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: April 07, 2014 at 05:06 PM (#4681358)
#7. Some guy in Florida already proposed a version of baseball where both teams have their pitchers and fielders on the diamond simultaneously -- it uses a modified field with two mounds and 8 bases -- there was a thread about it a couple of years ago.
   11. ursus arctos Posted: April 07, 2014 at 05:06 PM (#4681361)
Chances this executive's team has a lousy bullpen?
   12. DL from MN Posted: April 07, 2014 at 05:08 PM (#4681363)
I think Vine exists because Youtube can never load a video longer than 4 seconds without 10 minutes of lag.
   13. AndrewJ Posted: April 07, 2014 at 05:10 PM (#4681366)
I've got it, I've got it: let's keep it nine innings, but play it on two diamonds simultaneously. On one diamond, one team is always playing defense, and on the other, it's always batting. So when a fielder's at-bat comes up on the other diamond, he has to sprint away from his position over to the batter's box on the other field. Man would that speed things up.

Oh, and pools of glowing lava. Because, well, lava.


And whenever Poochie's not on screen, all the other characters should be asking "Where's Poochie?"
   14. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: April 07, 2014 at 05:17 PM (#4681373)
There are better ideas to accomplish the same objective, like outlawing mid-inning pitching changes.
   15. Fernigal McGunnigle has become a merry hat Posted: April 07, 2014 at 05:21 PM (#4681378)
Play 7 inning games with a limit to the number of pitchers on the roster. We'll define a pitcher as a guy whose on the mound for more than half of his appearances, so if you want to go over the limit you either find a Brooks Kieschnick or let your middle relievers spend a lot of time pinch running.

Teams could do a lot of interesting things with the pitching -- maybe a 4 man rotation with a 5 IP limit, or more experimenting with a double rotation of 3-inning pitchers plus a closer and a long man. A team with two stud starters in the rotation could assume that they're going to give you 7 most times through (7 IP * 35 starts is 245 IP), then play mix-and-match with relievers for the other days. All sorts of possibilities.

I'd prefer that they keep it the way it is in MLB, but this would be a really fun mod for a computer game.
   16. cardsfanboy Posted: April 07, 2014 at 05:30 PM (#4681391)
Chances this executive's team has a lousy bullpen?


If he thinks so after 1 week in the season, then he is pretty new to baseball. A teams bullpen is probably the most volatile thing in the game. Outside of maybe the Braves, it seems that there is very few teams that have consistent quality out of their pen year to year.
   17. cardsfanboy Posted: April 07, 2014 at 05:33 PM (#4681399)
There are better ideas to accomplish the same objective, like outlawing mid-inning pitching changes.


That adds 3 minutes to the game? You might get 2 of them on average in a game...I really think people over blow the amount of time this would save. As mentioned it's the accumulation of wasted time that is the problem. 250 pitches roughly in a game, work at saving 5 seconds per pitch on average and you save 20 minute per game, 3 seconds saved per pitch is 12+ minutes saved.

   18. madvillain Posted: April 07, 2014 at 05:33 PM (#4681400)
In the minor leagues you often get doubleheaders that consist of two seven-inning games.


I played DIII and every saturday we'd have two 7 inning double headers. For away games, that usually meant on the bus by 8am, to the field by 10am, bp at 10:30, infield at 11, first game at 11:30 and then back home by 7pm.

That was really awesome as a 18-22 year old, lemme tell you. There were weekends where we'd play Friday/Saturday/Monday because of how short the season (good weather) was.

tl:dr: don't play DIII sports unless you really freaking love playing.
   19. The Yankee Clapper Posted: April 07, 2014 at 05:42 PM (#4681410)
What's the rush? Baseball is fine the way it is - all of MLB is awash in dough, despite all the crap about pace of the game. Some idiot thinks people will pay the same for 22% less baseball? Not happening.
   20. Monty Predicts a Padres-Mariners WS in 2016 Posted: April 07, 2014 at 05:42 PM (#4681411)
That would be a better fit for the common attention span in 2014.


That hardly seems fair. Games are longer in 2014 than they were in 1960, and attendance is up. There seem to be a lot more three-hour movies now, too.
   21. Hang down your head, Tom Foley Posted: April 07, 2014 at 05:46 PM (#4681413)
I played DIII and every saturday we'd have two 7 inning double headers.
So 28 innings?
   22. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: April 07, 2014 at 05:51 PM (#4681416)
A teams bullpen is probably the most volatile thing in the game.

And that's exactly why you don't want such a bullpen-dependent game. Invokes too much randomness and pure luck to the matter. I don't want pennants to turn on which organization happens to get luckier with a fungible group of 6 guys, most of whom no one knows or cares about and most of whom have no history with the team and are just passing through.

I want the sport to revert back to dependent on starting pitchers and one or two relievers, with the rest of the staff pitching when the game isn't really on the line. The sport was not intended to have five and six pitchers work a typical nine-inning 4-3 or 3-2 game as happens todya.
   23. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: April 07, 2014 at 05:52 PM (#4681420)
Games are longer in 2014 than they were in 1960, and attendance is up.

Not really for baseball qua baseball, but more for the Mallpark Experience. Plus today's "attendance" figures measure tickets sold, not people actually at the game.
   24. cardsfanboy Posted: April 07, 2014 at 05:56 PM (#4681426)
Not really for baseball qua baseball, but more for the Mallpark Experience.


That is the biggest crock of crap ever uttered in the history of old fogeyism's.. NOBODY cares about the "mallpark" experience. They go to the games for the sport, the mallpark experiences helps with the kiddos who want to leave after 5 innings (in any event) but nobody cares about the mallpark.

There has never been a person in the history of human kind who has said "lets pay $60 to go to the stadium to hang out."
   25. dr. scott Posted: April 07, 2014 at 06:01 PM (#4681432)
what your team doesn't give out 3 year 6million per contracts to middle relievers? They must be doing it wrong...
   26. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: April 07, 2014 at 06:15 PM (#4681439)
That is the biggest crock of crap ever uttered in the history of old fogeyism's.. NOBODY cares about the "mallpark" experience. They go to the games for the sport, the mallpark experiences helps with the kiddos who want to leave after 5 innings (in any event) but nobody cares about the mallpark.

There has never been a person in the history of human kind who has said "lets pay $60 to go to the stadium to hang out."


You're looking at it through the eyes of a St. Louisian.

The sport is nowhere near as popular almost everywhere else as it is in St. Louis.
   27. JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: April 07, 2014 at 06:15 PM (#4681441)
I am shocked (shocked!) that the team executive who came up with this brilliant idea spoke on condition of anonymity.
   28. DL from MN Posted: April 07, 2014 at 06:18 PM (#4681444)
There has never been a person in the history of human kind who has said "lets pay $60 to go to the stadium to hang out."


Never met a Cubs fan?
   29. Monty Predicts a Padres-Mariners WS in 2016 Posted: April 07, 2014 at 06:23 PM (#4681448)
The sport is nowhere near as popular almost everywhere else as it is in St. Louis.


For reference, the Dodgers are the runaway attendance leaders, and the Cardinals are second. There are six teams within 10% of the Cardinals, which seems like a fair definition of "near as popular".

The lowest 2013 attendance-per-game would be seventh-best in 1960. The lowest 1960 attendance-per-game is less than half the lowest 2013 attendance-per-game.
   30. cardsfanboy Posted: April 07, 2014 at 06:26 PM (#4681454)

Never met a Cubs fan?


Considering that Wrigley field is the farthest thing from a mallpark, it really doesn't help the comment from the addled minded old fogey senior citizen about mallparks.

You are talking about the experience of being at a game.

You're looking at it through the eyes of a St. Louisian.

The sport is nowhere near as popular almost everywhere else as it is in St. Louis.


I'm sorry, but no. People don't go out and spend a ton of money on tickets, just to go shopping at an overpriced bar, and souvenir shops. The old fogeyism is a ridiculous concept. People go to the game for the game. They stick around and maybe spend more money because of the side crap, but it's not a draw. It's a way of keeping people with flightier attention spans.
   31. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: April 07, 2014 at 06:38 PM (#4681463)
The lowest 2013 attendance-per-game would be seventh-best in 1960. The lowest 1960 attendance-per-game is less than half the lowest 2013 attendance-per-game.

Mallparks. Tickets sold.

People don't go out and spend a ton of money on tickets, just to go shopping at an overpriced bar, and souvenir shops.

Yes they do, by the millions in each baseball season.

(You don't shop at overpriced bars; you party and mingle with the opposite sex. Or have overpriced cocktails with other non-interested showoffs.)

Look at the moat seats in Yankee Stadium; they're a quarter full every single game. Everyone else either didn't show up, or is in a bar, or roaming around. And those tickets are way more than $60.
   32. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: April 07, 2014 at 06:40 PM (#4681464)
Considering that Wrigley field is the farthest thing from a mallpark, it really doesn't help the comment from the addled minded old fogey senior citizen about mallparks.

It kind of is a mallpark, except that the mall is technically outside the grounds of the baseball stadium. The owner would kill to change that.

Hundreds of thousands of people go to Wrigley each summer for the spectacle and the party.

Wrigley's an exception anyway, like Fenway. Historical gems.
   33. cardsfanboy Posted: April 07, 2014 at 06:46 PM (#4681471)
just old fogey wish casting. Even if half the people were showing up for the mallpark, the remaining half would would still be more people going to games than in the past. The silly concept that the old days had nearly as popular raw numbers as today is just uneducated. Percentage of fans have gone done, raw numbers have gone up.
   34. Swedish Chef Posted: April 07, 2014 at 06:49 PM (#4681473)
Everyone else either didn't show up, or is in a bar, or roaming around. And those tickets are way more than $60.

You have no idea how much complimentary booze one must drink to get value for money out of a $500 ticket.
   35. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: April 07, 2014 at 06:58 PM (#4681478)
At least no one would lament the fact that complete games are no longer normal!
Baseball is awesome just how it is. I like the pedestrian pace of it. It lends itself to a level of civility that few sports reach. But then again I like test cricket and that can take up to 5 days. I like the gamesmanship that occurs between pitches. The batter and pitcher squaring off in a dual of unspoken wits and stare downs. The trash talking that that is so prevalent in other sports is a boorish approach compared to the silent dual that occurs between pitcher and batsman. Sure I realise the catcher is most likely chattering away like a 6 year old in a candy store, but the pitcher and batter don't say anything to each other whilst pitcher stares a few extra seconds at the sign or the batsman steps one foot out of the box and casts a slightly longer then required look down the left field line towards the base couch.
I love it. I love every minute of it. I love the tension it builds. I love that silly face that Pedroia pulls or the Papi 32 second HR trot. I love when a pitcher stares a good several seconds at the signs on a 3-2 count with runners on the corners in a tie game in the late innings.
It's all good.
   36. Pat Rapper's Delight Posted: April 07, 2014 at 07:02 PM (#4681480)
NOBODY cares about the "mallpark" experience.

Isn't the "experience" the driving force behind Jerry Jones's Party Passes for Cowboys games? Well, that and his pure unvarnished naked greed?

Sell admission to the stadium for $30 on game days to get in, but you don't have a seat and -- from what I understand -- no view of the field and not much view of the JerryTron.

I don't know how well they sell, but I'm sure it's a non-zero number. Of course, NFL games are more of an "event" than MLB ones.
   37. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: April 07, 2014 at 07:15 PM (#4681484)
Regional sports networks are going to want to renegotiate those broadcasting fees if games are reduced 2 innings. And it would suck for stadiums to stop serving beer after the bottom of the 4th inning.

Between loss of media and concession revenues, it would never happen.

Also, aside from beat writers and the occasional parent who takes a toddler to a ballpark, who exactly is clamoring for shorter games?
   38. Monty Predicts a Padres-Mariners WS in 2016 Posted: April 07, 2014 at 07:17 PM (#4681487)
Mallparks. Tickets sold.


Evidence. Actual numbers. Support for claims.
   39. I am the Can Posted: April 07, 2014 at 07:25 PM (#4681492)
People don't go out and spend a ton of money on tickets, just to go shopping at an overpriced bar, and souvenir shopsSomeone has got to care about the "mallpark" experience.


At the expense of getting committed to a retirement facility, you haven't been to a Mets game recently, I take it.

I had been boycotting Citi Field since the first year the Mets were there because I was arrested for trying to give away a ticket on stadium grounds, which we commonly did at Shea. I went back there last summer and sat in the left-field upper deck. The view was so obstructed that only the right-fielder was visible (as long as he didn't have to make a play in right-center); only about 15 feet behind 3rd base was in view, and most of center field was obscured, too - it would be impossible to see the left fielder on any play, and the center fielder only if he was playing shallow and made a hard charge. To fill in my scorecard (cause I'm one of those fogies) for any play made in right-center, center, or left, I had to watch the replays on the two advertisement-bedazzled jumbotrons, which are clearly visible from everywhere. And it's not just an anomaly in one part of the section - this obstructed view happens in all of left field unless you're in the first few rows. I preferred the loge seats at Shea, which were bad because you couldn't see the fly balls on the way out, but at least you could see where they ended up.

I don't want to try to draw too many grandiose points from this one particular, but I think a couple of things can be said for sure. For one, in this $850 million engineering project, there was a certain amount of planning and prioritizing. And, the actual game experience for those upper-deck left-field fans was definitely not one of those priorities.

New York is maybe not a great example to try to say something about all of baseball, though.
   40. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: April 07, 2014 at 07:31 PM (#4681497)
If they'd dramatically speed the game up, get it back to 2-2.5 hour game times--it's been done before and it can be done again--innings pitched by starters would likely rise (time of game and cooldown time between innings are significant fatigue factors).

The problem isn't how long the games are, it's the inactivity. A baseball game offers about an hour and a half's worth of action. That action was contained within two hours fifty years ago; now it's three hours and rising.
   41. KT's Pot Arb Posted: April 07, 2014 at 07:36 PM (#4681502)
Regional sports networks are going to want to renegotiate those broadcasting fees if games are reduced 2 innings. And it would suck for stadiums to stop serving beer after the bottom of the 4th inning


Not when the MLB uses the change to add another minute for commercials between innings.
   42. Rennie's Tenet Posted: April 07, 2014 at 08:06 PM (#4681519)
Look to the 2008 Series for your answer: play the first five innings one night, the last four the next night. Finish every night by 9 o'clock.
   43. BDC Posted: April 07, 2014 at 08:07 PM (#4681521)
There has never been a person in the history of human kind who has said "lets pay $60 to go to the stadium to hang out."

I was walking around in the Ballpark last Tuesday and passed the LF gate. A guy was coming in with his family, and literally as soon as he got through the turnstile he found an usher and asked, "Can you tell me where there's a good restaurant?" I felt like saying, anywhere in Arlington EXCEPT inside the ####### stadiums, but it's a losing cause.
   44. RMc's desperate, often sordid world Posted: April 07, 2014 at 09:08 PM (#4681543)
"Mallpark fans" don't count as real fans, dammit! Get off my Astroturf!
   45. Sunday silence Posted: April 07, 2014 at 10:42 PM (#4681583)
...because baseball needs more K/inning.
   46. puck Posted: April 07, 2014 at 11:21 PM (#4681598)
There has never been a person in the history of human kind who has said "lets pay $60 to go to the stadium to hang out."


The Rockies just tore out the all the upper deck* sections in RF and built a 38,000 sq foot two-story deck for these people.

(*They still have the smaller lower-upper deck sections.)
   47. LionoftheSenate (Brewers v A's World Series) Posted: April 08, 2014 at 12:41 AM (#4681626)
MLB Baseball sells more tickets than the NBA, NHL and NFL combined... And with fewer events as well. I think baseball is doing just fine.
   48. cardsfanboy Posted: April 08, 2014 at 12:53 AM (#4681628)

The Rockies just tore out the all the upper deck* sections in RF and built a 38,000 sq foot two-story deck for these people.


So people go to a baseball game and do more than just baseball? I don't see the problem. They are not going to the game to ignore baseball. The implication from the old farts is that mallpark fans don't count because they don't go there for baseball. It's an idiotic old fogeyism, in which people long for the days where beating your wife and kids was the norm, and negroes and women knew how to keep their place. I freaking hate old fogeyism. It's a stupid way to go through life with these rose colored glasses viewing the past in simplistic terms. It's fairly simple. There are more baseball fans today than there were in the past, there is a fewer percentage of baseball fans today than there were in the past(although that may not be so obvious as the percentage of women had to have gone up) but the argument that the attendance today isn't reflective of popularity of the sport relative to the past is just silly.
   49. bobm Posted: April 08, 2014 at 12:56 AM (#4681629)
The Rockies just tore out the all the upper deck* sections in RF and built a 38,000 sq foot two-story deck for these people.

Pretty neat: http://colorado.rockies.mlb.com/col/ballpark/the_rooftop.jsp
   50. TerpNats Posted: April 08, 2014 at 01:30 AM (#4681634)
Seven-inning games? If I wanted International League baseball, I'd move back to Syracuse.
   51. TerpNats Posted: April 08, 2014 at 01:38 AM (#4681635)
I'm guessing the Rox believed Coors was too big by 2014 standards and so created a party deck similar to what's beneath the scoreboard at Nationals Park. Voila! -- more revenue.

If Bill Veeck re-emerged today, he'd probably marvel at much of MLB's marketing, though he'd probably want to fine-tune some of the tackier approaches. Bill didn't "respect the game" so much as he respected the customer.
   52. Sunday silence Posted: April 08, 2014 at 02:15 AM (#4681639)
am I an old fogey if I want to keep my foreskin?
   53. I am the Can Posted: April 08, 2014 at 03:15 AM (#4681643)
It's an idiotic old fogeyism, in which people long for the days where beating your wife and kids was the norm, and negroes and women knew how to keep their place


Whoa: straw man much?

My complaint about the new parks, at least the ones here in New York, is not that there are people sitting in restaurants or buying other merchandise while they're at the game. Heck, I don't even mind that the new stadiums don't have a negro pen or offer women-and-kids leashes.

The game views in the new parks here in New York are worse than those in the old stadium: that is the sole basis of my complaint. And with close to $2.5 billion dumped into these engineering projects, it seems that everything was market-researched and that the actual experience of sitting in your seat and watching a baseball game was not a priority. The only completely unobstructed views in New Yankee Stadium are right behind home plate, and as I said above, if you're unfortunate enough to be sitting in the outfield upper deck at Citi Field, well you might as well forget that there is an outfield at all, because you won't be seeing any plays made there. Nobody liked the big Astroturf palaces of the 1960s and 70s, but they did one thing well: they provided big circles with gentle slopes to the seating tiers, so just about anyone could see just about everything.

Griffith Stadium had weird dimensions because the plot on which it was put was weirdly-shaped, and the Senators didn't have the money to buy up enough D.C. real estate for a better-shaped space. These modern nostalgia pieces create weird just for the sake of being retro, like "everything-is-a-nod-to-some-disjointed-piece-of-history" park in Houston. They put a f@&king; hill in the outfield, dude. And even this is fine. But if you're going to so carefully engineer a piece of nostalgia, and make sure that the facade in Yankee Stadium is exactly the same distance from the plate as it was when Mickey Mantle hit it, then engineer me a seat where I can see the damned center fielder make a play.

That's all. I don't long for a simpler past, and my objections aren't code for "geez I wish we were back in a time where baseball represented white male control." I agree with you - nostalgia-for-the-sake-of-nostalgia, or "old fogeyism" as you put it, absolutely sucks, and it sucks for the very reasons you say.

Grow the game, and grow it by any means necessary. Baseball is a business, and I'm a fan of baseball, so it's in my interest that the business does well. But if primary attention isn't given to fans who want to sit and enjoy every pitch and play of a game - like I do - then how can that possibly be good for the growth of the game into the future?
   54. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: April 08, 2014 at 07:36 AM (#4681657)
"Dear Mr. President, There are too many innings nowadays. Please eliminate two. P.S., I am not a crank."
   55. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: April 08, 2014 at 07:48 AM (#4681658)
There are better ideas to accomplish the same objective, like outlawing mid-inning pitching changes.

That adds 3 minutes to the game? You might get 2 of them on average in a game...I really think people over blow the amount of time this would save. As mentioned it's the accumulation of wasted time that is the problem. 250 pitches roughly in a game, work at saving 5 seconds per pitch on average and you save 20 minute per game, 3 seconds saved per pitch is 12+ minutes saved.
(1) Mid-inning pitching changes add more than 3 minutes.
(2) Mid-inning pitching changes cause the real problem, which is not game length, but game pace. They cause delays at precisely the worst times: key moments of games.
   56. bunyon Posted: April 08, 2014 at 07:49 AM (#4681659)
What baseball needs is as high a percentage working in the game who like baseball as the percentage of the general population is.
   57. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: April 08, 2014 at 08:56 AM (#4681679)
(2) Mid-inning pitching changes cause the real problem, which is not game length, but game pace. They cause delays at precisely the worst times: key moments of games.


I don't really understand it, but the final minutes of a close basketball game (that is, the only minutes that really matter; it seems like in the NBA no matter how far behind a team gets in the first three quarters, they always make it close in the fourth) invariably become free throw contests with constant timeouts in between, and it doesn't bother basketball fans.

Though I personally dislike constant interruptions in the action (and I can't get into watching basketball for precisely this reason), maybe I really am in the minority and most fans don't care.
   58. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 08, 2014 at 09:28 AM (#4681697)
So people go to a baseball game and do more than just baseball? I don't see the problem. They are not going to the game to ignore baseball.


Also, if you are ever at a game, the mallpark crowds constitute a very small part of the crowd. I'd say at any given point, at least 75% of the people at a baseball stadium are sitting watching the game.
   59. BDC Posted: April 08, 2014 at 09:31 AM (#4681703)
Mid-inning pitching changes cause the real problem, which is not game length, but game pace. They cause delays at precisely the worst times: key moments of games

True, and this points in a direction I was getting at in my old-fogey way in a different thread recently. In almost all cases, mid-inning pitching changes involve the large and anonymous expanses of bullpen personnel between the starter and the closer. I would venture that a minority even of Primates know and care about the "bridge" relievers of all 29 teams their team might face, let alone the guys who pitch when a club is losing. Hell, I find that there's always a reliever or two on the Rangers that I forgot they had, or that they only have for this week because somebody else I forgot is on the DL.

So these personnel changes are like the shuttlings in and out of defensive players at key NFL moments; but in the NFL you typically don't care because the defensive rotations are somewhat anonymous anyway. The problem is that baseball has never been about rooting for laundry. I want to see Dave Stewart in there with the game on the line, and if necessary Dennis Eckersley come in for the kill. Instead I get a procession of Abad, Doolittle, Gregersen, and Pomeranz. It's still baseball, and it's fun, but in terms of interesting matchups, it's an assembly line.

And you'll never get that nice grass if the kids walk all over it.
   60. BDC Posted: April 08, 2014 at 09:34 AM (#4681704)
On the mallpark elements: once I get to my cheap seat, my major complaints are the noise and the ADD between-innings entertainment, which manifests itself as noise. I like to make fun (see #43) of people who are actually attracted to overpriced schlock, but heck, America is an endless Lazy Susan of overpriced schlock. At least at a ballpark there's baseball somewhere in the middle. If the mallpark experience adds craft beer to the baseball, so much the better.
   61. nick swisher hygiene Posted: April 08, 2014 at 09:47 AM (#4681716)
59--I was ranting about the ascent of the faceless middle reliever on one of the other threads....I don't see why this would be so hard to combat. Who thinks roster sizes are fundamental to baseball's American essence?

The game right now has settled into an equilibrium where optimal managerial strategy produces a large amount of late inning tedium for fans. The game is meant to be enjoyed by fans. Why is the presumption that this equilibrium must be repected?
   62. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: April 08, 2014 at 09:57 AM (#4681726)
Who thinks roster sizes are fundamental to baseball's American essence?


I think roster sizes are difficult to change because of the MLBPA. They aren't going to give up slots so we are stuck with 25. I think what needs to happen is a very simple rule change; pitchers must face at least two batters or end an inning. It's not that radical but it gets rid of the miserable righty-pitchingchange-lefty-pitchingchange-righty sequences.
   63. Randy Jones Posted: April 08, 2014 at 10:02 AM (#4681730)
I think what needs to happen is a very simple rule change; pitchers must face at least two batters or end an inning. It's not that radical but it gets rid of the miserable righty-pitchingchange-lefty-pitchingchange-righty sequences.

All that will get you is either faked injuries or guys who feel forced to pitch while actually hurt.
   64. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: April 08, 2014 at 10:02 AM (#4681732)
I think that due to the nature of the modern game, modern deep bullpens are here to stay. I also would like to rid baseball of unnecessary mid-inning pitching changes, but that won't take the faceless middle relievers out of the game. Only extending innings per appearance for starters and relief aces will accomplish that, and I don't see a way to make that happen.

All that will get you is either faked injuries or guys who feel forced to pitch while actually hurt.


Not really. If you mandate a 15-day DL stint for any pitcher removed mid-inning before allowing a run chargeable to him, the team and pitcher won't be motivated to fake an injury, and the MLBPA will be watching like hawks to ensure teams don't make pitchers stay in when they're hurt. I don't think it would be a problem.
   65. Randy Jones Posted: April 08, 2014 at 10:08 AM (#4681738)
Not really. If you mandate a 15-day DL stint for any pitcher removed mid-inning before allowing a run chargeable to him, the team and pitcher won't be motivated to fake an injury, and the MLBPA will be watching like hawks to ensure teams don't make pitchers stay in when they're hurt. I don't think it would be a problem.

Pitcher who is not an established player gets a shot, throws one pitch, feels something in his arm/shoulder. He knows that if he gets taken out, he hits the 15-day DL and might not get another shot at establishing himself. He doesn't say anything because of this and continues to pitch, resulting in a major injury or maybe not. Either way, this would put the already most vulnerable players in an even weaker position and yes, it would absolutely encourage them to hide injuries.
   66. cardsfanboy Posted: April 08, 2014 at 10:12 AM (#4681741)
My complaint about the new parks, at least the ones here in New York, is not that there are people sitting in restaurants or buying other merchandise while they're at the game. Heck, I don't even mind that the new stadiums don't have a negro pen or offer women-and-kids leashes.


That wasn't the complaint I was hitting on. SBB was saying attendance numbers of today doesn't count, because people are going to the mallpark experience and not to watch baseball. That is such an old fart stupid ass argument. There is nobody who is paying $60-100 to get into a ballpark, during a game, who isn't watching the game to some extent. I pulled the strawman, because the strawman argument is equally as stupid as the mallpark argument.


Also, if you are ever at a game, the mallpark crowds constitute a very small part of the crowd. I'd say at any given point, at least 75% of the people at a baseball stadium are sitting watching the game.


Not according to old fogey SBB.. according to him over 50% of the fans are not for the game, while 100% of the fans of the 50's were there for the game....so the fans of the past outnumbered the fans of today. I know it's like talking politics and facts with a republican, you just can't get past their deep seated believe structure in their gut, no matter how much facts you present to the case.

Simple prior to 1985 only the Los Angeles Dodgers had a season with 3,000,000 in attendance, So he can argue all he wants, the fact is clear, that even then, a winning team in New York, or Chicago or Boston couldn't get the attendance numbers. Yankee stadium highest attendance prior to 1978 was 2.3mil, prior to 1998 was 2.5mil, from 1999 on it was over 3 mil and sometimes 4 mil. Yankee stadium didn't become a mallpark in that time, it was still basically the same stadium. (I do not know when the AL changed their official attendance from turnstile clicks to tickets sold, the NL did it either in 1992 or 1999, Al sometime before them----but even with that knowledge, we are talking about on average over twice the number of tickets sold in the 2000's than attendance in the 1950's/1960's and first half of the 1970's. )

   67. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: April 08, 2014 at 10:12 AM (#4681742)

I think roster sizes are difficult to change because of the MLBPA. They aren't going to give up slots so we are stuck with 25.


But 25 players isn't the problem -- the roster has been at that size for decades. Limit the number of pitchers on a roster and you free up space for more pinch hitters and pinch runners.
   68. cardsfanboy Posted: April 08, 2014 at 10:21 AM (#4681751)
(1) Mid-inning pitching changes add more than 3 minutes.

Literally grabbing the first example I could find... New York Yankees vs Baltimore yesterday, 5th inning Jimenez replaced by Britton.

Jimenez walks the guy at 1:59:06
manager comes out of the dugout at 1:59:11
Britton was ready to pitch at 2:01:43....

You can maybe add another 30 seconds if there is a meeting on the mound, but yes 3 minutes is how long most mid inning pitching changes take.

If you are finding that teams are taking noticeably longer than that, then maybe regulations on that aspect needs to be done, but complaining about mid-inning pitching changes isn't really complaining about 3 hour ball games. It has hardly any bearing on that.
   69. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: April 08, 2014 at 10:24 AM (#4681756)
I think he misunderstood your original 3 minutes assertion to be a total per game, rather than a per-change. I did also, the first time I read your post.

A mid-inning pitching change takes about two and a half minutes, and... well, citing an average per game isn't instructive, because there are more of them when the game is close. I don't know where data can be found on it, but I would guess that it's 1-2 in a game that isn't close, and 3-4 in a game that is.
   70. nick swisher hygiene Posted: April 08, 2014 at 10:30 AM (#4681761)
what about formalizing the "bullpen"? available arms = starter plus a pen of X active pitchers, announced at beginning of game.
one free bullpen add if the game goes to extras.
otherwise, you can bring in a position player or forfeit.

maybe also regulate bullpen changes to a limited number: max of X moves between games?

edit: point being that pen is smaller than mere roster sizes wd permit...
   71. cardsfanboy Posted: April 08, 2014 at 10:30 AM (#4681763)
Who thinks roster sizes are fundamental to baseball's American essence?


Roster size? ehh slightly standard, but it's the concept of telling people what positions they can have on the roster that is where you are going to meet the resistance. A manager has the right to make up his roster with anyone he wants, when the league starts instructing them on how the makeup has to be constituted then you are running into issues.

Heck I'm for a more radical interpretation of roster size...in that I would borrow from the NHL and make the roster 28 people, but with 3 healthy scratches before each series, so you still have 25 on game day, and 3 others who can be rotated in for the next series... I fully envision this means that two of those spots will be used up by starting pitchers who have just pitched and maybe someone with a day to day injury, or another way of implementing the concussion rules or maternity leave type of stuff.

Yet having said that, I find the concept of declaring pitching / hitting designations for a roster spot to be distasteful.
   72. cardsfanboy Posted: April 08, 2014 at 10:34 AM (#4681768)
I think he misunderstood your original 3 minutes assertion to be a total per game, rather than a per-change. I did also, the first time I read your post.

A mid-inning pitching change takes about two and a half minutes, and... well, citing an average per game isn't instructive, because there are more of them when the game is close. I don't know where data can be found on it, but I would guess that it's 1-2 in a game that isn't close, and 3-4 in a game that is.


4 changes in a game adds 12 minutes.... not really seeing the issue here that much. But heck I'll concede that it's the primary factor, but instead of going with something radical like restriction, how about changing the time it takes to put a reliever in.

Teams have one non-injury time out that they are to use for a mid inning pitching change, this means that they take the full 2 1/2 minutes to replace the guy, any other mid inning pitching change is limited to less than a minute and no more than 5 practice tosses (You have to allow some practice toss just to get a feel for the mound)

There problem fixed without having to reduce options for the manager.
   73. Random Transaction Generator Posted: April 08, 2014 at 10:36 AM (#4681774)
MLB Baseball sells more tickets than the NBA, NHL and NFL combined... And with fewer events as well. I think baseball is doing just fine.


An MLB team (162 games) has 18 less games per season than a same NBA(82)/NHL(82)/NFL(16) team combined.
The NBA and NHL have significantly smaller venues than the MLB (15,000-20,000, versus 35,000-50,000), and that accounts for 162 of the games that the two groups play. So MLB starts off with a HUGE advantage for ticket sales (162 * 20,000-30,000, so about 4,000,000)
The NFL have bigger venues than MLB (50,000 - 85,000), but only have 16 games to play, so their addition is about 480,000.

MLB starts with a pretty big advantage in terms of potential ticket sales (all those extra games in medium/large stadiums), so it's not surprising they sell more.
Even if they lagged a bit in ticket sales, they should be well ahead of the other three leagues combined.
   74. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 08, 2014 at 10:49 AM (#4681791)
Mid-inning pitching changes cause the real problem, which is not game length, but game pace. They cause delays at precisely the worst times: key moments of games


Football has more delays than anyone, but fans don't seem to mind primarily because at football stadiums they show tons of replays. Baseball has yet to do this because they don't want to show up umpires. But with the advent of instant replay, I think this will open the door to more replay on the video board, which will probably take care of the "delays in baseball" issue for the most part.
   75. cardsfanboy Posted: April 08, 2014 at 10:54 AM (#4681799)
Football has more delays than anyone, but fans don't seem to mind primarily because at football stadiums they show tons of replays. Baseball has yet to do this because they don't want to show up umpires. But with the advent of instant replay, I think this will open the door to more replay on the video board, which will probably take care of the "delays in baseball" issue for the most part.


One of the new rules for instant replay, is that the videoboard operators have been freed to show any replay they want. That was a surprising move by MLB in my opinion, because the argument I always heard was that they didn't show it, to prevent fan negativity towards the ump.
   76. Eddo Posted: April 08, 2014 at 11:07 AM (#4681824)
MLB Baseball sells more tickets than the NBA, NHL and NFL combined... And with fewer events as well. I think baseball is doing just fine.

Eyeballing Wikipedia for some capacity figures...

Average NFL stadium capacity: ~70,000; NFL games per year: 256.
Average NBA stadium capacity: ~20,000; NBA games per year: 1230.
Average NHL stadium capacity: ~20,000; NHL games per year: 1230.
Average MLB stadium capacity: ~45,000; MLB games per year: 2430.

Amount of available tickets for NFL + NBA + NHL: 67,120,000.
Amount of available tickets for MLB: 109,350,000.

The fact that MLB outsells the others combined: not all that impressive.

   77. Eddo Posted: April 08, 2014 at 11:10 AM (#4681829)
I don't really understand it, but the final minutes of a close basketball game (that is, the only minutes that really matter; it seems like in the NBA no matter how far behind a team gets in the first three quarters, they always make it close in the fourth) invariably become free throw contests with constant timeouts in between, and it doesn't bother basketball fans.

I'm not sure this is true; I think it does bother basketball fans (or, at least, the basketball equivalent of baseball fans who post here). There are plenty of suggestions thrown out with regards to endgame situations: teams should get fewer total timeouts; teams being fouled should have the option of re-inbounding the ball instead of shooting free throws; and so forth.
   78. BDC Posted: April 08, 2014 at 12:13 PM (#4681927)
videoboard operators have been freed to show any replay they want. That was a surprising move by MLB in my opinion, because the argument I always heard was that they didn't show it, to prevent fan negativity towards the ump

Surprising indeed, but refreshing. I guess one rationale is that if they can now get it right, people aren't going to be as incensed at seeing them initially get it wrong. I was surprised last Tuesday to see a challenged call replayed on the main videoboard. I like this development.
   79. Greasy Neale Heaton (Dan Lee) Posted: April 08, 2014 at 01:44 PM (#4682013)
Limit the number of pitchers on a roster and you free up space for more pinch hitters and pinch runners.
Or you end up with a bunch of guys like Micah Owings and Brooks Kieschnick getting major league jobs as "position players" and making 40-50 pitching appearances anyway.

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