Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Baseball Primer Newsblog > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Monday, March 27, 2017

THE B/R Q&A: ROB MANFRED WANTS MLB TO ‘OWN THE NEXT GENERATION’ OF SPORTS FANS

B/R: You’ve talked about the need to create more action, and certainly the numbers support your desire. In the 2016 regular season, a record 30.2 percent of all plate appearances failed to produce a fair ball, instead ending in a strikeout, walk or hit batter. How much are you alarmed by this and where does adjusting the strike zone up stand?


RM: It’s not about whether or not we should change the game. The game has changed. The question is, should we be more like other professional sports and more actively manage that change to produce the kind of product we want to have out there on the field. Me? I’m one for active management of that change. I think it’s really important for us to look at.

Strike zones, great example of it. Years ago, we thought when the strike zone was higher on the knee that the low pitch wasn’t getting called. We moved it to the hollow of the knee to try to get the umpires to call that. Interesting thing happens: Technology gets laid on top of that, our umpire force starts to turn over, they all get used to being evaluated and all of a sudden, they’re actually calling it where we told them to call it. You can’t blame the umpires on this. They’re doing exactly what we told them, and the technology told them that they were doing what we told them to do. The problem with that pitch is, it’s tough to hit. So the question becomes do you make an adjustment? And honestly, if we moved it from the hollow of the knee up to where it was before, I think modern civilization is going to survive.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 27, 2017 at 05:16 PM | 217 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: fans, international teams, pace of play, rob manfred

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

Page 1 of 3 pages  1 2 3 > 
   1. RMc accompanies the Griffmen to Augusta Posted: March 27, 2017 at 05:33 PM (#5424389)
Teh n3xt gen is PW3ND...!
   2. . Posted: March 27, 2017 at 05:39 PM (#5424393)
Gotta wish him well.
   3. . Posted: March 27, 2017 at 05:45 PM (#5424397)
I took a lot of heat on the shifts early on. The fact of the matter is, what has happened since I made those remarks suggests that I might have been right. Because the number of shifts has increased exponentially and it has changed the game. There's absolutely no doubt in my mind that it's exacerbated some of the fundamental trends, particularly for certain types of hitters, in strikeouts and home runs. Because if you have nowhere to hit it, one of two things happen: You strike out or you hit a home run. ... Arguably at the beginning some teams had an advantage because they shifted and others didn't. What I'd argue to you about shifts, everybody's doing it now, it's just changing the game with no competitive advantage, so let's just get rid of them, you know?


A-yup. Same thing was said here.

Shifts are gone next year. Hallelujah.
   4. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: March 27, 2017 at 05:45 PM (#5424398)
MANFRED: We at the MLB Network want a sport with attitude. It's edgy, it's "in your face." You've heard the expression "let's get busy"? Well, this is a sport that gets "biz-zay!" Consistently and thoroughly.

KRUSTY: So it's proactive, huh?

MANFRED: Oh, God, yes. We're talking about a totally outrageous paradigm.
   5. Captain Supporter Posted: March 27, 2017 at 06:08 PM (#5424408)
Apparently the next generation wants two runners on base to start the eleventh inning. The problem is that I have not yet talked to a single baseball fan of any age that agreed with him on that.

Its hard to believe but I'm starting to miss Bud "I had no idea that McGuire and Sosa were using steroids" Selig.
   6. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: March 27, 2017 at 06:16 PM (#5424411)
Captain Supporter: I'm guessing that means you don't personally know any television executives.
   7. Zach Posted: March 27, 2017 at 06:44 PM (#5424420)
The question is, should we be more like other professional sports and more actively manage that change to produce the kind of product we want to have out there on the field. Me? I’m one for active management of that change. I think it’s really important for us to look at.

See, this is where I think Manfred is totally out of step with everybody else in baseball. Baseball fans *hate* active management of the game on the field. They want the umpires to get the calls right and that's it. Ball or strike, fair or foul, out or safe.

Football and basketball can be actively managed, because referees can call the game closer or more loosely. The league controls play by telling the refs what to call. But umpires don't have that kind of discretion. They can throw people out of a game once or twice a year, but that doesn't affect the product on the field in the way Manfred is talking about.
   8. Zach Posted: March 27, 2017 at 06:46 PM (#5424421)
Needless to say, I don't want to give umpires that kind of discretion, either. How would an umpire even affect the number of balls in play? Stand behind the batter and yell "SWING!" at the appropriate moment?
   9. This is going to be state of the art wall Posted: March 27, 2017 at 07:01 PM (#5424422)
Sorry, Christian Pulisic exists.
   10. catomi01 Posted: March 27, 2017 at 07:03 PM (#5424423)
Bring back Bud.
   11. perros Posted: March 27, 2017 at 07:13 PM (#5424430)
Get off of my lawn.
   12. Khrushin it bro Posted: March 27, 2017 at 07:14 PM (#5424431)
Manfred seems like the umpire that has to look for an argument and let it be known to all that he is the center of the game rather than the players.
   13. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: March 27, 2017 at 07:14 PM (#5424432)
I'm sorry to say that after about two years of slowly learning more about Rob Manfred, I'm getting to where the question in my mind amounts to "is he going to be a Gary Bettman level disaster, or merely a Roger Goodell level disaster?"
   14. Man o' Schwar Posted: March 27, 2017 at 07:42 PM (#5424439)
How would an umpire even affect the number of balls in play? Stand behind the batter and yell "SWING!" at the appropriate moment?

I think we're all forgetting what kind of impact that Enrico Palazzo had as an umpire. Maybe that's what Manfred is after.
   15. AndrewJ Posted: March 27, 2017 at 07:49 PM (#5424440)
<i>B/R: In a way, could what seems like one of baseball's strengths, the grouchy purist, be a negative?</b>

"MLB: Our Core Fans Are Pathetic Losers In Their Parents' Basement"
   16. Vertov Posted: March 27, 2017 at 07:54 PM (#5424441)
Maybe it's just me, but for the life of me I don't understand the desire to ban shifts.

I can't help think some organization is going to get real serious about teaching bunting in Class A to guys they think might see shifts. And some guys are going to get good at pushing hard bunts down to third that roll in to short left field. A gimme double. And when those guys start moving to third on a grounder to second, and scoring on a sac fly, you know who's going to get pissed? Pitchers. Some day, a David Ortiz is going to go 14 for 17 and score 8 runs in a series with the White Sox. And the White Sox pitchers won't be happy about it.
   17. oscarmadisox Posted: March 27, 2017 at 08:16 PM (#5424445)
I'm not for banning shifts, per se, but I would be in favor of a rule requiring all infielders play in the infield. You could have all of them on the right side if you want, but they all need to be on the dirt.*

*Or within a reasonable distance from the dirt.


   18. Brian C Posted: March 27, 2017 at 08:32 PM (#5424452)
I don't favor banning shifts either, mostly because the jury's still out on what effect they're going to have. It's really only been in the last couple years that the league went shift-crazy, and that's not long enough to know a whole lot about them, reactionary nattering aside. What effects are they really having? Will batters with spray charts more consistently to different fields be more highly sought after? Can hitters adjust?

To me, it's interesting to see how these things work themselves out organically. I don't know how a shift-crazy MLB is going to look in 10 years or even 5, but I do know one thing for sure: teams aren't just going to sit around just not reacting at all. If there is a real advantage to the shift in favor of the defense, it'll work itself out somehow. There's still just as much baseball field to hit the ball to as there was before, and smart teams are already trying to figure out how to exploit that.
   19. AndrewJ Posted: March 27, 2017 at 08:37 PM (#5424455)
I came across a 1919 newspaper article, where an anonymous fan from the Midwest proposed that MLB outfielders be required to stand in circled spots on the outfield grass until the batter hit the ball -- the fan concluded that this would reduce "the mechanical end of outfielding. I refer to the constant shifting of the fielder to meet the reputation the batsman may have as a hitter."
   20. Bote Man Posted: March 27, 2017 at 08:40 PM (#5424457)
This week on "Rob Manfred Considers..."
   21. PreservedFish Posted: March 27, 2017 at 08:55 PM (#5424462)
I love shifts. I think they're fantastic. I almost don't even understand the opposing argument. It's so exciting that, 100 years later, teams are discovering new things to do on the playing field.
   22. Loren F. Posted: March 27, 2017 at 09:14 PM (#5424470)
Yeah, #21 sums it up for me. And let counterstrategies develop naturally, if they do at all.
   23. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: March 27, 2017 at 09:23 PM (#5424476)
I am not even sure how you ban shifts unless you put circles on the field a la #19.
   24. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: March 27, 2017 at 10:40 PM (#5424502)
I'm sorry to say that after about two years of slowly learning more about Rob Manfred, I'm getting to where the question in my mind amounts to "is he going to be a Gary Bettman level disaster, or merely a Roger Goodell level disaster?"

I don't generally pay much attention to commissioners, but I arrived at your conclusion in the few minutes it took me to read this frightening interview. Manfred really does seem like some marketer out of an Itchy and Scratchy cartoon. That bullshit about banning shifts is wholly indicative of a fundamentally alien mindset.
   25. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: March 27, 2017 at 11:15 PM (#5424517)
There's still just as much baseball field to hit the ball to as there was before, and smart teams are already trying to figure out how to exploit that.


There's more. The shift is placing players in overlapping zones. Baseball will adjust to the shift*, either because existing players will learn to use the whole field, or teams will being to select for players who can use the whole field. Teams will exploit the inherent weaknesses in an overloaded defensive alignment (figuring out how to take extra bases, for instance).

* And the extent to which the shift is even effective now is debatable, as Walt has demonstrated.
   26. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: March 27, 2017 at 11:26 PM (#5424524)
And just to show that the NFL can get even dumber and more corrupt than baseball:

Raiders Leaving Oakland Again, This Time for Las Vegas
   27. Walt Davis Posted: March 27, 2017 at 11:39 PM (#5424527)
I am not even sure how you ban shifts unless you put circles on the field a la #19.

Well, once you define "infielder" you just say a team must have 2 IF on each side of 2B ... with some weird caveat for when a team brings on a 5th IF. You still have positioning without a full-blown shift.

P-I can't do G/F ratios to my knowledge but here are the number of GB from 2008-16. 2015 was the 2nd highest number, 2016 was the lowest, from 2009-15 (the big shift to shifts) thing were pretty stable. Possibly 2016 was the adjustment finally arriving.

Here's a table with BABIP (look far right) -- this has been very steady with 2014-16 an excellent match to 2008-9. There's very little evidence of the impact of shifts on that high-aggregate level.

Here's number/outcomes of pulled-LHB. It's tough to say what's going on here -- the number has gone up substantially, especially in 2015-16 while the production has gone down (as you'd kinda expect with increased frequency). The BABIP has also dropped substantially the last two years. Lots of factors could be interfering here starting with the number of PAs taken by LHB, whether "pulled vs. mid vs. opp" are being categorized/measured in the same way over time, etc. But if you look at total LHB production (scroll very far right), that bounces around a fair bit from 2008-14 but never tops a 742 OPS ... but has taken a big jump over the last two years including a jump in overall BABIP. This too is in the context of overall changes in offensive context so it's far from isolating the effect of shifts.

Still, the love of shifts primarily derives from "the smart teams are doing it, it must be good" and the dislike of shifts stems from "that used to be a base hit" (without recognizing that some balls that used to be outs have become base hits).
   28. . Posted: March 28, 2017 at 06:20 AM (#5424553)
To me, it's interesting to see how these things work themselves out organically.


There's a small faction of cerebral and wanna-be cerebral types who find that interesting, to be sure. But a small faction it is. And the way the game has worked itself out organically has brought us to the point where even people like Tom Verducci have noticed how slow and plodding it is, and how ridden with anonymous middle relievers it is. When a game develops organically to the point at which MLB now finds itself, it's pretty clearly time to step in and tinker with that organic development.

the dislike of shifts stems from "that used to be a base hit"


The dislike of them is that (a) they really aren't baseball, in the same way that putting six guys in an American football backfield wouldn't be American football or putting two goalies on the ice wouldn't be hockey; and (b) they encourage the ultra-boring beer league flail oafishly in the hopes you'll hit a home run style of play.
   29. The Duke Posted: March 28, 2017 at 06:48 AM (#5424556)
I'm ok with saying defense needs to have two guys on either side if 2b and coming up with some kind of line about how deep they can play but you can't change teams from positioning. There lots of Goofy rules in baseball so some limits on shifts seem ok to me.
   30. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: March 28, 2017 at 07:20 AM (#5424559)
SBB is right that, when a sport's development moves in a direction that makes for good strategy but bad entertainment, the rulemakers must step in and put a stop to it. But they should do so as gently as possible and let strategy organically adjust itself from there.

Example: We could limit mid-inning pitching changes by imposing hard roster limits: no more than 11 pitchers on a roster. I think it would be better to deal with all forms of wasting time the way the rulemakers of the 19th century did: by charging a ball. You want to bring in a reliever mid-inning when your current pitcher hasn't given up a run? Fine, go ahead--but the hitter gets to start at 1-0.

Managers would quickly realize that the offensive advantage of starting the at-bat at 1-0 swamps the defensive platoon advantage, and would quit changing pitchers mid-inning just to get the platoon advantage. How they adjust their roster strategy from there is up to them. I think that's a better way to do it, were it ever decided that reducing mid-inning pitching changes is desirable.

In the case of infield shifts, I'm sure there's a way to discourage them without being so hamhanded as to make rules explicitly dictating where defensive players are allowed to stand. I'm more minded to give it another five years or so and see what counter-strategies teams come up with on their own.
   31. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: March 28, 2017 at 07:57 AM (#5424561)
Maybe they should just teach the special snowflakes who can only hit in one direction to adjust their strokes, which would end the reason for the shifts.

Still, the love of shifts primarily derives from "the smart teams are doing it, it must be good" and the dislike of shifts stems from "that used to be a base hit" (without recognizing that some balls that used to be outs have become base hits).

I don't love or hate the shift. What I hate is ramming through an Affirmative Action For Pull Hitters solution to which there's no problem that can't be solved by those special snowflakes making adjustments in their swings.
   32. perros Posted: March 28, 2017 at 08:28 AM (#5424565)
Making the game more about rules and officiating is a sure way to lose my attention. Once you start adding balls and strikes, runners on base, and other bells and whistles, might as well be playing pinball.
   33. perros Posted: March 28, 2017 at 08:35 AM (#5424566)
There lots of Goofy rules in baseball


New baseball rules arise from the need for non-arbitrary rulings. Changing things to make things better results in the law of unintended consequences.
   34. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 28, 2017 at 08:40 AM (#5424570)
See, this is where I think Manfred is totally out of step with everybody else in baseball. Baseball fans *hate* active management of the game on the field.

Not me. I'm a huge fan and I want the rules actively managed to 1) put more balls in play; if K/9 is >6 or HR/9 >1 or BB/9 >3, that's a problem and rules changes should be considered to change it, and 2) speed the game up; if an average 4.5 R/team, 9 inning games takes >2.5 hours, change the rules.

The modern game is boring as crap. I literally can't sit down and watch a full game anymore. Even a World Series where I care about the teams.
   35. Random Transaction Generator Posted: March 28, 2017 at 08:44 AM (#5424571)
What I hate is ramming through an Affirmative Action For Pull Hitters solution to which there's no problem that can't be solved by those special snowflakes making adjustments in their swings.


Exactly. Instead of forcing MLB teams to either teach their players to hit the ball to all fields, or draft players who can hit the ball to all fields, or promote players from the minors who hit the ball to all fields, people seem to be eager to REWARD players who CAN'T hit the ball to all fields by limiting the defense's ability to properly defend them.

Here is the opportunity to help kill off the dreaded "one dimensional slugger" that these same people seems to dislike so much, and they are doing everything they can to help them survive by tinkering with the best response to them.
   36. Ulysses S. Fairsmith Posted: March 28, 2017 at 08:50 AM (#5424576)
. . . putting six guys in an American football backfield wouldn't be American football . . .


This is called a dime package. It's common enough in American football that there is a name for it.
   37. Ulysses S. Fairsmith Posted: March 28, 2017 at 08:54 AM (#5424580)
I'm a huge fan . . . I literally can't sit down and watch . . . a World Series where I care about the teams.


If you can't watch a World Series where you care about the teams, you're really not a huge fan. You're probably someone who used to be a fan but isn't comfortable saying that.
   38. . Posted: March 28, 2017 at 09:03 AM (#5424583)
This is called a dime package.


On defense. On offense, it's called "illegal."

If you can't watch a World Series where you care about the teams, you're really not a huge fan.


I'm a huge movie fan, but I don't want to see movies running 4:15. No one does, with extraordinarily few exceptions. The Dodgers-Nationals series last postseason bordered on Kubrickian satire. No one wants to watch Pedro Baez stand on the mound for 45 seconds doing nothing.
   39. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: March 28, 2017 at 09:14 AM (#5424584)
The idea that the shift has anything to do with longer game times is really dumb.
   40. McCoy Posted: March 28, 2017 at 09:22 AM (#5424588)
Game 7 of this year's WS was brutal. In my younger years the start time and length wouldn't have mattered but I'm older now and have more responsibilities. Had to call it when they announced the rain delay. Luckily my GF's sister stayed up and woke us up when the rally started.
   41. Zonk is Back Where He Came From Posted: March 28, 2017 at 09:41 AM (#5424596)
ALL changes to the rules are stupid and ill-considered.

Let strategies and gameplay evolve and just do a better job packaging and selling the product.

If you want to speed up the game, get rid of commercials... but since that it is financially suicide, either live with it or start thinking outside the box. For example, how about a 30 minute time delay from the live action for TV and radio broadcasts? You can condense parts of the game and pick and choose your commercial breaks at the right time. Think beyond cable TV - because it ain't long for this world. MLB.com's condensed games are a great starting point.

There is nothing inherently unsaleable about the existing baseball product that makes it ill-suited to younger generations... FFS, with the increasingly lapsing attention spans brought about by modern media/entertainment and smart phones - the simple fact that one COULD watch virtually an entire game in 10 minutes ought to be a point in its favor... Smarter people than me just need to figure out to bundle and present that tightly, compact ~10 minutes of real action. Purists and those of us who enjoy 3 hours in the bleachers, barstool, or couch aren't going anywhere -- but I don't really care if there's a viewing option for people who don't wish to spend more than a few minutes at a time on it.

   42. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: March 28, 2017 at 09:46 AM (#5424600)
What I hate is ramming through an Affirmative Action For Pull Hitters solution to which there's no problem that can't be solved by those special snowflakes making adjustments in their swings.

I can't help but think that if John McGraw or Branch Rickey had access to real-time batted-ball data, they absolutely would have aligned their defense on each batter to take advantage of that so none of this would be a "new" innovation which Must Be Legislated Away. At the same time, I think they would be training their hitters in the Keelerian art of hitting it where they ain't to foil opposition shifts.
   43. SoSH U at work Posted: March 28, 2017 at 09:52 AM (#5424603)
they encourage the ultra-boring beer league flail oafishly in the hopes you'll hit a home run style of play.


What utter bullshit. The shift is designed to defend against the ultra-boring beer league flail oafishly types who can't do anything but hit the ball hard to one side of the field, and not work against the contact hitting, hit-to-all fields type of player you profess to prefer. But really it exposes how fundamentally full of crap you are - what really drives you is being BTF's contrarian in chief.

I think they would be training their hitters in the Keelerian art of hitting it where they ain't to foil opposition shifts.


As someone here so perfectly put it once, it's hit 'em where they ain't, not make them ain't where I want to hit 'em.
   44. . Posted: March 28, 2017 at 09:53 AM (#5424604)
The shift is designed to defend against the ultra-boring beer league flail oafishly types who can't do anything but hit the ball hard to one side of the field, and not work against the contact hitting, hit-to-all fields type of player you profess to prefer.


??

Yes, how awful it is to see major league baseball players hit a baseball hard.

The smart response isn't what you said; it's instead getting beer leaguers to flail even more to try to hit it over the shift and out of the park. The shift can't defend against that.

A beer leaguer making a feeble effort to go the other way doesn't make him not a beer leaguer.

Look, we have a faction here who is really into the side of the game involving armchair GMing and "management," (*) and most of that faction is ok with the sport just so long as it continues to throw out data and numbers they can churn and analyze. But again ... while it's probably a majority on BTF, it's a small faction of people and fans. That really needs to start sinking in. With people who feel a stewardship on behalf of all factions of the enterprise, rather than only the armchair GMs -- like Manfred -- it already has sunk in.

(*) To a degree that they've spent the last 20+ years of their lives trying to discredit anything to do with the non-numerical narrative of baseball and all its practitioners. (See, e.g., Chass, Murray). The most extreme of the breed seems incapable of existing in a world in which there are longform narrators of the sport, to a degree that can only be called antisocial.
   45. Zonk is Back Where He Came From Posted: March 28, 2017 at 10:03 AM (#5424608)
I can't help but think that if John McGraw or Branch Rickey had access to real-time batted-ball data, they absolutely would have aligned their defense on each batter to take advantage of that so none of this would be a "new" innovation which Must Be Legislated Away. At the same time, I think they would be training their hitters in the Keelerian art of hitting it where they ain't to foil opposition shifts.


Of course.

   46. SoSH U at work Posted: March 28, 2017 at 10:03 AM (#5424609)
A beer leaguer making a feeble effort to go the other way doesn't make him not a beer leaguer.


A beer leaguer who can't hit the other way, and is befuddled by the shift is replaced by a more well-rounded player who can do those things. If you were ever interested in being consistent, you'd appreciate that.

Look, we have a faction here who is really into the side of the game involving armchair GMing and "management," (*) and most of that faction is ok with the sport just so long as it continues to throw out data and numbers they can churn and analyze. But again ... while it's probably a majority on BTF, it's a small faction of people and fans. That really needs to start sinking in. With people who feel a stewardship on behalf of all factions of the enterprise, rather than only the armchair GMs -- like Manfred -- it already has sunk in.


Look, we have one guy here who is hell-bent on ######## about every aspect of modern baseball, regardless whether his argument today is remotely consistent with the argument he made yesterday. That guy should probably just find something that interests him more.
   47. SoSH U at work Posted: March 28, 2017 at 10:05 AM (#5424610)
Look, we have a faction here who is really into the side of the game involving armchair GMing and "management," (*) and most of that faction is ok with the sport just so long as it continues to throw out data and numbers they can churn and analyze. But again ... while it's probably a majority on BTF, it's a small faction of people and fans. That really needs to start sinking in. With people who feel a stewardship on behalf of all factions of the enterprise, rather than only the armchair GMs -- like Manfred -- it already has sunk in.
   48. . Posted: March 28, 2017 at 10:08 AM (#5424612)
A beer leaguer who can't hit the other way, and is befuddled by the shift is replaced by a more well-rounded player who can do those things.


You have any examples?

If you were ever interested in being consistent, you'd appreciate that.


I'm totally consistent. I'm not now and have never been a fan of data crunching for its own sake or of data crunching leading to a shitty, boring, homogenized product. I've been arguing against that for longer than I've been on BTF. I'm also not a fan of a bunch of amateur data crunchers snarking at longform narratives of the sport, as it's a sport that lends itself to such things and has a great history of same. I much prefer Joe Morgan to firejoemorgan.com. Your mileage may vary.
   49. DL from MN Posted: March 28, 2017 at 10:09 AM (#5424614)
I am generally opposed to rule changes but I would be fine with raising the bottom of the zone by an inch. Strikes are supposed to be hittable pitches, that's why they're strikes. If the best hitters on earth are consistently missing those pitches then they aren't hittable.
   50. . Posted: March 28, 2017 at 10:11 AM (#5424617)
Look, we have one guy here who is hell-bent on ######## about every aspect of modern baseball


There is more than one here, and way, way, way more than one in the baseball world at large. Start with Tom Verducci and Rob Manfred, and go from there. The contrarians and eccentrics and grouches are in the other factions, not mine.
   51. Russ Posted: March 28, 2017 at 10:19 AM (#5424626)
You have any examples?




https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/yes-the-infield-shift-works-probably/


Perhaps unsurprisingly, hitters in the high-shift group are much better to begin with than those in the medium- and low-shift groups. Shifted hitters tend overwhelmingly to be left-handed power bats — a pretty good class of player — while the opposite group includes weak hitters that don’t do enough damage against regular defenses for opponents to even bother with a shift. However, our method accounts for this by comparing hitters to themselves over time, and the high-shift curve in the chart above is consistently lower than those of low-shift hitters, meaning the most shifted players fared worse than we’d have expected of the typical player.


The high-shift group also declined earlier — and more steeply — than medium- and low-shift hitters in the Shift Era, all of which suggests the shift has “worked.” Or at least, to some extent: over the period we examined, low-shift players gained 4.4 cumulative points of wRC+, on average, while medium-shift players gained 1.8 points and high-shift players gained only 0.5 points. Of course, we might expect the most extreme of the high-shift hitters to be subject to a more severe penalty; then again, the guy who’s seen the most shifts in baseball has also been its best hitter this year. Either way, in aggregate, the rise of the shift does appear to have hurt the group of hitters against whom it’s most often applied.


   52. . Posted: March 28, 2017 at 10:24 AM (#5424630)
The high-shift group also declined earlier — and more steeply — than medium- and low-shift hitters in the Shift Era, all of which suggests the shift has “worked.”


Of course the shift has worked. If it hadn't, it wouldn't have been put on, and we're no longer in an age where there's a bunch of guesswork involved in what the data is and says and means.

The game has been hacked. Active management is necessary to unwind the changes to the sport wrought by Big Data.

   53. DL from MN Posted: March 28, 2017 at 10:29 AM (#5424638)
Active management is necessary to unwind the changes to the sport wrought by Big Data.


I agree. General managers will need to find hitters who can't be shifted on effectively.
   54. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: March 28, 2017 at 10:32 AM (#5424639)
What I hate is ramming through an Affirmative Action For Pull Hitters solution to which there's no problem that can't be solved by those special snowflakes making adjustments in their swings.

Exactly. Instead of forcing MLB teams to either teach their players to hit the ball to all fields, or draft players who can hit the ball to all fields, or promote players from the minors who hit the ball to all fields, people seem to be eager to REWARD players who CAN'T hit the ball to all fields by limiting the defense's ability to properly defend them.

Here is the opportunity to help kill off the dreaded "one dimensional slugger" that these same people seems to dislike so much, and they are doing everything they can to help them survive by tinkering with the best response to them.


And beyond that, the shift doesn't kill off the truly talented one-dimensional sluggers like Ortiz. What it does do is to reduce the value of the much bigger crop of less talented one dimensional batters who hit 10 to 20 homers a year but otherwise contribute very little to their teams. Those are the special snowflakes that outlawing the shift would protect.
   55. perros Posted: March 28, 2017 at 10:33 AM (#5424640)
I am generally opposed to rule changes but I would be fine with raising the bottom of the zone by an inch. Strikes are supposed to be hittable pitches, that's why they're strikes. If the best hitters on earth are consistently missing those pitches then they aren't hittable.


Talk about beer league baseball that will last 4+hours!

The pitcher has to own some part of the plate. The issue isn't the low strike, it's that pitchers can more easily fool hitters with late movement down and out of the zone.
   56. Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: March 28, 2017 at 10:33 AM (#5424642)
(a) they really aren't baseball, in the same way that putting six guys in an American football backfield wouldn't be American football
I'm admittedly a contrarian, but I would have no problem with removing the limit on players lined up in the backfield. What would be the negative consequence of such a rule change? How would it appreciably alter the game, other than allow more creativity for offenses?

I guess if you lined up six players in the backfield, you'd wind up with eight legal pass receivers. Everybody but the center and the guards. That would have the potential to alter the sport dramatically. You could just as easily have a rule stating that, on any given play, five players are required to wear numbers 50-79 and be ineligible to receive a pass.

Anyway, that's getting into the weeds. My point is that it would absolutely still be American football if the rules allowed six players to line up six in the backfield.

tl;dr: I like it when sports people implement unusual and novel strategies, and I dislike it when creative solutions are banned. YMMV.
   57. Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: March 28, 2017 at 10:34 AM (#5424643)
(a) they really aren't baseball, in the same way that putting six guys in an American football backfield wouldn't be American football
I'm admittedly a contrarian, but I would have no problem with removing the limit on players lined up in the backfield. What would be the negative consequence of such a rule change? How would it appreciably alter the game, other than allow more creativity for offenses?

I guess if you lined up six players in the backfield, you'd wind up with eight legal pass receivers. Everybody but the center and the guards. That would have the potential to alter the sport dramatically. You could just as easily have a rule stating that, on any given play, five players are required to wear numbers 50-79 and be ineligible to receive a pass.

Anyway, that's getting into the weeds. My point is that it would absolutely still be American football if the rules allowed six players to line up six in the backfield.

tl;dr: I like it when sports people implement unusual and novel strategies, and I dislike it when creative solutions are banned. YMMV.
   58. . Posted: March 28, 2017 at 10:40 AM (#5424649)
General managers will need to find hitters who can't be shifted on effectively.


And that effort would, we can be sure, appeal to the very small faction of fans who fetishize GMing. But for the wider group of interested parties, who are as or more interested in the actual product on the field after the participants are chosen, the Commissioner seems unalterably headed toward the simpler and better solution of banning the shift.
   59. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: March 28, 2017 at 10:45 AM (#5424653)
The game has been hacked. Active management is necessary to unwind the changes to the sport wrought by Big Data.


Heh. Someone read something about "Big Data".

Teams changes strategies always. Strategies evolves over time. I need more than "Change is bad!" to declare that "Something must be done!" Usually it works best with a simple "The problem is X. Because of Y and Z."

So what is the problem with the shift? It has to be more than some players are advantaged and others disadvantaged. It looks ugly? It is depressing offense? Some nerd with a computer might like it? What?
   60. BDC Posted: March 28, 2017 at 10:47 AM (#5424655)
There's absolutely no doubt in my mind that it's exacerbated some of the fundamental trends, particularly for certain types of hitters, in strikeouts and home runs. Because if you have nowhere to hit it, one of two things happen: You strike out or you hit a home run

Does this reasoning strike anyone else as flawed? Yes, home runs and strikeouts are as high now as they've ever been. But league BABIP was at .299, .299, .300 the past three years, back up to where it was in 2008-09 after a brief dip in 2011 to .295.

If league BABIP had crashed concurrent with or preceding a spike in HR and SO, that might shore up the point. But I don't see the kind of correlation that Manfred is talking about.


   61. Zonk is Back Where He Came From Posted: March 28, 2017 at 10:47 AM (#5424656)
Just so we're clear here...

The guy who worries about a 'a shitty, boring, homogenized product' also basically wants to paint a bunch of circles on the diamond like little league so the fielders know where to stand.
   62. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 28, 2017 at 10:48 AM (#5424657)
"What I'd argue to you about shifts, everybody's doing it now, it's just changing the game with no competitive advantage, so let's just get rid of them, you know?"

Everyone is throwing curveballs now, there is no competitive advantage. Let's get rid of them.
   63. . Posted: March 28, 2017 at 10:49 AM (#5424658)
If league BABIP had crashed concurrent with or preceding a spike in HR and SO, that might shore up the point. But I don't see the kind of correlation that Manfred is talking about.


Regaining the same BABIP at the cost of more HRs and SOs is sub-optimal.

Read Verducci's data and articles on this problem. The time between a ball in play at a major league baseball game has gone up something like 25 seconds just in recent years. There are around 10,000 fewer balls in play now than just ten years ago.
   64. DL from MN Posted: March 28, 2017 at 10:54 AM (#5424661)
Years ago, we thought when the strike zone was higher on the knee that the low pitch wasn’t getting called. We moved it to the hollow of the knee to try to get the umpires to call that.


If they moved it, they can move it back.
   65. . Posted: March 28, 2017 at 10:54 AM (#5424662)
From one of Verducci's articles:

Peter Morris, writing 10 years ago in A Game of Inches, Volume 1 about the growth of timeouts, said, “It is important to recognize the shift from a game in which time was rarely out and in which the action was virtually continuous to one in which timeouts are frequent has removed one of the features that initially distinguished baseball.”

Baseball used to be more like soccer in its pace of movement and action. Now it encourages dawdling, because it does not enforce the 12-second rule between pitches, it does not enforce the one-foot-in-the-box rule, it does not empower umpires to “move the game along” and it allows players to call as many timeouts as they want whenever they want and for whatever trivial reason. Players play Major League Baseball at a slower pace than how they played baseball on every other level their whole lives.


Even golf penalizes slow play. Golf! Golfers who play slow and continually step away from their shots, as MLB hitters continuously step out of the batters boxes, are hounded and ridiculed by both galleries and their fellow competitors.

   66. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: March 28, 2017 at 10:56 AM (#5424663)
Read Verducci's data and articles on this problem. The time between a ball in play at a major league baseball game has gone up something like 25 seconds just in recent years. There are around 10,000 fewer balls in play now than just ten years ago.


Again, claiming the shift is the cause of any significant portion of the growth in the length of games is dumb. Especially while claiming the shift has depressed offense, as one would expect more offense to result in longer games and less offense in shorter ones.

If length of game is the problem then look elsewhere.
   67. Random Transaction Generator Posted: March 28, 2017 at 10:57 AM (#5424665)
The time between a ball in play at a major league baseball game has gone up something like 30% in recent years.


What the hell does that have to do with the shift?
   68. jmurph Posted: March 28, 2017 at 10:59 AM (#5424667)
Peter Morris, writing 10 years ago in A Game of Inches, Volume 1 about the growth of timeouts, said, “It is important to recognize the shift from a game in which time was rarely out and in which the action was virtually continuous to one in which timeouts are frequent has removed one of the features that initially distinguished baseball.”

Baseball used to be more like soccer in its pace of movement and action. Now it encourages dawdling, because it does not enforce the 12-second rule between pitches, it does not enforce the one-foot-in-the-box rule, it does not empower umpires to “move the game along” and it allows players to call as many timeouts as they want whenever they want and for whatever trivial reason. Players play Major League Baseball at a slower pace than how they played baseball on every other level their whole lives.

I think most people here agree those are issues. They, of course, have absolutely nothing to do with the topic being discussed (the shift).

EDIT: Cokes to Mouse and RTG.
   69. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 28, 2017 at 10:59 AM (#5424668)

What the hell does that have to do with the shift?


Manfred's reasoning is that players think they cannot beat the shift, so they are going for broke K or HR. I don't think that is what players are thinking at all.
   70. Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: March 28, 2017 at 11:01 AM (#5424669)
If the problem is that the shift is slow, that's pretty easily solved, no? Start enforcing the time limit between pitches, and one of these two things will happen: Players will shift very quickly and solve the problem, or teams will stop shifting because they can't do it in 12 seconds and the advantage gained by moving an infielder is smaller than the disadvantage of starting at-bats down in the count 1-0 or 2-0.
   71. Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: March 28, 2017 at 11:01 AM (#5424670)
Double post removed. Sigh.
   72. DL from MN Posted: March 28, 2017 at 11:02 AM (#5424671)
I think the shift is a reaction to all-or-nothing hitters, not the cause of it.

The only way I see to reduce HR and K at the same time is to make the ball heavier. Pitcher velocity would fall, spin rates would fall, velocity off the bat would fall.
   73. SoSH U at work Posted: March 28, 2017 at 11:06 AM (#5424676)
What the hell does that have to do with the shift?


Nothing. It has to do with modern baseball, which is his problem (or at least so he claims here).

There are real problems with the game today, and many of us data fetishists would agree. These are a few of the things some people take issue with:

The pace of play is abysmal (probably 90 percent of BTFers share this opinion).

There aren't enough balls in play (maybe 50-60 percent agree).

Too much reliance on relief pitchers/too many relief pitchers on a roster (50 percent).

The shift is destroying the very fabric of the game (5-10 percent).

The playoffs are too bloated (35-50 percent).

Ballparks are too loud (you and Andy).

Ballparks have too much non-baseball stuff going on (you).

There's only one person who resides in all those categories.

   74. SoSH U at work Posted: March 28, 2017 at 11:08 AM (#5424678)
I think the shift is a reaction to all-or-nothing hitters, not the cause of it.


Of course it is. It's obvious based on who is shifted against. It ain't the Jeter/Ichiro types.
   75. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: March 28, 2017 at 11:09 AM (#5424679)

Ballparks are too loud (you and Andy).


And me. Get off of my lawn, but quietly.
   76. Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: March 28, 2017 at 11:10 AM (#5424682)
It's obvious based on who is shifted against. It ain't the Jeter/Ichiro types.
Ichiro could hit the ball through the shift if he wanted to.
   77. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 28, 2017 at 11:12 AM (#5424684)
If you can't watch a World Series where you care about the teams, you're really not a huge fan. You're probably someone who used to be a fan but isn't comfortable saying that.

Nope. I still spend hours a day reading and thinking about baseball. I have 2 Roto and 3 DMB fantasy teams. I'm still a huge baseball fans. I simply consume it through "print" reporting and statistics.

The on field product is slow paced and boring, but by consuming it through the press and stats, I can avoid all the dead time.

But, even if you want to deem me a non fan, that's a huge freaking problem for MLB. If I still love baseball, but don't consume their product in ways that generate revenue for them, they're losing part of their prime audience.
   78. Zonk is Back Where He Came From Posted: March 28, 2017 at 11:23 AM (#5424697)
The pace of play is abysmal (probably 90 percent of BTFers share this opinion).


I don't know that I'd say abysmal -- my beef here tends to vary based on circumstances... on a pleasant, weekend afternoon - I could spend all day at the ballpark. For a night game followed by an early morning meeting, yeah - speed it the hell up. I would still maintain that it has far less to do with anything and everything except commercial breaks. For things like mound visits or pitching changes, eliminate the commercial break and I think those sorts of things become less a problem. I'd say I'm 'soft 90%'.

There aren't enough balls in play (maybe 50-60 percent agree).


I'd probably be in the 'disagree' here... the data is what it is - so I'm not arguing the existence of fewer balls in play, I just don't agree that it's a problem in need of a solution. I do hate the 'running game', bunts, etc - so my main complaint would be any changes that try to make baseball back into the deadball era game. Chicks dig the longball... and so do I.

Too much reliance on relief pitchers/too many relief pitchers on a roster (50 percent).


I'm rapidly warming to this one. I'm still skeptical of rules changes - # of pitching changes, minimum requirements for pitcher appearances, or roster rules - but these would be among the few areas where I'd probably be OK with a rule change or two... depending on the details.

The shift is destroying the very fabric of the game (5-10 percent).


#### this ####### stupid ####. Seriously, #### it all to ####. ######## stupid.

The playoffs are too bloated (35-50 percent).


Meh... Good for the game, I think. Keeps more playoff excitement alive in more places later in the season. Personally, if it were all about just pleasing me - yeah... I'd go back to two divisions in each league, no WC... but I don't feel exceptionally strongly in either direction.

Ballparks are too loud (you and Andy).


Loudness doesn't bother me -- though, I do dislike the prevailing need to fill the stadium constantly with sound from the speakers. I mean, I dig walk-up music (especially when well-done or given thought by the player), but I do dislike the omnipresent need to automate clapping or blast music during breaks in the action, etc.

   79. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 28, 2017 at 11:28 AM (#5424701)
ALL changes to the rules are stupid and ill-considered.

Let strategies and gameplay evolve and just do a better job packaging and selling the product.

If you want to speed up the game, get rid of commercials... but since that it is financially suicide, either live with it or start thinking outside the box. For example, how about a 30 minute time delay from the live action for TV and radio broadcasts? You can condense parts of the game and pick and choose your commercial breaks at the right time. Think beyond cable TV - because it ain't long for this world. MLB.com's condensed games are a great starting point.

There is nothing inherently unsaleable about the existing baseball product that makes it ill-suited to younger generations... FFS, with the increasingly lapsing attention spans brought about by modern media/entertainment and smart phones - the simple fact that one COULD watch virtually an entire game in 10 minutes ought to be a point in its favor... Smarter people than me just need to figure out to bundle and present that tightly, compact ~10 minutes of real action. Purists and those of us who enjoy 3 hours in the bleachers, barstool, or couch aren't going anywhere -- but I don't really care if there's a viewing option for people who don't wish to spend more than a few minutes at a time on it.


This is just dumb. It's an entertainment product. There's no moral virtue in letting it evolve naturally. It absokutely should be managed to create the most appealing product to fans.

Baseball has become inherently less appealing because 1) there is far less action than there used to be, and 2) the pacing sucks. Both are easily amenable to management.

The idea that you'd cut revenue generating ads rather than dead time between pitches is mind boggling. Why can't we simply make the players play?

What is the value of 30 seconds between pitches? Why should it take 3:30 to consume the exact same amount of baseball that used to take 2:30?
   80. Ziggy is done with Dominican discotheques Posted: March 28, 2017 at 11:32 AM (#5424704)
SBB is right


Don't ever say this again.

And but also:

I didn't read the 538 article, but this shouldn't be surprising:

low-shift players gained 4.4 cumulative points of wRC+, on average, while medium-shift players gained 1.8 points and high-shift players gained only 0.5 points.


High-shift players are the ones with the best performance, right? Nobody shifts on Neifi. High performance is probably, in part, a result of good luck. So we'd expect regression to pull them down anyhow. Likewise, the low-shift players are the ones with low levels of performance, which is, in part, bad luck, and regression should improve them more than average. Sorry if they addressed this in the article, like I said, didn't read it.

   81. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 28, 2017 at 11:35 AM (#5424706)
I would still maintain that it has far less to do with anything and everything except commercial breaks.

This just can't be true. There's always a between inning break in baseball. Even in HS it takes 2 minutes to get the players on and off the field, and the pitcher to throw his warmups. If the catcher batted last inning, it takes a little longer for him to get geared up.

The commercials maybe add 1 minute per break for 18 breaks a games. So <20 minutes.

If you shave 5 seconds between pitches, and there are 300 pitches in a game, that 25 minutes, and it doesn't cost MLB a penny.

And I think the bloat is way more than 5 seconds per pitch.
   82. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: March 28, 2017 at 11:37 AM (#5424708)
The pace of play is abysmal (probably 90 percent of BTFers share this opinion).

It's far from enough to make me stop watching a close game where I've got rooting interest, but if it runs much past 11:00 and I don't care who wins, then generally I'm outta there.

There aren't enough balls in play (maybe 50-60 percent agree).

I don't mind TTO players who consistently put up 120 or better OPS+ numbers, but way too many TTO players fall below that line. And when Chris Davis goes into one of his month long funks, IMO he joins the Legion of the Damned.

Ballparks are too loud (you and Andy).

Crowd noise: Bring it on.
Artificial noise: Organ music or nothing.
"Centerfield": Capital punishment, no trial, no plea bargaining. Immediate death to the noise booth operator.

Ballparks have too much non-baseball stuff going on (you).

Unless some assclown is doing the wave in front of me while the pitcher's in his motion or the ball is in play, I can usually tune out most of that crap.
   83. Spahn Insane Posted: March 28, 2017 at 11:40 AM (#5424710)
Banning the shift is so dumb...just what MLB needs, its own answer to the NBA's "illegal defense."
   84. perros Posted: March 28, 2017 at 11:44 AM (#5424714)
SBB drives threads. A contrarian bot of sorts.

I hate the idea of legislating against the shift. The reason you will see it continue, and why pull hitters don't adjust, is because there's a balance there. A power hitter becoming Tony Gwynn would be a win for the defense.

Let the game play out how it will. I am for making pitchers and hitters fo to work within a reasonable time, with no runners on. I like and prefer a 150-minute game at most...

But I love baseball precisely because there is no clock, and the sheer unpredictability of outcome despite playing the best odds.

Lose some sleep, goddammit. Especially come summer. I don't give a #### you crash by 2200. Most Dodgers games don't even start 'til then.
   85. wjones Posted: March 28, 2017 at 11:47 AM (#5424716)
I don't mind the time clock on the pitcher, but the other half is the perpetually stepping out batter. Give him one chance during an AB to call time and leave the box, with the ump having discretion to do so if the batter appears to be injured (ball fouled off the body, batter getting decked, something in his eye, etc.). Manfred bothers me. He comes in all like 'I am willing to look at everything, etc.', and the first time the PA balks at moving along at his pace, he throws a tantrum. Someone with his apparent personality is bound to create division between the two sides eventually, so he worries me.
   86. The Good Face Posted: March 28, 2017 at 11:57 AM (#5424723)
Baseball has become inherently less appealing because 1) there is far less action than there used to be, and 2) the pacing sucks. Both are easily amenable to management.

The idea that you'd cut revenue generating ads rather than dead time between pitches is mind boggling. Why can't we simply make the players play?

What is the value of 30 seconds between pitches? Why should it take 3:30 to consume the exact same amount of baseball that used to take 2:30?


This. We don't need 30 seconds of glaring, spitting, adjusting of one's junk, etc. between pitches. Cut it down to 20 or even 25 and we're getting somewhere. I'd be open to doing something about the endless parade of anonymous middle relievers too. Maybe mandating no more than 11 pitchers per roster or something.


   87. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 28, 2017 at 12:01 PM (#5424727)
Cut it down to 20 or even 25 and we're getting somewhere.

10-15 is more reasonable. If you watch an old game from the 80's or earlier, it's amazing. It's like the pitcher and catcher are playing catch. The batter just stays in the box, and actually wants to swing and hit the ball. He's not planning on taking 3 or 4 pitches.
   88. Zonk is Back Where He Came From Posted: March 28, 2017 at 12:04 PM (#5424731)
The idea that you'd cut revenue generating ads rather than dead time between pitches is mind boggling. Why can't we simply make the players play?


I wasn't suggesting that.

I was suggesting looking at alternate methods to rebundle the 'action' and 'ads' in a manner more consumable to modern media rather than letting commercial breaks drive the action.

Soccer's not my cup of tea - but the game doesn't institute breaks (or lengthen them) in order to feed the commercials beast. Rather, broadcasters and mechanisms to show the game have evolved to provide ad revenue in a manner that didn't force rule changes.

I'm against clocks - I think the idea of a 'clock' is antithetical to baseball - but give the umpires a stopwatch and the authority to say "that's enough... get on the mound/in box/whatever and let's go", sure... go for it.
   89. The Good Face Posted: March 28, 2017 at 12:05 PM (#5424733)
10-15 is more reasonable. If you watch an old game from the 80's or earlier, it's amazing. It's like the pitcher and catcher are playing catch. The batter just stays in the box, and actually wants to swing and hit the ball.


15 would be great, but it's probably more realistic to start by shaving 5 or 10 seconds off. We can work our way down from there.

He's not planning on taking 3 or 4 pitches.


I don't mind guys taking pitches or working the count. That's playing the game. It's guys standing around scratching their junk, adjusting their gloves, fiddling with the rosin bag, etc. that grinds my gears. Play the game.
   90. Baldrick Posted: March 28, 2017 at 12:14 PM (#5424739)
ALL changes to the rules are stupid and ill-considered.

Let strategies and gameplay evolve and just do a better job packaging and selling the product.

If you want to speed up the game, get rid of commercials... but since that it is financially suicide, either live with it or start thinking outside the box. For example, how about a 30 minute time delay from the live action for TV and radio broadcasts? You can condense parts of the game and pick and choose your commercial breaks at the right time. Think beyond cable TV - because it ain't long for this world. MLB.com's condensed games are a great starting point.

There is nothing inherently unsaleable about the existing baseball product that makes it ill-suited to younger generations... FFS, with the increasingly lapsing attention spans brought about by modern media/entertainment and smart phones - the simple fact that one COULD watch virtually an entire game in 10 minutes ought to be a point in its favor... Smarter people than me just need to figure out to bundle and present that tightly, compact ~10 minutes of real action. Purists and those of us who enjoy 3 hours in the bleachers, barstool, or couch aren't going anywhere -- but I don't really care if there's a viewing option for people who don't wish to spend more than a few minutes at a time on it.

Wow. I disagree with basically every single word of this post. ALL changes are bad? Literally all of them? It's impossible to improve a rule book written 130 years ago? You could obviously speed up the game by reducing time between pitches; no need to get rid of commercials. Running games on delay is a bonkers idea that eviscerates the one core advantage of sports: they are best experienced live.

At the margins, packaging products in new ways is of course good. But man, if baseball execs adopted the line of reasoning taken in this post, it would be a disaster for the sport.
   91. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 28, 2017 at 12:34 PM (#5424757)
I wasn't suggesting that.

I was suggesting looking at alternate methods to rebundle the 'action' and 'ads' in a manner more consumable to modern media rather than letting commercial breaks drive the action.

Soccer's not my cup of tea - but the game doesn't institute breaks (or lengthen them) in order to feed the commercials beast. Rather, broadcasters and mechanisms to show the game have evolved to provide ad revenue in a manner that didn't force rule changes.


But basbeall has natural breaks. Again, in HS there is at least 2 minutes between half-innings. Using that for ads only makes sense. Nobody wants to wants to watch players trotting on and off the field.

I'm against clocks - I think the idea of a 'clock' is antithetical to baseball - but give the umpires a stopwatch and the authority to say "that's enough... get on the mound/in box/whatever and let's go", sure... go for it.

It's not a "clock", it's a no screwing around rule. Batter doesn't leave the box. Pitcher takes no more than a minimal amount of time between pitches.

The clock is only needed if the players resist. And, even if they do, once the umpires start calling automatic strikes and balls, they'll all comply, and the clock will become invisible within 50 games.
   92. Ithaca2323 Posted: March 28, 2017 at 12:40 PM (#5424763)
I'm actually with SBB partially.

I'm not a big fan of the shifts. I don't have a reason for it per se, other than:

1. It goes against what I've come to expect: Hard hit ground balls that reach the outfield in right are base hits, not outs
2. "Beating the Shift" rarely seems to involve a good piece of hitting, and is usually just a weak ground ball resulting in a hit goes against what I've grown accustomed to.

I fully acknowledge that there's all sorts of biases and fallacies at play in those two statements. It is what it is. I feel the same way about relief pitchers. They all throw gas for 50 innings a year. It's what's best for run prevention, and in all likelyhood, the long term health of starters. To me, they're largely interchangeable, and teams keep adding them, and many of them have lousy benches as a result.

Just because something is successful at achieving a goal doesn't make it a positive for the game as a whole. The New Jersey Devils won three Stanley Cups popularizing the neutral zone trap, and are part of the reason the NHL became borderline unwatchable in the late 90s/early 2000s.

Where I diverge from SBB is that I'm torn on if these things require rules changes. I'm not sure they do, because ultimately, I suspect most people generally don't care enough for it to impact if they turn on the TV or buy a ticket.

   93. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: March 28, 2017 at 01:02 PM (#5424782)
The New Jersey Devils won three Stanley Cups popularizing the neutral zone trap, and are part of the reason the NHL became borderline unwatchable in the late 90s/early 2000s.

I dunno, it sure looks like these Devils fans were having the time of their lives.
   94. jmurph Posted: March 28, 2017 at 01:19 PM (#5424803)
I'm with Ithaca. I also don't particularly like the extreme shifts, but don't really see a need for a rules change (or I guess more specifically, I prefer the unsightly shift to whatever weird rules change MLB is likely to come up with).
   95. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: March 28, 2017 at 02:09 PM (#5424844)
It's not a "clock", it's a no screwing around rule. Batter doesn't leave the box. Pitcher takes no more than a minimal amount of time between pitches.


At this point, I am pretty much contractually obligated to point out that these are the current rules. I cannot for the life of me understand why Manfred (and several BBTFers) seem so hell-bent on trying anything and everything to improve the pace of play EXCEPT ENFORCING THE EXISTING RULES ABOUT PACE OF PLAY.
   96. Zonk is Back Where He Came From Posted: March 28, 2017 at 02:34 PM (#5424860)
Wow. I disagree with basically every single word of this post. ALL changes are bad? Literally all of them? It's impossible to improve a rule book written 130 years ago? You could obviously speed up the game by reducing time between pitches; no need to get rid of commercials. Running games on delay is a bonkers idea that eviscerates the one core advantage of sports: they are best experienced live.

At the margins, packaging products in new ways is of course good. But man, if baseball execs adopted the line of reasoning taken in this post, it would be a disaster for the sport.


I overstated my "NO" rules changes -- like I said in a follow-up, I could be brought around to roster rules changes (limiting the # of pitchers) or possibly even pitching change changes.

It's monkeying with positioning rules that I utterly loathe and detest. That direction lies Blernsball, and I'll pass on that, thank you very much.

As to the other stuff -

I'm simply saying that MLB - and really, any league/network - needs to start thinking post-cable.

I just toss time delay out as one possible avenue, not a well-thought through idea... but spending just 10 minutes thinking about it - and trying to formulate a workable model to increase revenue...

First, I'd say that it actually does add value to the "live" experience - that is to say, live in the ballpark. You could theoretically use such a concept to justify ticket price increases, for example.

Second, perhaps it provides an opportunity for tiering -- maybe you start pricing feeds... maybe it opens up all sorts of options where remote viewers pay extra to receive broadcasts however they like, perhaps spending a few more bucks on whatever options market research says are priceable.

Third, I think it could also be a backdoor into what IS a TV problem: the fact that games always have to start so late. Perhaps it allows you start games earlier, provide the tiered pricing option, but still let the 'network' broadcast do primetime.

I'm not saying any of that makes it a workable model... I'm just saying that the manner in which people consume remote entertainment is rapidly evolving and at some point in the not-too-distant future, baseball needs to start thinking about the days when broadcast revenue isn't simply a matter of picking which 'network' dumptruck of money you go with.
   97. Random Transaction Generator Posted: March 28, 2017 at 02:46 PM (#5424868)
   98. Baldrick Posted: March 28, 2017 at 02:51 PM (#5424873)
First, I'd say that it actually does add value to the "live" experience - that is to say, live in the ballpark. You could theoretically use such a concept to justify ticket price increases, for example.

Your theory is that baseball should consider PROHIBITING the live broadcast of their sporting event in order to try to COMPEL people who want a live experience to come to the stadium? And you think this is an example of 'thinking post-cable'?
   99. . Posted: March 28, 2017 at 02:52 PM (#5424874)
A couple more comments:

1. The grumpy traditionalists who want their traditions and their temporal continuities are missing the very compelling point that shifts are throwing defensive statistics and continuities all out of whack.

2. I can't see why anyone would want the proportion of balls in play that are turned into outs to be a function of data crunching and data mining, as opposed to athleticism.
   100. Zonk is Back Where He Came From Posted: March 28, 2017 at 02:57 PM (#5424878)
Your theory is that baseball should consider PROHIBITING the live broadcast of their sporting event in order to try to COMPEL people who want a live experience to come to the stadium? And you think this is an example of 'thinking post-cable'?


I didn't say prohibit... I tossed out the idea of tiered pricing. Digital content can be sliced, diced, packaged, repackaged - and above, sold - in a virtually limitless manner.
Page 1 of 3 pages  1 2 3 > 

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

News

All News | Prime News

Old-School Newsstand


BBTF Partner

Dynasty League Baseball

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
BDC
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogDeadspin: Baseball Writer Jonah Keri Arrested, Charged With Assault On His Wife
(78 - 2:49pm, Jul 20)
Last: base ball chick

NewsblogOT - NBA thread (Playoffs through off-season)
(6216 - 2:25pm, Jul 20)
Last: Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB)

NewsblogThe Five Trends That Could Define Baseball’s Future - The Ringer
(5 - 1:50pm, Jul 20)
Last: Bug Selig

NewsblogOT - Catch-All Pop Culture Extravaganza (July 2019)
(617 - 1:36pm, Jul 20)
Last: Davo (Love Won The Battle Of Stalingrad)

NewsblogThe moral argument for keeping Barry Bonds out of Cooperstown doesn’t hold up
(20 - 1:33pm, Jul 20)
Last: base ball chick

NewsblogLet’s make a deal? Assessing the Mariners’ likely trade chips as deadline looms | The Seattle Times
(3 - 1:13pm, Jul 20)
Last: JJ1986

Newsblog2019 Trade Value:
(10 - 12:55pm, Jul 20)
Last: Cowboy Popup

NewsblogMatt Harvey, Angels Reportedly Agree to 1-Year, $11 Million Contract
(68 - 12:48pm, Jul 20)
Last: Davo (Love Won The Battle Of Stalingrad)

NewsblogHey, $20 bucks is $20 bucks to OMNICHATTER! for July 18, 2019
(93 - 11:34am, Jul 20)
Last: Infinite Yost (Voxter)

NewsblogWhy gambling used to scare baseball and why it doesn’t anymore
(101 - 10:29am, Jul 20)
Last: Howie Menckel

NewsblogPrice responds as Eckersley dispute resurfaces
(12 - 10:34pm, Jul 19)
Last: Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB)

NewsblogOT Soccer Thread - Baldrick Reports Live
(1191 - 9:20pm, Jul 19)
Last: It was something about the man-spider and sodomy,

NewsblogThe Transformation of Alex Rodriguez (SI)
(55 - 8:26pm, Jul 19)
Last: ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick

NewsblogPrimer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-19-2019
(23 - 7:40pm, Jul 19)
Last: The Run Fairy

NewsblogOT - College Football Bowl Spectacular (December 2016 - January 2017)
(412 - 7:24pm, Jul 19)
Last: shout-out to 57i66135; that shit's working now

Page rendered in 0.8350 seconds
46 querie(s) executed