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Sunday, February 25, 2018

Two-fer homers? That, and other radical ideas to keep MLB fans engaged | New York Post

No thank you. Baseball doesn’t need radical changes; it just needs to pick up the pace to get back to the pace of the 1980’s.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 25, 2018 at 09:21 AM | 44 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: rules of the game

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   1. dejarouehg Posted: February 25, 2018 at 11:48 AM (#5630183)
Generally speaking, I hate all suggestions to change the game, other than pitch clock, elimination walk-up music and keeping the batter in the box. Yet Sherman's suggestion about posting different strategy scenarios on the scoreboard is intriguing. It doesn't take away from the game at all and keeps the targeted audience involved. The extra-credit for a long-distance home run is silliness. I see no need for the substitute base runner (that's really going to speed up the game? - nothing slows the game down like speed - this is going to entice millenials??) but for some reason doesn't offend me that much.
   2. dejarouehg Posted: February 25, 2018 at 11:48 AM (#5630184)
Another way to keep fans engaged is by having lucrative giveaways in between innings. The 50/50 is good for fans, but let them have a draw every half inning and give away autographed items of the star players and cash prizes.
   3. BDC Posted: February 25, 2018 at 12:39 PM (#5630199)
Extra credit for home runs is another cricket-like idea, analogous to boundaries counting four runs if they bounce out and six on the fly. Or really, for that matter, an extension of the ground rule that a baseball bouncing over the fence counts two bases and one flying over counts four.

However I should probably stop bringing up cricket.
   4. BDC Posted: February 25, 2018 at 12:40 PM (#5630200)
And didn't Bill Veeck or somebody once have fans behind the dugouts vote on whether to bunt, or something?
   5. dejarouehg Posted: February 25, 2018 at 12:57 PM (#5630207)
And didn't Bill Veeck or somebody once have fans behind the dugouts vote on whether to bunt, or something?


Yes he did. I'm trying to think of a legit criticism in this suggestion to keep the fans engaged during downtime, which is often exaggerated with men on base. I don't see it. It actually seems like a good idea.
   6. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: February 25, 2018 at 01:10 PM (#5630213)
As long as the fans are willing to commit to becoming knowledgeable about run expectancies, I'd be fine with it.
   7. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: February 25, 2018 at 01:26 PM (#5630217)
And didn't Bill Veeck or somebody once have fans behind the dugouts vote on whether to bunt, or something?


Yes he did.

It was on August 24, 1951, a Friday night game between Veeck's St. Louis Browns and the equally hapless Philadelphia A's. Veeck called it "Grandstand Managers Night", and he set off a special section where 1115 fans** took over for manager Zach Taylor. After choosing the Browns lineup, the "managers" would hold up "Yes" or "No" signs in response to alternate suggestions ("Infield back?", "Shall we warm up pitcher?", etc.) as to what to do at any particular point of the game.

And it must have worked, as the Browns won the game by 5 to 3.

** The total crowd that night was all of 3925. This was only 5 days after Eddie Gaedel, and Veeck was clearly desperate to put asses in the seats.
   8. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: February 25, 2018 at 01:53 PM (#5630228)
They should make players "run" the bases on skateboards or bikes, put ramps between the bases, and award extra runs for aerial tricks during home run trots.
   9. The Yankee Clapper Posted: February 25, 2018 at 02:29 PM (#5630236)
Lower the price of beer $1 for 10 minutes after every home team HR. A fan saving $3 on a single ballpark beer would have a lifetime memory, assuming sufficient sobriety.
   10. I Am Merely a Fake Lawyer Posted: February 25, 2018 at 02:34 PM (#5630238)
I threw out the extra runs for really long dingers idea in the other thread a couple days ago. Not that it's some massively awesome idea or anything (*), but I wonder whether Sherman lurks around here.

Love, love, love the idea of a designated runner. Charlie Finley threw that one out there in the early/mid 1970s.

(*) Though I've never seen it thrown out anywhere else.
   11. The Duke Posted: February 25, 2018 at 03:03 PM (#5630250)
The mound visit rule is a good one this year. Baseball already has a two-fer like cricket. Ground rule double and a home run.

Extra-players. I’d like to see a 27 man roster with a pitcher cap, and ability to bring first catcher back into game in case of injury to second catcher and a four man taxi squad (ie healthy scratches like they have in hockey). It would bring more specialists into the game.
   12. Darren Posted: February 25, 2018 at 03:35 PM (#5630259)
How about instead of walk up music, we have "sprint up music"?
   13. BDC Posted: February 25, 2018 at 04:08 PM (#5630266)
It would bring more specialists into the game

I dunno. I think it's the one upside of expanded bullpens that teams no longer travel with third catchers and backup third basemen and pinch-hitters who see action every two weeks.
   14. Stormy JE Posted: February 25, 2018 at 04:56 PM (#5630285)
Let slower runners use the bullpen car to get from first to third on a base hit.
   15. Walt Davis Posted: February 25, 2018 at 05:43 PM (#5630310)
Are we talking keeping the fans in attendance engaged? The whole ballpark experience seems geared towards keeping the causal fan from getting too bored -- and make sure he/she has as much time for as many beers before sales are cut off.

Keeping the streamer engaged is a completely different kettle of fish. Or perhaps a kettle of different fish. Or sushi. But clearly fish-related somehow. Anyway, I got no ideas other than constant live tweeting by the players. They're doing nothing but striking out and hitting HRs anyway so it's not like the guys in the field have anything better to do. Except I'm sure Twitter is dead. Maybe we just need to pay Kylie Jenner a lot of money to say that baseball is cool. That'll work until she's not cool ... 5 ... 4 ... 3 ... 2 ...
   16. AndrewJ Posted: February 25, 2018 at 05:44 PM (#5630311)
“One, baseball needs to be louder, angrier, and have access to a time machine. Two, whenever baseball's not onscreen, all the other characters should be asking 'Where's baseball?'"
   17. bookbook Posted: February 26, 2018 at 12:35 AM (#5630462)
Shrink the strike zone, keep the batter in the box, enforce a minimum handle diameter on the bats, and deaden the baseball just a bit.

Oh, and allow the fans onto the field in groups of ten during the action—hijinks are sure to ensue.
   18. Walt Davis Posted: February 26, 2018 at 01:05 AM (#5630466)
Between every half-inning, each section of the stands gets to vote off somebody seated in that section.

Also cap cams, glove cams, bat cams, ball cams, base cams, pitching rubber cams, ivy cams, vendor cams, locker room cams, shower room cams, manager's office cams.

And how do we cut down on HRs? Drones randomly flying around and covering about 30% of the airspace 20 feet above the field. if you can get the ball up and out through the drones, well done. If the ball hits a drone, it's live; however if the ball knocks the drone out of the sky, the batter is awarded first base (runners advancing at their own risk) and the batting team receives an extra out that inning.

Replace the catcher with the Hank Aaron Pitchback. A pitcher is allowed to meet with the Pitchback, but only the Pitchback, as often as he wants.

Except for Philly, every team's mascot will be cloned from Ted Giannoulas.

With every HR, a Dreamer is saved from deportation and given a green card. (Note, really all MLB cities are "blue" but we might allow the Texas teams to change this to deporting two Dreamers with each HR. In Cobb County, a Dreamer gets a green card but must live in Atlanta metro.)

Hit bull, win steak ... with a live bull on the field!

If you change pitchers mid-inning, the new pitcher has to do 5 bat spins before every pitch.
   19. zachtoma Posted: February 26, 2018 at 03:31 AM (#5630470)
It continues to be so extremely mystifying to me why everyone in baseball media and even league execs seem to be convinced that their customers hate baseball. Baseball is in good shape, the fans are showing up, league revenue is through the roof.
   20. RMc Has Bizarre Ideas to Fix Baseball Posted: February 26, 2018 at 07:28 AM (#5630475)
One word: Basebrawl!
   21. Rusty Priske Posted: February 26, 2018 at 09:39 AM (#5630495)
It continues to be so extremely mystifying to me why everyone in baseball media and even league execs seem to be convinced that their customers hate baseball. Baseball is in good shape, the fans are showing up, league revenue is through the roof.


THIS!!!!!!!


I hate all suggestions to change the game, other than pitch clock, elimination walk-up music and keeping the batter in the box.


And I hate those three.
   22. SoSH U at work Posted: February 26, 2018 at 09:50 AM (#5630503)
Here's the one true change I'd like to see. A North American Professional Baseball Cup.

Reduce the regular season schedule to 154 games. However, in its place, begin a year-long single-elimination tournament within the season. You start the A-ball season with a tournament - two winners emerge (probably one affiliate from each league) who move onto the Double A tourney. The two winners there up to Triple A, then the two winners there move up to the big league event. For five weeks after the all-star break, Mondays are turned over to the Cup. Random draw of the 30 big league teams and the two survivors from the minor league event for pairings. They play at either a home field or multiple games at centralized sites. Each Monday, you play the tournament games, eliminating half the field. Then on Tuesday, they return to the regular schedule. It creates some additional excitement within the season, and for crappy teams there's still an opportunity to accomplish something. And every once in a while, a minor league club will sneak its way into the second round.

Make a nice payout for various levels of advancement to make it worth the player's while.

   23. I Am Merely a Fake Lawyer Posted: February 26, 2018 at 10:33 AM (#5630512)
It continues to be so extremely mystifying to me why everyone in baseball media and even league execs seem to be convinced that their customers hate baseball. Baseball is in good shape, the fans are showing up, league revenue is through the roof.


Jesus, this again?

Mallparks are nice places to spend summer nights and afternoons, even for people who don't really want to watch baseball. They drive revenue, but are not reflective of actual baseball fandom. Nor does the flukish, soon-to-burst cable bubble mean anything real or sustainable.

The two primary places without either mallparks, or the non-representative exception of national treasures (*), are Oakland and Tampa Bay. No one goes to games there; attendance in Oakland even for their good teams of the recent early '10s, was way down from the good teams of the late '80s/early '90s, and even down from their good teams of the early '00s. Tampa had a run of excellent teams and didn't draw for ####.

Though they didn't really know it at the time they were extorting them, thinking they would merely increase profit, mallparks actually saved baseball as a business. Baseball in a place like Three Rivers or Riverfront Stadium -- or even a place like Candlestick -- isn't even a feasible business in 2018.

(*) Fenway and Wrigley.
   24. PreservedFish Posted: February 26, 2018 at 10:37 AM (#5630513)
The two primary places without either mallparks, or the non-representative exception of national treasures (*), are Oakland and Tampa Bay.


Those are the two shittiest stadiums, yes, and as such best support your hobbyhorse, but you'd also have to list the two LA stadiums, Kauffman, and whatever they call the White Sox stadium as legit non-mallparks.
   25. I Am Merely a Fake Lawyer Posted: February 26, 2018 at 10:39 AM (#5630514)
Kauffman after the re-do is very much a mallpark. The White Sox situation proves the mallpark point even more.
   26. PreservedFish Posted: February 26, 2018 at 10:56 AM (#5630521)
You're right about Kauffman.

In recent decades, after opening that park that was almost immediately made to seem obsolete, the White Sox: were in the top half of the league during the years that they were competitive, peaking at 3rd in the league, near 3 million, after they won the WS. In the last 5 years they've transitioned from pathetic to overtly rebuilding, and the attendance has slipped down toward the bottom. Their current attendance of around 20,000 per game is still higher than any level they ever consistently attained in their first 9 decades. Doesn't seem like much evidence of anything, certainly not that baseball without mallparks is not even feasible.
   27. Man o' Schwar Posted: February 26, 2018 at 12:45 PM (#5630583)
Between every half-inning, each section of the stands gets to vote off somebody seated in that section.

This is the best suggestion ever.
   28. Man o' Schwar Posted: February 26, 2018 at 12:46 PM (#5630585)
And how do we cut down on HRs? Drones randomly flying around and covering about 30% of the airspace 20 feet above the field. if you can get the ball up and out through the drones, well done. If the ball hits a drone, it's live; however if the ball knocks the drone out of the sky, the batter is awarded first base (runners advancing at their own risk) and the batting team receives an extra out that inning.

I think if the defense catches the drone before it hits the ground, the batter should be out.
   29. PreservedFish Posted: February 26, 2018 at 01:14 PM (#5630596)
In the future, when humanity has all but chucked physical activity in favor of online multiplayer virtual reality games, the baseball drone operator will be the best known and highest paid player on his team.
   30. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: February 26, 2018 at 01:18 PM (#5630604)
Whatever the White Sox park is called these days is definitely an attempt at a mallpark. It has the wide concourses, the shower station in LF, the how-hard-was-my-pitch game and various other kids' activities, the fireworks, and the awful 'everybody make some nooooise' crap after every damn pitch. The crucial element it lacks, of course, is a surrounding neighborhood with lots of entertainment options (team-owned or otherwise).
   31. BrianBrianson Posted: February 26, 2018 at 01:21 PM (#5630608)
You know, if pitchers had to snort a line of cocaine between each inning, they wouldn't doddle so long. This is on all of you who wanted drug testing.
   32. Walt Davis Posted: February 26, 2018 at 04:31 PM (#5630760)
#28 ... seconded!

#31 ... maybe we should compare pitch times for players with a TUE for adderall vs. those without
   33. zachtoma Posted: February 26, 2018 at 06:03 PM (#5630804)
Those are the two shittiest stadiums, yes, and as such best support your hobbyhorse, but you'd also have to list the two LA stadiums, Kauffman, and whatever they call the White Sox stadium as legit non-mallparks.


As a lifelong patron of Dodger Stadium, yes. I'd argue the explosion of Spring Training attendance in recent years also points to a healthy and robust baseball fandom.
   34. Walt Davis Posted: February 26, 2018 at 06:36 PM (#5630811)
Of course what we really want to look at is gate and concession/parking revenues (and sure, include spring training, fantasy camps, etc.) Attendance has been pretty stagnant over the last several years but the relationship between attendance and revenue is not clear -- given variation in ticket price, including specials, variation in how much extra folks spend, what kind of deal did they cut with the vendors, etc.
   35. McCoy Posted: February 26, 2018 at 09:28 PM (#5630851)
Wrigley field. Not a mallpark
   36. I Am Merely a Fake Lawyer Posted: February 27, 2018 at 11:28 AM (#5631011)
Attendance hasn't been "stagnant," it's down around 8% since it peaked in 2007. It was about 1,500 fans per game higher in 1994 than it was in 2017.
   37. I Am Merely a Fake Lawyer Posted: February 27, 2018 at 11:41 AM (#5631023)
Oakland remains a perfect measuring stick to gauge actual baseball interest versus mallpark hanging out interest. Basically the same stadium since the last 60s -- yeah, "Mount Davis," whatever -- a nice mix of ebb and flow between consistently good teams and not so good ones, so we have distinct eras.

The data couldn't be more clear. Attendance for the excellent late 80s teams was significantly higher (two peak years 2.9 million and 2.7 million) than attendance for the excellent early 00s teams (2.2 and 2.1 million) which in turn was significantly higher than attendance for the excellent early 2010s teams (2 and 1.8 million).

The other team in the area was on the cusp of moving out of town in the winter after the A's drew 2.5 million fans on the back of years of 2.2, 2.7, 2.9, and 2.7 million. Eventually the other team got a mallpark -- albeit a gorgeous one -- and they've driven the A's into the dust.

QED.
   38. I Am Merely a Fake Lawyer Posted: February 27, 2018 at 11:46 AM (#5631026)
I would say, and it would be accurate to say, that interest in baseball qua baseball peaked from about 1988 until the strike. The mallparks and the cable bubble have been decent revenue band-aids, but the underlying baseball interest is quite a bit lower now than it was then, and will likely never return to where it was at its peak. Manfred knows this, and almost certainly has a bunch of data showing it.

In its current form, with games averaging over three hours with much of that being dead time, baseball has no chance to return to '88-'94 levels of inherent interest. None.
   39. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: February 27, 2018 at 11:50 AM (#5631029)
[Attendance] was about 1,500 fans per game higher in 1994 than it was in 2017.

But is that a function of reduced demand or reduced supply? Isn't one of the "features" of the current generation of mallparks an intentional reduction in the number of seats in an attempt to manufacture scarcity and increase ticket prices based on reduced supply?
   40. BDC Posted: February 27, 2018 at 12:21 PM (#5631045)
But is that a function of reduced demand or reduced supply? Isn't one of the "features" of the current generation of mallparks an intentional reduction in the number of seats in an attempt to manufacture scarcity and increase ticket prices based on reduced supply?

Yes; as Walt notes, you could sell slightly fewer tickets but make out much better overall.

I also wonder about the ratio of ticket sales to actual attenders. Maybe there are fewer no-shows than there used to be, given the ease of reselling.

   41. DavidFoss Posted: February 27, 2018 at 12:28 PM (#5631050)
increase ticket prices based on reduced supply?

Plus better seats. A lot of the parks from the multi-purpose era had seats designed for watching football -- especially in the upper deck and outfield.
   42. I Am Merely a Fake Lawyer Posted: February 27, 2018 at 01:17 PM (#5631082)
Better seats should mean better attendance, but it hasn't.

And of course, as a virtually perfect distillation of the point -- the most expensive seats in baseball, within the moat at New Yankee Stadium, are routinely half or less filled with people actually watching baseball. Sold, so the Yankees get the revenue, but not used to watch baseball.
   43. OsunaSakata Posted: February 27, 2018 at 03:32 PM (#5631187)
And how do we cut down on HRs? Drones randomly flying around and covering about 30% of the airspace 20 feet above the field. if you can get the ball up and out through the drones, well done. If the ball hits a drone, it's live; however if the ball knocks the drone out of the sky, the batter is awarded first base (runners advancing at their own risk) and the batting team receives an extra out that inning.


That reminds me of Ken Griffey and center blimp from the AllSport commercials.
   44. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: February 27, 2018 at 03:36 PM (#5631192)
Better seats should mean better attendance,

as long as those better seats don't come with "better" ticket prices that the market simply won't bear.

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