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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

With hitting down, should MLB lower the mound?

Or as pulse of the notion, Keith Hernandez said about the death of Tommy Ramone: “Hey, you come and go. They had a good run.”

From his vantage point in the New York Mets’ broadcast booth, former NL MVP Keith Hernandez has an unusual analysis and an equally drastic solution.

“They should get rid of four teams,” he said. “Too many players. There’s too much dilution of talent. The pitching’s not better. It’s the same.”

“I think that the residuals of steroids and aluminum bats has affected how they taught kids how to hit, and now we’re seeing normal bodies and balls that used to get out of the ballpark are caught now,” he said.

...From the seventh inning on, baseball resembles the 1960s, the greatest era for pitchers since the lively ball days began in 1920. The .241 batting average in the late innings is the lowest since STATS’s records began in 1974, and teams are averaging just 1.30 runs - not much incentive to keep fans in stadiums or watching their televisions.

“Obviously the real ‘solution’ here is to ban setup men and closers,” ESPN’s Keith Olbermann said.

“I’m not sure lowering the mound would have much impact. Does a lower mound transform strikeouts into homers? Viscerally this doesn’t even feel like the results of cleaning out PEDs, because batters continue to hit the ball harder and farther - and less. Ultimately this seems like just more in the decades-long transformation of batting into mere swinging,” he said.

Baseball remains the most traditional of American sports. Change comes slowly - widespread instant replay for umpires only began this year.

“I would be reluctant to lower the mound further,” said John Thorn, MLB’s official historian, “as this might be using a sledgehammer to swat a fly.”

Repoz Posted: July 15, 2014 at 08:37 AM | 172 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: history

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   1. SG Posted: July 15, 2014 at 09:09 AM (#4750536)
Bring Back Steroids!
   2. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 15, 2014 at 09:12 AM (#4750537)
No. Next question.

If you want to increase offense without FUBARing the game, restrict the number of relievers used.
   3. Bitter Mouse Posted: July 15, 2014 at 09:17 AM (#4750541)
Change is bad, so when change happens we need to do stuff until everything is the same as before. Unless it involves change, which is bad.

“Too many players. There’s too much dilution of talent. The pitching’s not better. It’s the same.”


Emperor Joseph II: My dear young man, don't take it too hard. Your work is ingenious. It's quality work. And there are simply too many notes, that's all. Just cut a few and it will be perfect.
Mozart: Which few did you have in mind, Majesty?
   4. bobm Posted: July 15, 2014 at 09:24 AM (#4750543)
Dear Mr. President,

There are too many teams nowadays. Please eliminate four.

P.S., I am not a crank.
   5. boteman is not here 'til October Posted: July 15, 2014 at 09:25 AM (#4750544)
This again??
   6. Pat Rapper's Delight Posted: July 15, 2014 at 09:26 AM (#4750545)
NL MVP Keith Hernandez has an unusual analysis and an equally drastic solution.

Who does he think he is?
   7. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 15, 2014 at 09:26 AM (#4750546)
SKINNER
Well, I was wrong. The lizards are a godsend.

LISA
But isn't that a bit short-sighted? What happens when we're overrun by lizards?

SKINNER
No problem. We simply unleash wave after wave of Chinese needle snakes. They'll wipe out the lizards.

LISA
But aren't the snakes even worse?

SKINNER
Yes, but we're prepared for that. We've lined up a fabulous type of gorilla that thrives on snake meat.

LISA
But then we're stuck with gorillas!

SKINNER
No, that's the beautiful part. When wintertime rolls around, the gorillas simply freeze to death.
   8. Jeltzandini Posted: July 15, 2014 at 09:37 AM (#4750551)
Wasn't dilution used (to be fair, not by Hernandez) as an explanatory factor for the high offense era too? Could it also explain a 4.5 run/game era? There's too many teams nowadays, but the bad extra pitchers are exactly canceling the bad extra hitters! Things are far too middling!

Olbermann's is the more surprising quote. Yes, lowering the mound would transform strikeouts into homers, because it would reduce strikeouts. Hard to say exactly how much, since the 1968-69 lowering is entangled with expansion and a strike zone change.
   9. formerly dp Posted: July 15, 2014 at 09:38 AM (#4750552)
“They should get rid of four teams,” he said. “Too many players. There’s too much dilution of talent. The pitching’s not better. It’s the same.”
Wasn't that the same explanation people used for the offensive explosion of the 'steroid' era?

Hernandez seems a weird guy to comment on this, as he was just recently praising the smallball type of play popular in lower run-scoring environments. But he gets a free pass for being one of the most consistently amusing people in the game.
   10. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: July 15, 2014 at 09:44 AM (#4750556)
I wouldn't be opposed to a combination of lowering the mound and using technology to call a perfect armpits-to-knees strike zone. It would reduce both walks and strikeouts, I think.
   11. Dale Sams Posted: July 15, 2014 at 09:51 AM (#4750559)
Which teams?

Padres, Rays, Astros, Brewers? Can't pick Marlins cause they just built a stadium. Besides they have more titles than all four of those teams combined.

Do all the players become FA's? The Yanks would like that.
   12. BDC Posted: July 15, 2014 at 09:57 AM (#4750561)
Go back to 154 games and make the pitchers travel by Pullman car.
   13. GregD Posted: July 15, 2014 at 09:59 AM (#4750563)
Quick let's make a bunch of panicked, ill-thought changes so that when offenses skyrockets, we can then make some panicked, ill-thought changes!
   14. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: July 15, 2014 at 10:10 AM (#4750570)
Viscerally this doesn’t even feel like the results of cleaning out PEDs, because batters continue to hit the ball harder and farther - and less. Ultimately this seems like just more in the decades-long transformation of batting into mere swinging,” [Olbermann] said.

This. Very much this. Particularly the notion that batting has been transformed into mere swinging. Hitters are no longer instinctual athletes, but instead overcoached executers of probabilities.

What we're seeing in major league ballparks is the unfortunate bastard spawn of those who have "figured out" the sport. Lowering the mound wouldn't put a dent in that trend. The game has to be somehow given back to the players, and the walks and the strikeouts and the basepath loafing and the endless cavalcade of middle relievers taken out.

Baseball has become the sport of middle-aged, virtually lily-white intellectuals, faux-intellectuals, and know-it-alls. There was no way that was going to end well, and it hasn't.
   15. Joey B. "disrespects the A" Posted: July 15, 2014 at 10:14 AM (#4750571)
This again??

This again. And again, and again, and again.
   16. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 15, 2014 at 10:32 AM (#4750583)
Which teams?


Yankees, Red Sox, Cubs, Cardinals.
   17. Bitter Mouse Posted: July 15, 2014 at 11:01 AM (#4750596)
Baseball has become the sport of middle-aged, virtually lily-white intellectuals, faux-intellectuals, and know-it-alls. There was no way that was going to end well, and it hasn't.


Anyone have a mirror for SBB?

As they say, "this too shall pass". Baseball is and will be fine.
   18. Joey B. "disrespects the A" Posted: July 15, 2014 at 11:21 AM (#4750608)
Baseball has become the sport of middle-aged, virtually lily-white intellectuals, faux-intellectuals, and know-it-alls.

So it's like the monthly politics thread.
   19. haggard Posted: July 15, 2014 at 11:35 AM (#4750612)
Raise the batters box.
   20. cardsfanboy Posted: July 15, 2014 at 12:34 PM (#4750651)
The logic on reducing the number of teams is ridiculous. All that is going to do is reduce the number of bad pitchers that allow the players to actually generate some offense against. Expansion would lead to higher offense, contraction would lead to lower offense.

Mind you contraction is about as silly as other attempts such as rewriting the rules to limit relief pitchers or other over reaction to a small downturn in offense.

I agree with the post of calling the strike zone consistently(technology) as one point that would help. As Walt and others have pointed out in other threads, babip is still the same, the main changes have been an increase in strike rates, decrease in walk rates and a decrease in homerun rates(basically the things that dips taught us that the pitchers have control over) realistically speaking if batters start to "put the ball in play" as they had in the past(supposedly) with two strikes, then in theory offense might go back up(more balls in play, assuming babip stays roughly the same, indicates more men on base--obviously there are huge holes in that theory, it might be argued that the lower babip from the past was not a result of better defense but more weakly, easy to field balls....so then the trade off would be a drop in babip, fewer strike out and walks but more balls in play...maybe a wash, maybe not)


   21. NTP Nate Posted: July 15, 2014 at 12:49 PM (#4750662)
Offense is declining. Offense has always been declining.
   22. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: July 15, 2014 at 12:59 PM (#4750674)
babip is still the same, the main changes have been an increase in strike rates, decrease in walk rates and a decrease in homerun rates(basically the things that dips taught us that the pitchers have control over)

The problem there is that it's completely untrue that pitchers have "control" over strikeouts, walks, and HRs. Some hitters are easier to strikeout than others, e.g.

It's true that the defense doesn't "interfere" with strikeouts, walks, and (the vast majority of) homeruns, but that's a completely different thing.
   23. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: July 15, 2014 at 01:04 PM (#4750677)
Some of the "Three True Outcomes" trend is coming from mental approach, but I think some of it's coming from a physical approach, too: more & more batters are either dropping a pinky (holding the knob of the bat in their palm) or using an overlap grip (top hand over bottom hand) or both. This gives more bat to work with - so, more power on contact - but costs a little bat control. So, more strikeouts and homers, fewer slap hits.
If you look at footage from the 70's compared to now, it's not only that there are far fewer little skinny guys, but also nearly everybody used to choke up a little - you could almost always see a gap between the bottom hand and the knob of the bat. Hunter Pence would fit right in.
   24. cardsfanboy Posted: July 15, 2014 at 01:06 PM (#4750680)
The problem there is that it's completely untrue that pitchers have "control" over strikeouts, walks, and HRs. Some hitters are easier to strikeout than others, e.g.


Yes, but that still doesn't change the fact that strike out rates from pitchers correlate year to year, yes batters have a say in it, and it's a skill there also, but just because pitchers have a skill, doesn't mean batters don't also have influence on it.

The point is that in todays game, in comparison to the recent high offense years, those three factors are the only measurable changes.... Fewer hr%, Fewer walk% and higher strikeout%.... Babip is still the same.
   25. bfan Posted: July 15, 2014 at 01:09 PM (#4750682)
Yes, we should consider it, if people who understand baseball would concur that it would increase offensive production. The LA-SD 4 game series this week-end had a total of 14 runs scored. We can talk about the art of a Clayton Kershaw start all we want, but guess what-it isn't just him, and it isn't so artful and dramatic when his 1 run given up in the game makes him about average (or at least at the median) for that series. It is not an interesting game when you feel as if you can go home when someone puts a 3 spot up in an early inning.
   26. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: July 15, 2014 at 01:15 PM (#4750685)
The point is that in todays game, in comparison to the recent high offense years, those three factors are the only measurable changes.... Fewer hr%, Fewer walk% and higher strikeout%.... Babip is still the same.

If it's literally true that BABIP is the same now, then it's functionally higher now because of the huge increase in shifts. IOW, balls leaving bats are destined to more frequently be hits now than 10 years ago, but that BABIP delta is getting eradicated by the shifts.
   27. Yoenis Cespedes, Baseball Savant Posted: July 15, 2014 at 01:19 PM (#4750688)
Pitchers throw harder now, with the increase in average fastball velocity reducing runs scored from somewhere between .15-.45 R/9 (link).

Also, taking the first pitch has become dogma for hitters, and pitchers are taking better advantage of this. The next advantage may be gained by teams that take a game theoretic approach to the first pitch and employ a mixed strategy of taking and swinging.
   28. Bitter Mouse Posted: July 15, 2014 at 01:19 PM (#4750689)
If it's literally true that BABIP is the same now, then it's functionally higher now because of the huge increase in shifts.


This is nuts. Either it is the same or it isn't. Defensive positioning has always been part of baseball and always will be, so what?
   29. Sunday silence Posted: July 15, 2014 at 01:21 PM (#4750693)
Hitters are no longer instinctual athletes, but instead overcoached executers of probabilities.
What we're seeing in major league ballparks is the unfortunate bastard spawn of those who have "figured out" the sport. Lowering the mound wouldn't put a dent in that trend. The game has to be somehow given back to the players, and the walks and the strikeouts and the basepath loafing...


are you OK?
   30. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: July 15, 2014 at 01:23 PM (#4750694)
The Padres' June batting average was the lowest team BA month since 1914. They're hitting .210 as a team. They're on pace to steal roughly 100 bases as a team.

They're playing aesthetically insulting baseball. If they were still playing in the Murph, with late 70s/early 80s levels of fan drunkenness and rowdiness, relative appeal of urban spaces, dearth of in-game shopping and drinking diversions, and divisional structure, they'd probably be on pace to draw about 600,000 fans.
   31. formerly dp Posted: July 15, 2014 at 01:33 PM (#4750708)
are you OK?
Are you new here? This is his knee-jerk response to everything...it's become a fun sort of self-parody to watch, as long as people treats it with the seriousness it deserves...
==
Also, taking the first pitch has become dogma for hitters, and pitchers are taking better advantage of this. The next advantage may be gained by teams that take a game theoretic approach to the first pitch and employ a mixed strategy of taking and swinging.
Maybe this is just from watching a lot of Met games, where they are really focused on taking pitches and working counts, but the hyperattentiveness to pitch counts seems to have a strong influence on the decision to be selective at the plate.* If your team can push the starter out of the game early, then you can get to the weaker middle/long relievers and do your damage against them. It seems SOP to show pitch counts in broadcasts now, where this didn't seem to be as common a few years back. These sorts of changes make the game more interesting for me, rather than less, but YMMV and obviously nostalgics are gonna nostalgize...

*Yeah, the Mets are trying to ape the Yankees, but without good hitters in the lineup to make the strategy as effective...but at least it's a plan...

   32. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: July 15, 2014 at 01:39 PM (#4750715)
Are you new here? This is his knee-jerk response to everything...it's become a fun sort of self-parody to watch, as long as people treats it with the seriousness it deserves...

The game's an aesthetic disaster by any objective measure. There's no need to delude ourselves.
   33. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: July 15, 2014 at 01:45 PM (#4750725)
To put some meat on the bones, and for further discussion, I'll re-offer something I preliminarily sketched a few months ago:

If you calculated an "Excitement Index" equal to:

Balls in Play - HRs + stolen base attempts + triples + outs at third trying to extend to a triple + sliding doubles - standing doubles

... you'd probably be down 30-40 percent from 30 years ago.
   34. Davo Dozier Posted: July 15, 2014 at 01:47 PM (#4750726)
I am starting to realize how far outside the mainstream of BBTF I am, because I actually do think this is a major problem, and MLB should absolutely start implementing changes to correct it.

The thought of your average baseball game in 2020 having 20 strikeouts really sickens me, and that lack of action is going to drive more fans away.
   35. Steve Treder Posted: July 15, 2014 at 01:47 PM (#4750727)
aesthetic disaster by any objective measure.

These words, I do not think they mean what you think they mean.
   36. formerly dp Posted: July 15, 2014 at 01:50 PM (#4750733)
it's become a fun sort of self-parody to watch

The game's an aesthetic disaster by any objective measure.
Thanks for succinctly reinforcing my point.
   37. Matt Welch Posted: July 15, 2014 at 01:54 PM (#4750737)
Millions of Americans per MLB team, 1950-2014:

1950: 9.5
1960: 11.2
1970: 8.5
1980: 8.7
1990: 9.6
2000: 9.4
2010: 10.3
2014: 10.6

Started at 1950 because of color barrier. Obviously, the percentage of international players has constantly ratcheted up during that period. I remember breaking it down year by year a while ago, and when the ratio kicks above 10 that’s usually when expansion pressures bubble up.
   38. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: July 15, 2014 at 01:58 PM (#4750740)
The thought of your average baseball game in 2020 having 20 strikeouts really sickens me, and that lack of action is going to drive more fans away.

It already is. Look at the TV numbers. The median viewer of tonight's All Star Game is a 53 year old white guy.

People are fans of the local nine, but not of the sport itself. And even there, you have many people who aren't really "fans" in the classical sense, but instead "participants in fandom" in the replica jersey/social media/party and consume at the mallpark/fantasy league/talk radio sense. The mallparks and the participants in fandom phenomena are keeping the numbers afloat, but there isn't a lot of there there. (See, e.g., post 30.)

It's funny -- virtually everything the BBTF mainstream has deluded itself into "thinking" about football, i.e., that its real appeal is in ancillary things like gambling, is in fact not true about football but (unfortunately) is true about baseball. More people follow and watch the NFL draft than watch practically all MLB playoff games. (And that doesn't even consider college football.)

And don't look now ... but here comes soccer. With its two-hour games of constant action and its exploding appeal to the 9-25 generation and its non-provincial scope.



   39. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: July 15, 2014 at 02:00 PM (#4750743)
If you calculated an "Excitement Index" equal to:

Balls in Play - HRs + stolen base attempts + triples + outs at third trying to extend to a triple + sliding doubles - standing doubles


Any sort of "Excitement Index" that deducts home runs as a not exciting play is not one that I think meets with what the average fan thinks is exciting.
   40. PreservedFish Posted: July 15, 2014 at 02:08 PM (#4750757)
The median viewer of tonight's All Star Game is a 53 year old white guy.


Why do you hate white people?
   41. Darnell McDonald had a farm Posted: July 15, 2014 at 02:10 PM (#4750759)
I like the bigger strike zone idea, called by some combination of human and robots. Also several teams should move in their fences, outfield and infield (I'm looking at you Oakland)
   42. PreservedFish Posted: July 15, 2014 at 02:13 PM (#4750762)
Any sort of "Excitement Index" that deducts home runs as a not exciting play is not one that I think meets with what the average fan thinks is exciting.


Oh, I'd much rather see a pop fly than a homerun.
   43. Booey Posted: July 15, 2014 at 02:14 PM (#4750763)
#34 - You're not alone, Davo. I agree with you 100%. I know the game is cyclical and I try not to overreact to every change that comes along, but the current style of play is less exciting to me than it ever has been in my 25+ years of fandom, and it seems to be getting worse.
   44. Davo Dozier Posted: July 15, 2014 at 02:17 PM (#4750767)
It already is. Look at the TV numbers. The median viewer of tonight's All Star Game is a 53 year old white guy.

People are fans of the local nine, but not of the sport itself. And even there, you have many people who aren't really "fans" in the classical sense, but instead "participants in fandom" in the replica jersey/social media/party and consume at the mallpark/fantasy league/talk radio sense. The mallparks and the participants in fandom phenomena are keeping the numbers afloat, but there isn't a lot of there there. (See, e.g., post 30.)

It's funny -- virtually everything the BBTF mainstream has deluded itself into "thinking" about football, i.e., that its real appeal is in ancillary things like gambling, is in fact not true about football but (unfortunately) is true about baseball. More people follow and watch the NFL draft than watch practically all MLB playoff games. (And that doesn't even consider college football.)

And don't look now ... but here comes soccer. With its two-hour games of constant action and its exploding appeal to the 9-25 generation and its non-provincial scope.

I sign on to everything here. And it's hard to blame The Powers That Be for burying their heads in the sand about the obvious problems the sport is facing when even its most rabid fans--us!--are saying "Oh, don't worry, everything's fine."

It reminds me a lot of the housing situation in like 2004. Everyone's making so much money that no one wants to listen to the people saying "You realize this is going to blow up really really soon unless you do something to fix it, right?"
   45. SG Posted: July 15, 2014 at 02:18 PM (#4750769)
BIP - HR + SBA + 3B + Outs at 3B (cannot separate out attempts to extend 2B into 3B) all divided by games:
2014: 32.88
1984: 33.33
   46. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: July 15, 2014 at 02:22 PM (#4750774)
In the U.S. soccer is just like politics: A small percentage of people are devoted followers, and otherwise everyone gets excited about it for a few months once every four years and then quickly returns to mostly ignoring it once the gala is over.
   47. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 15, 2014 at 02:23 PM (#4750776)
Any sort of "Excitement Index" that deducts home runs as a not exciting play is not one that I think meets with what the average fan thinks is exciting.


Or that differentiates "exciting" sliding doubles from those yawner standing doubles.
   48. Bitter Mouse Posted: July 15, 2014 at 02:36 PM (#4750799)
BIP - HR + SBA + 3B + Outs at 3B (cannot separate out attempts to extend 2B into 3B) all divided by games:
2014: 32.88
1984: 33.33


And I object to subtracting for HR. Feel free to subtract for walks and strikeouts. Yes they are boring, but the Home Run is not and will never be boring. Ever.

A huge percentage of iconic moments are HRs. Chicks dig the HR.
   49. Ziggy Posted: July 15, 2014 at 02:54 PM (#4750825)
Or you can not change anything, because these things come and go. Players, and teams, will adapt, like they always have. We're on a downswing in offense (from the highest levels in history), give it a while, it'll go back up.
   50. JE (Jason) Posted: July 15, 2014 at 02:55 PM (#4750827)
Yes, we should consider it, if people who understand baseball would concur that it would increase offensive production. The LA-SD 4 game series this week-end had a total of 14 runs scored. We can talk about the art of a Clayton Kershaw start all we want, but guess what-it isn't just him, and it isn't so artful and dramatic when his 1 run given up in the game makes him about average (or at least at the median) for that series. It is not an interesting game when you feel as if you can go home when someone puts a 3 spot up in an early inning.

I enjoy watching pitcher's duels infinitely more than games resembling football scores. What does bothers me is any nine-inning game, whatever the score, that goes well over three hours in length.
   51. Davo Dozier Posted: July 15, 2014 at 02:59 PM (#4750838)
Or you can not change anything, because these things come and go. Players, and teams, will adapt, like they always have. We're on a downswing in offense (from the highest levels in history), give it a while, it'll go back up.


*fingers crossed*

Because if you're wrong, it's hello ESPN3.
   52. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: July 15, 2014 at 03:02 PM (#4750843)
Attempting to tinker with the offensive levels of the game sucks. Interacting with trolls sucks. This thread sucks.
   53. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: July 15, 2014 at 03:02 PM (#4750844)
There is no reason we can't have 9-6 games that are over in a tight 2:15. If we decided we wanted that, it could very easily be accomplished.
   54. valuearbitrageur Posted: July 15, 2014 at 03:05 PM (#4750849)
Raise the batters box.

You might as well hand first base to Billy Hamilton every AB.


Bull Durham as always offers the clear and obvious solution to bring back the great game of baseball, Catchers will be henceforth required to tell batters what that egotistical fop of a pitcher is throwing next.
   55. Bitter Mouse Posted: July 15, 2014 at 03:05 PM (#4750851)
I enjoy watching pitcher's duels infinitely more than games resembling football scores. What does bothers me is any nine-inning game, whatever the score, that goes well over three hours in length.


Yup. Games will be longer than in the storied past because of commercials, but still there is more dead time than is ideal. but getting rid of the dead time has very little to do with "Too many HR" or whatever.

I wonder if the pace in baseball was pushed, limits to time between pitches and so on if it would affect run scoring or the composition of the offense.
   56. valuearbitrageur Posted: July 15, 2014 at 03:07 PM (#4750854)
Or we could require relief pitchers to pitch to at least two batters. Suddenly managers can't send a wave of lefty/right specialists in late innings, scoring increases while the game pace becomes faster and more interesting.
   57. Booey Posted: July 15, 2014 at 03:22 PM (#4750875)
I enjoy watching pitcher's duels infinitely more than games resembling football scores.


That's fine, but even pitchers duels are much less interesting when it's between two 6 inning starters and then 3 relievers per team.

If the position players aren't producing big, memorable seasons since offense is down, I'd at least like to see the pitchers doing it instead. But they're not either due to the increased reliance on relievers and the obsession with pitch counts. And all the TJ surgeries, of course. We're kinda getting the worst of all worlds here. And if the TTO style of hitting and constant parade of relievers proves to be an effective strategy, I don't see any reason to expect this trend to change going forward.
   58. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: July 15, 2014 at 03:24 PM (#4750877)
Games will be longer than in the storied past because of commercials

Your typical gambit. Problem is basketball's as good as its ever been, hockey is as good as its ever been, football is way better than it was in the late 70s/early 80s, and soccer is way better than it was in the late 70s/early 80s.

Baseball's the outlier. It's clearly worse.

   59. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 15, 2014 at 03:34 PM (#4750887)
Or we could require relief pitchers to pitch to at least two batters.

Two? Make it 4.
   60. Bitter Mouse Posted: July 15, 2014 at 03:36 PM (#4750888)
Your typical gambit. Problem is basketball's as good as its ever been, hockey is as good as its ever been, football is way better than it was in the late 70s/early 80s, and soccer is way better than it was in the late 70s/early 80s.


My Gambit?

Anyway, are you suggesting that baseball was at its apex ... let me guess ... in 1979? Decline since then?

And who says those other sports are "better"? You can find plenty of people that prefer the 1979 version of each of those sports to the 2014 version and vice versa.

I don't know how to break this to you, but things change.
   61. Booey Posted: July 15, 2014 at 03:36 PM (#4750891)
Baseball's the outlier. It's clearly worse.


Thanks a lot, everyone who b!tched about steroids! You couldn't just leave well enough alone! Hope you're happy!
   62. EO1828 Posted: July 15, 2014 at 03:41 PM (#4750897)
Maximum 3 pitchers/team per 9 inning game, 7 innings pitched for a "quality start". For extra innings can have 1 additional pitcher per two innings.
   63. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: July 15, 2014 at 03:44 PM (#4750899)
Instead of hamfisted attempts to force teams to keep the starter in longer that will backfire, I might suggest we make it easier to get the starter to last longer by reducing the time of game (which is a significant and oft overlooked fatigue factor) and the pitches per plate appearance.

That's starters. As for relievers, forcing, by rule, a reliever to stay in the game until he's finished the current inning or given up a run chargeable to him is an obviously beneficial rule change that will eventually happen because it is obviously beneficial.
   64. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: July 15, 2014 at 03:52 PM (#4750916)
And who says those other sports are "better"? You can find plenty of people that prefer the 1979 version of each of those sports to the 2014 version and vice versa.

I'm sure you can. But it's kind of silly to attribute my opinion of the relative merits of 2014 baseball to nostalgia when it plainly isn't. (And you can add TV to things that are far better in 2014 than they were in the 70s and 80s.)

Anyway, are you suggesting that baseball was at its apex ... let me guess ... in 1979?

I'd put it at around 1988-92. The sport was way better then than it is now. It was better in 1979 than it is in 2014, too.
   65. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: July 15, 2014 at 03:56 PM (#4750923)
Or we could require relief pitchers to pitch to at least two batters. Suddenly managers can't send a wave of lefty/right specialists in late innings, scoring increases while the game pace becomes faster and more interesting.


I think this is a terrific idea. It's relatively minor in terms of a change compared to Zeth's suggestion of leaving a pitcher in until he allows a run but it would still have a big impact.

The biggest thing baseball needs to do is pick up the pacing. If umpires simply enforced rules about stepping out and throwing a pitch that would probably eliminate 90% of the issues.
   66. Zach Posted: July 15, 2014 at 04:32 PM (#4750960)
The thought of your average baseball game in 2020 having 20 strikeouts really sickens me, and that lack of action is going to drive more fans away.

20 strikeouts a game isn't going to be an equilibrium, because most batters hit around .300 on balls in play. At some point, making weak contact and running hard becomes a viable strategy again.
   67. Bitter Mouse Posted: July 15, 2014 at 04:39 PM (#4750970)
But it's kind of silly to attribute my opinion of the relative merits of 2014 baseball to nostalgia when it plainly isn't.


I am not attributing it to nostalgia, I am attributing it to opinion.
   68. cardsfanboy Posted: July 15, 2014 at 05:34 PM (#4751048)
If it's literally true that BABIP is the same now, then it's functionally higher now because of the huge increase in shifts. IOW, balls leaving bats are destined to more frequently be hits now than 10 years ago, but that BABIP delta is getting eradicated by the shifts.


The point of babip is that shifts don't make a difference, not that shift is making a difference and babip would be higher without them. Effectively three years ago no team shifted, now everyone is shifting and it makes not one iota of difference.
   69. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: July 15, 2014 at 05:38 PM (#4751049)
The point of babip is that shifts don't make a difference, not that shift is making a difference and babip would be higher without them. Effectively three years ago no team shifted, now everyone is shifting and it makes not one iota of difference.

But that begs the question.
   70. Booey Posted: July 15, 2014 at 05:41 PM (#4751053)
I'd put it at around 1988-92.


The mini deadball era when players would lead the league with a .320 avg and 35 homers? What was so great about this era? Offense was too low back then too.*

*And these were my first 5 years as a baseball fan, when I was 9-13, so you'd think they'd be my fondest memories too. But they weren't. The latter part of the 90's was better, IMO. That said, 1988-92 was still better than what we've got today. At least starters pitched deeper back then and every hitter didn't strike out 150-200 times a year.
   71. cardsfanboy Posted: July 15, 2014 at 05:41 PM (#4751055)
I am starting to realize how far outside the mainstream of BBTF I am, because I actually do think this is a major problem, and MLB should absolutely start implementing changes to correct it.

The thought of your average baseball game in 2020 having 20 strikeouts really sickens me, and that lack of action is going to drive more fans away.


And I'm arguing that the batters are going to eventually react, when the three true outcomes become problematic since pitchers have a larger bearing on it than the batters, then the batters are going to react by focusing on contact style of play. At least that is one way to counter the pitchers advantage right now. Making knee-jerk reactions to what very well could be just a periodic change could cause more long term unforeseen problems.

(Of course I've been arguing for larger rosters so that teams could have fewer utility men and more specialist offensively which might help in the later innings, and that could be thought of as an over compensation, since my issue is that the benches are too thin nowadays)

   72. cardsfanboy Posted: July 15, 2014 at 05:42 PM (#4751056)
And don't look now ... but here comes soccer. With its two-hour games of constant action and its exploding appeal to the 9-25 generation and its non-provincial scope.


Constant action? Grass growing and paint drying has more action than soccer. Just because the clock doesn't stop, doesn't mean it's constant action. It's 11 guys taking 8 minutes to set up one perfect shot on goal.
   73. DL from MN Posted: July 15, 2014 at 05:43 PM (#4751059)
now everyone is shifting and it makes not one iota of difference


I thought I read somewhere that average was the same but SLG dropped. Batters are forced to give up doubles in the gap for singles the other way.
   74. cardsfanboy Posted: July 15, 2014 at 05:47 PM (#4751063)
And I object to subtracting for HR. Feel free to subtract for walks and strikeouts. Yes they are boring, but the Home Run is not and will never be boring. Ever.

A huge percentage of iconic moments are HRs. Chicks dig the HR.



Huge percentage of iconic moments are strikeouts....as a Cardinal fan Carlos Beltran and Bruce Sutter both are involved in incredible exciting strike outs.....rarely are you going to find an exciting walk though (maybe a 9 pitch bases loaded 2 out walk in a tie game I guess)

But I agree, homeruns are exciting, I can't imagine any excitement index that didn't include homeruns. Of course any excitement index would basically throw away a Morris/Smoltz 10 inning 1-0 game as boring, so not sure that an excitement index is really that necessary for determining how watchable a game is.

   75. Walt Davis Posted: July 15, 2014 at 05:49 PM (#4751066)
Millions of Americans per MLB team, 1950-2014:

If this was meant to address the question of the possible dilution of talent, it's the wrong way to look at it. The composition of the US population tilts much older than it used to. If you look at, say, the 15-19 year-old population -- i.e. the future labor pool -- the NUMBER has only recently returned to its peak levels of the mid-70s.

Lots of factors come into play in terms of the available elite baseball talent and drafting the top 200 out of a population of 10 M is not really much different than from a population of 15 M (numbers made up), but there's no doubt that the size of the US-resident young labor pool was a lot smaller in the 80s and 90s than it was in the 60s and 70s.

If instead you were addressing the potential audience market for baseball, the older composition of the population probably helps.
   76. cardsfanboy Posted: July 15, 2014 at 05:51 PM (#4751069)

Your typical gambit. Problem is basketball's as good as its ever been, hockey is as good as its ever been, football is way better than it was in the late 70s/early 80s, and soccer is way better than it was in the late 70s/early 80s.

Baseball's the outlier. It's clearly worse.


And basketball is much worse than it was in the early 90's, and hockey is much worse than it was in the late 80's and football is worse than it was in the early 2000s....Not seeing your point, there are highs and lows in every sport.

(and please, please for the love of everything holy, tell me you aren't stupidly talking about tv ratings, which is one of the stupidest ways to judge popularity ever, ever conceived by man, makes 9/11 truthers and moon landing conspirators appear to have a functioning brain in comparison, even flat earthers and anti-evolutionist are more rational than someone that thinks tv ratings means anything in regards to how popular a sport is....if you pull something as idiotic as that, then someone could pull something equally idiotic like MLB has more people attend their games in a season than NFL, NHL, NBA, Nascar, U.S. Soccer combined....stupid reasoning, but not nearly as stupid as thinking tv ratings mean anything)
   77. cardsfanboy Posted: July 15, 2014 at 05:53 PM (#4751073)
But that begs the question.


It begs what question? Why shift when there is no evidence that it makes a difference overall? True. But people think it does because of flawed analysis that looks at individual plays instead of the overall results.
   78. formerly dp Posted: July 15, 2014 at 06:00 PM (#4751081)
20 strikeouts a game isn't going to be an equilibrium, because most batters hit around .300 on balls in play. At some point, making weak contact and running hard becomes a viable strategy again.
Yeah, this is what tends to happen, right? Batters adjust, fielders adjust, pitchers adjust. Data is always imperfect, results are always variable. The game will keep changing.

I'm probably a minority of one on this, but I actually appreciate the video review. Adds another layer of drama, strategy and resource allocation to the game.
   79. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: July 15, 2014 at 06:07 PM (#4751087)
It begs what question?

The question of whether the shifts are turning hits ex-shift into outs.
   80. Matt Welch Posted: July 15, 2014 at 06:11 PM (#4751094)
If this was meant to address the question of the possible dilution of talent, it's the wrong way to look at it. [...]

If instead you were addressing the potential audience market for baseball, the older composition of the population probably helps.


I was lazily conflating the two without thinking too much about it. I wonder what the right age-range to look at would be for the talent pool? I'd guess something like 22-33, or some band that covers the bulk of current big-leaguers....
   81. cardsfanboy Posted: July 15, 2014 at 07:00 PM (#4751128)
The question of whether the shifts are turning hits ex-shift into outs.


Clearly that isn't the case.
   82. Rob_Wood Posted: July 15, 2014 at 08:43 PM (#4751261)
Forget the word "shift" since it has somehow become an emotional term for some (e.g., harold reynolds and a few bbtf posters). I cannot believe that anyone who has any passing knowledge of the game of baseball thinks that defensive positioning is unimportant. The fact is that several teams who have advanced analytic departments have analyzed their database of balls in play and adapted their defensive alignment as a result. They are positioning their fielders in places to maximize the chance of turning a ball in play into an out. Maybe they only pick up a few percentage points, but, as the saying goes, Las Vegas was built on such edges.

Ever since the days of Connie Mack, outfielders have moved a great distance depending upon the batter, have moved depending upon the count, and at a minimum lean depending upon the type of pitch called. While not as obvious, defensive positioning can be important for infielders as well. I cannot believe that this is even a question. Every baseball player that I have ever talked to about this 100% agrees that defensive positioning is important, for both outfielders and infielders.

Lou Boudreau was my great uncle and I, as a boy, used to listen to him talk about developing the Ted Williams shift. Williams was a dead-pull hitter as everyone knows. Lou said that Ted would virtually never hit a ground ball to the left side of the field, maybe once in a while he'd hit a hard grounder up the middle but that was about it. Lou felt that his two best defensive infielders (himself and third baseman Ken Keltner) were totally useless against Williams in the typical defensive alignment. So one day Boudreau moved Keltner up the middle slightly to the first base side, and he moved himself to where the second baseman typically played (slightly closer to the first baseman), and moved his second baseman out into short right field (on a line between Boudreau and the first baseman). Of course, I asked Lou how successful was the shift against Ted. Not very, he'd say, Ted hit the ball too darned hard. Even with four infielders on the right side, Ted was able to hit the ball through the small gaps. But every once in a while one of the fielders would rob him of a hit and Ted would get really mad about it and stew over it the rest of the game. Overall he said, the shift had minimal impact against Ted. Who it would have worked better against? A slower dead-pull hitter so that the fielders could play further out on the outfield grass (so as to increase their reaction time) like teams did against Ted late in his career. Of course, in today's game this description fits David Ortiz and Prince Fielder.

So this anti-shift fever is quite puzzling to me. Harold Reynolds, at least, perhaps has a good reason for not liking the extreme shifts in today's game. Harold believes that players on the field should be the ones to position themselves in the optimal spots. Harold would move quite a bit depending upon the game situation, the batter, the count, the pitch, etc. Maybe teams do not trust that their fielders will always move to optimal positions, especially since the teams now have a lot of data on where opposing batters hit the ball. Really, today's shifts are just the logical extension of the venerable Connie Mack moving his fielders around with his rolled up scorecard.

Maybe the impact on shifts is minimal. Maybe teams are making decisions to shift on too many batters on too little data. Maybe teams dictating shifts before the game starts has taken away some of the flexibility individual fielders have to reposition based upon count and pitch. But to argue that shifts don't matter flies in the face of 100+ years of baseball history and 5+ years of tracking the location of every ball put in play in the major leagues.
   83. Walt Davis Posted: July 15, 2014 at 09:05 PM (#4751306)
Minor note: HR% is of course down but that's mainly a product of the Ks too. HR/FB% has been pretty steady over the last 20 years.
   84. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: July 15, 2014 at 09:08 PM (#4751311)
Forget the word "shift" since it has somehow become an emotional term for some (e.g., harold reynolds and a few bbtf posters). I cannot believe that anyone who has any passing knowledge of the game of baseball thinks that defensive positioning is unimportant.


I don't think it's unimportant. I think that basic defensive positioning was perfected 120 years ago and ever since has been improved upon only by relatively minor adjustments.
   85. Walt Davis Posted: July 15, 2014 at 09:11 PM (#4751316)
I was lazily conflating the two without thinking too much about it. I wonder what the right age-range to look at would be for the talent pool? I'd guess something like 22-33, or some band that covers the bulk of current big-leaguers....

It's probably easier to focus on the emerging talent pool ... or use 20-29 since the pop estimates work in 5 year age chunks. But anyway, when it comes to the effect of expansion on available talent, I'd think that ideally you'd want to expand just as the increased talent is entering the game. Hence I chose 15-19.

From that perspective, the 90s expansion seems a pretty bad idea. The peak for 15-10 was (if I recall, too lazy to check) 1978 so by 1993 that group was aged 30-34 and on their way out the door. The late 80s/early 90s were the valley for 15-19 so you had less US-born talent available (making big assumptions). This possibly fueled the explosion in Latin players.

Of course MLB expanded to make tons of money in new markets and not so it could absorb/dilute the emerging talent.
   86. Bhaakon Posted: July 15, 2014 at 09:19 PM (#4751326)
Forget the word "shift" since it has somehow become an emotional term for some (e.g., harold reynolds and a few bbtf posters). I cannot believe that anyone who has any passing knowledge of the game of baseball thinks that defensive positioning is unimportant. The fact is that several teams who have advanced analytic departments have analyzed their database of balls in play and adapted their defensive alignment as a result. They are positioning their fielders in places to maximize the chance of turning a ball in play into an out. Maybe they only pick up a few percentage points, but, as the saying goes, Las Vegas was built on such edges.


Of course positioning is important. The problem is the the batter is not a robot. He can respond to the shift in ways that nullify its effectiveness, and the more extreme the shift, the easier it is for him to do so.

That doesn't mean that guys like Big Papi are suddenly grounding every ball weakly the opposite way, but then they only have to get an extra handful of hits that way every season to completely eliminate any BABIP bonus gained from shifting.
   87. Buzzkill Posted: July 15, 2014 at 09:35 PM (#4751356)
They should just raise the batters box.
   88. cardsfanboy Posted: July 15, 2014 at 09:38 PM (#4751365)
They should just raise the batters box.


already proposed in post 19.
   89. cardsfanboy Posted: July 15, 2014 at 09:39 PM (#4751368)
Of course positioning is important. The problem is the the batter is not a robot. He can respond to the shift in ways that nullify its effectiveness, and the more extreme the shift, the easier it is for him to do so.

That doesn't mean that guys like Big Papi are suddenly grounding every ball weakly the opposite way, but then they only have to get an extra handful of hits that way every season to completely eliminate any BABIP bonus gained from shifting.


And there is the argument to be made that some of the drop in homeruns is because the hitters are swinging in a way to avoid hitting into the shift(it's probably not true, but it's could be a minute data point)
   90. Walt Davis Posted: July 15, 2014 at 09:53 PM (#4751401)
#82 --

1) blame sloppy language. Everybody knows that dead pull hitters, esp LHB, have been shifted against since at least Williams. Nobody is questioning that. The questioning is about the explosion in shifts. So when people, or at least ones saner than Ryenolds, talk about "the shift" not being effective, they are talking about this explosion in shifts.

2) MLB is more flyball-oriented these days than it was before. MLB is more K and power-oriented. In 2014, the AL in-play rate is 69% (keeps pitchers almost entirely out of it). Of those, only 45% are GB. So only 31% of PA result in a GB. That limits how much effect IF positioning can have -- unless it greatly cuts down on BA on LD.

3) For as long as we've tracked GB/FB, BABIP on GB is terrible. In 1992 AL, batter hit 212/233 on GB. In 2000 AL, they hit 170/182. In 2014, it's actually 247/268. It's been bouncing around 237-247 starting in 2003. 2002-3 saw a shift from about 40% of BIP being classified as GB to 45% of BIP being classified as GB ... not sure if that was a real shift or just a definitional/measurement one. (We saw something similar with LD vs FB in 2012-13.)

My guess is definitional. You see a substantial drop in the proportion of LDs with a bump in both proportion FB and GB. So probably hard GB that touched down on the edge of the IF were shifted from "LD" to "GB" and possibly some fliners moved to FB. The recent shift might be fliners being moved to LD. Just guesses though.

4) So suppose extra shifting cuts your opponents' BABIP on GB by as much as .01. That's an effect on overall h/PA of about -.003. That's about 18 hits a year. That's not trivial, could be 15 runs or 1.5 wins. You'd obviously do it if you could be confident in seeing those sorts of effects.

5) But that just gets us back to the mystery of why we aren't seeing an effect on the overall numbers for GB. There are a lot of things that could be going on from SBB's unsubstantiated claim that batters are mashing it even harder and numbers aren't going up due to the shift to more likely things like batters are actually pulling the ball more or teams are seeing lower BABIP on pulled balls but surrendering worse outcomes on balls hit the other way or up the middle.

6) But without consistent definition/measurement of GB/FB/LD, it's not clear we can say anything with confidence. The changes in GB/FB/LD could of course also be real changes but, if so, there are some really weird combination of events.

To get back to the 2002-3 change in GB. You have GB% going from 40% of BIP to 45% and you have BA on GB going from 160-170 up to 235-245. Those are pretty big changes to happen overnight. Of the roughly 3000 "extra" GB from 2002-3, roughly 2600 were base hits. Of the roughly 4000 LDs that "disappeared", over 4000 of them were hits. Looks to me like 2002 LDs being classified as 2003 GBs (and some FBs).
   91. vivaelpujols Posted: July 15, 2014 at 11:40 PM (#4751607)
I think Olbermann is correct. Almost all of the increased strikeouts (and decreased offense) is due to relievers. You put limits on reliever usage and offense goes back up.

It's amazing how many former baseball players are completely idiotic BTW. What the hell is Keith Hernandez talking about?
   92. cardsfanboy Posted: July 15, 2014 at 11:43 PM (#4751613)
I think Olbermann is correct. Almost all of the increased strikeouts (and decreased offense) is due to relievers. You put limits on reliever usage and offense goes back up.


Not directly, starting pitching k rates have also gone up all across the board, the argument could be made it's because they aren't worried about saving their strength past the seventh inning, but it's not just relief pitching that is factoring into this.

But that isn't evidence to put limits on relief pitcher usage.. even assuming all the increase was reliever based just means that relievers are a factor...Making any rash decision based upon what is roughly two years of data is NFL level of nutsoid.
   93. Sunday silence Posted: July 16, 2014 at 01:23 AM (#4751642)
what exactly is the problem? People make it sound as if run scoring is at dead ball era II (1967-68,70) levels which it isnt. Not quite yet anyway.

or is it more about too many strike outs. The "aesthetics" of the game to quote one of our above posters. Yes strike outs continue to go up, and have been for a long enuf time to wonder about what is going on there.

As for runs for game, its about where it was at certain pts in the mid 70s, early 80s. 1975 and 1981 seem to be about on par with last years 4.0 runs/game. It's not dead ball era level of disaster but it's kind of odd.

The other thing is that we are really only about 4-5 years removed from the last year of the inflated silly ball: 2009 with its 4.6 runs/game. That whole era 1993-2009 is quite comparable to the 20s/30s the great run scoring era. So we are only a few years removed from the highest or near highest run scoring in history. You have to be careful how much you want to tweak the game.

But I return to the seminal question, which I have yet seen anyone really make it clear:

Is it the run/game production or the high number of strike outs that we need to address at the present?
   94. Sunday silence Posted: July 16, 2014 at 01:27 AM (#4751643)
Also, you cannot discount the shift entirely. So I am a little concerned about cardsfan who is usually pretty well informed on stuff. If I recall correctly it was having an effect on slugging, so while the point about "effective babip" may be putting a too fine point on it; clearly shifting is having an positive effect for defenses.

Else why the hell would everybody be doing it?

But again, if you're worried about runs/game you may feel strongly about new wave of shifting; if its KOs you're worried about, not sure where that fits.

Not sure what the overall point here is. You cant outlaw the shift. Well I guess you can along with limiting throws to first base and making relievers face 3 batters or some sh!t like that. but basically the way the game is usually played you cant stop them from shifting.

Which leaves us with the point that effectively batters would be doing a little bit better (in terms of slug. anyway) were it not for the shift? Or perhaps that batters have not tanked completely, but that the huge number of shifts may account for some of the dropoff in run production.

I think effectively hitters are changing their approach when they face the shift and that accounts for the change in slugging. Going from memory, I'll have to look that one up to make sure.
   95. vivaelpujols Posted: July 16, 2014 at 01:36 AM (#4751646)
But that isn't evidence to put limits on relief pitcher usage.. even assuming all the increase was reliever based just means that relievers are a factor...Making any rash decision based upon what is roughly two years of data is NFL level of nutsoid.


Well relievers in general are a scourge upon the game (they are also a leading cause of increased game time), so I think it would be a good thing regardless. But I agree that it's probably too extreme of a rule change to happen for awhile.
   96. Sunday silence Posted: July 16, 2014 at 01:36 AM (#4751647)
Instead of hamfisted attempts to force teams to keep the starter in longer that will backfire, I might suggest we make it easier to get the starter to last longer by reducing the time of game (which is a significant and oft overlooked fatigue factor) and the pitches per plate appearance.


how would you reduce pitchers/PA? other than making 3 balls a walk and/or 2 strikes a KO?
   97. Sunday silence Posted: July 16, 2014 at 01:40 AM (#4751649)
Of course I've been arguing for larger rosters so that teams could have fewer utility men and more specialist offensively which might help in the later innings, and that could be thought of as an over compensation, since my issue is that the benches are too thin nowadays


I think definitely there's a point to be made about the size of rosters. It seems every playoff game one team is either short a pinch hitter or a utility IF or a pr. Pirates had really no PR last post season, for example.

But that still begs the question, if you had a 26th man: who would teams spend it on? Another 95 mph reliever? That doesnt help the problem does it?
   98. Bunny Vincennes Posted: July 16, 2014 at 01:43 AM (#4751651)
WHAT THE #### IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE? Baseball evolves it always has. It doesn't NEED fixing. And how many of you jackasses were crying about steroids? Go to the ballpark soak, in the sun, enjoy a couple of beers. THIS IS THE SINGLE DUMBEST DISCUSSION EVER ON THIS WEBSITE WHICH IS FRANKLY AMAZING.
   99. Sunday silence Posted: July 16, 2014 at 02:05 AM (#4751655)
you must have missed Wainwright vs Kershaw a few hours ago...
   100. Bunny Vincennes Posted: July 16, 2014 at 03:31 AM (#4751664)
you must have missed Wainwright vs Kershaw a few hours ago...


I did not. Sometimes this is what baseball looks like. Tinkering for temporary opinion is ####### stupid. See also politics (I'm throwing Repoz a bone here...) You choose tomorrow and in five years you have the exact same people ######## how the status sucks. You know what? Baseball is fine.

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