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Tuesday, April 07, 2020

Home Run Derby, Anyone? Eight Ideas to Shorten Extra Innings

The start of spring without baseball has left many of us with ample time to obsess over the game we don’t have. While we devote our attention to watching classic games, reading great baseball books and rewatching favorite films, getting our baseball fix also involves pondering the state of our game.

Revamping extra innings is among the structural changes the league is considering to improve pace of play. Some ideas, like beginning the inning with a runner on second base, have already been implemented at certain levels of baseball. Others, like Justin Turner proposing a home run derby to decide games in extras, are much more drastic.

Below is a list of eight possible changes–tiered by their invasiveness–baseball can make to its extra-innings format to avoid six-hour games and ensure a more exciting product. It’s worth acknowledging every idea is slanted to encourage offense so games end sooner. Apologies to all the pitchers in the baseball universe. 

While I am still partial to the status quo, some of these extra-innings suggestions do sound fun.

With conditions being what they are, discussing this seems to be rather out of place…..

 

QLE Posted: April 07, 2020 at 01:04 AM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: bad ideas, extra innings, home run derby

Wednesday, April 01, 2020

Baseball brainstorm: How MLB’s stars could play a bigger role in deciding the season

The fate of Major League Baseball’s 2020 season is up in the air as the world reels from the coronavirus pandemic. At the very least, its form will have to be altered. That is not what anyone wished for, but if public health eventually stabilizes enough to allow for sporting events, an unusual season could carry a small opportunity for America’s most tradition-bound game. A season that is already inherently different is a chance to float a trial balloon, to see how different the sport can be before we denounce it as too different.

So, we assembled the Yahoo Sports baseball staff in Slack, put the more pressing pandemic-related questions to the side for a moment, and took to the whiteboard, so to speak: What experiments could baseball run in 2020 that might stick around?

So, any of you think you can top these for bad ideas?

 

QLE Posted: April 01, 2020 at 12:39 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: bad ideas, home run derby, re-entry

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Baseball brainstorm: Brackets? 7-inning games? How MLB could experiment in a short season

The fate of Major League Baseball’s 2020 season is up in the air as the world reels from the coronavirus pandemic. At the very least, its form will have to be altered.

That is not what anyone wished for, but if public health eventually stabilizes enough to allow for sporting events, an unusual season could carry a small opportunity for America’s most tradition-bound game. The baseball world is constantly obsessing over the tug of war between adaptation to the contemporary entertainment environment and adherence to the rules, numbers and structures that, over more than a century, have created a rich framework around the sport. A season that is already inherently different is a chance to float a trial balloon, to see how different the sport can be before we denounce it as too different. (When the NBA began a lockout-shortened year on Christmas Day, for instance, many were convinced every season should start on Dec. 25.)

So, we assembled the Yahoo Sports baseball staff in Slack, put the more pressing pandemic-related questions to the side for a moment, and took to the whiteboard, so to speak: What experiments could baseball run in 2020 that might stick around?

So, how would you handle such matters?

QLE Posted: March 26, 2020 at 12:46 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: bad ideas, brackets, seven-inning games, shortened season

Saturday, February 29, 2020

Peralta opts for security in $15.5M deal with Brewers

PHOENIX (AP) — Freddy Peralta gave his mom an unforgettable Mother’s Day in 2018, striking out 13 while winning his major league debut as she looked on at Coors Field.

Two years later he gained financial security for his family, finalizing a $15.5 million, five-year contract with the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday.

The deal for the 23-year-old right-hander covers two years of club salary control and his three years of arbitration eligibility. There are a pair of team options that if exercised would raise the value to $30 million over seven seasons.

If he turns into a star, the Brewers will have him at far under market value. But for now, he has a contract guaranteeing nearly 30 times the $533,258 he earned last year.

Judge Robert Cannon would have been proud…..

 

 

QLE Posted: February 29, 2020 at 01:06 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: bad ideas, contracts, freddy peralta

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Counterpoint: The Astros’ Sign-Stealing Scandal Is Actually Good for Baseball

For those of you curious to see a hot take in the wild:

Baseball is crumbling. The Houston Astros, arguably MLB’s most successful team of the past decade, have been exposed as rampant cheaters. Their punishment is next to nothing, as commissioner Rob Manfred suspended the manager (A.J. Hinch) and general manager (Jeff Luhnow) involved in their scheme while letting the players skate. His grand crisis-control strategy was to downplay the importance of the Astros’ World Series win by referring to the trophy as a “piece of metal.” The past is tarnished, as the Astros’ 2017 championship and 2017 and 2019 pennants will forever be considered unfairly won. The present is chaos, as the game’s biggest stars have united in revolt against baseball’s establishment. The future appears lawless, as MLB has revealed itself to be a world where cheating players face no discipline—unless other players take matters into their own hands for vigilante justice. So, yeah, I get why some people might think that the Astros’ scandal has been bad for the sport.

With that said: I have never been more interested in baseball than I am right now. And I don’t think I’m alone! It’s February, and every sports fan I know is locked in on following the latest spring training developments. We are hooting and hollering every time a new baseball player goes in on the Astros. We are eager to debate which teams will bring down baseball’s newest menace. Why do you think my editor asked me, a football writer, to write about baseball? Because we can’t stop clicking on articles about baseball! You’re here, aren’t you?

Baseball is locked in a battle between good and evil—you know, that struggle that’s been the crux of virtually every movie, TV show, and book since the beginning of time. The Astros are the hunted, and MLB’s 29 other teams are the valiant squads looking to bring them down. The sport might seem like it’s self-destructing, but I have three reasons to believe that the Astros’ sign-stealing saga will instead act as a much-needed shot in the arm.

 

 

QLE Posted: February 27, 2020 at 12:44 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: bad ideas, contrarians on parade, sign-stealing

Monday, February 17, 2020

Rob Manfred offers little insight, shows contempt for reporters in press conference

Commissioner Rob Manfred spoke at a press conference, addressing the Astros cheating scandal and other topics on Sunday evening. It did not go well.

To start, the press conference was not broadcast officially on MLB’s own TV channel (it aired the 1988 movie Bull Durham instead), nor could any mention to it or link to the live stream be found anywhere on MLB.com. When the actual questions began, Manfred’s answers were circuitous or simply illogical given other comments he has made in the past. On more than one occasion, he showed contempt for reporters for doing their jobs — and, some might argue, doing his job — holding players and front office personnel accountable.

Last month, Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal broke a story about the Astros’ “dark arts” and “Codebreaker” operation, based on a letter Manfred sent to then-GM Jeff Luhnow. Diamond was among the reporters present for Manfred’s press conference on Sunday. Per The Athletic’s Lindsey Adler, Manfred addressed Diamond, saying, “You know, congratulations. You got a private letter that, you know, I sent to a club official. Nice reporting on your part.” MLB’s response to the depth of the Astros’ cheating ways was lacking and, without Diamond’s reporting, we would have known how deeply lacking that response was. It is understandable that Manfred would be salty about it, since it exposed him as doing his job poorly, but it was an immature, unrestrained response from someone in charge of the entire league.

Onto the actual topic at hand, Manfred said he felt like the punishment doled out to the Astros was enough. Per Chris Cotillo, Manfred said Astros players “have been hurt by this” and will forever be questioned about their achievements in 2017 and ’18. Some players disagree. Former pitcher Phil Hughes even suggested the players have a work stoppage over this issue.

So, what does Manfred have to do at this point before the owners decide it isn’t worth it to keep him around?

 

QLE Posted: February 17, 2020 at 12:25 AM | 120 comment(s)
  Beats: bad ideas, press conferences, rob manfred

Friday, February 07, 2020

What If Minor League Baseball Had Bowls?

This summer, Jackie Robinson Ballpark, home of the Daytona Tortugas, will host the Florida State League All-Star Game. The Jack, as it’s known, got its name because Daytona Beach was the first Florida city to allow Robinson to play in a 1946 spring training game. Over fifty years after that game, the Jack was named to the National Registry of Historic Places. 

The All-Star Game will showcase some of the best and youngest players in the minor leagues, celebrating baseball’s future on a stage remembering its past. Except, while the players may continue onward and upward to bigger stages, Major League Baseball wants to leave The Jack behind. You see, the Tortugas are on the chopping block, one of 42 teams MLB has proposed cutting after the 2020 season in order to upgrade facilities that have “inadequate standards.”

As Dave Heller, president and CEO of Main Street Baseball — which operates four teams, three on the list — told SB Nation, MLB’s justification of “inadequate standards” requires some suspension of disbelief.

“We are trusting that they’re telling the truth when they say this is really about facilities standards, and the 25 percent — their figure — of minor league baseball parks that are not in compliance with MiLB facility standards,” Heller said. “All four of my clubs are easily in compliance with that.”

Mind you, there’s a champion of Triple-A baseball overall every year, and I’m not sure who cares about that other than those of us lucky to follow the team that’s won said title.

 

QLE Posted: February 07, 2020 at 01:35 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: bad ideas, bowls, minor leagues

MLB: Montreal sharing plan ’100 percent’ best way to keep Rays in Tampa Bay

ORLANDO — Major League Baseball officials and owners now see the season-sharing plan with Montreal proposed by the Rays as the best way — “100 percent” — to keep a team, albeit part time, in the Tampa Bay market, commissioner Rob Manfred said Thursday.

“People continue to believe that the two-city alternative they’re exploring is viable and could be a really good solution for keeping baseball in Tampa Bay,’’ Manfred told the Tampa Bay Times after a scheduled owners meeting.

“I continue to be impressed by the energy that they’ve devoted to the project. And to the fact there is significant receptivity among our group, and excitement in some quarters about the possibility.’‘

Manfred said Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg had made a strong case to the owners, which mirrors the comments team officials have made publicly about the Montreal plan being their primary focus.

There’s no way that this idea isn’t going to backfire on everyone involved, is there?

 

 

QLE Posted: February 07, 2020 at 12:54 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: bad ideas, manfred is thinking about it, montreal, rays

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

MLB Umpires to Explain Replay Review Decisions Via Microphone for 2020 Season

Umpires in MLB will begin communicating the decisions for video reviews to fans by microphone during the 2020 season, according to ESPN’s Pedro Gomez.

Gomez added umpires “may also explain rules, if necessary.”

MLB’s Replay Operations Center is tasked with conducting the reviews and relaying the decisions to umpires on the field. Allowing an umpire to explain the outcome—much like an NFL referee—should provide a level of transparency for fans.

Having said that, the change is unlikely to eliminate the controversy that can grow from contentious calls on the field.

It takes hard work to come up with such a bad idea…..

 

QLE Posted: January 28, 2020 at 12:27 AM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: bad ideas, microphones, replay, reviews, umpires

Monday, January 27, 2020

Justin Verlander laughed at after saying Astros were ‘technologically and analytically advanced’

Justin Verlander was at the annual Baseball Writers Association of America banquet last night, on hand to accept the 2019 Cy Young Award. Normally such things are pretty routine events, but nothing is routine with the Houston Astros these days.

During his acceptance speech, Verlander made some comments about the Astros’ “technological and analytical advancements.” The comments were greeted by some laughter in the room as well as some groans. At least one person on hand claimed that other players present were visibly angry.

It’s hard to tell the context of it all without a full video — maybe Verlander meant it as a joke, maybe the reactions were more varied than is being described — but here’s how reporters on hand for it last night are describing it:

....

If it was a joke it was ill-timed, as not many around the game think the sign-stealing stuff is funny at the moment. Especially in light of the fact that, despite having several opportunities to do so, Astros players have failed to show any accountability for their cheating.

You don’t normally see people go all-in on being the bad guys from mediocre 1980s teen comedies, do you?

QLE Posted: January 27, 2020 at 12:34 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: bad ideas, bbwaa, dirty rotten cheaters, justin verlander

Saturday, January 18, 2020

“Hire ’Tek!”: Red Sox fans make pitch for Varitek as manager

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) — The Boston Red Sox have a list of characteristics they want in their next manager, but they haven’t yet landed on a name.

Their fans have one in mind.

Three days after the Red Sox fired manager Alex Cora for his involvement in a cheating scandal, supporters pleaded for Boston’s front office to hire former catcher and team captain Jason Varitek at a town hall event Friday during the team’s winter festival.

Members of the team’s leadership group were hit with “Hire ’Tek!” chants throughout the night, and principal owner John Henry was interrupted several times by fans voicing their support. Henry paused and nodded in acknowledgement, and new chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom used the opportunity to appease the crowd.

Given how this week has gone so far, something tells me this could end up backfiring rather quickly…..

 

QLE Posted: January 18, 2020 at 01:08 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: bad ideas, jason varitek, managerial search, red sox

Thursday, January 16, 2020

L.A. City Council to vote on asking MLB to award Dodgers championship trophies

The Los Angeles City Council is expected to vote within the next week on a resolution urging Major League Baseball to recall the championship trophies presented to the Houston Astros in 2017 and the Boston Red Sox in 2018 “and award them to the Los Angeles Dodgers.”

Councilman Gil Cedillo, one of the sponsors of the resolution, said he expects the council to approve it. As of late Wednesday, the city clerk had not yet determined what day the resolution would come up for a vote.

Cedillo, whose district includes Dodger Stadium, said neither the Dodgers nor his constituents had requested the resolution.

“This is an equity and justice thing,” Cedillo said. “Who was the best team in 2017? Who was the best team in 2018? It was the Dodgers. They got beat by teams that were cheating.

One of those rare things that manages to unite people across the ideological spectrum in Southern California is the utter uselessness of Los Angeles’ municipal government- this serves as a demonstration of why…...

 

QLE Posted: January 16, 2020 at 12:10 AM | 39 comment(s)
  Beats: bad ideas, dirty rotten cheaters, dodgers

 

 

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