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Tuesday, November 02, 2021

Almost All the Complaints About the World Series Are Wrong

4.Games Are Finishing Too Late at Night
Look: I’m tired, you’re tired, we’re all tired. These games are regularly going past midnight — only two of the five have finished the same day they started so far — and it’s certainly keeping everyone who stays up until the last out groggy the next morning (on the East Coast, anyway). My 9-year-old baseball-obsessed son hasn’t gotten to watch a whole game yet, and he’s plenty irritated at me about it.

This also makes him like every 9-year-old baseball-obsessed kid over the last 50 years. As pointed out by baseball writer Joe Sheehan in his newsletter, nearly every World Series game since 1971 has ended between 11 p.m. ET and midnight … and yet baseball has somehow survived.

Complaints about the lateness of have been around just as long. One reason they’re so ever-present? Many of the loudest voices, in the media and in the larger populace, live in the Eastern Time Zone. If you live in California—and, you know, a lot of people do, as it turns out — the games are done in time for a late dinner. The World Series has been starting at 8 p.m. ET (or later) for as long as most of us watching it have been alive. The only difference now is that we can hear people grousing about it more. Sure, I’d love afternoon World Series games too. But they’ve been televising these things for seven decades now. If it made sense to play the games at 3 p.m., it would have happened by now. And then I’m sure we’d all complain about not being able to get off work in time to watch.

And a retort: Defector: Here Are Some Dishonest Defenses Of Baseball

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 02, 2021 at 04:22 PM | 125 comment(s)
  Beats: pace of play, world series

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Baseball Games Are Still Too Long—and Getting Longer

The extreme game length that caused this overlap and prevented fans from devoting full attention to both crucial contests is not an aberration, however, but the new postseason norm. The average playoff game this postseason has lasted a gobsmacking three hours and 42 minutes.

Remove the 13-inning, five-hour-and-14-minute battle between the Red Sox and Rays, and the average for nine-inning contests is still an absurd 3:38, the highest ever. This graph shows how the average nine-inning playoff game length has changed since 1969, the first season with intraleague playoffs before the World Series.

Game length has almost always increased, but now that increase is accelerating, too. From 1991 to 2001, the average playoff game increased by eight minutes. From 2001 to 2011, the average playoff game increased by six minutes. But from 2011 to 2021, the average playoff game has increased by 22 minutes. And that’s probably an undercount because the 2021 playoff data doesn’t include the World Series yet, and those games tend to last the longest of any round.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 20, 2021 at 10:12 AM | 110 comment(s)
  Beats: pace of play

Monday, October 18, 2021

Arizona Fall League experiments gone awry, plus notes on Spencer Torkelson, Brett Baty and more: Keith Law

Sub required.

Major League Baseball’s plans to test out various ideas for speeding up games in the Arizona Fall League this year have been, through a week of games, a complete flop.

The Saturday night game at Salt River Fields, the spring home of the Diamondbacks and Rockies, exemplifies the entire problem. The game used the automated strike zone, a variable pitch clock and a ban on shifts. The result was a game that was called after seven and a half innings over three excruciating hours because the teams ran out of pitchers. Why did they run out of pitchers in just seven and a half innings, you ask? Because the pitchers they did use walked 22 guys.

I’m an advocate of moving away from a human-called strike zone, which is going to be biased by its very nature, to an automated one, but this year’s experiments in what was once the Florida State League, and now here in the AFL, have shown that simply turning on HAL 2021 isn’t going to be enough. It turns out that the real strike zone is a lot smaller than what umpires called, especially on the horizontal axis (inside or outside). A whole lot of pitches that were probably 1 to 3 inches off the outside corner and had some chance of being called strikes from a human were, of course, called balls — and while that wasn’t solely responsible for the game’s three-walks-per-inning pace, it didn’t help matters. (Some guys just couldn’t find the plate that night if you’d drawn an arrow from the mound right to the dish.)

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 18, 2021 at 10:47 AM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: defensive shifts, pace of play, pitch clock, robot umpires

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

What MLB players would change about their sport

Does the game need fixing?
Yes: 4
No: 16

When asked more generally, players were hesitant to find problems with a game that has given them so much. Many believe it needs tweaking but isn’t necessarily broken, as some of the harsher critics of baseball have suggested over time.

And of those who do have issues, many find them off the field rather than on it.

Jesse Winker, Cincinnati Reds outfielder: “I feel like we’re always trying to fix the game [on the field], but I say if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. We have a beautiful game. I grew up enjoying the game because of the way it is.”

Andrew Miller, St. Louis Cardinals pitcher: “We think the [financial] system is outdated and it needs to be adjusted to account for young players taking up more significant parts of the roster. Competition from all 30 teams will fix a lot of what’s going on in the markets. If everyone is trying to win, the free-agent market will certainly be better for players.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 25, 2021 at 11:27 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: pace of play, shifts

 

 

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