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Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Baseball Question of the Day: What is your least-popular baseball opinion?

Another day of no baseball news, another conversation-starter question by your descending-into-increasing-madness blogger-in-chief. No, really, I’m fine. Having my wife working six feet from me after a decade of workplace solitude, all while playing her playlist of 80s slow jams is totally fine. I mean, not gonna lie, I like a lot of the jams, but I feel like her loudly singing along to Basia’s “Time and Tide” is . . . a bit much.

Not that I’m some prize to be quarantined with. We’re all doing the best we can.

Anyway, the question: What’s your least-popular baseball opinion?

Before you answer, know that anything having to do with the DH doesn’t qualify. People feel very passionately about the DH and will tell you that you are the antichrist for thinking about it the way you do, but for each position you take on it, you have a few million people on your side. You all have quite popular ideas about the DH, in fact. It’s just that anyone who doesn’t share it hates it. That’s not what I’m after. I want something more singular.

I’ll go first:

A lot of the people who shout about “timelining” strike me as exceedingly presentist in their outlooks, and one could use certain aspects of their arguments to claim that the 1980s, not the present time, would be the peak for baseball- which should be enough to give one pause with the concept…..

 

QLE Posted: March 25, 2020 at 12:38 AM | 142 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: opinions are like

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   1. John Northey Posted: March 25, 2020 at 02:50 AM (#5933298)
Hmmm.... tough one...
Expansion by another 2-4 teams I'd love to see. More teams the better. Even expansion overseas to Japan or something. Yeah, some would really suck - the 120 loss record would be doomed imo but really bad and really good teams are fun to watch as far as I'm concerned. Used to use the 1899 Spiders all the time in sim games just for the challenge.

More playoffs - 16 teams like other leagues do. We are well past just the top teams getting in so why not just say 'screw it' and move on.

Robo umps for ball-strike calls, 5th umpire in the booth who does all video replay checks and calls down to the field to overturn plays. Has full authority to overturn any play, even if no complaint happens. No more challenges, just up to that ump to do it. The umps on the field can ask for help.

Drastically reduce minor leagues - AAA/AA/A and that is it. Rest can go indy or semi-pro or whatever. It is silly that players can sit in the minors for nearly a decade waiting their chance.

Encourage some indy leagues to do things differently - just 2 balls or 2 strikes or both instead to speed it up, put the bases tighter together (80' instead of 90' apart for example), use 8 players or 10 on the field, have an offense and defense lineup (players can be on both, but don't need to be), etc. The crazier the better. Lets see if something new works better.

I'd love a senior league to happen again (only lasted 1 1/2 seasons last time), and a women's league too for that matter. Adjust rules accordingly (smaller ball, bigger one, whatever) for each if needed, but ideally stick to regular ML rules to start and adjust as needed to make the games range in score from 3-5 runs per team on average.

I'm sure at least one of those ideas will get a 'are you nuts' opinion back. :)
   2. Do Not Touch Fancy Pants Socially Distanced Handle Posted: March 25, 2020 at 04:35 AM (#5933299)
The mound should be moved back 6 feet, and there should be 3 balls to a walk.
   3. Do Not Touch Fancy Pants Socially Distanced Handle Posted: March 25, 2020 at 04:35 AM (#5933300)
Also pitch clock, and robo strike calls... But those are popular now, natch.
   4. Cooper Nielson Posted: March 25, 2020 at 06:46 AM (#5933304)
"Mike Trout is overrated." (I will admit it's getting harder and harder to defend. My strongest remaining argument is "He can't stay healthy.")
   5. TomH Posted: March 25, 2020 at 07:21 AM (#5933306)
1) Reduce the season to 154 games, cutting about 9 days from the schedule; season begins in April and ends by last week of Sep.
2)Posted in the Poz100 thread, I think Walter Johnson is overrated.
   6. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: March 25, 2020 at 07:40 AM (#5933307)
There is absolutely no need for AL and NL to use the same rules for DH/no DH, and it improves the game to have actual variety between the leagues.
   7. bachslunch Posted: March 25, 2020 at 08:00 AM (#5933311)
Accept possible steroid influenced statistics pre-2005 as is without prejudice.

Have admitted or “suspected” steroid users pre-2005 accepted as HoFers without prejudice if statistically qualified.

Have a panel of sabermetric knowledgable historians have sole control over Veterans Committee elections for the HoF.
   8. Jose Is Absurdly Chatty Posted: March 25, 2020 at 08:06 AM (#5933313)
Baseball is awesome.
   9. PreservedFish Posted: March 25, 2020 at 08:09 AM (#5933316)
The mound should be moved back 6 feet, and there should be 3 balls to a walk.


So ... you want to shatter all BB and OBP records?
   10. Howie Menckel Posted: March 25, 2020 at 08:17 AM (#5933319)
once a player gets to 2 strikes, after his second foul ball the AB becomes a 'draw' and the next player comes to bat.
   11. Do Not Touch Fancy Pants Socially Distanced Handle Posted: March 25, 2020 at 08:21 AM (#5933321)
The mound should be moved back 6 feet, and there should be 3 balls to a walk.

So ... you want to shatter all BB and OBP records?

I want to force pitchers to throw strikes, and pitch more to contact, rather than only hunting strikeouts. Which will also allow starters to go deeper into games again.
   12. PreservedFish Posted: March 25, 2020 at 08:32 AM (#5933323)
That would be a disaster.
   13. SoSH U at work Posted: March 25, 2020 at 08:33 AM (#5933324)
I've made my known plenty of times - reduce the distance between the bases to 87 feet.

   14. TomH Posted: March 25, 2020 at 08:33 AM (#5933325)
....maybe not if you dramatically deaden the ball!
   15. TomH Posted: March 25, 2020 at 08:34 AM (#5933327)
(hey, he said it was unpopular...) :)
   16. Do Not Touch Fancy Pants Socially Distanced Handle Posted: March 25, 2020 at 08:57 AM (#5933333)
That would be a disaster.

Says you. The pitchers have all of the agency in this battle. Pitching is active, hitting is reactive. There is a reason the walk rate barely moved throughout the entire moneyball revolution, despite hitters starting to value walks dramatically higher than they had before. Here are MLB BB/9 from 79-19: 3.3, 3.1, 3.2, 3.2, 3.2, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 3.4, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.3, 3.3, 3.4, 3.5, 3.6, 3.6, 3.5, 3.4, 3.7, 3.8, 3.3, 3.4, 3.3, 3.4, 3.2, 3.3, 3.3, 3.4, 3.5, 3.3, 3.1, 3.1, 3.0, 2.9, 2.9, 3.1, 3.3, 3.2, 3.3.

The only time it went up even a little was the peak of the steroid era, where it made sense to be a little more cautious, and also there were just more PA per 9 IP.

Now here is what happened to the SO/9 in those 40 years. It went from 4.8 to 8.9. That is just obscene.

And the only way you will make any real difference, is if you give pitchers an incentive to not hunt for strikeouts as much, and/or make them significantly harder to get.
Maybe walk rates will go slightly up under my proposal, but pitchers will be able to keep them in check. Because the pitchers have all the agency. If a major league pitcher doesn't want to walk a hitter, he doesn't have to. Giving them fewer balls to a walk shifts the risk/reward ratio for a pitcher. It will mean less nibbling, going after hitters earlier in the count, and throwing more hittable pitches. Which will mean more balls in play. Which is a win.
   17. JJ1986 Posted: March 25, 2020 at 08:59 AM (#5933334)
Is interleague play still popular, because I think it should immediately go away.

I like having the DH in one league and not the other.

I think the current playoff system is pretty much the best available.
   18. SoSH U at work Posted: March 25, 2020 at 09:03 AM (#5933336)
Now here is what happened to the SO/9 in those 40 years. It went from 4.8 to 8.9. That is just obscene.


And the bigger reason it went up so much was because hitters were changing their approach and were no longer trying to avoid strikeouts, not because pitchers were hunting Ks.
   19. Jose Is Absurdly Chatty Posted: March 25, 2020 at 09:08 AM (#5933339)
Make gloves DRAMATICALLY smaller.
   20. PreservedFish Posted: March 25, 2020 at 09:31 AM (#5933342)
On this website, I think my most controversial opinions are:

Hall of Fame standards should be higher as the league grows
The HOF should reward fame/narrative
The MVP award might as well do the same
   21. catomi01 Posted: March 25, 2020 at 09:38 AM (#5933343)
Steroids aren't a big deal, and since as many pitchers were using as hitters at the time, we should just accept the stats from the height of that era "as-is."
   22. Itchy Row Posted: March 25, 2020 at 10:05 AM (#5933351)
“Go Cubs Go” is such a horrible song, it caused Steve Goodman’s death.
   23. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: March 25, 2020 at 10:43 AM (#5933358)
Agree with the desire to make gloves smaller. Fielders are too good these days. I want more balls in play. Whenever I go to a lower level game I get more interested in every play - the fielders actually make mistakes so it's less predictable.

Don't know if that is so much unpopular or controversial, or just something most people haven't considered.
   24. jingoist Posted: March 25, 2020 at 10:47 AM (#5933360)
Tom H...Walter Johnson overrated?
He was Mariano Rivera 100 years ago, except he threw all 9 innings.
He had one pitch; everyone knew he was throwing that pitch, and yet he won 400+ games.
No need to have pitch stealing with him.
Good luck getting a hit
   25. Ziggy is done with Dominican discotheques Posted: March 25, 2020 at 10:48 AM (#5933361)
1. No post season. One league, balanced schedule, whoever has the best record after X games (where X is a big number that's consistent with having a balanced schedule) wins.

2. Any ball that's hit out of play is foul. I hate home runs.
   26. PreservedFish Posted: March 25, 2020 at 10:56 AM (#5933363)
Now those are some unpopular opinions
   27. SoSH U at work Posted: March 25, 2020 at 11:05 AM (#5933366)
Also, baseball should have a midseason, single-elimination Cup that starts at Class A and works its way up to the big leagues.
   28. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: March 25, 2020 at 11:05 AM (#5933368)
I like batting average. I know there are better metrics, and I understand and use them. I know it is not very useful when evaluating players, and I don't, except at the margins, like a tiebreaker. Give me Vlad Guerrero over Bobby Abreu every time.
   29. Jaack Posted: March 25, 2020 at 11:11 AM (#5933370)
Bud Selig was a decent comissioner.
   30. eric Posted: March 25, 2020 at 11:15 AM (#5933373)
2. Any ball that's hit out of play is foul. I hate home runs.


That might win the unpopularity contest.

Most of you guys have me beat. The only non-DH unpopular opinion I might have deals with Pete Rose, a topic which is even worse than the DH topic in a way.

Ok, thought of one. I'm a pretty heavy time-liner. Give me Trout over Mays. Mays over Ruth. Bonds over everybody.

Otherwise...I like old, run-down stadiums better than the new flashy malls-with-a-diamond. Memorial Stadium was a lot more fun than Camden Yards. Cavernous, cold, industrial, the stadiums from 30+ years ago existed functionally, to house the people and traffic that attended games. The baseball diamond was a beautiful green oasis in the middle of the concrete-and-steel desert, making it that much more the center of attention and therefore that much more enjoyable. Eh, probably just nostalgia for my youth...
   31. SoSH U at work Posted: March 25, 2020 at 11:29 AM (#5933376)

Bud Selig was a decent comissioner.



He does look better every day.

   32. Tom Nawrocki Posted: March 25, 2020 at 11:55 AM (#5933385)
Discontinue the All-Star game.
   33. jingoist Posted: March 25, 2020 at 12:01 PM (#5933389)
Disband the Hall of Fame
   34. Ron J Posted: March 25, 2020 at 12:08 PM (#5933391)
On this site:

Bunting with a position player is OK.

Provided the player has at least decent speed and knows how to bunt you pretty much break even compared to swinging away.

And yes, base for an out is almost always a bad exchange (there are specific game situations when it's a fine trade but this is not controversial). But throw in reached on errors and the chance of beating it out for a hit (and of course balance these with DPs, blown bunts forcing a hitter to swing away 0-2 and …) and it's pretty much a wash.
   35. KronicFatigue Posted: March 25, 2020 at 12:23 PM (#5933396)
Massive realignment. 3 leagues of 10 teams each eventually growing to 12 teams each. 10 games against 9 teams inside your league = 90. 3 games against the 20 teams outside your league = 60. Too make up the missing 12 games, you play 6 games against the other two teams that finished in the same place as you last year. So, if you finish 2nd in the national league in 2021, you play 6 extra games against the 2020 #2 of american league, and 6 against the patriot league. Creates a bit of parity.

Division opponents = 9 games each.
Inter division opponents = 3
Inter division "equal" opponents = 9 games.

Double headers on opening day, major holidays, and right before/after all star game. Last month of the season is all inside the division.
   36. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: March 25, 2020 at 12:25 PM (#5933399)
It's OK that the Red Sox traded Mookie Betts.
   37. Alex Vila Posted: March 25, 2020 at 12:37 PM (#5933403)
That sometime in the not too distant future, women will be playing in the MLB.
   38. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: March 25, 2020 at 01:01 PM (#5933415)
I think that baseball on TV sort of sucks. I'd rather watch two middling college teams in person than almost any MLB game on TV.

I wish that the majors were at least twice as large as they currently are, and much more focused on the in-person experience than on TV and TV revenue. I'd love to see a bunch of loosely-affiliated regional major leagues. The quality of play would likely suffer a fair amount, but I don't really care.
   39. Tim M Posted: March 25, 2020 at 01:10 PM (#5933420)
Move fences back enormously, like 425 ft all around. Doubles & triples rule, home runs suck because they are so common. The rest of the game would improve greatly with hitters trying for more contact and BIP.

Move the mound back exactly to the mid-point of the diamond, which would be just ~3 feet more, but enough to cut down on Ks, which are completely out of hand.

Pitchers and catchers shall wear Altuve Buzzers, and the nerds in the box will feed them pitch calls.

Reset button on the HOF, total re-vote for the whole thing. Yes, Baines was the final straw.

Not just a pitch clock, but a really fast one, like literally get the ball back, get your sign (whups, now it's a 'buzz'), and pitch it, like in little league. What's that, maybe 6 seconds? Do it!
   40. JAHV Posted: March 25, 2020 at 01:22 PM (#5933423)
I don't know how to gauge their (un)popularity, but here are some candidates, mostly specific to what I've seen here:

- Pitch-framing is an interesting part of the game as it relates to catcher defense, and I'd miss it if robot umpires were introduced.
- If we're going to have instant replay, runners should be called out if they are tagged while not on the base, even if that's by a tiny amount. If the replay can clearly show it, they should be ruled out.
- Strikeouts are the worst and baseball should go to great lengths to reduce them back to reasonable levels (maximum of 6.5 k/9). Move the mound back (debate on whether this would work), reduce bullpen size, deaden the ball, move fences back, make gloves smaller, reduce distance between bases - I've gotten more crotchety about this the more I think about it and I'm opening up to more and more ideas as long as they don't change the fundamental nature of the game. I hate strikeouts.
- Oh, and the Hall of Fame is too big. I'm not for reducing it in size, but I'd like to see fewer people get in.
   41. Ron J Posted: March 25, 2020 at 01:31 PM (#5933428)
#24 Actually Johnson in the teens threw a lot of spitballs. Like practically everybody. It was a low effort, highly effective pitch and was devastating with the combination of being able to break out the best* fastball on demand.

* Yes, Smokey Joe Wood at his peak.

Pete Alexander was a genuine one pitch pitcher.
   42. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: March 25, 2020 at 01:36 PM (#5933431)
Much of what the "Let the kids play!!" advocates call "celebrating" is not actually celebrating.
   43. JAHV Posted: March 25, 2020 at 01:38 PM (#5933433)
Much of what the "Let the kids play!!" advocates call "celebrating" is not actually celebrating.


Oooh, this is a good one. I'm on board with this.
   44. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: March 25, 2020 at 01:56 PM (#5933438)
Around here, it's easy: Barry Bonds belongs in the Hall of Merit, but not in the Hall of Fame.

But outside of BTF, it's probably my opinion that while the game on the field was better than ever in 2019, the overall fan experience at the ballpark was decidedly inferior to what it was 40 or 60 years ago.
   45. Karl from NY Posted: March 25, 2020 at 02:21 PM (#5933447)
Bunting with a position player is OK. ... throw in reached on errors and the chance of beating it out for a hit

We've known this for a while analytically, yeah. An executed sac bunt is a gain for the defense in terms of run expectancy. But the before-the-fact expectancy can be positive for the offense thanks to hits and errors.
   46. Karl from NY Posted: March 25, 2020 at 02:31 PM (#5933450)
I got a bunch:

Pete Rose belongs in the HOF and could even be allowed to be employed by a team. There's nothing to gain by continuing to punish him.

There is a Yankee bias for HOF voting.

Keep instant replay - fix the "bounce off the base" problem in the rules, it still counts as contact if you hover over it by an inch or two.

Enlarge the ball by a quarter-inch, to increase contact and reduce flyball distance and HR and K.

The NL/AL being different on the DH is okay. It would be a savage evisceration of the sport if the NL adopted it though.

And some from upthread that I agree with:

Hall of Fame standards should be higher as the league grows

It's OK that the Red Sox traded Mookie Betts.

Move fences back enormously, like 425 ft all around.

Bud Selig was a decent comissioner.
   47. Skloot Insurance Posted: March 25, 2020 at 03:36 PM (#5933466)
Deaden the ball.

Push back the fences.

Speed up the playing surface.

Incentivize speed and range at every position but first base, third base and catcher. Disincentivize home runs. Incentivize one-run strategies and encourage a variety of team-building philosophies.

***

Limit pitching staffs to 11 total to break the binary sorting of pitchers into 6-inning and 1-inning models.
   48. catomi01 Posted: March 25, 2020 at 04:11 PM (#5933479)
I really enjoy pitch framing and appreciate catchers who still strikes...I'm torn that in general I want baseball to get calls right, but I would really miss that part of the game if they went to a robo-ump strike zone.
   49. Booey Posted: March 25, 2020 at 04:17 PM (#5933480)
Make everything go back to exactly how it was in the 1990's.*

Why yes, I DID happen to be a teenager back then. Why do you ask?

* 2nd choice, do whatever it takes to make stats resemble those of the 1920's and 1930's, where no one strikes out much, half of all regulars hit .300, the top guys are regularly above .370 (with occasional .400 seasons), and the best sluggers still put up massive HR numbers but not EVERYONE else does.
   50. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: March 25, 2020 at 04:22 PM (#5933482)
Make everything go back to exactly how it was in the 1990's.
Well, not everything. I mean...Candlebox.
   51. BrianBrianson Posted: March 25, 2020 at 04:41 PM (#5933490)
Since we've let known steroid users like Babe Ruth into the Hall of Fame, it's too late, and we gotta do the rest.
   52. Booey Posted: March 25, 2020 at 04:54 PM (#5933495)
#50 - I was referring to baseball only, but now that you mention it, yes! Music, my hair and waist lines, everything that matters was better back then! ;-)

(not really)
   53. Jarrod HypnerotomachiaPoliphili (TeddyF.Ballgame) Posted: March 25, 2020 at 05:18 PM (#5933504)
Add more teams to MLB, creating an international division.

Play more tournaments like the World Baseball Classic that put limits on pitcher usage within games.

Remove the fences and let the outfielders roam as far as they can. If you want a home run, you'd better run it out.
   54. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 25, 2020 at 05:23 PM (#5933505)
Baseball is awesome.
Exactly, now how do we keep the idiots around here away from the rules committee, or catching Commissioner Manfred when he’s in a ‘considering’ mood?
   55. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: March 25, 2020 at 06:06 PM (#5933518)
Opinion that proved far more unpopular than expected when I brought it up in the HOF tracker thread this winter (though, to be fair, I did a bad job of defending it at the time): Pyramid Hall of Fame.
   56. catomi01 Posted: March 25, 2020 at 06:07 PM (#5933519)
Remove the fences and let the outfielders roam as far as they can. If you want a home run, you'd better run it out.


Imagine the 4 and 5 man outfield shifts teams would start using.
   57. PreservedFish Posted: March 25, 2020 at 07:21 PM (#5933530)
Imagine the 4 and 5 man outfield shifts teams would start using.


I am, and it's beautiful!
   58. SoSH U at work Posted: March 25, 2020 at 07:36 PM (#5933536)
Imagine the 4 and 5 man outfield shifts teams would start using.


I hope they call it the Yeomen Shift.
   59. Lowry Seasoning Salt Posted: March 25, 2020 at 07:38 PM (#5933537)
On-field Opinion: I enjoy, appreciate, and respect umpires. No, that doesn't apply to someone who performs awfully like Angel Hernandez, but the bulk of them are remarkably good at a job that has become more difficult as the quality of play has increased.

Off-field Opinion: Compared to most TV announcers, I'm okay with Joe Buck. I find a laid-back announcer preferable to an exuberant one (e.g., Michael Kay or Ken Harrelson), and since very few announcers say anything worth hearing, I'll take the quietness of Buck over the others.
   60. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: March 25, 2020 at 07:50 PM (#5933540)

I can tell the difference between good announcing and bad announcing, but the latter is easy to tune out and has very little impact on my enjoyment of the game.
   61. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: March 25, 2020 at 07:53 PM (#5933541)
Bigger stadia while keeping a lively ball. I want the ball flying around the ballpark. Maybe 345/380/410 configurations.

But foremost, no DH anywhere. If you bat more than once in the game, your team has to play you somewhere in the field. I can live with pitchers flailing a couple times a game.
   62. Ziggy is done with Dominican discotheques Posted: March 25, 2020 at 07:55 PM (#5933543)
- Oh, and the Hall of Fame is too big. I'm not for reducing it in size, but I'd like to see fewer people get in.


I mean, reducing it size seems like the perfect way to let fewer people in. Even if they just tore down the plaque room they wouldn't be able to cram so many people in there.

Pete Rose belongs in the HOF and could even be allowed to be employed by a team. There's nothing to gain by continuing to punish him.


Except that you get to punish Pete Rose. I'm not usually a fan of retribution, but for Rose I'll make an exception.
   63. SoSH U at work Posted: March 25, 2020 at 08:07 PM (#5933546)
But foremost, no DH anywhere. If you bat more than once in the game, your team has to play you somewhere in the field.


I assume a batting around caveat applies here.
   64. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: March 25, 2020 at 08:21 PM (#5933547)
Exactly, now how do we keep the idiots around here away from the rules committee, or catching Commissioner Manfred when he’s in a ‘considering’ mood?
Did it ever occur to you that popping into a thread dedicated to unpopular opinions to tell people their opinions are unpopular was maybe not necessary?
   65. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: March 25, 2020 at 08:22 PM (#5933548)
I assume a batting around caveat applies here.


One can always depend on a pedantic comment. ;)
   66. Srul Itza Posted: March 25, 2020 at 09:27 PM (#5933563)
Baseball is, was, and always will be, a dirty sport played by hard men. So if you ain't cheating, you ain't competing.

And it ain't cheating of you don't get caught.

   67. ajnrules Posted: March 25, 2020 at 09:47 PM (#5933567)
I suspect it's not going to be very unpopular here on BTF, but I suspect my strongly-held belief that Sandy Koufax is not the best pitcher of all time would be very unpopular among the general public. Of course, so is the opinion that Roger Clemens should be in the Hall of Fame, so who am I to say which would be less popular?
   68. Cleveland (need new name) fan Posted: March 25, 2020 at 09:47 PM (#5933568)
Pitch framing is simply bad umpiring and either robo umps or better human umps are needed to eliminate it.

Pitcher (lack of) batting is unappealing and the DH should be mandatory in both leagues.

No award voting (MVP, HOF) should be based on quality of teammates. Thus post season stats should not be considered in HOF balloting because the opportunity to play in enough post season games is (almost) entirely due to the quality of teammates. No player is good enough to take mediocre to bad teammates to the post season.

The current wild card schedule is an abomination. If a team qualifies for the post season, their fans desire at least one home game.

Commentators should be careful with their terminology. PEDs =/= steroids. PEDs should only be used when talking about all performance enhancing drugs including amphetamines. When talking about steroids only, then use the word.

Pre-testing PEDs should not be a disqualifier for the HOF (even if in practice only steroids of all the PEDs are a disqualifier)

Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa should not be lumped into the no doubt steroid user category.
   69. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: March 25, 2020 at 10:00 PM (#5933569)
Pitch framing is simply bad umpiring and either robo umps or better human umps are needed to eliminate it.


Pitch framing is not bad umpiring. the best pitch framing cannot turn a ball into a strike. The best it can do is make a 50/50 call more likely to be a strike. Or conversely, bad framing makes a 50/50 call more likely to be a ball. That's not necessarily a bad thing. I'd be fine with robo umps, but it's just wrong to say better umps would eliminate the effect of framing. That's akin to saying a call at first that is overruled because super slo mo replay shows the runner's foot touches the base one frame before the 1B caught the ball a "blown call"
   70. Booey Posted: March 25, 2020 at 10:03 PM (#5933572)
None of the common forms of cheating* - PED's, sign stealing, bat corking, ball doctoring - are that big a deal. They all have but a minor affect on wins and losses, and as much as people don't want to admit it, they always have and always will be a regular part of the game. "Cheaters" are just the guys who were dumb and/or unlucky enough to be caught, and "clean" players and guys who "played the game the right way" are just the ones who were lucky and/or smart enough not to be. All stats are tainted, so none of them are.

I'm fine punishing guys who get caught, but I've never been OUTRAGED!!! about any of them.

* To win. Pulling a 1919 Black Sox and losing on purpose is a big deal.
   71. PreservedFish Posted: March 25, 2020 at 10:04 PM (#5933573)
I'd be fine with robo umps, but it's just wrong to say better umps would eliminate the effect of framing. That's akin to saying a call at first that is overruled because super slo mo replay shows the runner's foot touches the base one frame before the 1B caught the ball a "blown call"

Well, yeah.

Most share an assumption that there's an objective truth about what happens on the baseball field. Like, the guy was safe or was not safe, and the pitch was a strike or was not a strike.

That mean's there's no such thing as a 50/50 call. If God were umping, there would only be 100/0 calls. And the hope is that the robo-ump can better approach that.
   72. SoSH U at work Posted: March 25, 2020 at 10:17 PM (#5933574)
Here's one: I think the conventional view of pitch framing here and elsewhere is utter nonsense. Umpires aren't fooled by catchers moving the ball back over the plate. The catchers who receive the ball with little movement/pitchers who hit their spots get the strikes, and the pitches where the catcher moves across or up/down the zone are called balls.

   73. Ziggy is done with Dominican discotheques Posted: March 25, 2020 at 10:19 PM (#5933575)
All stats are tainted, so none of them are.


I dunno, surely there was someone who didn't use steroids. But I agree with the spirit of the comment. Cheating in baseball doesn't bother me. Even if it has a large effect on wins and losses it doesn't bother me. MLB has its rules and can punish rule breakers as it likes, but Raphael Palmeiro really got those hits, and so did Jose Altuve, and pretending like they didn't, or like they're "fake" hits, or like they have little spiritual asterisks next to them is silly.
   74. SoSH U at work Posted: March 25, 2020 at 10:22 PM (#5933576)
I dunno, surely there was someone who didn't use steroids.


There were a lot of poeple who didn't use steroids, and there are lot more now who don't. If this were cycling or some other pure athletic/endurance sport, and there was such a direct correlation between PED use and outcomes, then it could be reasonably argued that everyone used. But in a refined-skill based sport such as baseball, where the correlation is much, much weaker, there's no way everyone was using then or now.

   75. Walt Davis Posted: March 25, 2020 at 10:29 PM (#5933578)
TOLAXOR WAS AWESOME!
   76. Mike Webber Posted: March 25, 2020 at 10:34 PM (#5933580)
WAR doesn't work with nearly the precision that some people think it does. We're 15 years away from making fun of MVP voters using WAR in the same way we currently make fun of sportswriters using RBI to tell us Don Baylor was the MVP in 1979.
   77. Dr. Vaux Posted: March 25, 2020 at 10:39 PM (#5933582)
I don't care whether the players of the past were worse athletes than today's players, or whether the strategies they employed were less optimal. Neither of those things matter to the viewer's aesthetic enjoyment of the game, and watching and listening to some 60s and 70s games over the past several days has reminded me again of just how much more aesthetically enjoyable the game was back then. Five seconds between pitches, batters swinging, trying not to strike out, balls in play, little guys running fast on a big field, pitchers able to coast through weak hitters, pinch-hitters, defensive replacements . . . That game had more variety, more intrigue, and more enticing characters. Today's baseball is little more than a parody of that game.
   78. Booey Posted: March 25, 2020 at 11:05 PM (#5933586)
Yes, of course there were and are players who didn't/don't use steroids. But there were/are enough who do/did that the overall league stats are/were irreparably skewed and it's a fools game to try and separate "legit" numbers from "fake" ones. And of course we have no idea how much PED's affect stats anyway, so IMO it's best to just accept all the numbers as is.
   79. Booey Posted: March 25, 2020 at 11:17 PM (#5933590)
Whether it's steroids or sign stealing, the game was far more enjoyable before fans got hysterical about cheating. It was never considered a big deal for most of baseball history. Modern players don't cheat any more than the old timers did; modern fans just care about it more. But it's all just entertainment. Sit back and enjoy.

Punish those who get caught if you want, but then let it go and move on.
   80. Cleveland (need new name) fan Posted: March 25, 2020 at 11:18 PM (#5933591)
Pitch framing is not bad umpiring. the best pitch framing cannot turn a ball into a strike. The best it can do is make a 50/50 call more likely to be a strike. Or conversely, bad framing makes a 50/50 call more likely to be a ball. That's not necessarily a bad thing.


The pitch either crossed the plate at the correct height or didn't 2 feet before the catcher caught the ball. Nothing the catcher does is relevant to the question of ball or strike. If the umpire is biased at all on the call based on the action of the catcher, that is bad umpiring.

Here's one: I think the conventional view of pitch framing here and elsewhere is utter nonsense. Umpires aren't fooled by catchers moving the ball back over the plate. The catchers who receive the ball with little movement/pitchers who hit their spots get the strikes, and the pitches where the catcher moves across or up/down the zone are called balls.


What is the relevance of how the catcher catches the ball? Often they set-up outside the strike zone, either trying to get a batter to chase a ball or anticipating a lot of late break, so catching it with little or no movement of the glove doesn't make it a strike. The pitcher can miss in the strike zone, so moving across or up/down doesn't make it a ball. Again, if the umpire is influenced by the catcher instead of where the ball crosses (or doesn't cross) the plate, it is bad umpiring.

Given the topic is unpopular opinions, not everyone will agree with my take. I want pitch framing out of our baseball lexicon, but there were several comments earlier which seemed to like the concept.
   81. SoSH U at work Posted: March 25, 2020 at 11:50 PM (#5933595)
What is the relevance of how the catcher catches the ball?


Because people frame the argument as if catchers are stealing strikes by fooling the umpire. They're not.
   82. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: March 26, 2020 at 12:15 AM (#5933600)
Because people frame the argument as if catchers are stealing strikes by fooling the umpire. They're not.
Francisco Cervelli begs to differ.
   83. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: March 26, 2020 at 12:18 AM (#5933601)
The pitch either crossed the plate at the correct height or didn't 2 feet before the catcher caught the ball. Nothing the catcher does is relevant to the question of ball or strike. If the umpire is biased at all on the call based on the action of the catcher, that is bad umpiring.


A 90 MPH pitch travels 132 feet per second. It takes 0.015 seconds to travel 2 feet. The travel of the last 2 feet and the catcher's glove movement or lack thereof is instantaneous to the human eye.
   84. Doug Jones threw harder than me Posted: March 26, 2020 at 12:24 AM (#5933603)
My crackpot ideas #1, #2, and #3 below are pretty unpopular, but I still think they are interesting and would make the game better without changing it too much. It would be great if the Atlantic League or some such would be willing to experiement with them, perhaps even all 3. Sorry If I repeat again. I list a few other thoughts below as well

1) Instead of a 3-batter-rule, instead create a roster penalty for either A) having a pitcher pitch less than X (I am thinking X=3 but an argument can be made for X=2) innings and not finishing the game, or B) taking a pitcher out in the middle of an inning. How it would work is this: in either case the pitcher must remain on the roster but be ineligible to pitch for the next Y games (I am thinking Y=3, but an argument can be made for either Y=2 or Y=4). This would make for interesting strategy - I mean, if Tony LaRussa or Bruce Bochy REALLY want to put a LOOGY in for this one batter for this one game, they can, but they'd pay for it in subsequent games. It would also tend to favor pitchers who have enough "stuff" they can survive pitching one time through the order. No more Hunter Stricklands.

2) If a batter puts his hands in the bunt position, whether or not he/she squares up (e.g. such that if it was 2 strikes and they fouled it off they would struck out) and bunts the ball fair, then the pitcher cannot be the first person to field the ball. This will cause A) Fielders to have to play close, making line drives and hard-hit ground balls more likely to result in a hit. B) Kill the shift, C) Batters have the incentive to swing early, so they don't get in a 2-strike count where this advantage would be gone D) Speed would be more valuable. This idea really does need experimenting to make sure there aren't unexpected consequences.

3) If the pitcher throws over Z times (I suggest Z=3) during an at-bat without getting the runner, he gets charged a ball for each subsequent throw over. There have to be consequences to wasting time. This will also make speed more valuable again.

4) i love the pitch clock. Bring it on. Don't let batters call time. Call a ball if the pitcher dilly-dallies. This also helps to bring down the average speed of pitches, because if you cannot spend a lot of time recovering, then you cannot throw max-effort all the time.

5) As a spectator, I really like bullpens in foul territory. It is fun and interesting to watch. I don't think it is so much of a danger as everyone thinks. They have been in foul territory for 100 years. Heck, in Ebbets field they used to have mounds near the on-deck circle for the starting pitchers to warm up before the game, check out the 1952 World Series on Youtube.

6) Having the DH in just the National League is fine by me. Different strokes for different folks. Makes it interesting.
   85. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: March 26, 2020 at 12:32 AM (#5933605)
Don't let batters call time.


I hate all the time outs, but a blanket prohibition goes too far. The first time a batter gets dust in his eye and can't see while the pitcher uncorks one at his face...
   86. Doug Jones threw harder than me Posted: March 26, 2020 at 12:54 AM (#5933610)
Yeah, maybe a blanket prohibition is too extreme. There are 2 options, the first one is elegant if perhaps too harsh. That's a) If a batter needs to call time, he loses a ball. So if it's 2-1 it's now 1-1, etc. If its 0-1 or 0-2 or 0-0 he loses nothing. But it would stop it most of the time. The second option is b) drill it into the umpires to not grant time except in extraordinary circumstances, at their judgement. Perhaps make average time-between-pitches part of their evaluation, if that can be done fairly. I would think it could be, if done over a whole season. The umpires, by rule, do not HAVE to grant time, it is done at their discretion currently.
   87. Dr. Vaux Posted: March 26, 2020 at 01:05 AM (#5933612)
How about for every time the pitcher throws 10 pitches in a row with time left on the pitch clock, the next time a batter walks, instead of him being awarded first base, an out is added to the total for the inning. The batter still gets credit for a walk, and in his OBP. That would incentivize the batters potentially in that situation to think about swinging, too.

   88. Doug Jones threw harder than me Posted: March 26, 2020 at 01:56 AM (#5933620)
Re: #87. This is an interesting technique/strategy, but doesn't that give too much to the pitcher. He would just try to quick-pitch, and realistically, it wouldn't be too hard for him to do so and get 10 pitches in. Then he can just throw widely outside the strike zone, knowing that even if he walks the batter he gets an out. But the basic strategy itself has some merit. How about, if the pitcher doesn't get pitches delivered within the cumulative pitch clock for a particular batter, the next batter starts with 1 ball. Or something along those lines. The onus still is on the umpire to not give the batter time, and say "play ball" without dilly-dallying. This would also incentivize batters to not call time, because presumably the clock would re-start after play-ball is called again.
   89. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: March 26, 2020 at 07:33 AM (#5933634)
With batters calling time out, all that needs to happen is that the umpires not automatically give the time out unless there's a good reason for it. You don't need any new rules, just a directive from the central office and the umps' willingness to play the heavy. That plus a pitch clock (so that the pitcher and catcher can't cycle through signs for 30 seconds in order to throw the batter off his rhythm) and you've solved a lot of the pace of play problems.
   90. villageidiom Posted: March 26, 2020 at 08:51 AM (#5933645)
The first time a batter gets dust in his eye and can't see while the pitcher uncorks one at his face...
If the batter stands there waiting for permission to leave the box while he can't see, instead of just getting out of the box and ceding the pitch to the pitcher in return for his own safety, then he gets what he gets.

Can you recall the number of times in the past, oh, 20 years in which a batter asked for time specifically because he got dust in his eye? I honestly can't recall seeing it happen at the MLB level... ever. I'm only familiar with the concept from when I played in little league, or from reading the specific part of the MLB rules where it mentions the possibility. I'm sure it happened at some point in one of the many games I haven't seen, but I've witnessed literally thousands of MLB games and don't recall seeing it even once.
   91. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: March 26, 2020 at 09:44 AM (#5933664)

If it happens so rarely, then I don't see why the exception is so hard to grant. You think a lot of guys would be feigning dust in their eye in order to call time?

If you enforced the pitch clock, you'd have fewer batters calling time in the box. I feel like a large number of occurences happen because the pitcher is holding onto the ball for an interminable amount of time.
   92. Blastin Posted: March 26, 2020 at 10:01 AM (#5933668)
I liked the steroid era.

I HATED the mini deadball where "good" hitters had an .850 OPS about a decade ago.

Swinging strikeouts are fine. I hate the called low and/or outside strike. Inside is beautiful. High is fine.


You can't throw to first base more than some number of times. Call it twice. Then, sure, they'd know they were going to steal, but if you know you just had to wait for the third time, you might as well stand real close to the base for the first two. And then you might not get as much of a jump, etc. It would be fine. That's the only time I really hate the game. Stop throwing to first.

One league, balanced schedule (as much as possible), 8 4 team divisions (third team in NY, team in Mexico or Montreal), best four division-winning records get a bye, 5th best division winner/12, 6th DW/11, 7th/10, 8th/9 in one game, then 1/2/3/4 vs winners in 5 games, winners of those in 7, WS. It's the same as now with more WC games.
   93. TOLAXOR Posted: March 26, 2020 at 10:38 AM (#5933681)
THANK YOU WALT!!!!!!!!!!11!!1!!one!!!
   94. Scott Lange Posted: March 26, 2020 at 10:46 AM (#5933686)
THANK YOU WALT!!!!!!!!!!11!!1!!one!!!


At least one good thing came of this pandemic.
   95. Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: March 26, 2020 at 10:57 AM (#5933694)
TOLAXOR!!!!!!!!!!!111!!1!!one!!!

WOW!

My unpopular opinion: Cleveland Stadium was great, I miss it, and I'd rather watch a game there than the Jake. I understand why the new stadium had to happen, but that doesn't mean I need to like it.
   96. Ziggy is done with Dominican discotheques Posted: March 26, 2020 at 11:03 AM (#5933698)
6) Having the DH in just the National League is fine by me. Different strokes for different folks. Makes it interesting.


I've got the tar. Who has got the feathers?
   97. Baseball Mogul 2003 Posted: March 26, 2020 at 11:03 AM (#5933699)
Baseball needs more pitchers like Carl Pavano.
   98. JAHV Posted: March 26, 2020 at 01:32 PM (#5933762)
I hate all cheating. Even sign stealing from second base, which isn't technically against any rules that I'm aware of. I want sports to be pure competition - skill against skill as the game was intended to be played. No gamesmanship, no loopholes, and certainly no cheating. It's entertaining to see a batter lace a double on a slider where he picked up the ball out of the pitcher's hand, or even if he guessed correctly, but if he knew the pitch was coming, the act loses a lot of luster. All the outrage over the Astros and the Red Sox and whomever else is more than warranted, and, in some ways, doesn't go far enough.
   99. villageidiom Posted: March 26, 2020 at 01:36 PM (#5933764)
If it happens so rarely, then I don't see why the exception is so hard to grant. You think a lot of guys would be feigning dust in their eye in order to call time?
A lot of guys have gotten exceptions to take banned medications. I absolutely think that 80% of batters would suddenly feign dust in their eye multiple times per AB if it was the only way they could get time granted.
   100. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: March 26, 2020 at 02:04 PM (#5933774)
I really enjoy pitch framing and appreciate catchers who still strikes...I'm torn that in general I want baseball to get calls right, but I would really miss that part of the game if they went to a robo-ump strike zone.


Pitch framing is simply bad umpiring and either robo umps or better human umps are needed to eliminate it.


Can these both be unpopular opinions?
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