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Thursday, June 24, 2021

Fix baseball? MLB is working on a plan

Former front-office executives Theo Epstein and Michael Hill and former All-Star Raul Ibanez are part of a team at MLB collaborating to examine the game, as well as experiment with it—mostly at the minor league level to start. Their ideas may soon change the game at the highest level.

“We have to do it in a way that isn’t too far removed from the essence of baseball,” Epstein said recently. “No one is looking to reinvent the wheel here. This is the greatest game in the world, and we want to preserve the essence of baseball. A lot of this is restoring the game to the way it’s historically been played.”

The group’s goal is to attract a new generation of fans by turning the current game into a more enjoyable and aesthetically pleasing experience. But it also wants to honor the traditions of more than 100 years of history to avoid alienating a dedicated base of purist fans.

Sometimes those goals can be in direct conflict.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 24, 2021 at 05:01 PM | 71 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: experiments, strikeouts

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   1. Walt Davis Posted: June 24, 2021 at 05:47 PM (#6026173)
And thus baseketball was born
   2. Walt Davis Posted: June 24, 2021 at 05:47 PM (#6026174)
Or ... I knew MLB had gotten into bed with "gaming interests" but I didn't know they had gone this far.
   3. BDC Posted: June 24, 2021 at 07:03 PM (#6026188)
Just throw the baseball ... but somehow that is never in the mix of bold ideas.
   4. JJ1986 Posted: June 24, 2021 at 08:44 PM (#6026201)
Does the plan involve a pitch clock?
   5. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 24, 2021 at 09:16 PM (#6026222)
Fix baseball? MLB is working on a plan
Belatedly addressing the gambling problem?
   6. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: June 24, 2021 at 09:48 PM (#6026238)
MLB is working on a plan


a plan so cunning, you could put a tail on it and call it a weasel!

   7. Dr. Pooks Posted: June 25, 2021 at 02:54 AM (#6026265)
And thus baseketball was born


I hadn't thought of Trey Parker and Matt Stone's BASEketball movie in a longtime.

Kind of surprised it was released in 1998.

South Park debuted in August 1997 for reference.

   8. Lest we forget Posted: June 25, 2021 at 05:31 AM (#6026267)
"This is the greatest game in the world"

American self deception alert.
   9. Jobu is silent on the changeup Posted: June 25, 2021 at 07:45 AM (#6026271)
The group’s goal is to attract a new generation of fans by turning the current game into a more enjoyable and aesthetically pleasing experience. But it also wants to honor the traditions of more than 100 years of history to avoid alienating a dedicated base of purist fans.

Sometimes those goals can be in direct conflict.
That's not necessarily true. There can be new traditions. For instance, I have a new tradition where I no longer watch baseball games. I still read about baseball, follow it in the macro sense, but have no interest in the 50 BetRivers ads, 40 Golden Nugget Casinoooooos ads, and 30 DraftKings ads packed into every hour of Tigers baseball on Bally Sports Detroit.

And Matt Shepard.
   10. O Tempura, O Morays ('Spos) Posted: June 25, 2021 at 07:50 AM (#6026272)
They mean "fix" like you get your dog fixed.
   11. bunyon Posted: June 25, 2021 at 07:55 AM (#6026273)
@8: not necessarily, “greatest game” is in the eye of the beholder.

But it is really weird to call it the greatest game in the world when you’re on a commission to “fix” it by making big changes to it.
   12. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: June 25, 2021 at 08:11 AM (#6026274)
Jose's plan to "fix" baseball (which in Jose's opinion IS the greatest game in the world still);

1. Pitch clock.

2. Spend more time promoting the game, less time ######## about it.

Say what you want about the NFL but they have the marketing angle of #2 right. You never hear NFL owners or execs ######## about the game even though it's as dull as watching paint dry. Just spend less time complaining about what's wrong with baseball (because it's not perfect) and more time chatting up all the amazing, awesome stuff about baseball of which there is plenty.
   13. Tony S Posted: June 25, 2021 at 08:48 AM (#6026276)

You mean all the gimmicks like bloated playoffs, extreme sensory overload at ballparks, tie-ins to gambling, 12-man bullpens, and extra-innings runners at second haven't fixed it already?
   14. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: June 25, 2021 at 09:19 AM (#6026281)
You mean all the gimmicks like bloated playoffs, extreme sensory overload at ballparks, tie-ins to gambling, 12-man bullpens, and extra-innings runners at second haven't fixed it already?

I'm shocked that the first (?) Manfred "innovation," the IBB ex machina, didn't resolve all of MLB's ills.
   15. Lest we forget Posted: June 25, 2021 at 09:59 AM (#6026284)
@11

"But it is really weird to call it the greatest game in the world when you’re on a commission to “fix” it by making big changes to it."

That's it; bullseye

It's the same as calling the US the greatest country in the world, while at the same we have xyz multiple deep rooted issues from embedded racism, poverty by policy, political divide, conspiracy 'realities', a problematic health care solution, an elitist eduction system, an ex-Prez who keeps talking about a fraudulent election, a horrible mass shooting problem, etc. etc. etc.

Baseball is a GREAT game. The United States has many GREAT qualities. Calling either one the greatest of its kind is hyperbole, IMO.

cheers!
happy baseball!
   16. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: June 25, 2021 at 09:59 AM (#6026285)
Or is it the “Papillon” plan?

“plan” is a metal cylinder containing money or valuables that you shove up your butt to avoid theft!)
   17. Belfry Bob Posted: June 25, 2021 at 11:05 AM (#6026295)
Until baseball does something to limit pitchers so that everyone doesn't throw max velocity on every pitch because he's going to be replaced as soon as he tires (the easiest fix would be to reduce pitching rosters and limit callups, but the union would NEVER go along with that), and makes batters stand in the batter's box between pitches, it's not going to be 'better' as as far as I'm concerned.
   18. The Duke Posted: June 25, 2021 at 11:57 AM (#6026306)
You can’t implement too many changes at once. Each one needs to be in place for a while. So this year we have a ball which increases EV but reduces distance. I like the result although there may be some April-may cold season bias in the current numbers. Get rid of sticky sfuff? I’m guessing this will materially increase balls in play but we will have to see. Too early to tell

All the crazy “holding runners on and throwing over rules” - stupid. The one rule I like for lefties is having to step off. That’s good. Make the bags a bit bigger to reduce distance - I like that too. Subtle and will likely have a big effect.

Robot umps - sooner the better but get it right first

Shifting rules - they need something - let’s see what experimentation leads to

Too much replay - get rid of the in dugout video review. Just force the manager to call for one using coaches/players view. Replay should only fix obvious mistakes and should be limited to fewer types of plays

Too much time between pitches.This is the holy grail. Why won’t they fix this ?

Seven inning DH - I like them

Runner on second - not until 12th

Mound visits - unlimited with runner on 2nd.



   19. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: June 25, 2021 at 12:27 PM (#6026308)
   20. winnipegwhip Posted: June 25, 2021 at 01:25 PM (#6026313)
oo much time between pitches.This is the holy grail. Why won’t they fix this ?


"Because it reduces the opportunity for in game wagering which our partners do not like."
   21. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: June 25, 2021 at 01:46 PM (#6026316)
Too much time between pitches.This is the holy grail. Why won’t they fix this ?

I bet I know why.
   22. The Duke Posted: June 25, 2021 at 02:26 PM (#6026320)
It’s a cheap laugh on the betting angle but this issue has been around for 5-10 years. Maybe they have less incentive to fix it now but it still needs some major adjustments. Even if you went back to 1980s logic’s there is still plenty of time between pitches to bet
   23. sunday silence (again) Posted: June 25, 2021 at 02:32 PM (#6026322)
Does it strike anyone as odd how quickly MLB articulated and implemented anti-Goo rules, and yet time between pitches remains interminable? WHats up with that? In both cases you have rules already in place, why cant you just tell the umps this is what we're gonna do? Its so odd.
   24. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: June 25, 2021 at 03:01 PM (#6026327)
Does it strike anyone as odd how quickly MLB articulated and implemented anti-Goo rules, and yet time between pitches remains interminable? WHats up with that?

Spin rates have no effect on Manfred's master plan to monetize every instant of the presentation of the product.
   25. Doug Jones threw harder than me Posted: June 25, 2021 at 03:47 PM (#6026333)
Until baseball does something to limit pitchers so that everyone doesn't throw max velocity on every pitch because he's going to be replaced as soon as he tires (the easiest fix would be to reduce pitching rosters and limit callups, but the union would NEVER go along with that), and makes batters stand in the batter's box between pitches, it's not going to be 'better' as as far as I'm concerned.


If you don't pitch 3 innings or finish the game, you cannot pitch for the next 3 games

Shifting rules - they need something - let’s see what experimentation leads to


Limit the ability of the pitcher to field bunts - that would force the infielders to play in, or at least keep the third basement close to the bag. And it would encourage batters to swing and make contact earlier, because with 2 strikes they'd lose that advantage

All the crazy “holding runners on and throwing over rules” - stupid. The one rule I like for lefties is having to step off. That’s good. Make the bags a bit bigger to reduce distance - I like that too. Subtle and will likely have a big effect.


The simplest change would be to either (a) call a balk or (b) charge a ball, for throws over after some # per at-bat, say 3. That would reduce the silly spectacle of repeated throws over, and help the running game as well.

Too much time between pitches.This is the holy grail. Why won’t they fix this ?


Batters cannot call time unless there was a foul ball where they ran up the line. Pitchers have to deliver the ball (or throw to a base) w/in 12 seconds after receiving the ball or get charged a ball. Get the umpires to take control of the game. They do this all the time in Professional Badminton, those games move along very quickly because the players are not allowed to dilly-dally when they are serving.


   26. villageidiom Posted: June 25, 2021 at 03:50 PM (#6026334)
Shifting rules - they need something - let’s see what experimentation leads to
If they use a pitch clock and start it when the batter first enters the batter's box, the batter could enter quickly and limit the amount of time the defense has to get into a shift.
   27. bfan Posted: June 25, 2021 at 05:43 PM (#6026357)
Faster games where base hits become increasingly rare doesn’t seem like a good end point. We are halfway through the season and other than the Astros, look at the BAs of the players that teams are trotting out. It is pathetic. Last night the best BA of the Braves starters was .275.

Move the mound back or stop the shifts or shrink foul territory or something.

I would love to know the number of games where a team had 4 hits or less in a game, and run the comparison to 2019, at this same stage of the season. I would bet those low hit games are up 30%. Seriously, other than the fan graphs guys, does anyone think that is a good thing?
   28. Walt Davis Posted: June 25, 2021 at 07:05 PM (#6026379)
(the easiest fix would be to reduce pitching rosters and limit callups, but the union would NEVER go along with that)

Huh???? The union has never expressed any preference for pitcher roster spots over batter roster spots. (why should they?) The union has already agreed to limit pitcher roster spots to 13 ... but this seems to have been swept under the carpet during covid and for some reason forgotten this year. Now if what you mean by "reduce pitching rosters" is "reduce the total roster size" then yes, the union would object to that for obvious reasons.

As to limiting call-ups, the union would LOVE to do that. (Every call-up requires somebody moved off the 25-man obviously.) They don't represent minor-leaguers, they want (a smaller number of) major-leaguers accumulating more service time. 15 relievers being called up for 2 weeks each doesn't do anything positive for the union, veteran relievers easily replaced by 95-MPH min salary guys is a negative). They do know that any major change is a non-starter though (teams will never give up control over roster decisions) and hardly worth striking over.
   29. Howie Menckel Posted: June 25, 2021 at 07:34 PM (#6026384)
the Mets went 4 for 27 with 14 K today - and won.
Phillies went 3 for 27 with 9 K.

the only players with 2 hits were Mets 2B Francisco Lindor - and Phillies P Aaron Nola, who knocked in the Phillies only run with a double that also was their only extra-base hit.
   30. cardsfanboy Posted: June 25, 2021 at 07:45 PM (#6026385)
Baseball is a GREAT game. The United States has many GREAT qualities. Calling either one the greatest of its kind is hyperbole, IMO.


Can't it be both? I mean among the major sports basketball is completely unimportant until the last three minutes, football is a bloated mess of boringness, hockey is legitimately mostly great, but has the most screwed up post season among all the sports, and is by far the least inclusive (except if you consider Nascar a sport) soccer is just behind watching Bob Ross as a sleep agent. Baseball is legitimately great, and needs fixing to return somewhat to it's best days.
   31. cardsfanboy Posted: June 25, 2021 at 07:52 PM (#6026387)
Everyone on this board has an idea on how to improve the watchability of this game we love. I refuse to listen to old morons who complain about the park atmosphere, as by definition they would rather have an onion tied on their belt as it was fashionable at the time.... if you mention mallparks, your opinion on how to improve the game is pretty much useless. You are focusing way too much energy on something that isn't on the field, and you are an old fart that needs to be put out to pasture.


Now if your issue is to come up with a more exciting baseball game than the three true outcome situation that it has become, then let's hear it. I push for incremental increases, such as strict adherence to the size of the glove rule, to maintaining a consistent and predictable strike zone game to game (robo umps) to streamline replay system in which the goal is to get the right call as many times as possible without slowing the game down much (meaning get rid of the idiot (nfl inspired) challenge system, have a 5th umpire in the press box who's job is to decide when a replay is to be made... and heck give him a bonus every time he makes the right call to challenge, but penalize his pay when he makes a challenge call that was fruitless or something like that) Others push for bigger arguments, and I'm fine with hearing them, but focus on the game play or even the managing, that is how you fix the game. People that talk mallparks as a problem are just too stupid to enter into the discussion... Go back to making America great again, you were stupid then, might as well continue to be stupid.
   32. cardsfanboy Posted: June 25, 2021 at 08:10 PM (#6026391)
Robot umps - sooner the better but get it right first


Agree, at least on strike/ball calls, still need the human ump for other stuff, but it will create a consistent strike zone game to game so that the players know what to expect.

Shifting rules - they need something - let’s see what experimentation leads to


Do not see any purpose of shifting rules at all, it's not like it really makes a difference, it helps some players, hurts others, but it's just positioning is all, and I do not see any reason to limit positioning, especially when it's one of the relatively unique aspects of MLB.

Too much replay - get rid of the in dugout video review. Just force the manager to call for one using coaches/players view. Replay should only fix obvious mistakes and should be limited to fewer types of plays


I agree with the last part, but I despise a challenge system anyway. Replay should be officiated initiated. A challenge system was idiotic from the get go. We all knew it, as a guy who loves the concept of replay, I have always hated the concept of a limited challenge system. The goal is to get the call right in a reasonable time frame, if it's obvious it's too close to call, then don't bother with the review, this wasn't about the half a step fix, this was about the Denkinger and Joyce calls, not about a guy bouncing his hand off the bag after beating the throw.

Have a fifth ump in the booth, give him the ability to make it about "spirit of the game" wording, and let him decide if the play warrants a review or not.

At the same time, I'm a fan of expanding replay, already we've seen too many obvious mistake calls this season that weren't subject to review.

Runner on second - not until 12th


Agreed...


Too much time between pitches.This is the holy grail. Why won’t they fix this ?


Agreed, they have a time clock, they have mentioned that they will honor it, and then they don't.


Seven inning DH - I like them


I like the rule that you have a DH only as long as your starting pitcher is in the game, it fixes a few things... one of which I kinda like, which is the short starter, the other is that it forces dh team to maybe have another bat on the bench.


Mound visits - unlimited with runner on 2nd.

I hate the mound visit rule, I get what they were going for, but it really doesn't factor into the equation to be honest, baseball is a stop and start game, this is a definite stop that people understand. I can get behind a mound visit rule that is based upon the same pitcher number of times per inning, but a restriction on per game is just short sightedness. No more than two per pitcher per inning, sure... beyond that, it's a relative non-factor.
   33. Doug Jones threw harder than me Posted: June 25, 2021 at 09:10 PM (#6026405)
I like the rule that you have a DH only as long as your starting pitcher is in the game, it fixes a few things... one of which I kinda like, which is the short starter, the other is that it forces dh team to maybe have another bat on the bench.


This is a fantastic rule change (which I think some minor league somewhere is trying already?) which gets rid of the Ohtani! penalty that the Angels currently face whenever he pitches, and suddenly provides an incentive for pitchers to pitch deep into games.

Runner on second - not until 12th


I have mixed feelings about the runner on second, but think what would be MORE interesting (and more like the kind of baseball we had to play whilst youngsters) would be to take away a fielder. Increases the value of defense and hitting the ball, and provides an interesting strategic problem for the managers to solve.
   34. BDC Posted: June 25, 2021 at 09:13 PM (#6026406)
if you mention mallparks, your opinion on how to improve the game is pretty much useless. You are focusing way too much energy on something that isn't on the field, and you are an old fart that needs to be put out to pasture

I don't think anybody had mentioned mallparks in this thread – unless my CTRL+F is broken :)

I used to complain about the noise level, but in recent years … maybe it just damaged my hearing too much to notice anymore, but I completely zone it out. Most of the mallpark amenities, though, I have liked, starting of course with air-conditioning.
   35. Doug Jones threw harder than me Posted: June 25, 2021 at 11:24 PM (#6026435)
Finally, if one does a number of things to increase offense (making pitchers work more innings at a time, increasing the distance to the mound, restrictions on pitchers fielding bunts, enforcing the pitch clock, doing things to increase the value of the running game) there will be a point where the runs/game goes through the roof, since batters are already doing pretty well (all things considered) having adopted an all-or-nothing approach.

How to fix that?

Well, one way would be to enforce a higher minimum weight for bats. This would decrease bat speed, leading to fewer home runs, and increase the relative value of line-drive hitters.

Another idea i thought of while watching the Orioles game and realizing that the Orioles have a number of players who don't wear batting gloves -> make batting gloves illegal (can't adjust em if you don't have em)
   36. sunday silence (again) Posted: June 25, 2021 at 11:54 PM (#6026437)
Well, one way would be to enforce a higher minimum weight for bats.


Because we need more Strike Outs in baseball.
   37. Doug Jones threw harder than me Posted: June 26, 2021 at 01:32 AM (#6026440)
Because we need more Strike Outs in baseball.


You misunderstand me, I think.

IF, by a combination of one or more of a number of other changes which would advantage the batter, such as A) enforcing the pitch clock, B) Various techniques which would make pitchers tend to pitch more innings at a time, C) a longer distance from the mound to the plate, it may be that the pendulum shifts too much.

Now, you can change the ball or you can change the bat. Maybe changing the ball is easier, I'm just suggesting another option to consider would be to change the bat. It might lead to a more contact-driven approach (except for folks with "Ruthian" strength) like Vlad Jr. or Trout.
   38. Cooper Nielson Posted: June 26, 2021 at 04:19 AM (#6026441)
I like the rule that you have a DH only as long as your starting pitcher is in the game, it fixes a few things... one of which I kinda like, which is the short starter, the other is that it forces dh team to maybe have another bat on the bench.

I'm pretty sure the original "seven inning DH" comment referred to double-headers, not the designated hitter, but I really like this idea.

It could be slightly modified to say that each pitcher in the game may have one "designated pinch-hitter" attached to him, and that hitter could bat multiple times provided his paired pitcher was still in the game.

There could also be a clause where the starting DH can stay in the game, provided he moves to a defensive position (effectively a double-switch). So if you want to keep David Ortiz in the game after the starting pitcher is removed, you can move him to first base and put the new pitcher/DH pair in the first baseman's lineup spot.

This would help re-balance the rosters (fewer pitchers/relievers), encourage longer starts and also longer relief appearances, and it would de-value one-dimensional DHs.

I'm sure this would have some negative impacts, but I haven't taken the time to think about them.
   39. Lest we forget Posted: June 26, 2021 at 05:09 AM (#6026442)
@31

"soccer is just behind watching Bob Ross as a sleep agent"

come on ... grin.. that's just silly talk

Get a grip, man. One 'power ranking' puts 'soccer' at 3 billion followers. Another at 4 billion. Baseball? 500 million (behind table tennis, field hocky, cricket, basketball etc.)

Baseball isn't even in the Top Ten for 'most played sport' in the world. We can call 'nuanced', we can call it a 'thinking man's game'. Fine. But greatest? Noooooo...

And let's be objective: it's not like baseball is some new idea, climbing the ranks. It's been a pro game since 1869. It's not even the most popular sport in the United States.

I dunno, Card Boy. The European Championships are in full swing AS I WRITE, and there are far more people fascinated by the play, the strategy, the skill, the demands, the oddball plays, the upsets, the rivalries, than DeGrom having an 0.50 ERA

Grin. Sorry, my friend. Time to face the music. There are many great things about baseball, but is it the greatest sport in the word?

No. The data doth not lie.

Cheers!
Happy Baseball
   40. The Duke Posted: June 26, 2021 at 09:43 AM (#6026445)
I did mean seven inning double-headers

On the DH, I’m a diehard NL guy but pitchers are such bad hitters now, I can’t take it anymore. I’m good with a DH but would like it to only work when starting pitcher is in game
   41. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: June 26, 2021 at 11:27 AM (#6026448)
the play, the strategy, the skill, the demands

Obligatory
   42. sunday silence (again) Posted: June 26, 2021 at 02:16 PM (#6026458)
You misunderstand me, I think.
IF, by a combination of one or more of a number of other changes which would advantage the batter, such as A) enforcing the pitch clock


Yeah, I mean there's nothing wrong with what you're saying. Im more in favor of going for the most direct and obvious things. ENforce the pitch clock and perhaps lower the mound and see where we end up with that.

If offense increases too much then deaden the ball from there. I think its easier to enforce deadening the ball since they are all coming from the same place and one would think they get some stamp of approval so that they are consistent in manufacture. Id hate to think how much trouble that would be with bats. But OK, you can probably do it your way too. Its just never been tried that way if I recall.
   43. sunday silence (again) Posted: June 26, 2021 at 02:27 PM (#6026459)

"soccer is just behind watching Bob Ross as a sleep agent"

come on ... grin.. that's just silly talk


Soccer is interesting to criticize because for one thing it has millions of die hard fans. For whatever reason.

On the one hand. THe sport is epic, its minimal equipment and pretty easy to understand rules: just move the ball without using your hands. Its constant running. There's only one special position. A very pure combination of stamina and skill.

ON the other hand strategically the game sort of devolves into either: Must get the next goal. Or: prevent the next goal. There's no real subtle strategies because you can only score one pt at a time. Thus whatever tactical is considered best for scoring, well that's whats you have to go with whether its a long cross, or dribbling up the middle or whatever. Whatever you think is the best way to score, that's your strategy.

Same thing on defense, whatever alignment you think will stop the next goal that's what you do. YOu dont really need to trade off considerations of time, position, or quick scores because there's you can only score one pt. The very same problem with hockey.

Compare with sports of football/baseball. In baseball you have to consider the base out situation, and you have to consider the risk of a big inning. Theres one run strategies adn multi run strategies. There's also more substitutions. Football has a lot of considerations with time, and field position because the ball doesnt turn over quickly like it does in soccer. There's also quick scoring versus a long drive, there's simply grinding the clock without needing to score just get first downs, there's also simply not fumbling and not even playing for a first down.

So the strategies are much more comples. There's still issues of where to position men in soccer, there's also trying to evaluating injury and stamina situations with various players. And its epic. So I still love watching soccer but there's a limit on the overall strategies.
   44. sunday silence (again) Posted: June 26, 2021 at 02:50 PM (#6026461)


I dunno, Card Boy. The European Championships are in full swing...


Yeah I should have mentioned those. I have not got to watch the EUros or the club championships much but the games Ive seen were much more exciting than most World Cup games. WC seems to have similar conservative games most of the time. BUt the euros and the clubs often see very different strategies. THe best game I ever saw was I think Juventus vs Ajax for one of the club championships. It was end to end play almost the entire game and was unlike any WC game Ive ever seen. There have been some really good WC games too.

THe clock thing in soccer is stoopid though.
   45. sunday silence (again) Posted: June 26, 2021 at 02:55 PM (#6026462)

Baseball isn't even in the Top Ten for 'most played sport' in the world.


what's your source on that? We had this discussion a few years ago and I think baseball came near the top ten if not in the top ten.
   46. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: June 26, 2021 at 06:24 PM (#6026477)
Just throw the baseball ... but somehow that is never in the mix of bold ideas.

1) Get in the damn box.
2) Throw the damn ball.

And you're done.
   47. Doug Jones threw harder than me Posted: June 26, 2021 at 06:37 PM (#6026479)
I just hope the committee reads and considers the ideas posted here and in similar venues.
   48. drdr Posted: June 27, 2021 at 06:37 AM (#6026528)
Some good ideas (although I don't like anything changing DH - watching pitchers stand with a bat is no fun). But if we want the return of 300 hitters, we have to address the defense. Everybody says that if TTO approach is less effective, batters will again try for base hits. But with today's gloves, stadiums and players, hits from 70s and 80s are today outs. I can see only two ways to make base hits a desirable strategy: remove SS and one outfielder of set minimal distance to the outfield wall to 400 feet.
   49. bunyon Posted: June 27, 2021 at 08:12 AM (#6026530)
Cfb’s antipathy toward soccer is well documented. Obviously every sport has people who feel this way about it. We all probably know folks who find baseball this boring. This thread, where diehard fans ##### and moan about TTO baseball hardly supports the idea that baseball is a fiery source of excitement for all.

But I’ve been watching the euros in the afternoon and mlb at night and one if those events is sleep inducing, yes. The time between pitches, the lack of balls in play make baseball what cfb has always called soccer: watching grass grow.
   50. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: June 27, 2021 at 09:10 AM (#6026533)
I would love to know the number of games where a team had 4 hits or less in a game, and run the comparison to 2019, at this same stage of the season.

Here's a somewhat related stat:

In 2019, the Yankees scored 2 runs or less 26 times in 162 games.

In 2021, they've already matched that total in just 76 games. That projects to 55 games over the course of a full season, over twice what they did just 2 years ago.

On the flip side, they've scored 10 runs or more exactly once, when on April 30th they beat the Tigers 10 to 0. In 2019 they scored 10 or more runs 25 times, including 9 times by this point in the season.
   51. bfan Posted: June 27, 2021 at 10:39 AM (#6026537)
#50. Thank you and there you go. This has to be fixed, and making less time between pitches is a laudable goal, but doesn’t fix the problem of the dearth of hits and runs.
   52. BDC Posted: June 27, 2021 at 11:12 AM (#6026539)
One can probably draw up a list of sports that can be immediately exciting even if you don't have much knowledge about them. I would tend to think that goal sports are high on the list: basketball has a very obvious goal and the simple constraint "don't carry the ball"; ice hockey is just as simple. Soccer too, as sunday silence notes: obvious goal, don't use your hands – in soccer the offside constraint is slightly esoteric but quite logical and I think people get used to it quickly. Golf is an extremely simple goal sport but the lack of running and collisions probably dampens the thrill.

Races, fights, and hot-potato sports (tennis, volleyball) also are pretty easy to get into.

Baseball and cricket are at the difficult end. Complicated incremental scoring process and quite a bit of action that seems to have little to do with run-scoring.

Lower still, Olympic wrestling (two people lie there motionless and suddenly shift position ever so slightly and the crowd goes wild!). And dressage, which if you don't know the gaits and the task confronting the rider, is usually seen as just somebody bouncing around on a ####### horse.

Obviously interest is subjective, but there are objective factors that distinguish sports and attract different subjectivities.
   53. BDC Posted: June 27, 2021 at 11:15 AM (#6026540)
Come to think of it, mixed-martial golf would be awesome. I bet somebody's already thought of it.
   54. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: June 27, 2021 at 11:47 AM (#6026541)
#50. Thank you and there you go. This has to be fixed

If it takes the wretched excesses of TTO K-ball to turn the Yankees into .500 also-rans, perhaps the sport is fixed in its current state.



Come to think of it, mixed-martial golf would be awesome. I bet somebody's already thought of it.

Chessboxing, anyone?
   55. sunday silence (again) Posted: June 27, 2021 at 03:58 PM (#6026563)
Another epic sport is cycling. I guess the immense distances and incredible stamina make it so. Its very technical of course, but I find the strategy much more interesting than so called "goal games." You've got drafting, break aways, guys who can burst, guys who can go downhill, etc. There's also in game goals like King of the Mountains, Sprint King etc but I dont find those kinds of things interesting in and of themselves.
   56. Doug Jones threw harder than me Posted: June 27, 2021 at 04:24 PM (#6026567)
Some good ideas (although I don't like anything changing DH - watching pitchers stand with a bat is no fun).


The idea is to make it so, unless the pitcher throws deep into the game, the offense will be penalized by having to use (and use up) a lot of pinch-hitters. So ideally there would be few pitchers hitting, but when there are, you know that the manager has screwed up.

But if we want the return of 300 hitters, we have to address the defense. Everybody says that if TTO approach is less effective, batters will again try for base hits. But with today's gloves, stadiums and players, hits from 70s and 80s are today outs. I can see only two ways to make base hits a desirable strategy: remove SS and one outfielder of set minimal distance to the outfield wall to 400 feet.


So, putting restrictions on where the pitcher may field a bunt (maybe it has to go past the mound? Or in a cirlce near the mound, or maybe just the pitcher just cannot touch the ball first?) would do a lot towards giving batters more options, since it would make the bunt a more viable proposition for a base hit, and would do a lot towards retarding extreme shifts.

Another thing one could do would be to have either much slower or much faster infields (I tend to think much slower infields would be better, but I seem to remember the very fast turf also leading to more seeing-eye ground balls), though an enforcement mechanism for this would be a project.

In the 19th century, though the OPS was typically lower than today, the RPG was higher, partly because the RA was about a run higher than the ERA, there being lots of errors. Smaller gloves would help bring some of that back, as you suggest.
   57. sunday silence (again) Posted: June 27, 2021 at 05:13 PM (#6026575)
But with today's gloves, stadiums and players, hits from 70s and 80s are today outs.


Im not sure what is your basis for saying this. BaBIP has remained a constant at .30, no? It seems like the same number of balls are dropping in/getting through.
   58. BDC Posted: June 27, 2021 at 05:59 PM (#6026582)
Indeed, BABIP barely moved between 1995 and 2019 (.298 both years) – I would not have guessed that. It is down to .289 this year but that's a half season and is still higher than all but one year of the '70s and '80s (1987, when it was exactly .289).

It's logical to assume that better gloves and fields would decrease BABIP. But maybe the sense that balls don't fall in comes largely from the fact that fewer are in play. The ones that do get hit are certainly hit pretty hard these days.
   59. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: June 27, 2021 at 10:20 PM (#6026601)
Another epic sport is cycling. I guess the immense distances and incredible stamina make it so. Its very technical of course, but I find the strategy much more interesting than so called "goal games." You've got drafting, break aways, guys who can burst, guys who can go downhill, etc. There's also in game goals like King of the Mountains, Sprint King etc but I dont find those kinds of things interesting in and of themselves.

Waiting interminable lengths of time to see a single random goal in a soccer match is bad enough, but cycling? Jesus.

Don't get me wrong. I admire the hell out of the stamina it takes to finish a marathon cycling race,** even if the participants are all doped up. But from a spectator's point of view, you're standing in a single spot, waiting forever to see one cyclist after another race by you. And then what? Even TV can't really capture an event like that. Maybe if the two winners were separated by a few yards, and you could perch yourself at the finish line, but other than that, what is there to see?

** Just as I admire the sort of athleticism that goes into this. YMMV, but I guess I've been living in the U.S. too long to develop much of an appreciation for sports like that. I'm much more a fan of sports that depend on world class hand/eye coordination than sports that don't feature that sort of skill.
   60. bobm Posted: June 27, 2021 at 10:32 PM (#6026603)
[27] I would love to know the number of games where a team had 4 hits or less in a game, and run the comparison to 2019, at this same stage of the season. I would bet those low hit games are up 30%. Seriously, other than the fan graphs guys, does anyone think that is a good thing?

In the Regular Season, from 1998 to 2021, In team's first 75 games, requiring Hits <= 4, sorted by most instances.

                               
Rk   YearV #Matching  W   L   R
1     2021       334 68 266 472
[2     2020       252 44 208 370]
3     2019       250 38 212 327
4     2018       266 46 220 340
5     2017       230 22 208 287
6     2016       235 36 199 296
7     2015       210 25 185 214
8     2014       234 39 195 239
9     2013       237 38 199 272
10    2012       199 32 167 218
11    2011       198 32 166 226
12    2010       202 28 174 222
13    2009       186 22 164 229
14    2008       186 21 165 221
15    2007       175 34 141 220
16    2006       173 26 147 202
17    2005       158 27 131 203
18    2004       169 27 142 212
19    2003       168 25 143 224
20    2002       199 23 176 227
21    2001       153 32 121 212
22    2000       139 19 120 164
23    1999       144 15 129 188
24    1998       189 27 162 251


Provided by Stathead.com: View Stathead Tool Used
Generated 6/27/2021.
   61. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: June 27, 2021 at 10:37 PM (#6026604)
But from a spectator's point of view, you're standing in a single spot, waiting forever to see one cyclist after another race by you. And then what?

Fans who want to take it to the next level then can become part of the race, as happened on Saturday.
   62. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: June 27, 2021 at 11:13 PM (#6026607)
Cycling bores me to death, but OTOH Breaking Away is one of my favorite movies ever for many reasons, in part because of the scene that confirms my opinions of Eurotrash. (smile)
   63. Rally Posted: June 28, 2021 at 08:51 AM (#6026623)
As a few have pointed out, defensive efficiency hasn’t changed much in a long time. This year it’s .697. In 1980, when George Brett made a .400 run, it was .699.

Some balls inplay that were hits back then are outs now. But we also see balls that would normally have been fielded go through because the fielder has shifted. Shifting probably helps the defense a bit, otherwise they’d stop doing it. But the effects in aggregate are small. The elephant in the room is MOAR Strikeouts.
   64. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 28, 2021 at 09:25 AM (#6026629)
The elephant in the room is MOAR Strikeouts.

Absolutely; cutting the K-rate and the HR-rate each by 1/3 would be a tremendous improvement, i.e. 6 K/9 not 9, and 0.8 HR/9, not 1.2.
   65. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: June 28, 2021 at 11:18 AM (#6026650)
cutting the K-rate and the HR-rate each by 1/3 would be a tremendous improvement, i.e. 6 K/9 not 9, and 0.8 HR/9, not 1.2.

Then 1991 would be your ideal year, with a K rate of 5.80 and a HR rate of exactly 0.80. I could go for that, although reducing the strikeouts is a much bigger priority for me.

How would you like the NL's 1930 season? 3.11 K/9, 0.72 HR/9, along with a .303 BA and 11.36 total runs per game. The irony is that in that year's World Series, there were fewer runs scored per game (5.6) than there were in 1968 (8.7). That's baseball, Suzyn.
   66. Doug Jones threw harder than me Posted: June 28, 2021 at 11:42 AM (#6026655)
How would you like the NL's 1930 season? 3.11 K/9, 0.72 HR/9, along with a .303 BA and 11.36 total runs per game. The irony is that in that year's World Series, there were fewer runs scored per game (5.6) than there were in 1968 (8.7).


Also in 1930 there was an average game time of just under 2 hours, even with all those runs. That's action!

Breaking down game time and runs/per game over the years

That's baseball, Suzyn.


Even with John Sterling's mannerisms, I have to admit (and I am not a New Yorker) that the chance to listen to Sterling and Waldman on MLB Audio has been a treat. They really do a good job, it's hard to understand all the criticism.

   67. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: June 28, 2021 at 01:06 PM (#6026668)
Also in 1930 there was an average game time of just under 2 hours, even with all those runs. That's action!

And 20 years later, in 1950, you had a Red Sox - A's game that set a still-existing AL record for most runs scored in a game (36), with 21 runs in the first 2 innings alone. It also had 34 hits, 21 walks, and 9 pitchers.

The time of game? 2 hours and 50 minutes.

By contrast, that no-hitter thrown by the Cubs last Thursday took 3 hours and 12 minutes to complete. It had 4 runs, 8 hits, 12 walks, and 8 pitchers.
   68. Rally Posted: June 28, 2021 at 01:16 PM (#6026670)
I’d prefer the 1991 level to 1930. I don’t want a world where a guy who strikes out 4.5 per game has to be considered a power pitcher. At 6.0, there will be some stars who can strike out over a batter per inning. Ryan was at 10.6 that year. That should be an outstanding feat, not league average.
   69. Buck Coats Posted: June 28, 2021 at 04:12 PM (#6026709)
This has to be fixed, and making less time between pitches is a laudable goal, but doesn’t fix the problem of the dearth of hits and runs.


Hits are definitely insanely down, but runs aren't really. We're at 4.4 runs per game - that's more than every year from 2015 through 2010. Also more than 1992-1988, 1985-1980, etc etc etc.
   70. Doug Jones threw harder than me Posted: June 28, 2021 at 04:20 PM (#6026713)
Hits are definitely insanely down, but runs aren't really.


That's the big thing, one of the reasons pitchers are taking so much time between pitches, why there are so many relievers, and why sticky stuff is so pervasive, is that individual hitters hit the ball SO HARD and are SO SELECTIVE , so pitchers are really working hard. Any set of changes have to keep balance into account.
   71. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: June 28, 2021 at 10:26 PM (#6026793)
I’d prefer the 1991 level to 1930. I don’t want a world where a guy who strikes out 4.5 per game has to be considered a power pitcher. At 6.0, there will be some stars who can strike out over a batter per inning. Ryan was at 10.6 that year. That should be an outstanding feat, not league average.

Yeah, I agree. In 1930 Lefty Grove, who along with Dazzy Vance was considered the premier power pitcher of his generation, averaged all of 6.5 strikeouts a game. The Phillies hit .315 as a team, but also had a team ERA of 6.71 and finished 52-102. The Majors were filled with mediocre hitters who benefited from juiced baseballs and pitchers who were even worse, and who were left in to finish up games where today they'd be gone by the 3rd or 4th inning.

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