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Baseball 2019
Old 03-14-2019, 10:00 AM   #1
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Baseball 2019

Looks like MLB is at it again doing their best to ruin the sport of baseball with all these micro-managing rules starting in 2020:


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MLB and the union will formally announce Thursday several major rule changes, most which will be implemented in 2020, two officials told USA TODAY Sports. They spoke only on the condition of anonymity because they have yet to publicly announce the changes.

-- Pitchers will be required to face a minimum of three batters in a game beginning in 2020.
-- There will be a single July 31 trade deadline, starting this season, with teams prohibited from making any type of trade after that date.
-- Mound visits will be reduced from six to five during games beginning this year, and perhaps reduced to four visits in 2020.
-- There will be an All-Star election day starting this summer where fans can determine the starting players in the All-Star Game with 24-hour voting.
-- The Home Run Derby will now pay $1 million to the winning player.
-- Commercial breaks during innings will be shortened by 20 seconds to 2 minutes.
-- Position players will be prohibited from pitching in games that don’t go into extra innings, unless a team is ahead or behind by at least eight runs.
Forcing a pitcher to pitch to at least three batters is downright stupid!!

https://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/mlb...p6H?li=BBnb7Kz
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Old 03-14-2019, 10:05 AM   #2
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Forcing a pitcher to pitch to at least three batters is downright stupid!!
I want to agree. But unless MLB can stop the games getting longer and longer, it's painful to watch an inning where the manager plays those lefty-righty-lefty games and makes a half inning last 30 minutes, with a commercial break for a pitching change every three minutes. Especially in the playoffs, these constant mid-inning pitching changes annoy me. I'd like to think there's a better way to deal with it.

That said, the proposal about three batters should change. They should NOT have to face three batters if they get through the end of the inning. Pitching changes between innings do not lengthen the game. So it should be "three batters or until the end of the inning, whichever is less".

That said, there is one "switch pitcher" in MLB today, Pat Venditte. It seems to me that we could see more switch pitchers develop if this rule takes effect, since you could go righty-lefty-righty with the same pitcher.

IMO, the *last* item you quoted is the stupidest. Why can't position players also pitch, or pitchers who can hit play another position once in a while? Look at Ohtani for the Angels -- is that rule intended to screw him over for developing a skill set that lets him pitch AND DH?
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Old 03-14-2019, 10:52 AM   #3
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I want to agree. But unless MLB can stop the games getting longer and longer, it's painful to watch an inning where the manager plays those lefty-righty-lefty games and makes a half inning last 30 minutes, with a commercial break for a pitching change every three minutes. Especially in the playoffs, these constant mid-inning pitching changes annoy me. I'd like to think there's a better way to deal with it.

That said, the proposal about three batters should change. They should NOT have to face three batters if they get through the end of the inning. Pitching changes between innings do not lengthen the game. So it should be "three batters or until the end of the inning, whichever is less".

That said, there is one "switch pitcher" in MLB today, Pat Venditte. It seems to me that we could see more switch pitchers develop if this rule takes effect, since you could go righty-lefty-righty with the same pitcher.

IMO, the *last* item you quoted is the stupidest. Why can't position players also pitch, or pitchers who can hit play another position once in a while? Look at Ohtani for the Angels -- is that rule intended to screw him over for developing a skill set that lets him pitch AND DH?
For the sake of speeding up the game, MLB is going to take away a specialist relief pitcher. I still that this is stupid. That similar to say basketball forcing a coach to not substitute because one player on the bench has better defense or offense than a player on the court. As if a basketball player has to play at least 3 minutes.

About position players not able to pitch, I bet again, to speed up the game as position players tend to get shelled and make the game last longer. You point about Otani right. So, does he have to be declared only as a pitcher or hitter for each game. Also, what about injuries or extra innings where a team runs out of pitchers?

If MLB really wanted to shorten the game, I say they should play only 7 innings or shorten the season? But I'm sure that would interfere with attendance and revenue.

I'm waiting for the rule where for the sake of shorting the game, a batter is only allowed to take 5 practice swings. Rule made up by me, but may not be so far away .
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Old 03-14-2019, 11:01 AM   #4
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For the sake of speeding up the game, MLB is going to take away a specialist relief pitcher. I still that this is stupid. That similar to say basketball forcing a coach to not substitute because one player on the bench has better defense or offense than a player on the court. As if a basketball player has to play at least 3 minutes.

About position players not able to pitch, I bet again, to speed up the game as position players tend to get shelled and make the game last longer. You point about Otani right. So, does he have to be declared only as a pitcher or hitter for each game. Also, what about injuries or extra innings where a team runs out of pitchers?

If MLB really wanted to shorten the game, I say they should play only 7 innings or shorten the season? But I'm sure that would interfere with attendance and revenue.

I'm waiting for the rule where for the sake of shorting the game, a batter is only allowed to take 5 practice swings. Rule made up by me, but may not be so far away .
Maybe. And as a purist at heart, I wish none of these things seemed necessary. But the game has to remain watchable. TV rules more than ever, and if the product is less watchable on TV, the future of the game is weakened. So there will probably need to be some things that purists don't like, if it keeps the games more watchable. And for most of the history of the game, there was no such thing as a "specialist relief pitcher". Has it made the game more fun to watch? Has it added enough that it justifies the additional commercial breaks in the middle of a half-inning?

To be honest, while I understand that the goal is to win, and that analytics can help, I also think analytics have made the game a lot less watchable. Between the constant pitching changes, the abominable "shift" for left handed batters, pitch counts, the evolution of hitting such that there are more strikeouts than hits and fewer pitches being put in play than ever, I cringe. I understand why teams are doing these things, but IMO they don't make a better product on the field to watch.

I think batters should be accountable for not delaying just as much as pitchers. Sufficient delays should result in a strike being called on the batter, just like sufficient delays by a pitcher should result in a ball. And as far as disallowing position players to pitch, if they do put that in place, they should exempt double headers. They are murder on a bullpen, the way they are used today.

And I wish there was still embarrassment and shame when you strike out. More and more the game seems to be about the "three true outcomes" -- home runs, walks, and strikeouts. Boring!
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Old 03-14-2019, 11:24 AM   #5
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I saw a countdown clock on the outfield wall and behind home plate at spring training that started at 20 seconds when the pitcher got the ball. And then ticked down to 0 seconds. I guess in an attempt to get pitchers to deliver the pitch quicker. I saw a few go over 20 seconds without any consequences. Must be trying out something to speed the game up between pitches.
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Old 03-14-2019, 11:27 AM   #6
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I raise my hand and fall on the side of a purist when comes to baseball.

I understand that in today's world, the popularity of immediate gratification and lack of attention span. I just believe that baseball is a beautiful game not meant to be rushed. I get that folks may not want to sit and watch a game with all the moves and counter moves.

However, playing devil's advocate, if I was to go to a Phillies' game, and see Bryce Harper in person playing. I figure, since he is making a ton of money, he can play for 3.5 hours instead of 3. Similar to if you go to a concert, if the performer's show is 2 hrs vs 1.5, even better.

With the positional players can't pitch rule, make we wonder if that rule was around a long long time ago would Babe Ruth ever been a batter or just a pitcher?
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Old 03-14-2019, 11:30 AM   #7
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I raise my hand and fall on the side of a purist when comes to baseball.
I get it, I really do, but I have to believe that MLB has done a heck of a lot more market research into its fan base and TV viewer base than we have.

They have to do what they can to protect the business, and if devotion to "purity" and "tradition" means falling TV ratings and revenues, like any business, they are going to move to protect it.

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Similar to if you go to a concert, if the performer's show is 2 hrs vs 1.5, even better.
Except that in this case, the extra half hour is maybe 10 more minutes of performance, and another 20 minutes of intermission with no entertainment filling in that time. That is what all the intra-inning pitching changes for "specialists" are doing. I have to assume the MLB marketing research folks have determined that most viewers don't want that. (Again, I said "viewers" specifically since TV is driving the revenue bus more than anything these days, by far.)
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Old 03-14-2019, 11:39 AM   #8
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I raise my hand and fall on the side of a purist when comes to baseball.

I understand that in today's world, the popularity of immediate gratification and lack of attention span. I just believe that baseball is a beautiful game not meant to be rushed. I get that folks may not want to sit and watch a game with all the moves and counter moves.

I lean toward this viewpoint. A big part of baseball for me is conversation with whomever you might be watching a game, at the ball park or on TV at home or sports bar. Radio too. Baseball goes hand in hand with relaxation in the warmer months.

The length of games is annoying when there are late starts though, especially for west coast games when you are an east coast person. But economic reality is necessary.
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Old 03-14-2019, 11:45 AM   #9
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I lean toward this viewpoint. A big part of baseball for me is conversation with whomever you might be watching a game, at the ball park or on TV at home or sports bar. Radio too. Baseball goes hand in hand with relaxation in the warmer months.
At the park itself (if I don't have to get up early if it's a night game) the countermoves and pitching changes don't bother me, since I can still soak in the experience at the park while the reliever is warming up. I still get the sights, sounds and smells of baseball. But on TV, it's just more and more commercials. No enjoyment factor there.

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The length of games is annoying when there are late starts though, especially for west coast games when you are an east coast person. But economic reality is necessary.
This is the biggest reason why length of games matters. Given the usual 7:05 PM start (give or take) for night games, more and more of them are going until 10:30, even 11 PM or later *local time*. Especially with early risers, some folks might stay until 10 or so, but not much after that. And why watch a game if you can't stay up to watch its outcome? There are certainly some viewers who won't even start watching a game if they don't think they can stay up to watch its conclusion.

That is what is concerning MLB most, I think. It's more than just attention span, though I suspect that is a part of it.

Would also love to see Saturday day games again. But, again, TV wants night games on Saturday, so we get night games. They aren't as big a deal because most people don't work on early Sunday mornings. But still, as a fan *in person* I would much rather go to a day game. But it's not about what the purist wants, or even what the fan in attendance at the game wants. It's about what TV wants.
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Old 03-14-2019, 11:51 AM   #10
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Looks like MLB is at it again doing their best to ruin the sport of baseball with all these micro-managing rules starting in 2020:


Forcing a pitcher to pitch to at least three batters is downright stupid!!

https://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/mlb...p6H?li=BBnb7Kz
As a huge baseball fan, I kinda like all of these!
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Old 03-14-2019, 11:53 AM   #11
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For the sake of speeding up the game, MLB is going to take away a specialist relief pitcher. I still that this is stupid. That similar to say basketball forcing a coach to not substitute because one player on the bench has better defense or offense than a player on the court. As if a basketball player has to play at least 3 minutes.
No, it's not similar. A basketball substitution is done when there is already a break in play, and happens quickly. In a pitching substitution, the manager strolls out to the mound, the new pitcher jogs in from the bullpen, and takes some warmup pitches. It's a lot longer process.

Basketball has it's own problems, with nonstop fouls and timeouts at the end of a game. There is a solution for that too. https://thecomeback.com/nba/the-elam...s-century.html It radically changes the game, but fixes the problem, and in my opinion, should be adopted everywhere.

It's ok to be a purist, but you have to acknowledge all the games have flaws. Football must fix the brain trauma issues, even while the he-men moan about making the game wimpy. Basketball needs to fix the end of game issues. And baseball probably has to fix the time issue. A pitcher already has to face a certain number of batters. Today that number is 1. If it changes to 3 (or the end of an inning) to speed things up, I'm for it. As a purist myself, I miss the days when good pitchers completed more games than not.
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Old 03-14-2019, 11:58 AM   #12
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As a huge baseball fan, I kinda like all of these!
I like the HR Derby prize. It might mean some of the top sluggers people want to watch will actually participate.

I also like the rule about changing from a 40-man roster into a 28-man roster in September. The 40-man makes it too easy for teams with nothing to play for -- teams that are out of it and would rather evaluate prospects than try to win, or teams which have locked in a playoff seed already -- to "cash it in" and play a bunch of minor leaguers, possibly against teams that are in a playoff chase and thus tipping the scales.

And of course I like shorter commercial breaks.

None of these offend my "inner purist" since they make no changes to how the game is played on the field. But I do understand why MLB is addressing the other ones.

I also like that it looks like MLB and the union are talking in good faith already, and looking to avoid another work stoppage. The one in 1994 took a toll on the game's popularity (and killed it in Montreal).
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Old 03-14-2019, 12:17 PM   #13
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I lean toward this viewpoint. A big part of baseball for me is conversation with whomever you might be watching a game, at the ball park or on TV at home or sports bar. Radio too. Baseball goes hand in hand with relaxation in the warmer months.

The length of games is annoying when there are late starts though, especially for west coast games when you are an east coast person. But economic reality is necessary.
I totally agree about baseball goes hand in hand with relaxation in the summer. I go back to as a kid discovering following the game when there wasn't this need for speed. Can't beat fun at the old ballpark (or watching on tv) a long extra inning game seeing the moves and counter moves and the funny situations like having a pitcher field or a 5 man infield. No clock, just soaking in the game.

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I get it, I really do, but I have to believe that MLB has done a heck of a lot more market research into its fan base and TV viewer base than we have.

They have to do what they can to protect the business, and if devotion to "purity" and "tradition" means falling TV ratings and revenues, like any business, they are going to move to protect it.



Except that in this case, the extra half hour is maybe 10 more minutes of performance, and another 20 minutes of intermission with no entertainment filling in that time. That is what all the intra-inning pitching changes for "specialists" are doing. I have to assume the MLB marketing research folks have determined that most viewers don't want that. (Again, I said "viewers" specifically since TV is driving the revenue bus more than anything these days, by far.)
I see what you are saying, about the bottom line and having to protect from falling ratings and revenues. I just think there is too much tinkering trying to speed up the game and make baseball not baseball of the past.


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No, it's not similar. A basketball substitution is done when there is already a break in play, and happens quickly. In a pitching substitution, the manager strolls out to the mound, the new pitcher jogs in from the bullpen, and takes some warmup pitches. It's a lot longer process.

Basketball has it's own problems, with nonstop fouls and timeouts at the end of a game. There is a solution for that too. https://thecomeback.com/nba/the-elam...s-century.html It radically changes the game, but fixes the problem, and in my opinion, should be adopted everywhere.

It's ok to be a purist, but you have to acknowledge all the games have flaws. Football must fix the brain trauma issues, even while the he-men moan about making the game wimpy. Basketball needs to fix the end of game issues. And baseball probably has to fix the time issue. A pitcher already has to face a certain number of batters. Today that number is 1. If it changes to 3 (or the end of an inning) to speed things up, I'm for it. As a purist myself, I miss the days when good pitchers completed more games than not.
Your point well taken about basketball and baseball substitution different as far as flow of the game.

My beef is more the thought of a picture having to face 3 batters. Changes the entire strategy in my opinion. I can see now, a manager stacking up 3 hitters that hit right or left (depending on the match up) as the pitcher get taken out. That rules just seems silly and counter strategy to me.
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Old 03-14-2019, 12:33 PM   #14
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Up through the end of WWII, the average duration of a 9-inning MLB game was under 2 hours. Post-WWII until the the mid-50s, average game time crept up to about 2.5 hours (the influence of TV?). Average 9-inning game time stayed around 2.5 hours until the early 80s where it started to climb again (relief pitcher specialization and further TV influence?). Over the past 5 seasons, the average 9-inning game has stretched to 3 hours.


I don't mind investing 3 to 3.5 hours of my time for each of 16 NFL games or for 13 or so college football games per year. However, 3 hours for each of 162 MLB games (not counting any post-season games)? Well, I'm not doing that. And I'm guessing that all major sports are scrambling to engage the short-attention-span millenial generation.


I wouldn't mind seeing baseball make some big changes to "force" a shortening of game time. Probably none of these are actually feasible due to opposition by TV advertisers, the ML player's union, etc. 1) Limit roster size to 20 (or the number of pitchers on the active roster to 7 or 8); 2) limit time between innings to 1 - 1.5 minutes; 3) limit "TV time outs due to pitching changes and such to 1 minute; 4) shorten the season to 154 games; 5) increase the number of double headers per season to at least 16 per season.


I think the cumulative impact would be to decrease the number of pitching changes during games (as recently as the late-70s, teams used an average of 2.5 pitchers per game--it's over 4 per game now) while shortening the time it takes to enact each change. The changes would also decrease the length of the season from 8 months back to 6 or so months while making each regular season game a little more important.


Would these changes save baseball? Maybe not, but I'd take more interest again. I used to be a baseball guy through-and-through. Last season I watched a couple of games in total.


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Old 03-14-2019, 01:30 PM   #15
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I donít like the pitcher must face 3 batters. I can see a lot of mismatches now due to the offensive team can substitute right handed or left handed batters stacking the odds when the defensive coach is now stuck. I guess you play the hand that is dealt to you.
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Old 03-14-2019, 01:33 PM   #16
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To see how to solve the time problem, all one needs to do is watch a game from before 1970. The two primary reasons those games took less time are 1) shorter breaks between half innings, and 2) batters rarely stepped out of the batters' box between pitches.
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Old 03-14-2019, 01:36 PM   #17
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I donít like the pitcher must face 3 batters. I can see a lot of mismatches now due to the offensive team can substitute right handed or left handed batters stacking the odds when the defensive coach is now stuck. I guess you play the hand that is dealt to you.
As a side effect, I can see that encouraging the development of more switch pitchers. We have one in the game now, and this rule would certainly make him a more valuable commodity to have on a roster.
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Old 03-14-2019, 01:38 PM   #18
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A rule change I advocate is what some call the 3-4-5 Rule: 3 strikes and you're out, 4 balls is a walk, 5 foul balls and you're out (scored as a Foul Out). Foul balls kill time as the umpire delivers a new ball to the pitcher, and the pitcher rubs the ball to prepare it to his liking. Besides, in most game situations a long sequence of foul balls is just boring.
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Old 03-14-2019, 01:40 PM   #19
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To see how to solve the time problem, all one needs to do is watch a game from before 1970. The two primary reasons those games took less time are 1) shorter breaks between half innings, and 2) batters rarely stepped out of the batters' box between pitches.
I'm not advocating a return of this tactic, but before the 1970s (and even the 1970s had Mike Hargrove, the "Human Rain Delay"), if you stepped out too much on guys like Gibson and Drysdale, prepare to get plunked with a fastball.

The longer commercial breaks also exacerbate the impact of pitching changes in the middle of an inning. One right-lefty-righty sequence with three batters can take 15 minutes or more.

There are a few other factors: with the development of pitch counts and analytics revaluing walks more highly than in the past, there are a lot more pitches per at bat than in 1970, both in terms of pitches taken and pitches intentionally fouled off. This is to draw more walks and to try to get an "ace" out of the game after 5 innings because of pitch counts. Also, there are about 25% more out-of-play foul balls than there were before about 1990 when the new cozier ballparks with less foul territory started coming in -- those extra fouls used to be foul outs, now they are just another pitch. In Oakland, they are still outs; almost everywhere else, it is out of play.
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Old 03-14-2019, 02:34 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by ziggy29 View Post
As a side effect, I can see that encouraging the development of more switch pitchers. We have one in the game now, and this rule would certainly make him a more valuable commodity to have on a roster.


I have only ever seen one pitcher that can pitch from both sides at a college tryout. Rarely do I ever see switch hitters anymore. I have one son a college pitcher and one on the way as a middle infielder. Games after 7 innings get long. Some of the best baseball we ever played was at a 3 day camp where every night there was a scrimmage that started every inning one ball one strike one out. Fast paced aggressive baseball. I also liked how the baseball world classic does extra innings. Starting with a runner on second. Exciting aggressive baseball. Baseball is so specialized today and at an early age kids that want to go in get tracked in one area.
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