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dabvu2498
06-27-2006, 10:04 AM
[Every time I read or type the name Bill James on this forum it reminds me of the movie Blazing Saddles when Sheriff Bart says “you wouldn’t do this to Randolph Scott” and the choir sings and trumpets blow, etc., etc.]

For those who didn’t read the original post about the gentleman lawyer Harold Spears, here it is: http://www.redszone.com/forums/showthread.php?t=47811

It was an odd set of circumstances that lead me to this post, but that’s for another day. Anyway, last night, I sat down with my 2003 edition of the Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract. I ended up reading the section of analysis on the 1990s and Mr. James’ predictions on where the game would go by 2015.

To recap, Mr. James compares the way the rules of basketball have been changed (shot clock, 3 point line, 3 second lane widened) to the way that baseball has not had any major changes in its’ set of rules. Mr. James contends that the basketball rules have been changed to “save the game from itself.”

Mr. James’ primary issue with the game the way it is played now (“sit on your [butt]” baseball, as he quotes Whitey Herzog) is that the games are too long. The biggest piece of Mr. James’ argument is that the emphasis of the game is now on home runs and as a result, there are too many walks and strikeouts.

Mr. James advocates a return to a “speed” game through various rules changes (limiting the number of pickoff attempts, moving the batters box away from the plate, limiting minimum bat weight and handle diameters), in order to speed up the game in more than one sense.

The point of all this is, the thoughts of Mr. James and Mr. Spears are not that much different. Mr. Spears emphasizes the selfishness and greed of the modern player, while Mr. James emphasizes the need for quicker games to draw in more fans. Mr. James does, however point out the difference in salaries for "big, slow home run hitters" vs. "little guys who can get on base and run." Both would advocate a return to “smaller” ball and “playing the game the right way,” as I have seen it mockingly referred to here on this board numerous times.

I wanted to make this post, because I think sometimes, on this board and elsewhere, some of us who are more statistically-minded, mock those who call for a “smaller, faster” game. I don’t think that’s quite fair.

As always: comments, questions, concerns to be added here:

westofyou
06-27-2006, 10:09 AM
Then Mr Spears should attack the game, not the players of the game.

But this leads me to the following question.

What was the best era of baseball you ever watched?

I'll say 1975 - 1985, the perfect blend of speed and power.

RedsManRick
06-27-2006, 10:20 AM
What's interesting is that James is coming from the perspective (assumption) that any smart team would structure itself and it's talent such that it maximizes it's chance of winning. Thus, the problem with the game is not that teams and players are lazy, but that the current rule structure has created an environment where a power based attack is the most effective. Thus, to combat this, you need to alter the rules, not the attitude of the players.

dabvu2498
06-27-2006, 10:26 AM
What's interesting is that James is coming from the perspective (assumption) that any smart team would structure itself and it's talent such that it maximizes it's chance of winning. Thus, the problem with the game is not that teams and players are lazy, but that the current rule structure has created an environment where a power based attack is the most effective. Thus, to combat this, you need to alter the rules, not the attitude of the players.
Yes, and I thought I outlined this in my original post. Two approaches, same desired outcome. Mr. James does not limit his criticism to the rules, but also to salary structures.

WOY - I believe Mr. James says the "small ball" teams of the 1930s actually scored more runs per game than the "sit on your [butt]" teams of the 2000s. Is this accurate?

Edit: I'm also fairly certain, Mr. James would also be anti-"body armor."

westofyou
06-27-2006, 10:33 AM
WOY - I believe Mr. James says the "small ball" teams of the 1930s actually scored more runs per game than the "sit on your [butt]" teams of the 2000s. Is this accurate?"Small ball" ??

The 30's was fraught with high BA and low K totals, lots of Runs, lots of balls in play.

7 of the top ten seasons in Runs scored occured between 1929 and 1936.

Four of the top ten runs scored in the NL are from 1930 and 3 from 2000.

Both seasons generated massive runs, however they both did it diffrently.

dabvu2498
06-27-2006, 10:37 AM
"Small ball" ??

Yes, that was a misstatement by me. I didn't know how to say de-emphasized home run era easily/quickly.

RedsBaron
06-27-2006, 11:35 AM
Then Mr Spears should attack the game, not the players of the game.

But this leads me to the following question.

What was the best era of baseball you ever watched?

I'll say 1975 - 1985, the perfect blend of speed and power.
I believe that Bill James himself once wrote about his preference for the baseball of that era. During that decade, players hit as high as .390 (George Brett) and .388 (Rod Carew), players hit as many as 52 HRs (George Foster) and 48 HRs (Mike Schmidt) in a season, regularly had players who stole 80-130 bases a season (with Rickey Henderson, Tim Raines and Vince Coleman leading the way in steals), and yet there were pitchers who pitched in excess of 300 innings a season, had 20+ complete games, with pitchers having 23, 24, 25 victory seasons, and yet relief pitching was really coming to the fore--it was a time of diverse offenses and diverse ways of playing the game.

gonelong
06-27-2006, 11:49 AM
I think "small ball" is decidedly more interesting and fun to watch.

IMO its just not how MLB is set up during this era.

I have posted here on more than once occasion about this. When Cincy was building their park I was hoping they would build the largest park MLB would allow. 440 to center if they would let them. It would give them a novelty as well as a competetive advantage I would think.

Pitching is a difficult commodity to find and retain, it would help with that. You could also load up on punch and judy defenders with great speed - these guys are cheap in this era. Since the running game is so devalued in this era many clubs carry catchers that can be run on.

GL

Spitball
06-27-2006, 01:53 PM
Very interesting post. I totally agree with James on this topic. I loved the strategy and speed of 20-30 years ago.

TRF
06-27-2006, 02:51 PM
Then Mr Spears should attack the game, not the players of the game.

But this leads me to the following question.

What was the best era of baseball you ever watched?

I'll say 1975 - 1985, the perfect blend of speed and power.

And I'll vote for the 10 years that followed: 1985-1995.

It was interesting to watch as more parks were being built with grass, and seeing the speed game decline. It was gradual but fascinating at the same time. Barry Larkin may have been the most perfect player of that era as he could be a power guy or a speed guy with excellent defense. Most importantly, he adapted his game to the evolution of baseball during that period.

TeamBoone
06-27-2006, 03:44 PM
I don't think the games are too long, except when they go to extra innings of course. Two-and-a-half to three hours is the norm, and I like that. It's the way it's supposed to be.

Rojo
06-27-2006, 07:10 PM
I was going to do a post on this essay when it first came out. For those who don't know, James recommends that:

1) The pitcher is given two throws to first per baserunner and every throw-over after that is a ball on the batter.

2) Your allowed one in-inning pitching change per game unless the pitcher has given up a run.

3) Move away from thin-handled, thick-barrelled bats by instituting a minimum size for handles.

4) Move the batters box away from the plate.

5) Prohibit the batter from leaving the box unless the really need it (i.e. a bug in their eye).

I think these are fine ideas and its really a fine persuasive essay. Read it if you get a chance.

Raisor
06-27-2006, 07:23 PM
I don't think the games are too long, except when they go to extra innings of course. Two-and-a-half to three hours is the norm, and I like that. It's the way it's supposed to be.


I don't think it's possible for a baseball game to be too long.

IslandRed
06-27-2006, 07:34 PM
I believe that Bill James himself once wrote about his preference for the baseball of that era. During that decade, players hit as high as .390 (George Brett) and .388 (Rod Carew), players hit as many as 52 HRs (George Foster) and 48 HRs (Mike Schmidt) in a season, regularly had players who stole 80-130 bases a season (with Rickey Henderson, Tim Raines and Vince Coleman leading the way in steals), and yet there were pitchers who pitched in excess of 300 innings a season, had 20+ complete games, with pitchers having 23, 24, 25 victory seasons, and yet relief pitching was really coming to the fore--it was a time of diverse offenses and diverse ways of playing the game.

Yep. I concur. Strictly from the viewpoint of baseball aesthetics, I'm a big fan of the running game and the ball in play.


I wanted to make this post, because I think sometimes, on this board and elsewhere, some of us who are more statistically-minded, mock those who call for a “smaller, faster” game. I don’t think that’s quite fair.

Well, there's "aesthetically pleasing" and there's "effective," and a difference between "I'd like the game to be like that" and "the Reds should play that way." If the game should ever return to the days where smallball was the best way to win games, then I'm all for it. Until then, I want the Reds doing the things that win games, even if it's not the most interesting thing to watch.

As a general aside, not talking to anyone specifically... There's often a "all I need to know, I learned in Little League" mentality among baseball fans. People accept that the NFL is another level and the strategies that work in youth football aren't applicable, and NBA teams play differently than college teams, but they get mad when a major-league team doesn't play the way they're teaching the 11-year-olds to play.

Rojo
06-27-2006, 07:35 PM
I don't think it's possible for a baseball game to be too long.

I do and I'm a big fan. I'm also a fan of Citizen Kane but I imagine that inserting a lot of pointless footage wouldn't add to the experience.

I really recommend you read it.

dabvu2498
06-27-2006, 07:40 PM
I was going to do a post on this essay when it first came out. For those who don't know, James recommends that:

1) The pitcher is given two throws to first per baserunner and every throw-over after that is a ball on the batter.

2) Your allowed one in-inning pitching change per game unless the pitcher has given up a run.

3) Move away from thin-handled, thick-barrelled bats by instituting a minimum size for handles.

4) Move the batters box away from the plate.

5) Prohibit the batter from leaving the box unless the really need it (i.e. a bug in their eye).

I think these are fine ideas and its really a fine persuasive essay. Read it if you get a chance.
He also advocates the reduction of time between innings from 2 minutes to 1:30. He states that this will increase demand for advertising as well as shortening games, thus increasing viewership.

Rojo
06-27-2006, 07:43 PM
If the game should ever return to the days where smallball was the best way to win games, then I'm all for it. Until then, I want the Reds doing the things that win games, even if it's not the most interesting thing to watch.


I agree with that however I think the smallball/bigball argument is the wrong way to think about it (kind of like thinking that big government/small government is the difference between liberals and conservatives). Its more about where the focus is placed. Today's game is mostly about the hitter versus the pitcher. In an earlier era hitter/runner versus fielders was nearly as important.

dabvu2498
06-27-2006, 07:43 PM
I don't think it's possible for a baseball game to be too long.
Tell that to Mets fans who have to watch Steve Trachsel pitch every 5 days.

TeamBoone
06-27-2006, 07:43 PM
I was going to do a post on this essay when it first came out. For those who don't know, James recommends that:

1) The pitcher is given two throws to first per baserunner and every throw-over after that is a ball on the batter.

2) Your allowed one in-inning pitching change per game unless the pitcher has given up a run.

3) Move away from thin-handled, thick-barrelled bats by instituting a minimum size for handles.

4) Move the batters box away from the plate.

5) Prohibit the batter from leaving the box unless the really need it (i.e. a bug in their eye).

I think these are fine ideas and its really a fine persuasive essay. Read it if you get a chance.

NO!! You're changing the whole game with these rule changes! There is NOTHING wrong with how it's played right now and it should just be left alone.

Rojo
06-27-2006, 07:44 PM
He also advocates the reduction of time between innings from 2 minutes to 1:30. He states that this will increase demand for advertising as well as shortening games, thus increasing viewership.

Dang, I knew there was one more. Maybe I forgot it because its the least likely.

dabvu2498
06-27-2006, 07:49 PM
Well, there's "aesthetically pleasing" and there's "effective," and a difference between "I'd like the game to be like that" and "the Reds should play that way." If the game should ever return to the days where smallball was the best way to win games, then I'm all for it. Until then, I want the Reds doing the things that win games, even if it's not the most interesting thing to watch.
So you think it would be impossible to put together a team in baseball today that could win games without hitting huge numbers of home runs?

dabvu2498
06-27-2006, 07:50 PM
NO!! You're changing the whole game with these rule changes! There is NOTHING wrong with how it's played right now and it should just be left alone.
The "average" to "casual" fan thinks that games are too long. And I do too, sometimes.

dabvu2498
06-27-2006, 07:51 PM
Dang, I knew there was one more. Maybe I forgot it because its the least likely.
They're all pretty unlikely when you look at baseball's track record on changing its rules.

Doc. Scott
06-27-2006, 08:09 PM
I remember that in the '88 Baseball Abstract, James advocated wild expansion of the majors out to 60 teams. Then he wanted to make all minor-league teams "free".

I don't remember the why exactly. But I'd say James just likes to speculate and tinker. I wouldn't take it too incredibly seriously.

IslandRed
06-27-2006, 08:09 PM
So you think it would be impossible to put together a team in baseball today that could win games without hitting huge numbers of home runs?

No, it's not impossible at all. A team with a high batting average hitting a bunch of doubles could put up plenty of runs without big home-run totals (think Angels of a few years ago). Winning games also depends on how many runs you give up; a team that has pitching and defense, and doesn't go into games thinking it needs five or six runs to have a chance, can be a little more aggressive about manufacturing runs. Still, we're in an era where the other team can put it over the wall even if you generally don't, so you'd have to be exceptional at the other aspects of offense to make up for it.

I guess we're getting into semantics, but when I hear "smallball" I think of a team playing classic 1960s ball, frequent steal attempts and sacrifice bunts and an emphasis on moving over a runner instead of trying to drive the ball. That's what a lot of people mean by "fundamental" baseball. A friend of mine is so enamored with that style of play that he criticized a college manager once for not bunting over runners on first and second with no outs. In the first inning. With his #3 hitter at the dish. In a game using aluminum bats.

dabvu2498
06-27-2006, 08:12 PM
I remember that in the '88 Baseball Abstract, James advocated wild expansion of the majors out to 60 teams. Then he wanted to make all minor-league teams "free".

I don't remember the why exactly. But I'd say James just likes to speculate and tinker. I wouldn't take it too incredibly seriously.
This is from a book that has been revised twice, I believe.

In the Introduction to the edition of the Historical Abstract that I have he makes the comment about writing stuff that he feels confident enough about to put in a hard-cover book. He also talks about how much stuff he's written in the poast that he now disagrees with and that he tried to eliminate from that particular edition.

Do you not think that the above mentioned rules would not speed up the game fairly significantly?

TeamBoone
06-27-2006, 08:14 PM
Except on this board, I have NEVER heard a fan complain about the game being too long.

dabvu2498
06-27-2006, 08:19 PM
Except on this board, I have NEVER heard a fan complain about the game being too long.
http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=14046199&BRD=2212&PAG=461&dept_id=465816&rfi=6

http://www.ootpdevelopments.com/board/showthread.php?t=83244

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/forum/april98/baseball.html

http://www.basketballdraft.com/inside_game/magazine/life_of_reilly/news/2000/10/10/life_of_reilly/

http://www.usatoday.com/sports/baseball/playoffs/2003-10-12-cover-1a-excitement_x.htm

http://www.sports-central.org/community/boards/archive/index.php/t-3487.html

Redsland
06-27-2006, 08:27 PM
NO!! You're changing the whole game with these rule changes! There is NOTHING wrong with how it's played right now and it should just be left alone.
Top Ten Other Proposed Rule Changes

10. Rather than choosing their own at-bat music, all batters must use “Flight of the Bumblebee.”
9. Be-fezed Shriners to take fielders to their positions each inning in small, erratically driven cars.
8. Foul off a pitch, chug a beer.
7. Batting helmets replaced with streamlined bicycle versions to reduce drag.
6. Stepping out of the box could result in tripping over the hilarious “baseball clown” behind you.
5. The inning immediately ends when the opposing manager throws his Uncle Towel.
4. Batting gloves must be thoroughly glued on prior to the game.
3. Third base coaches now required to send everybody.
2. Every time you commit an error, the league sends you a larger glove.

…and the number one rule change…

1. Official scorer must immediately award a time-saving out upon hearing, "Now batting, Juan Castro."

:)

SteelSD
06-27-2006, 08:34 PM
Except on this board, I have NEVER heard a fan complain about the game being too long.

I'm of the opinion that any fan who complains about the length of a baseball game needs to be forced to watch a minimum of five world class cricket games.

Reds Nd2
06-27-2006, 08:35 PM
3. Third base coaches now required to send everybody.


To be referred to as the "Tim Foli Rule".

Reds Nd2
06-27-2006, 08:39 PM
Except on this board, I have NEVER heard a fan complain about the game being too long.

Complaining about the length of a baseball game is like complaining about beer being too cold.

dabvu2498
06-27-2006, 09:10 PM
Complaining about the length of a baseball game is like complaining about beer being too cold.
Don't go to games with the wife and kids much, eh?

Reds Nd2
06-27-2006, 09:20 PM
Don't go to games with the wife and kids much, eh?

I've been to several games with both women and kids. None of them ever had any complaints about the length of the game.

dabvu2498
06-27-2006, 09:30 PM
I've been to several games with both women and kids. None of them ever had any complaints about the length of the game.
You're a blessed man.

Rojo
06-27-2006, 10:00 PM
NO!! You're changing the whole game with these rule changes! There is NOTHING wrong with how it's played right now and it should just be left alone.

Those words have been spoken more times than you could guess. And, IMO, this isn't the way baseball was intended. Hey, I'm the purist.

Rojo
06-27-2006, 10:02 PM
Complaining about the length of a baseball game is like complaining about beer being too cold.

What if the beer's frozen solid?

Reds Nd2
06-27-2006, 10:06 PM
You're a blessed man.

:laugh:
The most fun was taking a friend of mines 3 year old grandson to a minor league game. He didn't get bored until after he ran the bases and the fireworks started after the game.

I have some questions and I'm really curious about this. What is the average amount of time it takes to play a 9 inning MLB baseball game? Is an MLB game really that much longer than an NFL game? An NBA game?

Implementing the rules James espoused, how much time could be saved over the same 9 inning game?

Some of those rules, moving the batters box, making the bat handles bigger, and limiting the throw-overs to first, will change the way the game is played. Now that's not necessarily a bad thing. Pitching mounds have been moved back and lowered, for example, but is it really worth changing the entire way the game is being played just to shave a few minutes off the game to keep the casual fan interested?

Reds Nd2
06-27-2006, 10:14 PM
Those words have been spoken more times than you could guess. And, IMO, this isn't the way baseball was intended. Hey, I'm the purist.

We could move the mound to 45 feet from the plate and have the pitcher throw underhand.

Rojo
06-27-2006, 10:17 PM
Or we could make it a contest between batter and fielder.

Reds Nd2
06-27-2006, 10:17 PM
What if the beer's frozen solid?

Give it time to thaw. It just builds anticipation for savoring the last drink.

dabvu2498
06-27-2006, 10:18 PM
:laugh:
The most fun was taking a friend of mines 3 year old grandson to a minor league game. He didn't get bored until after he ran the bases and the fireworks started after the game.

I have some questions and I'm really curious about this. What is the average amount of time it takes to play a 9 inning MLB baseball game? Is an MLB game really that much longer than an NFL game? An NBA game?

Implementing the rules James espoused, how much time could be saved over the same 9 inning game?

Some of those rules, moving the batters box, making the bat handles bigger, and limiting the throw-overs to first, will change the way the game is played. Now that's not necessarily a bad thing. Pitching mounds have been moved back and lowered, for example, but is it really worth changing the entire way the game is being played just to shave a few minutes off the game to keep the casual fan interested?
http://roadsidephotos.sabr.org/baseball/95gamelength.htm

From 2:33 in 1981 to 2:58 in 2000, 2:47 in 2004. I didn't look hard, but I didn't see more recent data. Statistics (K's, BB's, more frequent pitching changes by Tony LaRussa) might indicate that games have gotten even longer in the past 5.5 years.

Eliminating :30 from each half inning break would eliminate 8 minutes right off the top. Limited pitching changes in the middle of innings... 5-10 minutes estimate.

James advocated gradual changes in the bat handle and batters box rules so that the game could adjust slowly.

I, for one, would like to see fewer walks, K's, and HBP's, however it would happen.

Reds Nd2
06-27-2006, 10:19 PM
Or we could make it a contest between batter and fielder.

How is that different from what we have now?

Rojo
06-27-2006, 10:21 PM
I have some questions and I'm really curious about this. What is the average amount of time it takes to play a 9 inning MLB baseball game? Is an MLB game really that much longer than an NFL game? An NBA game?

Implementing the rules James espoused, how much time could be saved over the same 9 inning game?

Its not so much about reducing the total time as it is about reducing the pointless, action-draining stuff in the middle.

Reds Nd2
06-27-2006, 11:35 PM
http://roadsidephotos.sabr.org/baseball/95gamelength.htm

From the link you posted...

The average length of a game was 2 hours and 38 minutes in 1960 and apparently didn't surpass that untill 1985, when the average length of a game was 2 hours and 40 minutes. In 2000, the average length of a game was 2 hours and 58 minutes, an increase of 20 minutes in the past 40 years. But the real lengthening came earlier, during the 1940s and 1950s. The Sporting News reported that in 1942, the average American League game lasted exactly 2:00. In 1959, the average length of a game was 2 hours and 38 minutes, or an increase in game length of 38 minutes in only seventeen years.


Eliminating :30 from each half inning break would eliminate 8 minutes right off the top. Limited pitching changes in the middle of innings... 5-10 minutes estimate.

MLB will never eliminate a revenue source IMO. If the games actually get shorter, that just allows more time for more commercials. I'm not really against limiting pitching changes, because I'm not a fan of platooning. I'm just not convinced limiting the times a manager can change pitchers would shorten the game enough that the average fan would even notice.


James advocated gradual changes in the bat handle and batters box rules so that the game could adjust slowly.

I, for one, would like to see fewer walks, K's, and HBP's, however it would happen.

I like to read James stuff and I'd love to sit down with him over a steak and a beer or ten and rap about baseball. I'm just not willing to change the game of baseball without some evidence that said changes will actually help in any noticeable way when it comes to keeping the average fan interested in the game.

The rules changes would definantly lower the base on balls, but so would better pitchers. Moving the batters box while keeping home plate and the strike zone the same size will increase the number of K's though. I don't see the proposed rules changes effecting the HBP numbers though. Actually, it might increase them as batters reach to cover the outside of the plate they have been moved away from. What you want to see happen and what will happen if these rules are implemented are two different things.

M2
06-27-2006, 11:39 PM
I had a Shakespeare prof who talked about how Big Willy's plays took way too long to run their course in the modern era. Supposedly back at the dawn of the 1600s they went off inside of two hours. They can run four hours these days.

His point was that the plays were more accessible in two-hour form.

I tend to think the same applies to baseball. There's no reason for a nine-inning game with less than 10 total runs to exceed 150 minutes. If they make a few rules to cut down on the dead spots and keep the game moving, that's more than fine by me.

I'm a fan of keeping hitters inside the box. I also think teams should be allowed only one mid-inning pitching change per game. Forget about the James run-allowed loophole. IMO you'd see a far sturdier type of reliever if that were the rule, not to mention that it would add strategy and excitement to the mix. Does the manager use his lifeline now or should he wait? Is this reliever about to blow what once seemed like an easy win?

Maybe you let a replacement come in after four runs or so cross the plate, but otherwise get out on the mound and play baseball.

James called the '80s the most exciting baseball ever played.

I think the heyday probably stretched from 1975-1993, though I'm probably a little generous in including the late '70s. Those years were spent with a few dominant teams ruling the roost, though they set the template for punch and run baseball.

Reds Nd2
06-27-2006, 11:59 PM
Its not so much about reducing the total time as it is about reducing the pointless, action-draining stuff in the middle.

Then don't change the way the game is played by adding additional rules. Have the umpires enforce the rules already in place.

8.04

When the bases are unoccupied, the pitcher shall deliver the ball to the batter within 12 seconds after he receives the ball. Each time the pitcher delays the game by violating this rule, the umpire shall call “Ball.”
The 12-second timing starts when the pitcher is in possession of the ball and the batter is in the box, alert to the pitcher. The timing stops when the pitcher releases the ball.
The intent of this rule is to avoid unnecessary delays. The umpire shall insist that the catcher return the ball promptly to the pitcher, and that the pitcher take his position on the rubber promptly. Obvious delay by the pitcher should instantly be penalized by the umpire.

TeamBoone
06-28-2006, 12:14 AM
I also think teams should be allowed only one mid-inning pitching change per game. Forget about the James run-allowed loophole. IMO you'd see a far sturdier type of reliever if that were the rule, not to mention that it would add strategy and excitement to the mix. Does the manager use his lifeline now or should he wait? Is this reliever about to blow what once seemed like an easy win?

Maybe you let a replacement come in after four runs or so cross the plate, but otherwise get out on the mound and play baseball.



I can't believe you think that would be a good change!

If you're pitcher is falling apart, he should be able to be replaced.... it would be like giving the game away to the opposition if you couldn't. It's hard enough to win as it is.

I hate your idea (the one about not being able to replace a pitcher unless X amount of runs score too)!

That's just wrong when you're trying to win a baseball game... especially against a team with a much higher payroll who can afford to buy the best pitchers available. It's a huge advantage already without making it worse by putting such restrictions into place.

KronoRed
06-28-2006, 12:20 AM
1) The pitcher is given two throws to first per baserunner and every throw-over after that is a ball on the batter.
5) Prohibit the batter from leaving the box unless the really need it (i.e. a bug in their eye).

I like these 2 :D

M2
06-28-2006, 12:28 AM
I can't believe you think that would be a good change!

If you're pitcher is falling apart, he should be able to be replaced.... it would be like giving the game away to the opposition if you couldn't. It's hard enough to win as it is.

I hate your idea (the one about not being able to replace a pitcher unless X amount of runs score too)!

That's just wrong when you're trying to win a baseball game... especially against a team with a much higher payroll who can afford to buy the best pitchers available. It's a huge advantage already without making it worse by putting such restrictions into place.

The game's changed, the rules need to change with it. A hundred years ago no one would have thought to institute this kind of rule because no one was using five mid-inning pitching subs per game. Back then if a guy was on the mound, he didn't have the expectation that someone was going to come in and save him.

If they make a rule change, then team's are going to have to make sure they've got relievers who can reliably get three outs if they want to win. Right now there's way too many one-out specialists roaming around. You'd probably see less relievers, but after an adjustment year or two I'm pretty sure they'd give up fewer runs than the bullpens we see today.

I flat out reject the notion that indulging managers in endless pitching changes somehow increases a team's chances of winning. I say the responsibility for winning and losing resides largely with the players on the field and all I'm suggesting is pitchers take on individual responsibility on a per inning basis. No one goes to the game to see the manager stroll from the dugout to the mound.

KronoRed
06-28-2006, 12:31 AM
Here's a good one to shorten games

Go to 7 innings, would improve the pitching at the same time :D

SteelSD
06-28-2006, 12:56 AM
My Top 10 Rules changes:

10. Eliminate the foul lines and add an additional Outfielder and Infielder. They will not hit and their positions shall be recorded as Designated IF Griffey Shifter and OF Griffey Shifter.

9. Any non-HR ball that leaves the field of play counts as an Out. Furthermore, each half Inning the defender's manager is allowed to designate one Outfield seating section as the "12th Man". If a HR ball is caught on the fly by a fan seated in that section during that half Inning, it counts as an Out. If a HR ball isn't caught on the fly but is otherwise retrieved by a fan seated in that section AND is thrown back onto the field of play before the Hitter touches Home Plate, the HR is reduced to a Ground Rule Double instead. That would eliminate the HR trot. Of course, it would also mean that the GAB Outfield bleachers are the hot spot when Eric Milton pitches. An new statistic- BABOP- is born.

8. If a ball is touched by any part of a fielder's body before the Runner reaches first base, that is now considered an Out. This will shorten the Inning and eliminate consternation over defensive fundamentals as every player will now have a 1.000 Fielding %. And at least a pitcher smoked in the head by a line drive will wake up in the hospital knowing that he recorded an Out. That's good for morale.

7. Reduce the number of Strikes required for a Strikeout to one while increasing the number of Balls required for a Walk to twenty two. Allow Umpires to call a "Maddux Strike" at any time, even if the pitch is out of the Strike Zone, as long as they feel the pitcher was really trying to get the ball over or if the Umpire feels the pitcher has built up enough credibility to get the hitter out regardless.

6. Any fan who touches a ball in the field of play or who enters the field of play shall either shall be given the choice of "cake or death" during the post-game show...and then be told we're out of cake. Or that fan shall be forced to allow one of the Teletubbies to touch them in a "bad place". Losing Manager's choice.

5. Each Umpire shall be issued a switchblade. That'll end most arguments real quick. If not, the argument winner shall replace that Umpire for the remainder of the game. After all, in baseball you keep what you kill.

4. If the game is tied at the end of regulation, the teams shall decide the outcome in the method of the time of Achilles- with each team's Extra Inning Champion facing the other in a battle that would decide the outcome of the game in "Extra Inning Machismo". Aluminum bats in hand, each team's most macho champion would face each other at the pitching mound. Two men enter. One man leaves. Ok, so this isn't the most realistic rule change. More my own personal wish to see Ozzie Guillen repeatedly smoked in the nuts with a large metal bludgeon.

3. All regulation bats shall be made of balsa wood. This will, of course, require players to wear goggles as protection from being blinded by flying splinters. But, on the positive side, kids will flock to games for the promise of their next soap box derby wood carving piece.

2. Any time a batter reaches base safely, the pitcher must hit next. Or the mascot. In uniform. Home team's choice.

And last, but not least, my number 1 rule change to speed up the game of baseball...

1. Television commercial breaks would be limited to 14 seconds and each advertiser would be allowed only one spoken word during their 3.5 second commercial. Ironically, we find that Viagra's monosyllabic choice of "Hard" is actually more informative than what's currently being used. However, we'd also see an all-out litigation battle when Miller Light attempts to claim that their new slogan, "Drunkchicksareeasy", is really only a single word.

KronoRed
06-28-2006, 01:04 AM
Steel for commish

Rojo
06-28-2006, 02:04 AM
My Top 10 Rules changes:

10. Eliminate the foul lines and add an additional Outfielder and Infielder. They will not hit and their positions shall be recorded as Designated IF Griffey Shifter and OF Griffey Shifter.

9. Any non-HR ball that leaves the field of play counts as an Out. Furthermore, each half Inning the defender's manager is allowed to designate one Outfield seating section as the "12th Man". If a HR ball is caught on the fly by a fan seated in that section during that half Inning, it counts as an Out. If a HR ball isn't caught on the fly but is otherwise retrieved by a fan seated in that section AND is thrown back onto the field of play before the Hitter touches Home Plate, the HR is reduced to a Ground Rule Double instead. That would eliminate the HR trot. Of course, it would also mean that the GAB Outfield bleachers are the hot spot when Eric Milton pitches. An new statistic- BABOP- is born.

8. If a ball is touched by any part of a fielder's body before the Runner reaches first base, that is now considered an Out. This will shorten the Inning and eliminate consternation over defensive fundamentals as every player will now have a 1.000 Fielding %. And at least a pitcher smoked in the head by a line drive will wake up in the hospital knowing that he recorded an Out. That's good for morale.

7. Reduce the number of Strikes required for a Strikeout to one while increasing the number of Balls required for a Walk to twenty two. Allow Umpires to call a "Maddux Strike" at any time, even if the pitch is out of the Strike Zone, as long as they feel the pitcher was really trying to get the ball over or if the Umpire feels the pitcher has built up enough credibility to get the hitter out regardless.

6. Any fan who touches a ball in the field of play or who enters the field of play shall either shall be given the choice of "cake or death" during the post-game show...and then be told we're out of cake. Or that fan shall be forced to allow one of the Teletubbies to touch them in a "bad place". Losing Manager's choice.

5. Each Umpire shall be issued a switchblade. That'll end most arguments real quick. If not, the argument winner shall replace that Umpire for the remainder of the game. After all, in baseball you keep what you kill.

4. If the game is tied at the end of regulation, the teams shall decide the outcome in the method of the time of Achilles- with each team's Extra Inning Champion facing the other in a battle that would decide the outcome of the game in "Extra Inning Machismo". Aluminum bats in hand, each team's most macho champion would face each other at the pitching mound. Two men enter. One man leaves. Ok, so this isn't the most realistic rule change. More my own personal wish to see Ozzie Guillen repeatedly smoked in the nuts with a large metal bludgeon.

3. All regulation bats shall be made of balsa wood. This will, of course, require players to wear goggles as protection from being blinded by flying splinters. But, on the positive side, kids will flock to games for the promise of their next soap box derby wood carving piece.

2. Any time a batter reaches base safely, the pitcher must hit next. Or the mascot. In uniform. Home team's choice.

And last, but not least, my number 1 rule change to speed up the game of baseball...

1. Television commercial breaks would be limited to 14 seconds and each advertiser would be allowed only one spoken word during their 3.5 second commercial. Ironically, we find that Viagra's monosyllabic choice of "Hard" is actually more informative than what's currently being used. However, we'd also see an all-out litigation battle when Miller Light attempts to claim that their new slogan, "Drunkchicksareeasy", is really only a single word.

Change is absurd, got it.

Rojo
06-28-2006, 02:06 AM
Give it time to thaw. It just builds anticipation for savoring the last drink.

You ever leave a beer in the freezer by mistake, defrost it and drink? Its not to savor. My analogy stands. :beerme:

Rojo
06-28-2006, 02:13 AM
I'm just not convinced limiting the times a manager can change pitchers would shorten the game enough that the average fan would even notice.

I think you'd notice that the games were faster and more action packed. What I think the average fan misses is that scoring isn't inherently interesting. Tension is the key. Shuffling three pitchers with 10 warm-ups a piece into what should be a tense inning with the game on the line and runners jumping off the base is a good way to drain that tension.

Ever watch a great movie on commercial tv and they plug some loud commercial in at the wrong time?

dabvu2498
06-28-2006, 08:02 AM
Change is absurd, got it.
Football and basketball have made tweaks, heck even some fairly major changes to their rules to make games more interesting, fast paced and the popularity of those sports increased. Hockey has made rule changes in order to bring fans back to their game. Baseball hasn't (and most likely won't).

Johnny Footstool
06-28-2006, 09:50 AM
What if the beer's frozen solid?

Mmmm...beercicle...

As for rule changes, I agree with RedsNd2 -- enforce the existing rule. Force pitchers to work quickly. Shave about 8 seconds between pitches, and you'll end up cutting 15 minutes or more of dead time out of the game.

dabvu2498
06-28-2006, 09:58 AM
Mmmm...beercicle...

As for rule changes, I agree with RedsNd2 -- enforce the existing rule. Force pitchers to work quickly. Shave about 8 seconds between pitches, and you'll end up cutting 15 minutes or more of dead time out of the game.
Rule 8.04 only deals with bases empty situations. The game really creeps to a halt when runners are on base.

If I get bored sometime, I might take my stopwatch with me and time some guys and see how much 8.04 gets violated.

Deepred05
06-28-2006, 10:47 AM
Then Mr Spears should attack the game, not the players of the game.

But this leads me to the following question.

What was the best era of baseball you ever watched?

I'll say 1975 - 1985, the perfect blend of speed and power.

Agreed. Interesting to note that was also the astro turf era, not exactly "pure baseball". But who could deny that it played a role in teams built around speed players?

Rojo
06-28-2006, 12:22 PM
Then don't change the way the game is played by adding additional rules. Have the umpires enforce the rules already in place.

This clearly isn't happening, its time to change. Plus I don't like clocks in baseball, I'm for simple changes that don't involve stupid clocks. The obsession with time in other sports is a major drawback.

TeamBoone
06-28-2006, 12:50 PM
Football and basketball have made tweaks, heck even some fairly major changes to their rules to make games more interesting, fast paced and the popularity of those sports increased. Hockey has made rule changes in order to bring fans back to their game. Baseball hasn't (and most likely won't).

Baseball is not a fast-paced game and was never intended to be. It irks me that people want to change it so drastically.

Rojo
06-28-2006, 12:59 PM
Baseball is not a fast-paced game and was never intended to be.

How sure are you about this?

westofyou
06-28-2006, 01:07 PM
Baseball is not a fast-paced game and was never intended to be. It irks me that people want to change it so drastically.
Average baseball games lengths used to linger around 90 minutes tops, when the game was the most popular game in town.

In fact a common late 19th century complaint came from a press that refered to baseball as a fast paced game, that was only slowed down by disputes and other shenanigins.

JaxRed
06-28-2006, 01:15 PM
1. When you change a pitcher, make it happen quickly. They don't need 8 warm up throws. Drive them in on a cart (unless it's Coffey) and play ball.
2. I'm more in favor of awarding a stolen base if you have attempted to pick off runner X number of times unsuccesfully.
3. Enforce time limit between pitches when men are on base also
4. Allow for automatic intentional walks.

M2
06-28-2006, 01:24 PM
Baseball is not a fast-paced game and was never intended to be. It irks me that people want to change it so drastically.

WOY already mentioned that baseball seized the national consciousness when it was played inside a two-hour time frame most of the time.

I'll add that I don't think that spending a higher percentage of the time at the ballpark actually playing the game is all that drastic a change. Pretty much every suggestion in this thread has amounted to "Stop dickering around and play ball."

Actually calling the strikezone instead of the floating postage stamp that has become the strikezone would help too. Suposedly Questec has help speed the game in the parks where it's been deployed.

Reds Nd2
06-28-2006, 02:36 PM
You ever leave a beer in the freezer by mistake, defrost it and drink? Its not to savor. My analogy stands. :beerme:

No, but then I'm not opposed to mid-inning beer replacements. ;)


Tension is the key. Shuffling three pitchers with 10 warm-ups a piece into what should be a tense inning with the game on the line and runners jumping off the base is a good way to drain that tension.

I agree. As M2 pointed out, there are too many one out specialists today. I do admit that it's frustrating to watch a pitcher brought in to throw one pitch and retire the batter, just to have another substitution brought in to face another batter. I've admitted not being opposed to limiting the number of relief pitchers, probably nothing as strict as what M2 proposed though. The other rule changes, I'm not much in favor of.

Limiting the number of pitching changes comes with it's own set of questions. What about injuries? What happens if the starter gets rocked in the first couple of innings? Will teams have to concede a loss in the early going because the starter just didn't have his stuff that day? Are managers going to risk injury to a reliever because he's being forced to throw too many pitches? Fewer pitching changes will reduce the amount of commercial time. Not necessarily a bad thing, but the networks will have to make that revenue up somewhere else.

JaxRed
06-28-2006, 02:39 PM
Don't limit the pitching changes. Limit how long a pitching change takes. Get them in, and play ball.

Reds Nd2
06-28-2006, 02:42 PM
Instead of limiting the number of pitching changes a manager can make, how about limiting the number of pitchers a team is allowed to carry? This would, in effect, limit the number of changes but would still leave the manager with the discretion to bring in relievers when he felt the time was right.

dabvu2498
06-28-2006, 02:45 PM
Instead of limiting the number of pitching changes a manager can make, how about limiting the number of pitchers a team is allowed to carry? This would, in effect, limit the number of changes but would still leave the manager with the discretion to bring in relievers when he felt the time was right.
Donald Fehr and the MLBPA say "hello" and "he!! no." :wave: :thumbdown

Reds Nd2
06-28-2006, 02:49 PM
1. When you change a pitcher, make it happen quickly. They don't need 8 warm up throws. Drive them in on a cart (unless it's Coffey) and play ball.

I miss those carts. (http://www.fleercollectiblesstore.com/pics/Bullpen_redst.jpg.)

RedsManRick
06-28-2006, 02:49 PM
I think enforcing the larger strikezone (bottom of the knees to mid-chest) is the single most seamless, easy to implement solution to all of this. Larger zone = more strikes = more swings = more outs, more quickly. The shorter breaks between innings also would help. And if there are fewer commericials, that drives up demand, which potentially drives us prices, offsetting the volume loss in terms of profit.

I wonder what the average number of pitchers per AB was back in the 50's. However, so long as we're dealing with strikezones that are functionally the knees to the belt, hitters are encouraged to take the "only swing at what you can kill" approach that we see from guys like Thome and Dunn. A larger strikezone would not only speed up the game, but it would begin to swing the game back towards the speed/power balance everybody claims to love.

All these other gimmicks require more enforement, more room for complaint & dispute, and only further complicate things. I'll be the first to say I love watching Mark Buerhle pitch and refuse to watch Steve Traschel, so perhaps enforcement of rules already on the books in that regard would help as well.

------
On a side note, I would prefer to see all parks go to electronic strike calling. However, I would implement it by leaving the umps where they are and giving them a handheld device which shows the output from quest-tec, allowing them to deliver the call. The ump would still be responsible for all other standard umpiring activity.

Obviously this would be predicated on extensive testing, benchmarking, and reporting to ensure accuracy and fairness. The whole "The human umpire is part of the game" BS drives me nuts. No, the ump is there to enforce the rules. Period. The object is rule enforcement, plain and simple. If we can enforce rules more accurately, we should, particularly when we can do so in a way that does not disrupt the current umpiring process.

Reds Nd2
06-28-2006, 02:50 PM
Donald Fehr and the MLBPA say "hello" and "he!! no." :wave: :thumbdown

Maybe not. The teams would carry more bench players.

dabvu2498
06-28-2006, 02:54 PM
Maybe not. The teams would carry more bench players.
Yes, but... there would be some pitchers would would lose their jobs upon implementation of this rule.

Even thought that would be counter-acted by the increased # of bench players, it still smells of collusion.

Reds Nd2
06-28-2006, 03:00 PM
Yes, but... there would be some pitchers would would lose their jobs upon implementation of this rule.

Even thought that would be counter-acted by the increased # of bench players, it still smells of collusion.

You've seen the Reds bull pen. Pitchers losing their jobs might not be a bad thing but I understand what your saying. It was just a thought anyway.

dabvu2498
06-28-2006, 03:04 PM
You've seen the Reds bull pen. Pitchers losing their jobs might not be a bad thing but I understand what your saying. It was just a thought anyway.
Several good thoughts have been shot down by the evil and devious hand of Donald Fehr and the MLBPA.

Johnny Footstool
06-28-2006, 03:38 PM
Outs are boring and fascist. Why make rule changes to increase them?

Cut the dead time instead. Decrease the time in between pitches and the number of times a batter can step out of the box.

M2
06-28-2006, 03:57 PM
Limiting the number of pitching changes comes with it's own set of questions. What about injuries? What happens if the starter gets rocked in the first couple of innings? Will teams have to concede a loss in the early going because the starter just didn't have his stuff that day? Are managers going to risk injury to a reliever because he's being forced to throw too many pitches? Fewer pitching changes will reduce the amount of commercial time. Not necessarily a bad thing, but the networks will have to make that revenue up somewhere else.

Just taking them in order:

Of course you'd be able to replace a pitcher who got injured.

Honestly I don't see a difference between a starter getting rocked now and if a team only had one mid-inning replacement per game. Yeah, you might burn your lifeline early, but I assume a manager would plan out the rest of his game from there. Pitcher A throws innings 3-5. Pitcher B throws 6-7. Pitcher C throw 8 and Pitcher D throws 9. Those guys would be on the line for completing those innings, but it's not relievers would be asked to pitch more innings than they already are in those situations, 7.2 IP of relief is 7.2 IP of relief. It would just get divvied up a bit differently.

So I don't see where you'd be conceding an loss after your starter flames out any more than usual. It sucks no matter how you slice it.

I assume managers can figure out whether a pitcher can handle 20 or pitches before they send him out to the mound to start an inning so I'm not too worried about pitchers being forced into sick pitches totals. Some managers will push the envelope more and some will be more protective, but that's already the case. We've all seen Dusty Baker's handiwork.

Rojo
06-28-2006, 04:09 PM
I think enforcing the larger strikezone (bottom of the knees to mid-chest) is the single most seamless, easy to implement solution to all of this. Larger zone = more strikes = more swings = more outs, more quickly. The shorter breaks between innings also would help. And if there are fewer commericials, that drives up demand, which potentially drives us prices, offsetting the volume loss in terms of profit.

I wonder what the average number of pitchers per AB was back in the 50's. However, so long as we're dealing with strikezones that are functionally the knees to the belt, hitters are encouraged to take the "only swing at what you can kill" approach that we see from guys like Thome and Dunn. A larger strikezone would not only speed up the game, but it would begin to swing the game back towards the speed/power balance everybody claims to love.

All these other gimmicks require more enforement, more room for complaint & dispute, and only further complicate things. I'll be the first to say I love watching Mark Buerhle pitch and refuse to watch Steve Traschel, so perhaps enforcement of rules already on the books in that regard would help as well.

------
On a side note, I would prefer to see all parks go to electronic strike calling. However, I would implement it by leaving the umps where they are and giving them a handheld device which shows the output from quest-tec, allowing them to deliver the call. The ump would still be responsible for all other standard umpiring activity.

Obviously this would be predicated on extensive testing, benchmarking, and reporting to ensure accuracy and fairness. The whole "The human umpire is part of the game" BS drives me nuts. No, the ump is there to enforce the rules. Period. The object is rule enforcement, plain and simple. If we can enforce rules more accurately, we should, particularly when we can do so in a way that does not disrupt the current umpiring process.

These suggestions are more complicated that James'.

Reds Nd2
06-28-2006, 05:09 PM
Thanks for the feedback M2. I guess I'm not so opposed to limiting mid-inning replacements as I am concerned about the number. One a game just seems a little low to me. I know it's a bit cheeky and I appologize, but the bottom of the 8th in Wrigley today is a good example. Kolb not only blew the hold but the game was quickly getting away from him. I'd hate to see him left in there because the Cubs had already used their allotment of mid-inning replacements for the game.


We've all seen Dusty Baker's handiwork.

:rant: