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Thread: Is It Time To Raise The Mound?

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    Redsmetz redsmetz's Avatar
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    Is It Time To Raise The Mound?

    With all the talk around the board about woeful pitching and how the Reds will never get a top line pitcher to come pitch at GABP, it occurred to me that with the onset of so many new parks, many of them the proverbial "bandbox" park, I wonder if it's time to return the mound the height it was up until 1968.

    Here's an argument I found on a Sporting News board:

    Happened to catch Tim McCarver going on during Saturday's GOTW about how it's time to raise the pitcher's mound to tilt the balance of power back toward the pitcher a bit. Though I'm not prone to take much Timmy Mac says to heart, I thought that this idea might actually have some merit. Then again, I'd just as soon watch a 1-0 pitchers' duel as a 15-13 slugfest.....so I thought I'd give it a look.

    In 1968, the NL ERA was 2.99. That's right - two point ninety-nine. MLB decided to lower the mound from 15 to 10 inches...and the league ERA shot up to 3.60 the next year. The NL ERA hasn't been below 4.00 since 1992. What I found interesting, though, was that for the years between 1970 and 1992 the league ERA had been generally in the mid-upper 3.00's (a low of 3.45 and a high of 4.08....which was pretty much where it had been in the years before 1968. You had to go all the way back to 1919 to find a league ERA under 3.00....and 1967's number was 3.37. Note: I didn't even look at AL numbers due to the influence of the DH.

    So the argument could well be made that baseball overreacted to an anomaly - one season wherein several pitchers had dominant seasons and sank the league ERA to an artificially low number. What's curious, though, is that even in the face of ERAs over 4.00 - also historically out of balance - the past 13 seasons, baseball has not even broached the topic of raising the mound again to try and level the playing field.

    In short, McCarver has a valid point - the past decade has been tilted toward the hitters when weighed against the historical averages. But seeing as the current baseball administration subscribes to the "Chicks dig the long ball" philosophy, I can't imagine that any action would be forthcoming.
    Is it time to give the pitchers a bit of their edge back? Particularly in light of the smaller ballparks?

    Your thoughts, folks?

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    Re: Is It Time To Raise The Mound?

    I'd like to see it. I think it would be good for baseball, because fewer runs would mean that the game would move faster and that would help garner the attention of more of these ADD kids who are used to non-stop action in other sports.

    Also, I assume starting pitchers might be able (on average) to go longer into the game. I think it's always more fun to see one pitcher out there fighting, scratching and clawing through a game than to have the game constantly interrupted for situational pitchers who face one or two batters.

    I'd also be curious whether it would reduce injuries since the pitcher would have more of a natural advantage and might not need to overthrow/throw so hard?

    Worst case scenario, the Reds would be last in the NL in pitching . . . with a 3.50 ERA. That sounds a lot better.

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    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
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    Re: Is It Time To Raise The Mound?

    I find it odd that they lowered it so drastically. Why 10"? Why not 12 or 13?

    I'm curious what the effect of the higher mound really is. Does it help certain kinds of pitchers more than others? Does it lead to more stikeouts, or more weakly hit balls in play? Are certain hitters more adversely affected?
    Games are won on run differential -- scoring more than your opponent. Runs are runs, scored or prevented they all count the same. Worry about scoring more and allowing fewer, not which positions contribute to which side of the equation or how "consistent" you are at your current level of performance.

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    Just The Big Picture macro's Avatar
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    Re: Is It Time To Raise The Mound?

    I've been saying since 1998 that the mound should be raised back to where it was. I fell in love with baseball in the pitching era, so I prefer 3-2 games to 9-8 games.

    Help stamp out, eliminate, and do away with redundancy.

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    Re: Is It Time To Raise The Mound?

    Quote Originally Posted by RedsManRick View Post
    I find it odd that they lowered it so drastically. Why 10"? Why not 12 or 13?

    I'm curious what the effect of the higher mound really is. Does it help certain kinds of pitchers more than others? Does it lead to more stikeouts, or more weakly hit balls in play? Are certain hitters more adversely affected?
    I've wondered the same things.

    I've also wondered if the lowering of the mound corresponded with the increase of arm injuries to professional pitchers.
    When all is said and done more is said than done.

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    Member Highlifeman21's Avatar
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    Re: Is It Time To Raise The Mound?

    It's kind of MLB folklore, but not all mound heights are the same from ballpark to ballpark.

    I forget where I read or heard this, but it was something like mounds can differ by up to 2 inches from park to park.

    If this still remains true, I charge the Reds Grounds Crew to get that puppy as close to 15 inches without making it obvious.

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    Re: Is It Time To Raise The Mound?

    Quote Originally Posted by RedsManRick View Post
    I find it odd that they lowered it so drastically. Why 10"? Why not 12 or 13?

    I'm curious what the effect of the higher mound really is. Does it help certain kinds of pitchers more than others? Does it lead to more stikeouts, or more weakly hit balls in play? Are certain hitters more adversely affected?
    A higher mound has a drastic effect since pitchers gain more leverage on a pitch and are able to put a more downward velocity on the ball. If a pitch has more downward velocity, it is more difficult for the hitter to square the pitch, and some pitches will also spend less time in the strike zone. All a pitch has to do is hit any fragment of the strike zone to be a strike, and the quicker it gets in and out of the strike zone, generally the better the pitch.

    Prior to 1969 I believe the actual rule was "no more than 15 inches" instead of necessarily a requirement for each mound to be 15 inches. This means some parks really didn't have a 15 inch mound, but may instead had an 11 or 12 inch mound. Also, pitcher's mound regulations weren't really enforced, and some stadiums, such as Dodger stadium, built up a mountain for a pitcher's mound and really created a massive pitcher's park.

    FWIW, the mound height really isn't a problem right now, IMO. The MLB ERA last season was 4.28, and if people think that's high then they ought to take a look at the high scoring era of the 1920s and 1930s when league ERAs were pushing 5.00. In fact, I would venture to say the MLB league average ERA from 1903-2005 is pretty close to our current league ERA.
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    nothing more than a fan Always Red's Avatar
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    Re: Is It Time To Raise The Mound?

    Quote Originally Posted by redsmetz View Post

    Is it time to give the pitchers a bit of their edge back? Particularly in light of the smaller ballparks?
    Yes, I think so. I've stated that here several times; I'd love to see the mound back up to 15 inches.

    Not all of the new parks are bandboxes, and I'm not sure if the ones that are bandboxes were built as such. If you look at the dimensions of GAPB, the outfield is much roomier than Crosley Field, at least Crosley as it was during it's final days. In the earliest days of Crosley (known as Redland Field until 1934) the outfield walls were way back, and it wasn't until the ealry 1920's, I believe, that a player actually hit a ball over the fence. I'm not sure why the ball carries so well at GABP, but it does.

    I think there's more to it than just "bandbox" fields. Hitters are stronger now than ever before (with or without the juice). And, add to that the fact that more pitchers are throwing hard now than ever before, and that adds up to more force off a batted ball. Now, that's hard to quantify, I realize. I'm not sure what kind of stats exist to show how hard pitchers throw, and there have always been pitchers who have thrown extremely hard. But in the past, most of them have been starters, and now, most closers, and even middle relievers throw very hard as well. Plus, the HR is an integral, planned part of the game now more than ever; back in the day, maybe one guy on a team was even capable of hitting 30HR a year; runs scored by HR's were kind of icing on the cake, in a way.

    The most frustrating thing to me as a Reds fan is that we have a ballpark built for sluggers, and a FO that now has decided to win with pitching and defense. I am an avid supporter of our new FO, I agree with their plan, and I love the ballpark, so my frustration is only that the 2 seem sort of incongruous to me; they're not a match. Pitching and defense can win anywhere, but you're going to have to hit in this park to win there.

    Some of the other threads mentioned trading Dunn for an ace. Probably a good deal on paper, anytime you can get an ace (like an Oswalt, for example)but not for the Reds. I think they need sluggers like Dunn in order to win in this park, and they need pitching and defense, of course, too. This park is so different than the ones when the Reds go on the road; when they try to play the HR game on the road, a lot of those turn into fly outs or doubles.

    This team just needs more balance, and I think Kriv is trying to exactly that- build a team that can win in more ways than just bashing the opposition to death. As the old saying goes, "when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail." This team needs more tools in the workshop.

    Now that GAPB has a track record of sorts, it will be interesting to see if free agent pitchers want to come here. Up until this year, I believe GAPB gave up more than average in HR's, but actually less than average in runs. Folks smarter than me, with access to better stats than I do, will have the answer to that. I hope the pitchers want to come; I think good pitchers can pitch anywhere.

    I like to watch good pitching; I'd rather watch a 1-0 game than an 11-10 slugfest. But that's just me. Chicks do dig the long ball, that's for sure, and TV loves the long ball as well.

    My hunch is that the mound is staying right where it is.

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    Danger is my business! oneupper's Avatar
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    Re: Is It Time To Raise The Mound?

    Before raising the mound, eliminate the DH in the AL.
    Both measures were taken for the same reason: to boost offense.

    Do THAT first, see what happens for a couple of years and THEN we can start TALKING about the mound.
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    nothing more than a fan Always Red's Avatar
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    Re: Is It Time To Raise The Mound?

    Quote Originally Posted by Always Red View Post
    In the earliest days of Crosley (known as Redland Field until 1934) the outfield walls were way back, and it wasn't until the early 1920's, I believe, that a player actually hit a ball over the fence.
    Redsland Park had been open for nearly a decade, before Pat Duncan hit the first batted ball over the fence, on June 2, 1921.

    The early dimensions of Redland Park were 360 down each line, and 420 to straightaway centerfield.

    *edit: Duncan's HR was the first in an official major league game
    Last edited by Always Red; 09-01-2006 at 10:49 AM. Reason: updated info

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    nothing more than a fan Always Red's Avatar
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    Re: Is It Time To Raise The Mound?

    Quote Originally Posted by oneupper View Post
    Before raising the mound, eliminate the DH in the AL.
    I agree with you, but I think it's too late. The players union would never go for doing away with the DH.

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    breath westofyou's Avatar
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    Re: Is It Time To Raise The Mound?

    Quote Originally Posted by Always Red View Post
    Redsland Park had been open for nearly a decade, before Pat Duncan hit the first batted ball over the fence, on June 2, 1921.

    The early dimensions of Redland Park were 360 down each line, and 420 to straightaway centerfield.
    Actually black star John Beckwith did it 3 weeks before Pat in a Negro League game on a Sunday, he was showered with over $60 in coins.

    Ruth was the first to clear the RF and CF wall later that summer in the Yankees first trip to Crosley for an exhibition, which BTW was the largest attendance of the season.

    After the game Ruth went fishing at a resort in Loveland.
    Last edited by westofyou; 09-01-2006 at 10:40 AM.

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    breath westofyou's Avatar
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    Re: Is It Time To Raise The Mound?

    It's kind of MLB folklore, but not all mound heights are the same from ballpark to ballpark.
    I'm fairly certain the height is the same everywhere, it's the slope that can be manicured to give the illusion of difference, the crowned field to promote draining at the GAB was the major reason for the illusion that GAB mound was diffrent.

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    Re: Is It Time To Raise The Mound?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclone792 View Post
    and some pitches will also spend less time in the strike zone.
    That is very important. If you picture a pitcher on a mountain throwing down at an 80 degree angle, the millisecond before it entered the better's sweet spot it would be at his head and the millisecond afterward it would be around his ankles. There would be little margin for error.

    If I did the math right a change from 10" to 15" changes the angle from the top of mound to home plate from .789 degrees to 1.183 degrees. A small number but surely enough to make a difference to major leaguers since that is a 50% increase.

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    nothing more than a fan Always Red's Avatar
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    Re: Is It Time To Raise The Mound?

    Quote Originally Posted by westofyou View Post
    Actually black star John Beckwith did it 3 weeks before Pat in a Negro League game on a Sunday, he was showered with over $60 in coins.

    Ruth was the first to clear the RF and CF wall later that summer in the Yankees first trip to Crosley for an exhibition, which BTW was the largest attendance of the season.

    After the game Ruth went fishing at a resort in Loveland.
    Great info!

    I was going to ask if Ruth had Hudepohl or Schoenling while fishing, but then realized that was during prohibition. So, it was probably no-label home brew!


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