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Thread: Slow shift in the game's landscape?

  1. #1
    Et tu, Brutus? Brutus's Avatar
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    Slow shift in the game's landscape?

    The other day, early in the afternoon before I was called-up here, I had posted the following over on the Sun Deck:

    We're not even a third of the way through the 2009 season, and there continues to be an interesting storyline developing: the return of shutouts.

    After averaging 140 shutouts per season in the National League over a 3-year span from 2004-06, inexplicably, there was a total of a mere 16 shutouts in the league in 2007 over a period of 2,594 games. Strangely, last year was not much better with 30 shutouts in 2,588 games.

    While the league runs per game have remained fairly constant over the past several years (just under 4.6 runs per game this year and last year), the shutouts have gone back up. This year, there have already been 43 of them in 808 games. That's one every 18.8 games, whereas two years ago there was a shutout only once every 162 games - that's an average of one per season per team.

    Extremely fascinating.

    Also interesting, and possibly contributing to the return of shutouts, is that home runs are being hit once every 40.4 plate appearances. This is more PA's per home run than any season in the National League since 1995. From 1999-2001, home runs were being hit every 33.3 PA's on average. It's been 1997 since the last time it even cracked 40 plate appearances per homer.

    I think we're probably seeing some fallout of the affects of drug testing and a changeover into the next generation of ball players. Both batters and pitchers' average age has been trending back down to pre-steroid levels. It was customary that the average age of league players ranged between 27.5-28 years old. In the early portion of this decade, the help of medical science (and performance enhancers) spiked the average age to above 29 years old of each team. It seems the last few years, we have seen the refusal to re-sign many veteran players and we're not seeing a new generation of younger guys take over.

    ----------------

    That was my work regarding pitching and home runs.

    Well then, just a little while ago, CNNSI posted an interesting article about the return of speed:

    Speed has returned to baseball in form of rampant base stealing

    So stolen bases are up to a 10-year high, while homers are a at a 10-year low. Though we'll probably never return to the pitching-crazy era of the late 1960's, mostly because of lower mounds, stronger players and smaller ballparks, it does seem the game is going through another cycle as it customarily does every decade.
    "No matter how good you are, you're going to lose one-third of your games. No matter how bad you are you're going to win one-third of your games. It's the other third that makes the difference." ~Tommy Lasorda

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    Re: Slow shift in the game's landscape?

    You need to send a copy of this post to Willy Tavaras; he of the self-subscribed 100 stolen base prediction.

    Rem

  4. #3
    Et tu, Brutus? Brutus's Avatar
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    Re: Slow shift in the game's landscape?

    Quote Originally Posted by remdog View Post
    You need to send a copy of this post to Willy Tavaras; he of the self-subscribed 100 stolen base prediction.

    Rem
    I would say so. Last year he stole 18 percent of the possible bases he could acquire (counting second and third only). This year, he's down to about six percent.

    For someone that aspires to steal 100 bases, he's not trying very hard lol
    "No matter how good you are, you're going to lose one-third of your games. No matter how bad you are you're going to win one-third of your games. It's the other third that makes the difference." ~Tommy Lasorda

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    Re: Slow shift in the game's landscape?

    Quote Originally Posted by Brutus the Pimp View Post
    I would say so. Last year he stole 18 percent of the possible bases he could acquire (counting second and third only). This year, he's down to about six percent.

    For someone that aspires to steal 100 bases, he's not trying very hard lol
    I suspect he has had some sort of hamstring problem all along. Its only gotten worse as evidenced by what happened a couple of nights ago.
    Reds Fan Since 1971

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    Just The Big Picture macro's Avatar
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    Re: Slow shift in the game's landscape?

    Quote Originally Posted by Brutus the Pimp View Post
    So stolen bases are up to a 10-year high, while homers are a at a 10-year low. Though we'll probably never return to the pitching-crazy era of the late 1960's, mostly because of lower mounds, stronger players and smaller ballparks, it does seem the game is going through another cycle as it customarily does every decade.
    Bring it on! I'm a child of the 70s-80s!

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    '92 Les Paul Custom Az Red's Avatar
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    Re: Slow shift in the game's landscape?

    Good stuff, Brutus. I am not all that surprised. Home runs are great but I love a good pitchers duel.
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    Re: Slow shift in the game's landscape?

    Quote Originally Posted by macro View Post
    Bring it on! I'm a child of the 70s-80s!
    Same here. I mean, I understand the analytical preference for station-to-station power-based offense, but aesthetically, I liked the balance between power and speed the game had back then. Nothing better in a ballgame than the ball in play and guys running the bases. (Although, if the game involves the Reds, all I want to see the other guys doing is walking back to the dugout!)
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    Haunted by walks
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    Re: Slow shift in the game's landscape?

    It's a shame they got rid of those great old stadiums and replaced them with those cookie-cutter retro parks.

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    Re: Slow shift in the game's landscape?

    Quote Originally Posted by BCubb2003 View Post
    It's a shame they got rid of those great old stadiums and replaced them with those cookie-cutter retro parks.
    And those parks will forever keep the power numbers up and the steals down, there will be no huge swing back to the late 70's early 80's model. Especially when you consider that back in the day there were about 60%-70% of the parks with plastic grass.. making speed a much needed tool to have.

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    Member Strikes Out Looking's Avatar
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    Re: Slow shift in the game's landscape?

    And the stats for this year count the horrendous thing they built in the Bronx.

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    Re: Slow shift in the game's landscape?

    Quote Originally Posted by BCubb2003 View Post
    It's a shame they got rid of those great old stadiums and replaced them with those cookie-cutter retro parks.

    You mean the cookie-cutter stadiums like Busch and Riverfront and Veteran's Satdium, etc.?
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    Re: Slow shift in the game's landscape?

    Quote Originally Posted by macro View Post
    Bring it on! I'm a child of the 70s-80s!
    Count me in, I loves me some baseball that requires teams to think about how to make runs happen, but it won't be the same without Saturday afternoon baseball and a little TWIB with Mel Allen.
    Next Reds manager, second shooter. --Confirmed on Redszone.

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    Posting in Dynarama M2's Avatar
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    Re: Slow shift in the game's landscape?

    Quote Originally Posted by westofyou View Post
    And those parks will forever keep the power numbers up and the steals down, there will be no huge swing back to the late 70's early 80's model. Especially when you consider that back in the day there were about 60%-70% of the parks with plastic grass.. making speed a much needed tool to have.
    The kids of today should defend themselves against the seventies. The BRM made its bones beating up on silly little turf teams that couldn't do anything but run.

    My expectation is that we'll see more of a power/speed hybrid animal - guys who can punish the ball in those tiny parks, but also run a bit (15-25 SB). Ryan Braun and Matt Holliday are examples, though neither has been running much this season.

    That's really where the game was headed in the '80s and I suspect what we're seeing isn't so much a retreat to rabbit ball as a gradual shift over to what unjuiced baseball would have looked like.
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    Re: Slow shift in the game's landscape?

    Quote Originally Posted by M2 View Post
    The kids of today should defend themselves against the seventies. The BRM made its bones beating up on silly little turf teams that couldn't do anything but run.

    My expectation is that we'll see more of a power/speed hybrid animal - guys who can punish the ball in those tiny parks, but also run a bit (15-25 SB). Ryan Braun and Matt Holliday are examples, though neither has been running much this season.

    That's really where the game was headed in the '80s and I suspect what we're seeing isn't so much a retreat to rabbit ball as a gradual shift over to what unjuiced baseball would have looked like.
    Right, Willie Wilson had 13 Inside the park HR's by 1985, 10 of them were on turf. Fred Lynn said playing on turf hurt is defense, he had to play deeper to avoid that huge bounce in the OF. Joe Morgan said that turf created great fielders out of mediocre fielders due to the bounce being too perfect. So the turf had some good points and some not so good points, and that's not even touching on the injury factor.

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    Et tu, Brutus? Brutus's Avatar
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    Re: Slow shift in the game's landscape?

    Quote Originally Posted by M2 View Post

    That's really where the game was headed in the '80s and I suspect what we're seeing isn't so much a retreat to rabbit ball as a gradual shift over to what unjuiced baseball would have looked like.
    This is my expectation as well. I think had we not seen the offensive explosion in the late 90's, we would be seeing a lot of 30-20 guys. We probably won't see many teams steal 200 bases, but I could see, in the future, a lineup of guys that can swipe a few.
    "No matter how good you are, you're going to lose one-third of your games. No matter how bad you are you're going to win one-third of your games. It's the other third that makes the difference." ~Tommy Lasorda


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