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Thread: Firemen vs. Closers

  1. #1
    Maple SERP savafan's Avatar
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    Firemen vs. Closers

    When looking back over old baseball cards, I see the cards from sets such as 1983 Topps that celebrate the "Firemen of the Year".

    When I used to think of Firemen, I'd think about guys like Rollie Fingers or Goose Gossage who would be called on to get outs with the game on the line. It didn't have to be the 9th inning, if the other team was threatening you'd see them come into the game.

    As for the Reds, when I think about Firemen I consider guys like Franco or any of the three Nasty Boys.

    Closers complete the game with a lead of three runs or less. That's pretty much it. They collect a stat, the save, by coming in and getting three outs in the games final inning, whether the situation is high leverage or not.

    Guys like Danny Graves or Francisco Cordero are closers, but not firemen. If you look at the top 15 guys on the all time saves leaders board, you'll see Troy Percival, Roberto Hernandez, Jose Mesa, Todd Jones and Rick Aguilera. These guys were closers, but I'd be hesitant to call them firemen.


    I think the statistic of the save has become too easy to rack up. I'd like to see baseball look at tightening the requirements to be credited with a save to bring back the days of the firemen in the bullpen and move away from the overhyped closer.
    My dad got to enjoy 3 Reds World Championships by the time he was my age. So far, I've only gotten to enjoy one. Step it up Redlegs!

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    breath westofyou's Avatar
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    Re: Firemen vs. Closers

    The stat hasn't changed since 1969, when it was created.
    10.19 Saves For Relief Pitchers
    A save is a statistic credited to a relief pitcher, as set forth in this Rule 10.19.
    The official scorer shall credit a pitcher with a save when such pitcher meets all four of the following conditions:
    (a) He is the finishing pitcher in a game won by his team;
    (b) He is not the winning pitcher;
    (c) He is credited with at least a third of an inning pitched; and
    (d) He satisfies one of the following conditions:
    (1) He enters the game with a lead of no more than three runs and pitches for at least one inning;
    (2) He enters the game, regardless of the count, with the potential tying run either on base, or at bat or on deck (that is, the potential tying run is either already on base or is one of the first two batters he faces); or
    (3) He pitches for at least three innings.

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    Maple SERP savafan's Avatar
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    Re: Firemen vs. Closers

    Quote Originally Posted by westofyou View Post
    The stat hasn't changed since 1969, when it was created.
    Oh I'm aware of that WOY, but the way managers have managed the ballgames has changed, allowing guys to rack up a stat that has pretty much become meaningless and sometimes allowing mediocre relievers to cash in on big contracts.
    My dad got to enjoy 3 Reds World Championships by the time he was my age. So far, I've only gotten to enjoy one. Step it up Redlegs!

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    breath westofyou's Avatar
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    Re: Firemen vs. Closers

    Quote Originally Posted by savafan View Post
    Oh I'm aware of that WOY, but the way managers have managed the ballgames has changed, allowing guys to rack up a stat that has pretty much become meaningless and sometimes allowing mediocre relievers to cash in on big contracts.
    Mediocre guys cash in on big contracts at all positions, but the closer also has lost out to the growth of middle relief, two guy games are now 4 guy games, with 1 batter specialist's sucking up payroll.

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    Maple SERP savafan's Avatar
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    Re: Firemen vs. Closers

    Quote Originally Posted by westofyou View Post
    Mediocre guys cash in on big contracts at all positions, but the closer also has lost out to the growth of middle relief, two guy games are now 4 guy games, with 1 batter specialist's sucking up payroll.
    Good points.
    My dad got to enjoy 3 Reds World Championships by the time he was my age. So far, I've only gotten to enjoy one. Step it up Redlegs!

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    Knowledge Is Good Big Klu's Avatar
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    Re: Firemen vs. Closers

    My feelings about closers/relief aces are the same as my feelings about kickers in the NFL. There's no statistical benchmark or milestone that you can use to compare players across different eras, but you know a Hall Of Famer when you see one.
    Eric Stratton, Rush Chairman. Damn glad to meet ya.

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    Maple SERP savafan's Avatar
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    Re: Firemen vs. Closers

    Quote Originally Posted by Big Klu View Post
    My feelings about closers/relief aces are the same as my feelings about kickers in the NFL. There's no statistical benchmark or milestone that you can use to compare players across different eras, but you know a Hall Of Famer when you see one.
    I'd like to think so, but while I'd consider a guy like Lee Smith a Hall of Famer, those who do the voting don't seem to agree.
    My dad got to enjoy 3 Reds World Championships by the time he was my age. So far, I've only gotten to enjoy one. Step it up Redlegs!

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    Re: Firemen vs. Closers

    I beleive that before a save was an official stat, they were kept unofficially and credited the last pitcher of a wining ballgame with a save, regardless of the score.

    At least that is the way I remember it.

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    Socratic Gadfly TheNext44's Avatar
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    Re: Firemen vs. Closers

    I think more and more managers are using a decent reliever as closer and their best relief arm the way firemen were used, to get the toughest and most important outs of the game. I hope that's how the Reds will use Chapman next year, as a fireman.
    "Imagination is more important than knowledge." -- Albert Einstein

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    Re: Firemen vs. Closers

    In the old days your best reliever often pitched 2-3 innings. He came in when he was needed, and pitched until the game was over.

    It was not a case of using your best releiver with "the game on the line" ands then going with other guys. He pitched earlier becuase he was going to pitch more than 1 inning.

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    Re: Firemen vs. Closers

    Wouldn't that be a great way to use Chapman, though? He'd get innings, work on his third pitch a bit, and get major league coaching. If he pitches every third game, he'd get 150 innings, starters could rest, and the rest of the pen could also get a breather. It would be similar to throwing between starts and shouldn't hurt his wing (though any time a guy throws that hard, he's got ot be susceptible to injuries).
    "You can learn little from victory. You can learn everything from defeat."
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    Re: Firemen vs. Closers

    Quote Originally Posted by Scrap Irony View Post
    Wouldn't that be a great way to use Chapman, though? He'd get innings, work on his third pitch a bit, and get major league coaching. If he pitches every third game, he'd get 150 innings, starters could rest, and the rest of the pen could also get a breather. It would be similar to throwing between starts and shouldn't hurt his wing (though any time a guy throws that hard, he's got ot be susceptible to injuries).
    A few problems with that.

    Who's to say he would be needed every third game. Zero chance it would work out that way.

    Secondly, 150 innings for a reliever would likely leave him for dead.

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    Re: Firemen vs. Closers

    Why is 150 innings too many for a reliever? He's used to 130 or so innings, so the jump there should prove no problem. Too, if he's not needed, then don't use him until the next game. Or the one after.

    But 120 innings shouldn't be too hard to get and keep him protected. (Multiple innings, but two two days between appearances, for the most part.)
    "You can learn little from victory. You can learn everything from defeat."
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    Re: Firemen vs. Closers

    Quote Originally Posted by Scrap Irony View Post
    Why is 150 innings too many for a reliever? He's used to 130 or so innings, so the jump there should prove no problem. Too, if he's not needed, then don't use him until the next game. Or the one after.

    But 120 innings shouldn't be too hard to get and keep him protected. (Multiple innings, but two two days between appearances, for the most part.)
    Can you name many relievers who have pitched 150 innings in a season?

    They simply are very few.

    100 innings for a reliever is considered a stretch these days.

    Mike Marshall has the record I believe of about 162 innings ( I believe he qualified for the ERA title) but it's been pretty rare. As in almost non-existent.

    And certainly no one has done it for very long.

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    Re: Firemen vs. Closers

    Oh, I get it's rare and probably too outside the box to do.

    But it's something to consider on a cold January day.

    Would 130 IP out of the pen tear up his arm? And why, if so?
    "You can learn little from victory. You can learn everything from defeat."
    -- Christy Matthewson
    "Show me a good loser and I'll show you an idiot."
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