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MLB lifers decry the state of the modern baseball: 'Unwatchable'

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22 minutes ago, DrungoHazewood said:

Most people who read newspapers are 77 years old, and an article by grumpy old baseball players is right up that demographic.  Gossage is just mad that the natural progression of wanting win and make money means smarter people and complicated analytics will take over the game.  He wants it to be manly competition between guys with fu-manchu moustaches who don't have to think too hard.

In his defense, I watched a lot of this in the 70s and 80s and had fun watching it. Watching Dick Tidrow face Gorman Thomas was good stuff. :D

Although I do think the home runs are becoming ridiculous (Simply go away from the current superball used and get back to the one used a year or two ago) there are two things that annoy me about today's game, and that's the crazy shifts and 12 pitch foul ball at bat. Both of these could be limited by instilling a rule that you can't have more than two fielders on one side of an infield within 30 feet of the infield dirt (they could draw a line) as the ball is pitched. To get rid of these 8-12 pitch at bats where batters keep fouling off pitches, just institute a rule that the batter gets two fouls after getting to two strikes then is out.

I love all the analytical data like pitchers arsenals, batters EVs, and fielders burst and spring speeds and feel they actually improve the game. I love the fact that there's no more arguing over how straight a guy's fastball is because now we can just look up the data.

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11 minutes ago, Tony-OH said:

In his defense, I watched a lot of this in the 70s and 80s and had fun watching it. Watching Dick Tidrow face Gorman Thomas was good stuff. :D

Although I do think the home runs are becoming ridiculous (Simply go away from the current superball used and get back to the one used a year or two ago) there are two things that annoy me about today's game, and that's the crazy shifts and 12 pitch foul ball at bat. Both of these could be limited by instilling a rule that you can't have more than two fielders on one side of an infield within 30 feet of the infield dirt (they could draw a line) as the ball is pitched. To get rid of these 8-12 pitch at bats where batters keep fouling off pitches, just institute a rule that the batter gets two fouls after getting to two strikes then is out.

I love all the analytical data like pitchers arsenals, batters EVs, and fielders burst and spring speeds and feel they actually improve the game. I love the fact that there's no more arguing over how straight a guy's fastball is because now we can just look up the data.

I like the long foul ball at bats.  That shows you a good hitter who is wearing down the pitcher for the team. Markakis had those a lot.  I also don't mind the shift.  If you are good hitter the shift shouldn't affect you. 

I think there is too much stats.  I like the old days when people judged a player by watching the game. 

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1 hour ago, DirtyBird said:

This.

Need to make fences deeper also.  

This This

The stadiums are way too small, results in more HRs and less emphasis on OF defense. No place in the game for Paul Blair today and that is really sad

 

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59 minutes ago, DrungoHazewood said:

Most people who read newspapers are 77 years old, and an article by grumpy old baseball players is right up that demographic.  

Well it is in USA Today, their demographic is more like travelers staying in hotels, eating continental breakfast while staying off their cellphones to preserve the battery life. 

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11 minutes ago, atomic said:

I like the long foul ball at bats.  That shows you a good hitter who is wearing down the pitcher for the team. Markakis had those a lot.  I also don't mind the shift.  If you are good hitter the shift shouldn't affect you.

Agree. I don't like the idea of penalizing players for staying alive with foul balls at all nor do I really see the point. It will also cause strikeouts to skyrocket even further which also makes it a bit of a myopic view IMO. Also agree about the shift. Maybe we could have a new award at season's end for most opposite field hits or something. It's just another lost art that has been sacrificed for home runs and strikeouts. However, I still think there's some risk in attempting to "de-juice" both the players and the ball because the game has literally never been that way.. ever. The dead-ball era was probably close.

Also, starting pitchers need to go deeper into games again. The quicker you get into the bullpen, the more time wasted making pitching changes. it takes at least five minutes to make one pitching change mid-inning which accumulates quickly. Five pitching changes per team and it's 50 minutes unless some of them are between innings. Really, this means getting to the root of the epidemic of pitching injuries (bad mechanics), abandoning the velocity obsession and getting back to looking for guys that can actually pitch. In more cases than not, velocity seems to serve as compensation for a pitcher's lack of ability in other areas such as command and the quality of secondary pitches.

I think it's very important to figure out what's causing this and fix it so we can get back to starters going seven innings instead of 4-5 innings. It's not pitch count since guys routinely threw metric tons of innings and pitches and there was never an epidemic of arm injuries that we have now, so it's obviously something we're doing wrong now that we weren't doing as wrong decades ago. In this sense, I think the velocity obsession has indirectly led to a significant increase in game time because of all the injuries caused in it's wake, the decreasing reliance on starters to go 6-7 innings and increased reliance on bullpen usage which means more pitching changes (5 minutes each unless between innings) and therefore longer game times. I think it would also be a good idea to make at least one bullpen pitching mound the same as the one on the field. The idea is maybe the reliever won't need as much time to warm up on the "new" mound when he comes in.

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26 minutes ago, atomic said:

I like the long foul ball at bats.  That shows you a good hitter who is wearing down the pitcher for the team. Markakis had those a lot.  I also don't mind the shift.  If you are good hitter the shift shouldn't affect you. 

I think there is too much stats.  I like the old days when people judged a player by watching the game. 

Part of the reason those long foul at bats can occur is that players usually don’t have to worry about having to move their feet.   In the old days, guys like Gibson, Drysdale, etc would never let some guy just sit there and flick away 10 pitches.  They would move him off the plate or worse. 

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25 minutes ago, Tony-OH said:

To get rid of these 8-12 pitch at bats where batters keep fouling off pitches, just institute a rule that the batter gets two fouls after getting to two strikes then is out.

That may be the worst proposed rule change I’ve ever heard.    Just what we need, more strikeouts.    

How about this: four strikes and you’re out, but a foul ball on strike four is an out.    I’m not sure how that tradeoff would work, in terms of strikeouts going up or down.    

In general, I’d like to go back to 6-7 strikeouts per team per game, roughly 1.0 HR per game.    Just tell me how to get there.  

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Just now, Frobby said:

That may be the worst proposed rule change I’ve ever heard.    Just what we need, more strikeouts.    

How about this: four strikes and you’re out, but a foul ball on strike four is an out.    I’m not sure how that tradeoff would work, in terms of strikeouts going up or down.    

In general, I’d like to go back to 6-7 strikeouts per team per game, roughly 1.0 HR per game.    Just tell me how to get there.  

Damn, how do you really feel? :D

The game would be faster and sped up with this rule and maybe players would cut down their swings and actually put the ball in play more with two strikes, so I disagree. I think this would lead to less strikeouts. 

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1 minute ago, Frobby said:

That may be the worst proposed rule change I’ve ever heard.    Just what we need, more strikeouts.    

How about this: four strikes and you’re out, but a foul ball on strike four is an out.    I’m not sure how that tradeoff would work, in terms of strikeouts going up or down.    

In general, I’d like to go back to 6-7 strikeouts per team per game, roughly 1.0 HR per game.    Just tell me how to get there.  

Lower the mound slightly or move it back 6 inches, but to then to help pitchers and even it out a bit, put the seams on the ball back the way they were a year ago (higher seams) and require bats to be heavier. You'll probably want to do one of these at a time so you can figure out what the effect of each one is.

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32 minutes ago, atomic said:

I like the long foul ball at bats.  That shows you a good hitter who is wearing down the pitcher for the team. Markakis had those a lot.  I also don't mind the shift.  If you are good hitter the shift shouldn't affect you. 

I think there is too much stats.  I like the old days when people judged a player by watching the game. 

Yeah, nothing more exhilarating and exciting then watching a hitter take half swings and fight off any decent pitch until they walk or get fed a meatball. Such talent too to keep fighting those pitches off instead of actually trying to put a ball in play. and man, nothing like having to watch six pitching changes because the pitch counts got so high.

Yep, I see your point. Maybe we should just have one at bat for each team that would last three hours or until they could hit a home run. Everything else would be a foul. Man that would be fun.

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7 minutes ago, Tony-OH said:

Yeah, nothing more exhilarating and exciting then watching a hitter take half swings and fight off any decent pitch until they walk or get fed a meatball. Such talent too to keep fighting those pitches off instead of actually trying to put a ball in play. and man, nothing like having to watch six pitching changes because the pitch counts got so high.

Yep, I see your point. Maybe we should just have one at bat for each team that would last three hours or until they could hit a home run. Everything else would be a foul. Man that would be fun.

I far prefer long, patient at bats to seeing guys take three swings for the fence and then go sit down.   Different strokes (literally) for different folks, I guess.    

What percentage of two-strike foul balls do you think are the result of the batter trying to spoil the pitch, as opposed to just an unsuccessful effort to hit the ball in play?

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8 minutes ago, Frobby said:

I far prefer long, patient at bats to seeing guys take three swings for the fence and then go sit down.   Different strokes (literally) for different folks, I guess.    

What percentage of two-strike foul balls do you think are the result of the batter trying to spoil the pitch, as opposed to just an unsuccessful effort to hit the ball in play?

 I'd hate to give the worse take on something else today so maybe someone else can give you that answer.

 

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2 minutes ago, Tony-OH said:

 I'd hate to give the worse take on something else today so maybe someone else can give you that answer.

Personally, I wasn’t a skilled enough hitter to try to foul off pitches.    I was either going to hit the ball or not (and mostly not).    

I guess you could sort of figure out the answer by comparing foul ball rates on 2-strike counts with foul ball rates on non-two strike counts.   But I don’t know if that data is available.    

Meanwhile here are some stats on P/PA and the percentage of strikes thrown that are (1) taken, (2) whiffed on, (3) fouled off, and (4) put in play.

1989: 3.63, 24.9, 14.0, 26.7, 34.2

1999: 3.75, 27.1, 14.1, 26.4, 32.4

2009: 3.84, 27.9, 14.3, 27.4, 30.4

2019: 3.92, 26.0, 18.8, 28.0, 27.2

As you can see from this, there has been an uptick in the percentage of strikes fouled off over the last 20 years, but what really stands out is the huge increase in swing and miss strikes over the last 10 years, after being very steady before that.     To me that’s the biggest problem in the game today.    And it’s mostly the result of higher velocity, in my opinion.    

 

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A few other stats:

1.  Percentage of one-pitch at bats.

2.  Percentage of at bats getting to two strikes.

3.   Percentage of two-strike at bats resulting in strikeouts.

4.   Percentage of full count at bats.

1989: 14.0, 41.2, 33.7,10.9

1999: 12.9, 45.1, 35.0, 12.9

2009: 11.0, 47.9, 36.4, 13.0

2019: 10.5, 53.6, 42.3, 14.5

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