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“Back in my day, baseball was faster”

Discussion in 'MLB Discussion' started by budcrew08, May 17, 2018.

  1. budcrew08

    budcrew08 Member SoSH Member

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    I’m watching a Classic game on the YES network, the clincher of the 1978 WS, and I’m struck by how much faster the game is played.
    Other then more strikeouts and the like, it seems like it’s being played at 1.25x speed. I wasn’t around then, so maybe this is for the old timers, but was it a faster game back then?
     
  2. inJacobyWeTrust

    inJacobyWeTrust Member SoSH Member

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  3. John Marzano Olympic Hero

    John Marzano Olympic Hero has fancy plans, and pants to match Dope

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    There are a number of reasons, but the two biggest that I can see (and this is anecdotally, I don't have the stats in front of me) are bullpen management and hitters working deeper into the count. When I was first getting into baseball, it seemed as if hitters would go up to the plate wanting a particular type of pitch and when they saw it, they swung. Aside from "see it, hit it" there didn't seem to be a lot of thought or strategy to an at-bat. Therefore, pitchers got away with throwing less pitches and the games were shorter. Longer ABs mean higher pitch counts which means managers have to go to their bullpens more.

    And speaking of bullpens ...

    Tony LaRussa popularized the idea of a big bullpen with throwers who were specialists. This guys is our LOOGY, this dude only pitches in the sixth or seventh, Eck is strictly our closer, this player pitches only if we're getting beat by three runs, but no more than five runs, etc. And he had no shame about changing pitchers as many times as he wanted. Once that bullpen construction and use was successful, it became popular and now it's a fabric of the game.
     
  4. jon abbey

    jon abbey Shanghai Warrior Dope SoSH Member

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    Sign stealing is presumably much more sophisticated now, so that slows things down.
     
  5. tims4wins

    tims4wins PN23's replacement SoSH Member

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    There have been multiple threads on this, but please read this article. TL; DR: PACE OF PLAY IS THE REASON

    https://www.sbnation.com/a/mlb-2017-season-preview/game-length

     
  6. The Allented Mr Ripley

    The Allented Mr Ripley holden Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    Yup. Pitchers taking too long between pitches and batters repeatedly stepping out of the box are the two biggest (perhaps only) factors. Everything else is misdirection.
     
  7. tims4wins

    tims4wins PN23's replacement SoSH Member

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    Like bullpen carts and no-pitch intentional walks?

    By the way, the math on those "inaction pitches" comes to 24 seconds per inaction pitch in 2014 vs. 13.5 seconds in 1984. More than 10 seconds per pitch. So it's more than 1.25 seconds faster, actually. It is CRAZY that this makes up 25 minutes difference of game length.

    Edit: it is hard to believe. Like, I can't wrap my mind around it. More than 10 seconds per pitch difference when nothing is happening.
     
  8. Skiponzo

    Skiponzo Member SoSH Member

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    We see this even in LL games. It’s a primary reason we have adopted the “no foot out of the batters box” rule for all stars. I also tell my kids to stop looking at me (I coached 3B) after every pitch. I’ll call for you if I want to give a sign.
     
  9. DennyDoyle'sBoil

    DennyDoyle'sBoil Found no thrill on Blueberry Hill SoSH Member

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    It's weird to me how important this is to people. I just don't think baseball is broken in this way. I am fine with 3:06 as an average. I don't get annoyed about the pace of play. I am entertained when I watch the games.

    That said, I can understand people who are annoyed, I guess. I have the same reaction when I'm watching NBA games. If the game is close and there are like five minutes left I look reflexively at the score bar on tv and see that the teams each have three timeouts left and I wince, because I know every one of them is going to get called. (With a corresponding move up 3/4 court in the most perplexing rule in sports.) And in football, when they do the thing where a team scores and they go to commercial and then go to another commercial after the kickoff, it makes me want to throw my shoe through the screen. So, I get the impulse. It just doesn't bother me in baseball. The commercials come at predictable points. Between the commercials I am entertained.
     
  10. tims4wins

    tims4wins PN23's replacement SoSH Member

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    See I don't care about the commercials, even in football. What I care about is that when the game is on, it is moving (or there is a replay like in football). Baseball could be played much quicker and that's what annoys me. I don't care if the game takes 2 hours or 4. But I do care that it moves when it is on.
     
  11. glennhoffmania

    glennhoffmania but still failing Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    This is exactly my view, including the NBA and NFL. Is there was a sport that needed to fix the length of games it's football. The commercial breaks have become ridiculous. When a game starts at 8:15 there's a good chance it won't be over until midnight. A three hour baseball game doesn't seem like a problem to me at all. And the solutions to this non-existent problem are generally pretty dumb. Saving four throws on an IBB, limiting mound visits, etc. does nothing. If they're really concerned about the length, come up with a sensible replay system that doesn't involve waiting for NY to relay the answer. Shorten the time between innings. But I don't really care either way. And the constant complaining about three hour games is kind of bizarre to me.
     
  12. tims4wins

    tims4wins PN23's replacement SoSH Member

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    See my last post. I don't care about length of game.
     
  13. grantb

    grantb Couldn't get into a real school Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    The reduction of mound visits this year has been truly a godsend. I'd like to see that on replays if it's not obvious on the first 2 or 3 camera angles, the ruling stands as called and the game moves on.
     
  14. joe dokes

    joe dokes Member SoSH Member

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    It hit me when I saw a replay of a full game from late 60s or early 70s world series. They just pitched much more quickly. And since a pitch is the thing that happens more than anything else, its the biggest contributor.
     
  15. cromulence

    cromulence Member SoSH Member

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    Here's the disconnect for me: my issue is not that the games are too long (though they sometimes are), it's all the dead time, which is really what the original post was talking about. I don't understand how anyone could be against removing most of the standing around that currently takes place in baseball - who enjoys watching nothing happen? And let's not pretend that speeding the game up would remove the tension from big moments; it would still probably slow down a bit in those moments, which nobody would have a problem with.

    I'm sure there are other guys in the game who do something similar and I just don't see them, but it's been hard not to notice the way Judge stays in the box this year (I don't recall it being so noticeable last year). Unless it's a foul ball, he never leaves the box and is ready for the next pitch almost immediately. I was at the game the other day and kept almost missing pitches during his ABs because he was staying in the box and Gonzalez was speeding up to match his pace - it was really great to watch. I think when baseball is played that way, it helps fight the (unfortunately very common) perception that baseball is boring.
     
  16. budcrew08

    budcrew08 Member SoSH Member

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    4,920
    I know the actual games were faster, I’m just saying it in terms of watching the game, all the unnecessary BS didn’t exist back then (and not all things based on new technology that didn’t exist either)
     
  17. budcrew08

    budcrew08 Member SoSH Member

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    I’ve read that story before, that is a great comparison. Like I said, I think it was just watching a full-length game from that time. Also, it was the clincher of the WS, so again, I thought it was interesting.
     
  18. budcrew08

    budcrew08 Member SoSH Member

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    That’s the crux of my first post, not so much about how many pitches, just the quickness at which they are thrown.
     
  19. wade boggs chicken dinner

    wade boggs chicken dinner Member SoSH Member

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    3 hours is doable. 3.5 hours is harder and 4 hours is a nightmare.
     
  20. ledsox

    ledsox Member SoSH Member

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    https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/whos-slowing-down-the-game/

    Fangraphs article on pace of play and the worst offenders. Hanley and Price are Sox listed.
    Also noted, games are 5 minutes shorter this year on average (3 hours now) from last year so the mound visit rule seems to be having an effect. Time between pitches is down about half a second per pitch from last year.
     
  21. DennyDoyle'sBoil

    DennyDoyle'sBoil Found no thrill on Blueberry Hill SoSH Member

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    I wonder if there's an age issue here. Usually the people complaining about pace of play are older. Or at least that's my perception. But, for me, intuitively it seems backwards. The pace of baseball seems fine to me. I like its rhythms and the amount of time it takes to build up tension. If there is an exceptionally slow pitcher on the mound I will get annoyed but it has to be pretty obvious for it to bother me. Maybe younger people are less patient? (I'm 50.)
     
  22. jon abbey

    jon abbey Shanghai Warrior Dope SoSH Member

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    Going back to comparing sports up-thread, I get that this matters if you are attending games, but if you're watching at home, just DVR everything and you can skip all of the dead time, commercials, timeouts, video replays, whatever. College football games are actually the ones I personally find most endless, but using DVR, you can usually watch a game in 60-90 minutes or so.
     
  23. tims4wins

    tims4wins PN23's replacement SoSH Member

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    I dunno. Maybe. I'm not a millennial but I am close to the border (I'm almost 37). I don't need like constant excitement and action, otherwise I wouldn't still like baseball at all. But it's more enjoyable to me when it is at a quicker pace.
     
  24. tims4wins

    tims4wins PN23's replacement SoSH Member

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    18,936
    That is nice in principle, but for big games - playoff games, etc. - it's pretty rare that I am going to watch it on DVR, unless something is going on where I can't start at real time.
     
  25. Max Power

    Max Power thai good. you like shirt? SoSH Member

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    How would that work with baseball? Do you have a 15 second skip button to use between pitches?
     
  26. jon abbey

    jon abbey Shanghai Warrior Dope SoSH Member

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    No, I just time it. Occasionally there is a pitcher who works very fast and it is tricky, but at the very least you can skip commercials, time between ABs, endless reviews, etc.

    Edit: I do occasionally mess up and miss something this way (FFing too far), but to me that is counterbalanced by the fact that it's easier to be fully focused on the game this way, as opposed to letting it play out in real time and generally multi-tasking in one way or another.
     
  27. SumnerH

    SumnerH Malt Liquor Picker Dope

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    But when you DVR are it, the emotional impact of “I hope they can pull this out” is replaced with the idle curiosity of “I wonder how this played out out.”

    Tape delay or DVRing sports takes most of the joy away from it, IMO. Half the fun is that it's a shared experience you're watching live(ish) with other people as it unfolds.
     
  28. DennyDoyle'sBoil

    DennyDoyle'sBoil Found no thrill on Blueberry Hill SoSH Member

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    The only way the dvr thing works is if you let half or more of the game go by before you start to watch.

    That's intolerable to me. The idea that the Red Sox could be in the 6th inning and the score could be 10-0 or 0-10 and I don't know it and am going to not know it makes it impossible to enjoy the DVR version.
     
  29. jon abbey

    jon abbey Shanghai Warrior Dope SoSH Member

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    38,141
    For me that is true with sports like tennis or soccer, where you can't really catch up. With something like football, you can start it 60-90 minutes late and still watch the end live if you want.
     
  30. jon abbey

    jon abbey Shanghai Warrior Dope SoSH Member

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    Ha, fair enough.
     
  31. keninten

    keninten lurker

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    I`d like to see the game expanded to 15 inning. I`m also an old fart.
     
  32. Infield Infidel

    Infield Infidel teaching korea american SoSH Member

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    I dont usually mind game length with college football because there are less frequent commercial breaks (except on FOX). Sometimes there isn't even a commercial after scores, and they often show highlights from other games during breaks in play. I'm also usually watching multiple games at once.

    For baseball, I do something worse than DVR. For regular season I do other stuff and follow the score online, and if it's still a close game in like the 6th inning I'll turn it on. It's savegery, I know. Although MLB At Bat makes listening to radio while I do other stuff easier so I do that more now too.
     
    #32 Infield Infidel, May 18, 2018
    Last edited: May 18, 2018
  33. MakeMineMoxie

    MakeMineMoxie Member SoSH Member

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    We always DVR the games. It helps that East coast games start at 5:00 for us so we let an hour go by before we start watching. I can't stand watching the same idiotic commercials every half inning and I also like to skip through the endless promos that DOB reads off.

    My Direct TV remote has a 30 second fast-forward button and sadly, I can punch it after a pitch and not miss the next pitch.
     
  34. grimshaw

    grimshaw the new rudy SoSH Member

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    I'm sure a fair amount of us do sit and watch every pitch, but it really is a sport where you don't have to be glued to the tv, unlike ebb and flow sports like hockey and basketball.

    That's one of the things I like most about it. I can have it on in the background or even muted, watch netflix on a different device, and not feel like I'm missing a whole lot. Other than Dave O'Brien telling me the sun will rise tomorrow in 60,000 words.
     
  35. jk333

    jk333 Member SoSH Member

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    I’ve previously commented as being a fan of enforcing the pitch clock. However, from watching this season, and reading articles like the ones in this thread, I now think that it would be simpler to just not allow timeouts for batters after the first pitch i their at bat is thrown.

    Perhaps allow each team one timeout per game. The slow pace of pitchers is in response to batters and it’s easier to not grant timeouts once an at bat begins than to time pitchers. Batters would take take some time to adapt but it’s the easiest solution that would speed up play.
     
  36. The Gray Eagle

    The Gray Eagle Member SoSH Member

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    All the dead time between pitches makes the game duller and slower, and it's so unnecessary. As people have said in this thread, just watch an old game and see how much faster it moves and how much better the pace is for a viewer.

    This needs to be fixed, but there's no need for any new rules. There are already rules in the book that would let the umps speed up the pace of play, but the umps don't enforce them.

    I loathe every contrived new rule that is added to try to speed things up, because they are not needed, and are generally dumb ideas that don't address the problem and could make the game worse. The umps need to take control of the pace of the game. If baseball wants faster paced games, they will find a way to make umps take charge on this. Instead they will add more gimmicky rules and claim that they can't do anything about the umps because of their union, which is a lame copout.
     
  37. jon abbey

    jon abbey Shanghai Warrior Dope SoSH Member

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    I think a lot of it is trying to avoid sign stealing, maybe they need some electronic communication link between the catcher and pitcher.
     
  38. budcrew08

    budcrew08 Member SoSH Member

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    This is me as well, I’m 36 and I don’t mind the leisurely pace (I mean, isn’t that why baseball is different in the first place? No clock!) But the pace needs to be quicker.
     
  39. joyofsox

    joyofsox empty, bleak Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    His earlier article included this bit:

    For example, back in 2014 as a newspaperman, I placed a stopwatch on every batter who stepped out of the box with both feet during a Pirates-Cardinals game at PNC Park. What I found is that it was indeed the batters — not so much the pitchers — who are playing a significant role in slowing down the action.

    What happened 190 times that evening was a batter left the batter’s box after a pitch.

    The Tribune-Review used a stopwatch on every batter that game. After the beginning of an at-bat, each time a batter left the batter’s box with both feet, the clock began. When the batter returned to the box, the clock stopped. Pirates and Cardinals hitters spent a combined 39 minutes, 51 seconds outside the batter’s box. The average stroll outside the box took 12.58 seconds.​
     
  40. Remagellan

    Remagellan Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    I also believe the major difference is the batters leaving the box after every pitch. Mike Hargrove was called “The Human Rain Delay” back in the seventies because after each pitch he would step out of the box and adjust his batting gloves before getting back in the box for the next pitch. Now almost every player does that.
     
  41. rymflaherty

    rymflaherty Member SoSH Member

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    At this point I’ve heard more than a few younger analysts/journalists speak to this and their response has been that millennials don’t care about baseball.
    Obviously that’s an over simplification, and there are still many young fans, but there argument is always that you always hear older people complaining about pace of play or trying to “fix baseball” because that’s the audience and the majority of younger sports fans are so detached from the sport they don’t care if the game is 2 hours, they still aren’t watching.
    Something I had not thought of and it really did catch my attention once I heard it from multiple sources.

    Personally, I’d prefer quicker but I don’t really notice it unless I’m watching the extremes. When the game is moving quicker, or I’m watching non-MLB games I find the game much more enjoyable, but I’m also not annoyed unless the game slows to s crawl and it’s like 45 seconds a pitch.
    Like others in the thread, I also tend to be doing other things while watching a game, so that’s another reason why I may not mind that much. I wonder if the multitasking aspect could help it with the even younger generation who are always doing 3-4 things at once. In that regard it’s probably less about pace of play and more about increased social engagement by MLB. I’m 37 for whatever that’s worth.
     

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