Manfred: 16-team postseason likely to stay as “an overwhelming majority” of owners endorsed the concept before COVID

LogansDad

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I hate 2020. This might be dumber than the stupid runner on second crap. Manfred is a terrible, terrible commissioner. I am going to cheer Gary Bettman the next time I get the chance.
 

jon abbey

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The problem is that neither side cares about the actual sport, but maybe from the players side, I might suggest seven teams from each league get in, divisions are entirely eliminated, schedules are much better balanced (11 games each against the other 14 teams in the league plus 8 interleague games), and the #1 team in each league gets a bye into the second round/division series. The first round also should be best of 5, not 3, 5/7/7/7 would be good for both revenues and the sport. The owners need to be flexible on so many points in the next CBA for the sake of the sport/their long-term team values. I'm not optimistic about that actually happening, but here is a big bargaining chip for the players at least.
 

Harry Hooper

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You could always add postseason games by returning the WS to a best-of-9 format.
 

oumbi

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This is a great idea! We just need a few more minor changes to go along with it.

First, make all postseason series, including the World Series, single-elimination, one game, winner-take-all. Automatic drama! So much excitement.

Allow unlimited substitutions. All the other sports do it, why not baseball? Why should we have to watch crummy batters just because they are good fielders? 9 DHs, 9 great fielders, and speedy pinch runners anytime anyone gets on base. This would really increase the quality of play, so everyone should be in favor of it. And it'd be exciting for the fans too. Managers could match up individual pitchers for each batter. They could even bring in multiple pitchers for one batter. Everyone loves late game pitching changes and strategic matchups, and it would be much more dramatic.

For player safety, all players should wear helmets and facemasks at all times. You could put the team's logo on the helmets, that would look cool. Batters should wear full body armor as well. This would keep the players safer, and no one can be against player safety.

They should put up goalposts on top of the centerfield fence-- any home run that goes through the goalposts is worth 3 runs. This will make blowout games much more exciting, as a team down 3 runs with 2 outs in the 9th inning can still tie the game with one swing of the bat! And a grand slam through the goalposts would be 6 runs, not just a measly 4. Increased scoring, more drama, that's what everyone wants.

Instead of innings, which are boring, they need to switch to a clock. Each team gets 20 minutes to bat, to try to score as many runs as they can in that time frame. Each team gets 9 timeouts per game. You could have some real rallies that way, with teams getting double digit scores in a single inning. Everyone would love that.

If there's one thing baseball fans love, it's changes to the game and its rules, so no doubt these changes will be popular. Just these few minor tweaks could really change baseball and make it just as exciting as other sports, kind of. The extra teams in the postseason is a good first step.
And let's have a post-season where EVERY TEAM gets in!!! Think of the local fan excitement and revenue!!! Rank each team by win-loss, then put number #1 against # 30 and so on. Single-elimination will just add even more spice to the mix.

Hot diggity!!!
 

bankshot1

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I used to watch a fair amount of college hoops, but with a lot of kids turning pro after their freshman or soph year, I found the quality of the game was suffering. So I found myself watching less and less each year. But i always watched March Madness as it was a pretty good tourney. I've found MLB has also gone through a diminution of sorts, with a lot of "baseball" having been taken out of the game. The games (played by a lot of bad teams) have become 3. 5 hours or more of snippets of play surrounded by boredom. Although I suspect I will probably watch the October tourney and fill out my brackets.
 

scottyno

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I think someone suggested this already, but it would be kind of neat if they really want to do this if they did it the nba play in or the 8 seed this year.

Best of 2 series, both at the higher seeds stadium, higher seed only needs to win 1 of the 2 games to advance. So realistically, that probably makes the higher seed a 4-1 favorite to advance at minimum, so you're still giving teams a lot to play for in the regular season.

Making it a standard best of 3 is dumb if that's what they end up doing going forward.
 

DanoooME

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If they insist on 16 teams, I'd like to see the following for each league:

5 vs. 8 and 6 vs. 7 in 1 game
Winners play 3 and 4 in 3 game series
Winners play 1 and 2 in 5 game series
Winners play each other in 7 game series
World Series is 7 game series

At least then the regular season has some meaning.
 

Green Monster

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If they insist on 16 teams, I'd like to see the following for each league:

5 vs. 8 and 6 vs. 7 in 1 game
Winners play 3 and 4 in 3 game series
Winners play 1 and 2 in 5 game series
Winners play each other in 7 game series
World Series is 7 game series

At least then the regular season has some meaning.
I know the intent is to give the top teams an advantage, but if they needed to wait for two rounds to be completed it might actually work against them. 2007 comes to mind when the Rockies cruised by Arizona in 4 games and then had to wait a week while the Sox/Indians went 7 games. By the time the world series started they had lost all momentum and got swept.
 

Max Power

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Bob Costas is a proponent of expanding to 14 teams, yet making the winning the division more valuable.


“The three division winners get a bye,” Costas said. “Then you play single games — the 1 against the 4 among the wild cards, the 2 against the 3, obviously on the home field of the 1 and the 2. Then the two survivors play on the home field of the higher seed. So, you have to go 2-0 to get out of the wild-card round, even if you won 100 games and finished second behind the team that won 101. Then you enter the Division Series against the team that had the best record among the division winners.”
Such a plan, in Costas’ view, checks all the boxes, giving the league more playoff teams, the networks more elimination games and the teams more incentive to compete for division titles, which in turn should satisfy the union. “It’s a nod to both the modern and the traditional,” Costas said. “You should be subject to a crapshoot if you came in through the side door, even if you won 100 games.”
Costas actually would add another wrinkle, reducing the regular season from 162 to 156 games to create room for the Division Series to expand from a best-of-five to a best-of-seven. He then would reward the teams with the best overall record and hinder the wild-card survivors further by establishing a 2-2-3 format for the 1 vs. 4 series, giving the wild-card team only two home games.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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I am a late adopter of everything so I generally feel as though if I am perceiving something it is tending to reach a critical mass.

Basketball has always been the fourth most significant of the big four to me and if we count soccer globally maybe fifth. Yet I am finding that it is stealing my attention away from baseball pretty significantly right now in terms of attention, clicks, mental energy, everything. Obviously lots of that has to do with the fact that basketball has managed to preserve a compelling season while the pandemic has reduced baseball to a gimmick with bickering millionaire/billionaires.

Still, the social justice issues and the dramatic difference between the acute active listening in the NBA and the tone deafness in MLB is not insignificant to me.

It feels like baseball knows that for many of us the sport is in our blood and is wrapped up with a level of mythology and nostalgia that the others cannot compete with. But they are acting at their peril if they think they can take these things for granted. Once the idea “I can find something else” creeps in to one’s brain it can start to be too late. The core fan base is too old for MLB to be able to assume it will be easy to win us back once it lets us go.
 

jon abbey

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Obviously lots of that has to do with the fact that basketball has managed to preserve a compelling season while the pandemic has reduced baseball to a gimmick with bickering millionaire/billionaires.
Are you a Celtics/Red Sox fan? That would pretty much explain it right there.
 

Joe Sixpack

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Keith Law criticizing this move in The Athletic today:


A few highlights for those that don't have access:

Going forward, however, expanded playoffs would be primarily a money grab, and they risk diluting the regular season as a unique product while simultaneously reducing the value of individual games as broadcast properties in the playoffs. It also prioritizes short-term gain over the long-term financial health of the sport.
If 100 wins doesn’t do much for you but improve your seeding, what is the financial incentive to spend more to get to 100 when we know that the results of playoff series aren’t that far from 50/50, and making your team that much better on paper barely increases your odds of advancing? The answer is probably “very little,” and that would impact the free-agent market at all levels — even at the very top, as teams that typically run huge payrolls would no longer see the return on a $30 million investment in one player as they did under a system where fewer teams made the playoffs, and you could easily win 95 games and go home on Oct. 1.
Expanding the playoffs isn’t one of those easy wins. It will further line the coffers of MLB owners, though. Maybe they’ll use the extra cash to rehire all the scouts and coaches they’ve let go this year. (Narrator: They won’t.)
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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Are you a Celtics/Red Sox fan? That would pretty much explain it right there.
I grew up a Red Sox fan but ambivalent about basketball. But gravitated to the Celtics because I'm a UConn fan, after the Walker thing.
 
Bob Costas is a proponent of expanding to 14 teams, yet making the winning the division more valuable.
So I and Costas came up with almost exactly the same idea independently of each other? Hmmm.

By the by, Australian Rules Football has an interesting playoff format: the top 8 teams make the playoffs, and in the first round it's 1 v 4, 2 v 3, 5 v 8 and 6 v 7. The winners of 1/4 and 2/3 get byes through to the semifinals, and the losers of 1/4 and 2/3 play the winners of 5/6 and 7/8 in the second round, with the winners of those games also reaching the semifinals. I don't think that's practical for baseball, insofar as it's not an advantage to have an entire week off (is it?), but it is an interesting concept, not least because it guarantees higher-profile games in the first week of the playoffs than you'd normally get in other sports.
 

EnochRoot

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You want to generate interest in the sport? Do it regionally.

Blow up the American and National Leagues. Dissolve them and rebuild them as two 'conferences' to exist within MLB. They can retain the American and National League names, if they so desire.

Place one league out west, and one league east. Divvy up the midwestern teams.

So you would have:

American (or National) League:
Northeast: Blue Jays, Mets, Phillies, Red Sox, Yankees
Southeast: Braves, Marlins, Nationals, Orioles, Rays
Ohio Valley: Brewers, Indians, Pirates, Reds, Tigers

National (or American) League:
WestCoast: Angels, Athletics, Dodgers, Giants, Padres
ManifestDestiny: Astros, Diamond Backs, Mariners, Rangers, Rockies
Midwest: Cardinals, Cubs, Royals, Twins, White Sox

Mandate the DH is to be implemented league-wide. Play each team in your division 13 games, and the other teams in your league 8 games. Set it up so that the AL Northeast plays a particular division in the other league, and then rotate out each division annually, 6 games each. That's 162 games.
 

Papelbon's Poutine

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Can we just admit it's boring game that’s not going to translate well to future generations like it did ours and leave it be?

Yeah we all here (and I include myself) love it, but we appreciate the beauty of the game, the nostalgia, the history, etc. We can appreciate a well turned double play, moving a runner over, etc. That's not going to translate to many people today or at least young people. It'd be like trying to get someone into football and focusing your efforts on how the guard pulled or a well run penalty kill in hockey. Bringing someone new into it, baseball is boring; it's slow but not about pitch clocks or breaks between innings, there's very little speed to the game, no contact, no frenzy of a fast break or a kick return. Watching someone stretch a hit by a base and having a close play at the next base or a stolen base are probably the most exciting plays (save a walk off) and they rarely even happen. You aren't getting kids into it unless you start them young and do a really good job of relating it to them to get an appreciation for it as opposed to their cell phone or Xbox. Most of us here come from the time of listening to the game on the radio, it consuming our summers as almost a soundtrack for it; for the excitement of going to the park and seeing guys we read about in the paper or box scores. Maybe I'm just in a somber mood tonight but it's slipping in popularity not because of the playoffs having too many teams or a runner on second for extra innings or the game is too long. It’s boring to the newbie.
 

Humphrey

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When the dust settles on the pandemic/economic crisis, wouldn't be surprised if MLB went to another money grab; i.e. expansion.

At least in this case, it might be a good thing. 32 teams is a much better number (play the interleague games simultaneously, instead of one at a time!), although I'm 100% opposed to a 16 team playoff.
 

Skiponzo

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Can we just admit it's boring game that’s not going to translate well to future generations like it did ours and leave it be?

Yeah we all here (and I include myself) love it, but we appreciate the beauty of the game, the nostalgia, the history, etc. We can appreciate a well turned double play, moving a runner over, etc. That's not going to translate to many people today or at least young people. It'd be like trying to get someone into football and focusing your efforts on how the guard pulled or a well run penalty kill in hockey. Bringing someone new into it, baseball is boring; it's slow but not about pitch clocks or breaks between innings, there's very little speed to the game, no contact, no frenzy of a fast break or a kick return. Watching someone stretch a hit by a base and having a close play at the next base or a stolen base are probably the most exciting plays (save a walk off) and they rarely even happen. You aren't getting kids into it unless you start them young and do a really good job of relating it to them to get an appreciation for it as opposed to their cell phone or Xbox. Most of us here come from the time of listening to the game on the radio, it consuming our summers as almost a soundtrack for it; for the excitement of going to the park and seeing guys we read about in the paper or box scores. Maybe I'm just in a somber mood tonight but it's slipping in popularity not because of the playoffs having too many teams or a runner on second for extra innings or the game is too long. It’s boring to the newbie.
Maybe I'm somber as well but this rings true to me. I've got 2 boys and one is really into baseball. Been playing since he was 4 (now 14), travel team kid, pitcher/outfielder, talks the game, has read some books like Jackie Robinson biography.The kid loves baseball and will watch...a little. I don't think he's ever watched an entire game despite his love for baseball. He'll watch YouTube videos of plays or big moments in the sports history but the game is just too slow for this generation. It's really a bummer because, like most of us on this site, I love the game myself, but I can see a day it becomes first a niche sport then...what? No baseball? Perish the thought.
 

Mighty Joe Young

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I despise the idea of 16 team playoffs .. we already have too many In anyways .. I’d get rid of the second wild card ..

Why bother playing 162 games just to eliminate half the league ?

I mean, they will do it as the owners think it will generate more revenue .. completely forgetting it cheapens their main product - the regular season. They may be right .. on the other hand it pisses off lots of established fans (like me).

My Red Sox fan interest has been waning - oddly starting in 2018 (due to the surreal nature of that season) .. and I’ve been a rabid fan since 1967 .. I don’t like the way baseball is played now .. a game centred on walks, strikeouts and the occasional home run is boring - not to mention the ridiculous length of games now.
 

Max Power

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How many games did any of us watch all the way through as kids? I was into collecting baseball cards, playing wiffle ball with my friends, reading stories, and sometimes watching some of the games with my dad or grandfather. I followed the game mostly by looking the box scores in the morning before heading out on my paper route. Eventually I started watching all the games and became a season ticket holder. But I don't think anyone comes out of the womb with the attention span to watch an entire game of any professional sport.
 

Philip Jeff Frye

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How many games did any of us watch all the way through as kids? I was into collecting baseball cards, playing wiffle ball with my friends, reading stories, and sometimes watching some of the games with my dad or grandfather. I followed the game mostly by looking the box scores in the morning before heading out on my paper route. Eventually I started watching all the games and became a season ticket holder. But I don't think anyone comes out of the womb with the attention span to watch an entire game of any professional sport.
This was my now 21 year old son's experience. When he was little basically until the middle of high school he loved playing sports, learning about sports, deciding so-and-so was his favorite player, gets jerseys and hats, etc... He would really enjoy the few times a year we went to a game in person. But he never really wanted to sit down and watch a game in TV until he was maybe 16 or 17. Now he watches a fair bit. Not sure what changed.
 

Jungleland

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Can we just admit it's boring game that’s not going to translate well to future generations like it did ours and leave it be?

Yeah we all here (and I include myself) love it, but we appreciate the beauty of the game, the nostalgia, the history, etc. We can appreciate a well turned double play, moving a runner over, etc. That's not going to translate to many people today or at least young people. It'd be like trying to get someone into football and focusing your efforts on how the guard pulled or a well run penalty kill in hockey. Bringing someone new into it, baseball is boring; it's slow but not about pitch clocks or breaks between innings, there's very little speed to the game, no contact, no frenzy of a fast break or a kick return. Watching someone stretch a hit by a base and having a close play at the next base or a stolen base are probably the most exciting plays (save a walk off) and they rarely even happen. You aren't getting kids into it unless you start them young and do a really good job of relating it to them to get an appreciation for it as opposed to their cell phone or Xbox. Most of us here come from the time of listening to the game on the radio, it consuming our summers as almost a soundtrack for it; for the excitement of going to the park and seeing guys we read about in the paper or box scores. Maybe I'm just in a somber mood tonight but it's slipping in popularity not because of the playoffs having too many teams or a runner on second for extra innings or the game is too long. It’s boring to the newbie.
I partially agree with this, but for it to be outright true I think it bodes poorly for all sports and I'm not sure I buy that.

I'm 31, for certain out of touch with Gen Z but not entirely unlike them, either. Plenty of my childhood was spent opting for video games over going outside, talking on AIM (the true forebear of modern day phone interaction) with friends over watching games on tv. Hell I have a major attention span issue and minor cell phone addiction to this day. Baseball might be marginally slower than other sports, but if video games and phones are going to kill baseball they're going to kill the NFL and NHL in time, too. Basketball is more nonstop action, but the NBA has its own viewership issues does it not?

All this is to say, if there's concern over baseball being too boring, making the regular season meaningless for all intents and purposes is not going to help. I don't get the sense you necessarily disagree with that outright, but I do think in the long run that poses as big a thread to the sport as the changing interests of US youth. If distraction is a concern, October has way, way too much of it to be the only interesting month of the whole season.
 

EnochRoot

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Strikeouts, walks and home runs make for an unwatchable sport. They can make the playoffs longer and I guess more robust, but until the ball gets put into play and batting averages start to climb again, I doubt it matters much.
 

CarolinaBeerGuy

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Strikeouts, walks and home runs make for an unwatchable sport. They can make the playoffs longer and I guess more robust, but until the ball gets put into play and batting averages start to climb again, I doubt it matters much.
Overall, batting averages aren't out of line with historical rates. I agree with you that the 3 true outcomes is making the sport nearly unwatchable. It doesn't help that it's 3-4 hours of the same 3 things.

 

Captaincoop

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Overall, batting averages aren't out of line with historical rates. I agree with you that the 3 true outcomes is making the sport nearly unwatchable. It doesn't help that it's 3-4 hours of the same 3 things.

It's not just that you see the same couple of outcomes, it's that the part of the game that happens less now - balls in play, guys running the bases and fielders making plays - was the exciting part to watch.
 

Salem's Lot

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The single most important issue that makes the sport hard to watch is the time between pitches. Until they fix that, everything else is just window dressing.
 

Rovin Romine

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Two hour and thirty minute games seem like they'd help, instead of the recent 3 hour average.

Strikeouts, walks and home runs make for an unwatchable sport. They can make the playoffs longer and I guess more robust, but until the ball gets put into play and batting averages start to climb again, I doubt it matters much.
I think strikeouts and homeruns make the game very watchable. It's what comes between them that's often time-consuming.

Maybe we'd see brisker ball-in-play games if the strike zone/mound was altered to favor the pitcher again; pitchers would have more of an incentive to be somewhere in the zone for three pitches per batter without the risk of getting hammered for it. Batters would have more of an incentive to go after a hittable but less than ideal pitch as they have more space to defend and are at greater risk of a K.
 

EnochRoot

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Two hour and thirty minute games seem like they'd help, instead of the recent 3 hour average.



I think strikeouts and homeruns make the game very watchable. It's what comes between them that's often time-consuming.

Maybe we'd see brisker ball-in-play games if the strike zone/mound was altered to favor the pitcher again; pitchers would have more of an incentive to be somewhere in the zone for three pitches per batter without the risk of getting hammered for it. Batters would have more of an incentive to go after a hittable but less than ideal pitch as they have more space to defend and are at greater risk of a K.
The question to ask is why is the league consistently shattering its own home run and strikeout records. Frankly, I look at the shift. The response to it has been launch angles and exit velocities, and to rethink that strikeouts aren’t so bad after all. These are the problems the game must fix, but the purist’s response has been to get up in arms about the number of teams admitted to the postseason. People are upset at the wrong things, IMO.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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I honestly wouldn't mind the 16 team playoffs if they reduced the regular season to 150 games and didn't play the same goddamned teams. The whole "horse-race" is already diluted because of playing the same 4 other teams so much..... I hate the 5 team divisions and can't stand that division winners are often weaker than teams that get bumped out of playoff contention. The 16 team playoffs would at least address this somewhat.

My preference (likely never happen) would be to make MLB into an East/West conference each just with 15 teams.... or two divisions, one with 8, one with 7 in each. I just can't stand playing the Yankees, Rays, etc... so many freaking times! Anything other than the current 5 team divisions!!!
 

EnochRoot

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I honestly wouldn't mind the 16 team playoffs if they reduced the regular season to 150 games and didn't play the same goddamned teams. The whole "horse-race" is already diluted because of playing the same 4 other teams so much..... I hate the 5 team divisions and can't stand that division winners are often weaker than teams that get bumped out of playoff contention. The 16 team playoffs would at least address this somewhat.

My preference (likely never happen) would be to make MLB into an East/West conference each just with 15 teams.... or two divisions, one with 8, one with 7 in each. I just can't stand playing the Yankees, Rays, etc... so many freaking times! Anything other than the current 5 team divisions!!!
See Post #69. I agree completely, btw. I’d add that the two leagues are stretched too thin. Make the West one league, and the East the other. Let’s get tribal/regional.
 

Earthbound64

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How many games did any of us watch all the way through as kids?
Every one of them, except when they ran too late - thanks Baseball for horrible start times.

Preemptive note: People seem to use that sort of statement either way - whether you watch more Baseball or less, either way somehow it's an indication of doom and gloom.
 

Papelbon's Poutine

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How many games did any of us watch all the way through as kids? I was into collecting baseball cards, playing wiffle ball with my friends, reading stories, and sometimes watching some of the games with my dad or grandfather. I followed the game mostly by looking the box scores in the morning before heading out on my paper route. Eventually I started watching all the games and became a season ticket holder. But I don't think anyone comes out of the womb with the attention span to watch an entire game of any professional sport.
Yeah, I strongly disagree with this. Any pro sports game? My dad wasn't even particularly a huge sports guy when I was young, it really wasn’t until we left the house and he needed something to kind of fill the void as work slowed down nearing retirement age and the nest was empty. When we were kids, we went to the Big East tournament every year but that was more him seeing friends (he had a few through networks that were announcers or writers) and hanging out for about weekend and drinking and smoking cigars. He couldn’t tell you how a game went. Now I go over and he watches everything, all four local teams, golf, shit he even got into NASCAR. Way more than I do now.
My brother and I loved sports from a very early age and digested everything we could get. We watched every game on tv, our teams or not, every sport, wire to wire. When we were little and shared a room, when I couldn’t sleep I’d crawl into his bed and we played a game where we’d pick a team, let’s say the Sox, and we’d ‘draw’ a uniform number on the others back and you had to know the player. Then we’d do the other teams. The only time we ever laid a hand on each other as kids was fighting over the Sunday Goobe sports page - I think I was 8 or 9, so he 13/14 and I punched him in the face because he had it too long.

If a kid can’t sit through a two hour basketball game at age 10 it’s not inherent.
This was my now 21 year old son's experience. When he was little basically until the middle of high school he loved playing sports, learning about sports, deciding so-and-so was his favorite player, gets jerseys and hats, etc... He would really enjoy the few times a year we went to a game in person. But he never really wanted to sit down and watch a game in TV until he was maybe 16 or 17. Now he watches a fair bit. Not sure what changed.
Probably puberty.

I partially agree with this, but for it to be outright true I think it bodes poorly for all sports and I'm not sure I buy that.

I'm 31, for certain out of touch with Gen Z but not entirely unlike them, either. Plenty of my childhood was spent opting for video games over going outside, talking on AIM (the true forebear of modern day phone interaction) with friends over watching games on tv. Hell I have a major attention span issue and minor cell phone addiction to this day. Baseball might be marginally slower than other sports, but if video games and phones are going to kill baseball they're going to kill the NFL and NHL in time, too. Basketball is more nonstop action, but the NBA has its own viewership issues does it not?

All this is to say, if there's concern over baseball being too boring, making the regular season meaningless for all intents and purposes is not going to help. I don't get the sense you necessarily disagree with that outright, but I do think in the long run that poses as big a thread to the sport as the changing interests of US youth. If distraction is a concern, October has way, way too much of it to be the only interesting month of the whole season.
It doesn’t bode poorly for all sports because the point is they aren’t I here toy equal in appeal. The generational dilineations don’t mean much here, simply that how kids interact with the world and sports and news, etc has changed dramatically and rapidly. I’m 40. When I was 20 I got my first cell phone. There was no smart phone, there was no texting, it was a flip Nokia and I used it probably twice a month. Ten years later I didn’t call anyone, my computer was basically obsolete and fuck picking up a newspaper to check a score, let alone a box score. Now start that at age 10 instead of 30. I fully admit myself I hardly watch So. Games anymore because, yes, they’re boring, they’re on everyday and I don’t have the energy to invest when I can find out what I need to know in three clicks and four mins of reading. But...get me down to a Pats game, I’m watching every snap. Only 16-20 of those. Celts/Bruins, important game or playoffs, Yep. 162 fucking nights to devote - be it a 4.5 hour BOS/NYY old school game or a 2 hour masterpiece by Maddux in 87 pitches, not a chance in hell. It might be on in the background but sitting down? Who the hell has time for that? But we expect tricky rules and shaving 3 minutes off to enrapture kids? Lol ok.
The single most important issue that makes the sport hard to watch is the time between pitches. Until they fix that, everything else is just window dressing.
To each their own but you’re talking about seconds. As someone noted it’s become a game of three true outcomes. Walk, HR, K. No one is tuning out because the pitcher took 17 seconds as opposed to 13 seconds to throw a pitch. It’s because it’s either a boring outcome or station to station. Get the eff out of here with pitch clocks, that’s not killing the game. Seeing a guy walk on six pitches or strike out is boring. Seeing a guy roll over on one and weakly ground out to third is boring. Cans of corn are boring. Watching a team build a threat, manufacture a run, take a base, move a guy over, bunt (gasp!) wear a pitcher down that shit is fun to watch. It just doesn’t exist anymore.
 

grimshaw

the new rudy
SoSH Member
May 16, 2007
3,497
Portland
I don't mind the concept of expanded playoffs in general from the perspective that baseball needs renewed fan interest and ratings. I'm sure (big if) both sides agree to continue with them, major tweaks will be made to the format.

I hated the idea of a ghosty on 2nd to start extras, but have to admit I'm not missing being bleary eyed in the morning. I'll get used to the inevitably of additional playoff teams.
 

Mighty Joe Young

The North remembers
Silver Supporter
SoSH Member
Sep 14, 2002
5,522
Halifax, Nova Scotia , Canada
The baseball-reference is very illuminating.

The last season with a 2:30 average game was 1978. It’s now up to 3:07 .. 37 minutes longer.

So what accounts for this increased time ? Plate appearances per game you say ? All those extra runs means more batters per game?
1978: 75.7
2020: 74.1
Nope

Pitches per plate appearance .. the data only goes back to 1999 .. with another data point from 1991. This has consistently been rising since 1999. If you extrapolate backwards (with the 1991 data point being consistent with this trend) you would end up around 3:54 ..so
1978: 3.54
2020: 3.96
So - roughly .4 pitches per PA .. which is around 30 extra pitches per game.

How about pitching changes ?
1978 : 2.4
2020: 4.48
So a couple more pitching changes

So,.. any conclusions to be had? What accounts for that extra 37 minutes? The two extra pitching changes probably adds 5-6 minutes maximum. The extra 30 pitches @ 15 seconds per pitch (probably a conservative estimate ) .. maybe another 7-8 minutes. All and all maybe 15 minutes in total ..

The remaining 20 minutes has to be due to more commercial breaks (.?) or the length of time between pitches. Seems pretty obvious to me.

You combine this dead time with the generally unattractive nature of the product on the field and you get the current state of things.

How to fix the pace of play?
- no step outs
- pitch clock ( 15 seconds) after a month it will be a non issue
- fewer pitching changes (already being attempted)

How to fix the “style“ of play .. trickier ..
- IMO the whole launch angle revolution is due to the juiced ball and the shift . To defeat the shift you hit the ball in the air. Because the ball is juiced it goes farther .. reinforcing the decision to hit the ball in the air. Take and Rake also reinforces this philosophy.. Strikeouts actually are a better outcome , from a sabermetric point of view, than ground balls (which can be double plays). Walks are good. So - while effective strategy - it creates long and tedious games.

- Un juice the ball
- ban the shift ( I hate, hate , hate this idea.. but it may be necessary)
 

Red(s)HawksFan

Well-Known Member
Silver Supporter
SoSH Member
Jan 23, 2009
12,668
Maine
The baseball-reference is very illuminating.

The last season with a 2:30 average game was 1978. It’s now up to 3:07 .. 37 minutes longer.

So what accounts for this increased time ? Plate appearances per game you say ? All those extra runs means more batters per game?
1978: 75.7
2020: 74.1
Nope

Pitches per plate appearance .. the data only goes back to 1999 .. with another data point from 1991. This has consistently been rising since 1999. If you extrapolate backwards (with the 1991 data point being consistent with this trend) you would end up around 3:54 ..so
1978: 3.54
2020: 3.96
So - roughly .4 pitches per PA .. which is around 30 extra pitches per game.

How about pitching changes ?
1978 : 2.4
2020: 4.48
So a couple more pitching changes

So,.. any conclusions to be had? What accounts for that extra 37 minutes? The two extra pitching changes probably adds 5-6 minutes maximum. The extra 30 pitches @ 15 seconds per pitch (probably a conservative estimate ) .. maybe another 7-8 minutes. All and all maybe 15 minutes in total ..

The remaining 20 minutes has to be due to more commercial breaks (.?) or the length of time between pitches. Seems pretty obvious to me.

You combine this dead time with the generally unattractive nature of the product on the field and you get the current state of things.

How to fix the pace of play?
- no step outs
- pitch clock ( 15 seconds) after a month it will be a non issue
- fewer pitching changes (already being attempted)

How to fix the “style“ of play .. trickier ..
- IMO the whole launch angle revolution is due to the juiced ball and the shift . To defeat the shift you hit the ball in the air. Because the ball is juiced it goes farther .. reinforcing the decision to hit the ball in the air. Take and Rake also reinforces this philosophy.. Strikeouts actually are a better outcome , from a sabermetric point of view, than ground balls (which can be double plays). Walks are good. So - while effective strategy - it creates long and tedious games.

- Un juice the ball
- ban the shift ( I hate, hate , hate this idea.. but it may be necessary)
The length of game problem is about 95% the pace at which players operate. SB Nation had an article comparing a game from 2014 to a game from 1984 to try to isolate why a game with similar pitch counts, hits, runs, etc would have a 35-40 minute difference in length. The conclusion was players are slower now than they were. I call it preening for the cameras. 30+ years ago, you didn't have many players stepping out of the box after every pitch to adjust their batting gloves (or spitting in them) or helmets or armor, or whatever. Pitchers were getting the ball and immediately ready to throw the next pitch. No one was concerned about how much face time they were getting during the broadcasts. The more fiddling the hitters and pitchers do, the more chances for the cameras to get them in a close up.

I don't see a way to fix that short of blurring faces Black Mirror-style so they're all anonymous rather than marketable products.
 

Mighty Joe Young

The North remembers
Silver Supporter
SoSH Member
Sep 14, 2002
5,522
Halifax, Nova Scotia , Canada
The length of game problem is about 95% the pace at which players operate. SB Nation had an article comparing a game from 2014 to a game from 1984 to try to isolate why a game with similar pitch counts, hits, runs, etc would have a 35-40 minute difference in length. The conclusion was players are slower now than they were. I call it preening for the cameras. 30+ years ago, you didn't have many players stepping out of the box after every pitch to adjust their batting gloves (or spitting in them) or helmets or armor, or whatever. Pitchers were getting the ball and immediately ready to throw the next pitch. No one was concerned about how much face time they were getting during the broadcasts. The more fiddling the hitters and pitchers do, the more chances for the cameras to get them in a close up.

I don't see a way to fix that short of blurring faces Black Mirror-style so they're all anonymous rather than marketable products.
I remember that article and I agreed with it’s conclusions .. don’t let them step out .. if they do then the pitcher can deliver the pitch anyways. Batters will stop doing it when they see grooved fastballs for called strike three while they are adjusting their batting gloves.
 

VORP Speed

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 23, 2010
4,964
Ground Zero
This is the way to fix the pace of play: post hoc discipline.

Step 1: review old games and come up with some means and standard deviations for time between pitches and time to get back into box to hit when the game was played at a better pace. Use these to establish guidelines.
Step 2: use the vast digital resources of MLB to analyze every game and track, on average, how long a pitcher takes between pitches and a batter takes to get back into the box over a reasonable sample size (50 PAs? 200 pitches?). The analytics team can throw out anomalous events.
Step 3: if someone’s average is too high, they get a suspension. Starts out short, suspension goes up for repeat offenses.

Run the system for half a season and let everyone know where they stand before you start enforcing any discipline.

Behavior will change and the problem will be solved without needing to intervene in the games directly. It also avoids weird situations like a game being decided by a pitch clock violation or a batter getting punched out because he had a bug in his eye.

It’s a long-run problem, it needs a long-run solution.
 

Earthbound64

Well-Known Member
Gold Supporter
SoSH Member
The conclusion was players are slower now than they were. I call it preening for the cameras. 30+ years ago, you didn't have many players stepping out of the box after every pitch to adjust their batting gloves (or spitting in them) or helmets or armor, or whatever. Pitchers were getting the ball and immediately ready to throw the next pitch. No one was concerned about how much face time they were getting during the broadcasts
[Insert picture of Derek Jeter in the batter's box, holding up his hand to let everyone know to hold on until he said so]
 

nvalvo

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 16, 2005
17,535
Rogers Park
This is the way to fix the pace of play: post hoc discipline.

Step 1: review old games and come up with some means and standard deviations for time between pitches and time to get back into box to hit when the game was played at a better pace. Use these to establish guidelines.
Step 2: use the vast digital resources of MLB to analyze every game and track, on average, how long a pitcher takes between pitches and a batter takes to get back into the box over a reasonable sample size (50 PAs? 200 pitches?). The analytics team can throw out anomalous events.
Step 3: if someone’s average is too high, they get a suspension. Starts out short, suspension goes up for repeat offenses.

Run the system for half a season and let everyone know where they stand before you start enforcing any discipline.

Behavior will change and the problem will be solved without needing to intervene in the games directly. It also avoids weird situations like a game being decided by a pitch clock violation or a batter getting punched out because he had a bug in his eye.

It’s a long-run problem, it needs a long-run solution.
This is an amazing idea. Obviously, as you mention, you need to have PBP guys tagging delays that are due to broken bats or fans throwing beach balls onto the field, but it is a flexible system. It puts the players on a budget.
 

Philip Jeff Frye

Member
SoSH Member
Oct 23, 2001
7,461
So as we enter the last week of the season, can you all just feel the excitement building for the crazy scramble to reach the post-season!?

Because I sure can't.

Part of it is this season being kind of a lark anyway, a lot of it is the NBA playoffs, Stanley Cup, NFL returning, etc... at the same time. Certainly the Red Sox being historically terrible has reduced my overall interest in baseball this year. Also, there apparently is no crazy scramble to make the playoffs in the AL. Barring some epic collapse, it looks like the eight teams are pretty well set.

But it looks like there ought to be some buzz about the NL, with 1.5 games separating teams 5 through 10. But I have not seen much interest. I have some good friends who are Cardinals fans and Brewers fans, and none of them haven been talking about the race. Am I just not paying enough attention? Or do fans of these .500 teams know that there's really not much point to making the post season as a mediocrity?

Its not a season about which one should probably draw conclusions, but I can't see how this bodes well for Manfred's plan.
 
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jaytftwofive

lurker
Jan 20, 2013
625
Drexel Hill Pa.
It will be like the NHL. Though that setup has gotten better in the 80's and 90's you would have teams like the Blues with one of the best records in the league lose to the Rangers who were under .500. Baseball was the one sport where the regular season counts. I don't even like the Wild Card(s) I liked it better with 2 div. winners and that's it. So sad!