MLB/MLBPA discussing '19/'20 rule changes: Universal DH/no sept callups/3 batter rule

charlieoscar

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Its disheartening, but I suppose not surprising, that baseball is so intent on fundamental changes to the game that don't address the single fundamental reason games are too long - television commercials.
You do realize that even back in the 1870s, it took time for the batting and fielding teams to switch roles?

Until the 1954 season, players left their gloves on the field (obviously after they began using them)--1B/3B in foul territory, OFs by their position, C/P on the dugout roof, middle infielders on the infield grass just off the dirt. Of course, pranks were played: missing gloves, content added, and if I recall correctly from games I watched in the '50s, infielders began bringing their gloves into the dugout and would carry out gloves for people left on base when the sides switched. But they also ran into the dugout and out to the field a bit more speedily than you see today. Say it took a minute to switch sides back when. That adds 17 minutes to a full 9-inning game. In 2018, most games had 2 minutes, 5 seconds for commercial break, which would increase that time by another 18 minutes and 25 seconds. The average full 9-inning game today has about 300 pitches. Knocking 5 seconds off each pitch would reduce games times by 25 minutes.

Since they have already started doing some advertising during innings, they probably could figure out how to cut the between inning commercial time but you are now getting into how much the sponsors will be willing to pay in that case. With the players already getting about 54% of the profits, will the owners be happy if their share goes down? And with large, long-term contracts already signed, how will they cut the players' share?
 

themactavish

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I understand the desire to cut down on pitching changes to speed up the game and perhaps even to help hitters a wee bit, but it isn't hard to imagine a team bringing in a guy who immediately gives up a homer, only to be followed by another one or by a hard shot. It seems cruel to make a team keep a clearly ineffective pitcher out there for yet a third blow, or for that matter, yet another walk (your guy throws 8 pitches all over the place, and you imagine 4 more of the same, or worse).
 

Toe Nash

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Agreed. In such cases I would think teams might feign injury to get a change, and how do you regulate that? Make the pitcher miss the next game when they weren't going to pitch anyway? Make them go on the DL, even though guys leave games with minor injuries and turn out to be fine all the time? That seems really unworkable.
 

Ale Xander

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I love the no call-ups (honestly, I'd keep rosters at 25/26, not even 28) and the 3 minimum batter rule. The pitching change in regular season games mid-innings for me is the most ennui-producing.

I also think they need more lead time for the NL DH. I'm ok with the DH or not, either way, honestly.
 

Mighty Joe Young

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Yes on a pitch clock. After a couple of years it will seem natural

Yes on reducing mound visits.

A resounding No on 3 batter minimum. This is beyond dumb.

A resounding Yes on universal DH. X 2. Any benefits from increased strategy (and even that’s debatable) are more than offset by having to watch pitchers “hit”

No on eliminating September call-ups. But have an “active 25” declared before each game . They will have to exempt full time pitchers from this though due to the inevitable shenanigans.

Yes on 26 man roster. but no restrictions on pitchers on the roster.

No on trade deadline changes. There's no issue with the way it's done now.

No on lowering the mound. I don't like manufactured offense, in anysport.

Yes on 2 sport amateurs being able to sing MLB contracts.

Yes on rewarding low revenue teams who succeed and penalize high revenue teams who tank.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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No on eliminating September call-ups. But have an “active 25” declared before each game . They will have to exempt full time pitchers from this though due to the inevitable shenanigans.
I like the idea of keeping the expanded September rosters but with an active 25, but what shenanigans are we talking about avoiding? The Sox (for example) deactivating Price, Sale, ERod, and Porcello on Eovaldi's start day so they can activate an extra outfielder, an extra infielder and two extra relievers? Big deal. If the option is available to every team, what's the harm?
 

Plympton91

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How would you define 2 sport amateurs though? Would they have to be drafted at a certain level in the other sports system for restraining trade and screwing players out of money?

For stopping the gaming of the starting pitchers in September rosters two limit them to 25 per game, just say that anyone who started the last 5 games of August or pitched 3 or more innings in a game (to avoid the opener ploy) have to be kept on the September roster for the whole month unless they are put on the DL.
 

Awesome Fossum

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I could be wrong, but I think the proposal is just to bring back major league contracts as an option for all draftees, with the impetus being Kyler Murray types. The way it's written is confusing. I at least hope that the proposal isn't actually to incentivize kids to play sports other than baseball.
 

VORP Speed

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A pitch clock would be better implemented on a post hoc basis. Review every game, measure the time between pitches and hand down suspensions or some other discipline if a pitcher’s average time over a certain number of pitches exceeded a certain level. This way you don’t monkey around with the flow of the game or have pitch clock infractions in high leverage spots. It’s a habit thing anyway. Once pitchers started getting a report on their pitch times, the slow ones would adjust.

Any additional roster spots will mean more pitchers and it’s dumb to try to define who is a pitcher. If you do that, it just means the Rays will have a bench full of “1st basemen” who also happen to be LOOGYs and throw 95. You will basically create a new market for two way players. If you wanted to limit endless pitching changes there should be an active roster for each game that is smaller than the overall roster. So you could have 27 on a roster, but let’s say 16 active for any game. Pinch hitters, relievers, you get to decide how to use your subs, but you’d have to be more judicious.
 

Philip Jeff Frye

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You do realize that even back in the 1870s, it took time for the batting and fielding teams to switch roles?
Thanks for pointing that out. I had no idea.

Since they have already started doing some advertising during innings, they probably could figure out how to cut the between inning commercial time but you are now getting into how much the sponsors will be willing to pay in that case. With the players already getting about 54% of the profits, will the owners be happy if their share goes down? And with large, long-term contracts already signed, how will they cut the players' share?
So what does MLB really care about? Manfred & Co. are trying all kinds of gimmicks, some of which would fundamentally alter the game, because they are worried the games are too long, which presumably turns off potential fans and hurts the long term revenues and profits of the owners. The owners are making huge profits right now, particularly under the current CBA. How about they forgo some portion of those profits to pare back some of the commercials, shorten the game and bring back those fans they're apparently worried about losing?

These gimmicks show that they care a lot more about their short term profitability than the long term health of the game and their business.
 
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Max Power

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Thanks for pointing that out. I had no idea.

So what does MLB really care about? Manfred & Co. are trying all kinds of gimmicks, some of which would fundamentally alter the game, because they are worried the games are too long, which presumably turns off potential fans and hurts the long term revenues and profits of the owners. The owners are making huge profits right now, particularly under the current CBA. How about they forgo some portion of those profits to pare back some of the commercials, shorten the game and bring back those fans they're apparently worried about losing?

These gimmicks show that they care a lot more about their short term profitability than the long term health of the game and their business.
They already did shorten the commercial breaks at the start of the 2018 season. They're 2:05 between innings now with a clock at the ballpark. There's a limit to how little time you can take between innings to get in position, strap on the gear, and take a few practice throws to loosen up.

The real problem with game time is the pace of the actual play. Pitchers need to take less time between pitches and hitters need to stay in the box. That's 90% of the problem. Mound visits, commercials, and replay are just distractions.
 

lexrageorge

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I have no issue with limiting mound visits; honestly, players will adapt, and the benefit of mound visits seems marginal in this day and age.

It's past time for a 26 man roster, but there's no real reason to limit the number of pitchers.

Pitch clock is desperately needed; again, players will adapt.

I hate the 3 batter minimum rule. Yeah, I get that pitching changes do take time, but how many mid-inning changes are there in a typical game? They could limit the pitching change time to 2-3 minutes or something like that, which seems more than enough time to get the pitcher out of the pen and throw his 12 warmup tosses.

The September callup issue isn't really a problem that needs to be solved. Neither is the trading deadline.

Glad to see teams and players at least realizing that deliberate tanking is not great for the sport long term and is best nipped in the bud now.
 

drbretto

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I feel like some of these proposed rules are just there to distract people from noticing that they're about to sneak universal DH in almost under the radar. Which is fine by me!
 

charlieoscar

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These gimmicks show that they care a lot more about their short term profitability than the long term health of the game and their business.
The sarcasm in the opening of my last post aside, I did ask if owners would be happy if their share went down. so I do agree with this statement of yours. I don't agree, however, with MLB's gimmicky ways of trying to avoid it happening.
 

Max Power

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I hate the 3 batter minimum rule. Yeah, I get that pitching changes do take time, but how many mid-inning changes are there in a typical game? They could limit the pitching change time to 2-3 minutes or something like that, which seems more than enough time to get the pitcher out of the pen and throw his 12 warmup tosses.
They already do that. There's a 1:45 clock at the ballpark for every pitching change.

It seems like a lot of you guys completely missed the 2018 season. Too bad, it was a really good one for the Red Sox.
 

moondog80

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Moustakis is still a free agent.
Adam Jones is still a free agent.
Harrison is still a free agent.
Mark Reynolds is still a free agent.
It's not impossible, but surely there are teams that are out of money that would have acted differently the past few months had they known about this. Nelson Cruz probably gets some more suitors. I like having the DH in the NL, but you can't announce this in February.
 

geoduck no quahog

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An expanded roster is inherently unfair because every team generally faces unique opponents in September. Maybe the Yankees are facing a couple of no-chance teams who decide to play a bunch of minor leaguers while the Red Sox have more contenders on their schedule - meaning they're playing against big league talent. Perhaps the Astros have an easier schedule than the A's and can rest a bunch of starters in anticipation of October while the A's are playing under a different scheme. There are so many variables in that last month and with that - opportunities for some teams to gain advantage based solely on the luck of the schedule/standings. At least teams know who they'll play in September...what they don't know is what type of roster they'll be facing. Like I said, that's unfair.

I'm torn on the pitching stuff. The traditionalist in me doesn't want to see a rule change but, to be completely honest, there are 2 things that drive me more crazy than anything else:

- Catchers, Coaches and Managers doing the stall to allow a reliever to warm up. Everyone knows what's going on. You see the catcher get out of his crouch and you know this is the first of 2 trips to the mound and it's time to go get a beer. Repeat this several times during a game and it drives me nuts. Same with repeatedly tossing to first*. I'd like to see some sort of rule that rewards smart managers for anticipating events versus being able to simply react to what's going on.

- Pitchers who take road trips around the mound between pitches. I'm not keen on a pitch clock, but we all know the pitchers who receive the ball,start rubbing it up, step off the mound and commune with their heavenly spirit, take a look around, get back on the mound, kick the dirt a few times, clear their cleats and then start thinking about pitching. I'd consider a rule that forces the pitcher to at least stay on the mound between pitches.

*Throwing to a base as a delay tactic: create a rule that states if a runner is in contact with the bag when the pick-off is thrown, it's a balk (or at least the runner gets a base). It becomes part of strategy if a manager knows the opponent's bullpen is behind in warm-ups because the opposing manager wasn't thinking ahead (or wanted to save tosses in case the current pitcher escapes harm). Now one manager just tells the runner on first (let's say Ortiz) to stay on the bag until the pitch is thrown home and there's no way for the pick-offs attempts to become stalling tactics. The gamble is that the runner (on 1st) doesn';t get a huge jump, but that becomes the offense's decision if they think it prevents a (let's say again) LOOGY from coming in.
 

WayneHousieHOF

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Pitch clocks. Intentional walks. No real issue.
But I’m no fan of it tinkering with how the game is played between the lines, and if the game isn’t fast enough for some 20-something in LA then too bad. It’s a great game how it is.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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What really grinds my gears here is batters that set up in the box then back out and call for time. The crazy Nomar ritual shit never bothered me.... but when you step in to the box, you're fucking ready and you shouldn't be able to call time.
 

drbretto

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Well, they're calling time because pitchers are taking forever, too. They compound on top of each other.

I don't think it's fair to take away the batter's ability to call time like that, in case of some kind of external distraction like something in their eye or something, but if they enforce the pitch clock, it should take care of both issues.
 

drbretto

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Well, that's disappointing. I get there are additional factors to weigh and all, but they should just rip off that band-aid and move on.
 
The overwhelming hatred for the 3 hitter minimum proposal is interesting to me, because I like that idea a lot. I find "real-time" baseball excruciatingly slow (I actually took advantage of being in the UK to watch the games last year the following morning at 1.5x speed and nothing, including the Sox success, increased my enjoyment more than that).*

I just don't see a huge problem with it. If your pitcher can't go 3 batters, don't bring him in. If this means pitchers conserving their energies a little and therefore not striking out 50% of batters they face, that's more than fine with me.

You deal with injuries by just allowing the guy to intentionally walk batters to reach the minimum if that's what they need to do. Yes it'll suck if you walk in the winning run because your pitcher hurts himself. But injuries don't happen *that* often, and pitchers allow 3 consecutive base runners all the time anyway without the world ending. The injury risk, for me, is a risk I am overwhelmingly ready to take to avoid the tedium of pitching changes every 5 minutes. Sep and Oct games are particularly painful.

So what specifically is upsetting people here?

A pitch clock is nice, if it's actually enforced properly. Given that tennis - which takes pace of play more seriously imo and has an easier situation in terms of implementing a serve clock - has almost completely failed to speed up the game with a clock, I would be actively surprised if baseball does a good job of it. I hope I'm wrong.

* Side note: This also makes listening to DOB bearable, just.
 

GreenMonsterVsGodzilla

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Am I the only one who loves the idiosyncrasies of baseball ? There are several things on this list that, if eliminated, would materially take away from the enjoyment of the game/season, IMO.

Watchig the NL with no DH is a different experience from watching the AL with a DH, and that’s good. It means that if I turn on a Giants-Dodgers game that I care little about the outcome of, I still get to see the managers plot strategies that are different from games I’m used to. And sometimes a pitcher gets a hit, and it’s cool. And sometimes the Sox play a NL team and we get to debate whether to play Papi at first or not.

September call-ups are fun as well. I get to see Minor Leaguers I’ve been following actually play at the high level. If the team is bad, looking forward to next year when the young studs join the team for real is a nice compensation.

Let’s face it - the action on field in baseball’s boring sometimes. Why are we trying to make the off field aspects of it less interesting ?

I’m in favor of anything that reduces non-playing time during games.
 

dynomite

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The real problem with game time is the pace of the actual play. Pitchers need to take less time between pitches and hitters need to stay in the box. That's 90% of the problem. Mound visits, commercials, and replay are just distractions.
Precisely this. I feel bad reposting, but if I could I would make sure everyone interested in MLB could read this article:

On April 13, 1984, the Mets played the Cubs at Wrigley Field. The home team won, 11-2. Both teams combined to throw 270 pitches. Both teams combined to allow 27 baserunners, and 74 batters came to the plate. There was exactly one mid-inning pitching change.

On April 17, 2014, the Brewers played the Pirates at PNC Park. The home team won, 11-2. Both teams combined to throw 268 pitches. Both teams combined to allow 27 baserunners, and 75 batters came to the plate. There was exactly one mid-inning pitching change.

The game from 1984 lasted two hours and 31 minutes.

The game from 2014 lasted three hours and six minutes.

Our goal is to figure out where the extra 35 minutes came from.
He goes through the games, and although it’s just one game being compared against just one other game (although super fun to remember some of those guys from ‘84), comes up with what seems like an incredibly powerful and obvious answer.

In the 1984 game, there were 70 inaction pitches that were returned to the pitcher and thrown back to the plate within 15 seconds.

In the 2014 game, there were 10.

In the 1984 game, there were 32 balls, called strikes, or swinging strikes that took 20 seconds or more between pitches

In 2014, there were 87 balls, called strikes, or swinging strikes that took 20 seconds or more between pitches.

That’s it. That’s the secret. It isn’t just the commercials. It isn’t just the left-handed pitchers coming in to face one batter...
Full article here: https://www.google.com/amp/www.sbnation.com/a/mlb-2017-season-preview/game-length/amp
 

Dewey'sCannon

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I agree that batters need to stay in the box and pitchers need to stay on the mound to reduce the time between pitches, whether by using a pitch clock or enforcing the current "rules." No need to batters to adjust their batting gloves after every pitch, or for pitchers to take a stroll or use the rosin bag after every pitch.

As for the proposed three-batter minimum, i'd like to try something less drastic first: reduce the allotted time for pitching changes to one minute, including warm-up tosses (or maybe 1:10 if you want to make it easier for a minimal commercial break, although I'd rather keep it to a minute and have them go split screen). if you want more warm ups, then jog or run in from the bullpen, or start use the carts again. And in conjunction with this, incentivize the manager to make the call to the bullpen from the top step of the dugout, saving time for the slow walk to the mound - if they go out, it counts as a mound visit, even if they make a change, if they make the change without crossing the line, then no mound visit. They've already made the call to the bullpen from the dugout phone, so it's just a matter of signaling the ump. let's keep things moving.

On the September call-ups, I'd cap them in the low 30's, but with an active roster of 26-28 for each game.

I also favor the universal DH, with a 26-man roster for the full season.

I'd also be reluctant to move back the mound. I'd rather they adjust the strike zone, or how they call it. Robo-assist for the umpires is long overdue (a device that gives them a signal when the pitch is in the zone). A more consistent strike zone might well speed up play. Maybe see what effect that has before expanding or contracting the strike zone, or moving the mound.
 

Plympton91

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Several people have wondered about the ability to game a change to September call ups that still limited the roster to 25 or 26 for any given game. The problem is that the 4 starting pitchers not scheduled for that game could be left off the roster. One way around that would be to say that if someone is taken off the roster for a game in September that burns an option (the call ups would already have done so, so it doesn’t affect them) and if the player has no options left it exposes them to waivers. Thus, it would keep teams just rotating through the call ups and end of the bench like it’s supposed to.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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Precisely this. I feel bad reposting, but if I could I would make sure everyone interested in MLB could read this article:



He goes through the games, and although it’s just one game being compared against just one other game (although super fun to remember some of those guys from ‘84), comes up with what seems like an incredibly powerful and obvious answer.



Full article here: https://www.google.com/amp/www.sbnation.com/a/mlb-2017-season-preview/game-length/amp
The second part you quoted continues (emphasis in original):

It’s not like every at-bat in the 2014 game was rotten with hitters doing a Nomar Garciaparra impression between pitches, either. It was a marked difference in the modern players doing absolutely nothing of note. The batter taking an extra breath before he steps back in. The pitcher holding the ball for an extra beat.

* * * * The difference between the two games, 30 years apart, was that baseball players are lollygagging more. Or, at least, taking their sweet time to collect their thoughts
I've read this article a dozen of times and it's weird to me that the author says that the players are doing "absolutely nothing of note". Baseball off the field in 2014 is a radically different game than in 1984. Players have a ton more information. In many ways, the stakes are higher - particularly in terms of money and health. In 1984, players just played the game. "See the Ball; Hit the Ball." Today, players - and coaches - have a lot more to think about in terms of tendencies and scouting reports, and positioning and the like. Also, pitchers IMO are generally throwing at max effort for a greater percentage of their outings (relievers certainly are). There are good reasons why players take more time between pitches, and it's not because they are "lollygagging."

And this comes from someone who finds it hard to watch the current baseball product.
 

geoduck no quahog

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Anyone here (presumably in the business) know how the payment for commercials works in sports broadcasting? Specifically, the additional time above and beyond what's contracted and how that's charged. For example, a buyer knows exactly how much time is available between innings (or periods, or timeouts) for a given game. Added to that are (pick one) pitching changes, injury time outs, play reviews, 30-second time outs, and the like.

The advertiser needs to pay for that time, right...money on top of what's already been agreed?
 

Spelunker

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Less time between pitches. Everything else is nibbling around the margins and/or making large changes for very minimal gain. Nothing will fix the experience more- both length and pace- than reducing the time between pitches.

I will never stop being annoyed that they're wasting time on anything else.
 

drbretto

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Am I the only one who loves the idiosyncrasies of baseball ? There are several things on this list that, if eliminated, would materially take away from the enjoyment of the game/season, IMO.

Watchig the NL with no DH is a different experience from watching the AL with a DH, and that’s good. It means that if I turn on a Giants-Dodgers game that I care little about the outcome of, I still get to see the managers plot strategies that are different from games I’m used to. And sometimes a pitcher gets a hit, and it’s cool. And sometimes the Sox play a NL team and we get to debate whether to play Papi at first or not.

September call-ups are fun as well. I get to see Minor Leaguers I’ve been following actually play at the high level. If the team is bad, looking forward to next year when the young studs join the team for real is a nice compensation.

Let’s face it - the action on field in baseball’s boring sometimes. Why are we trying to make the off field aspects of it less interesting ?

I’m in favor of anything that reduces non-playing time during games.
I like the idiosyncrasies and would be perfectly happy with the NL being as special as they want to be if the AL wasn't forced into their rules during the biggest series of the year. Or ever.

This isn't the same argument that it was a couple of decades ago. Pitchers are now so completely specialized that even NL Pitchers don't get enough practice or experience out there, not just to be a competent major league hitter, but also to not get themselves hurt in the process. There's no reason to put a pitcher at the plate, not even in the NL. They do nothing interesting and they get hurt, either at the plate or on the bases, because they are simply not conditioned to be there. They may as well be fans plucked from the stands.

I've heard a bunch of counter proposals for this, but they're all nonsensical and they're all subtraction. I don't like 8 batters. Everything in baseball is 9's and 3's, 8 feels weird. I like the DH. The big side effect of the DH is that some of your favorite hitters have more places to extend their careers. If it's strategy you like, then use that DH slot to rotate your players to keep them healthy. Whatever they want, it's a wild card slot. I can't see that as anything but good for baseball.

The only real argument I see for not implementing the DH in the NL is that people don't like change. I haven't heard anything with real substance. The DH needs to happen, preferably before Chris Sale breaks his wrist in a random interleague game. Edit: Before someone brings up that the DH feels as weird as the 8 batter thing, please don't. The DH has been here for 46 years. It's 10 years older than me. It's in every other aspect of baseball now, too. It's only the NL dragging their feet in the name of tradition and "strategy".
 

jon abbey

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An expanded roster is inherently unfair because every team generally faces unique opponents in September. Maybe the Yankees are facing a couple of no-chance teams who decide to play a bunch of minor leaguers while the Red Sox have more contenders on their schedule - meaning they're playing against big league talent. Perhaps the Astros have an easier schedule than the A's and can rest a bunch of starters in anticipation of October while the A's are playing under a different scheme. There are so many variables in that last month and with that - opportunities for some teams to gain advantage based solely on the luck of the schedule/standings. At least teams know who they'll play in September...what they don't know is what type of roster they'll be facing. Like I said, that's unfair.
People talk about this a lot, but does it actually ever happen? If you could point me to a single game or series like this, in which one team was contending and their playoff seeding was still in doubt and the other one is playing more than a couple of players who wouldn't be on the 25 man roster, I'd appreciate it. Non-contending teams are going to play kids down the stretch either way, it happens in the NBA and they don't expand rosters.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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Edit: Before someone brings up that the DH feels as weird as the 8 batter thing, please don't. The DH has been here for 46 years. It's 10 years older than me. It's in every other aspect of baseball now, too. It's only the NL dragging their feet in the name of tradition and "strategy".
Just FYI, the "8 batter thing," or exempting the pitcher from hitting was first proposed in 1891 and at least one executive thought it was going to pass. Alas, it was voted down 7-5, with two "for" votes ultimately going the other way. https://sabr.org/research/historical-evolution-designated-hitter-rule#footnote4_nl1srht

I would love to see the parallel universe where that rule was approved. No "Curse of the Bambino" I would presume.

I would love seeing the AL play DH and the NL going to 8 batters.
 

Plympton91

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The second part you quoted continues (emphasis in original):

It’s not like every at-bat in the 2014 game was rotten with hitters doing a Nomar Garciaparra impression between pitches, either. It was a marked difference in the modern players doing absolutely nothing of note. The batter taking an extra breath before he steps back in. The pitcher holding the ball for an extra beat.

* * * * The difference between the two games, 30 years apart, was that baseball players are lollygagging more. Or, at least, taking their sweet time to collect their thoughts
I've read this article a dozen of times and it's weird to me that the author says that the players are doing "absolutely nothing of note". Baseball off the field in 2014 is a radically different game than in 1984. Players have a ton more information. In many ways, the stakes are higher - particularly in terms of money and health. In 1984, players just played the game. "See the Ball; Hit the Ball." Today, players - and coaches - have a lot more to think about in terms of tendencies and scouting reports, and positioning and the like. Also, pitchers IMO are generally throwing at max effort for a greater percentage of their outings (relievers certainly are). There are good reasons why players take more time between pitches, and it's not because they are "lollygagging."

And this comes from someone who finds it hard to watch the current baseball product.

This is a good insight, and it makes me even more in favor of a pitch clock and other efforts to speed up play. I want baseball to remain primarily a contest of skills and instinct between players on the field, not become more and more dependent on positioning and pitch sequences dictated by computers in the front office.
 

Plympton91

bubble burster
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Oct 19, 2008
12,408
I like the idiosyncrasies and would be perfectly happy with the NL being as special as they want to be if the AL wasn't forced into their rules during the biggest series of the year. Or ever.

This isn't the same argument that it was a couple of decades ago. Pitchers are now so completely specialized that even NL Pitchers don't get enough practice or experience out there, not just to be a competent major league hitter, but also to not get themselves hurt in the process. There's no reason to put a pitcher at the plate, not even in the NL. They do nothing interesting and they get hurt, either at the plate or on the bases, because they are simply not conditioned to be there. They may as well be fans plucked from the stands.

I've heard a bunch of counter proposals for this, but they're all nonsensical and they're all subtraction. I don't like 8 batters. Everything in baseball is 9's and 3's, 8 feels weird. I like the DH. The big side effect of the DH is that some of your favorite hitters have more places to extend their careers. If it's strategy you like, then use that DH slot to rotate your players to keep them healthy. Whatever they want, it's a wild card slot. I can't see that as anything but good for baseball.

The only real argument I see for not implementing the DH in the NL is that people don't like change. I haven't heard anything with real substance. The DH needs to happen, preferably before Chris Sale breaks his wrist in a random interleague game. Edit: Before someone brings up that the DH feels as weird as the 8 batter thing, please don't. The DH has been here for 46 years. It's 10 years older than me. It's in every other aspect of baseball now, too. It's only the NL dragging their feet in the name of tradition and "strategy".

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uncannymanny

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Gold Supporter
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Jan 12, 2007
7,412
If the NL teams are so enamored with “strategy” let them choose each game whether they want to use the lineup spot for a DH or a pitcher. Prediction: NL teams would quickly stop using their pitchers to hit.
 

nvalvo

Member
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Jul 16, 2005
17,238
Rogers Park
Several people have wondered about the ability to game a change to September call ups that still limited the roster to 25 or 26 for any given game. The problem is that the 4 starting pitchers not scheduled for that game could be left off the roster. One way around that would be to say that if someone is taken off the roster for a game in September that burns an option (the call ups would already have done so, so it doesn’t affect them) and if the player has no options left it exposes them to waivers. Thus, it would keep teams just rotating through the call ups and end of the bench like it’s supposed to.
This is an excellent proposal. It still gives teams some flexibility to work in young players, which is a huge part of what makes late-season baseball fun if you're following, say, the 2014 Boston Red Sox. But it does so without turning games that can effect pennant races into Cactus League contests.

If that's too strict, you could even tweak it to allow someone to be taken off the 25-man roster once without burning an option or being exposed to waivers.
 

Fishercat

Svelte and sexy!
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May 18, 2007
6,265
Manchester, N.H.
The three-hitter rule is also terrible because it's quite likely to counteract the intent of it which is, seemingly, to speed up the game by reducing mound visits/pitching changes. The offense can still pinch hit, setting up a more favorable matchup in additional at-bats and it's also going to lead to lesser pitchers throwing more innings as team's prioritize those who can pitch decently to both sides over one who is very uneven.

It's also quite possible that it leads to more changes than we would have otherwise gotten. It's not too farfetched to imagine a manager still throwing in a loogy for an SP, but just doing it a couple hitters earlier to catch a huge top of the lineup threat as opposed to leaving a reliever or SP in there longer. I am presuming that even if it reduces specialization in relievers we'll just see more if it hitters as GMs favor platoons to take advantage of forced RP outings.
 

jon abbey

Shanghai Warrior
Dope
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Jul 15, 2005
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But it does so without turning games that can effect pennant races into Cactus League contests.
Another request to the board to point out a single example of this ever happening in baseball history, where one team was in a pennant race with their seed unclear and the other was hopelessly out of it and playing multiple guys who would not be on their 25 man roster. Maybe it's happened, but I think it's very infrequent at most.

The only example even close that I can think of is the final day in 2011 when NY used some scrub pitchers late in a game against TB, but that was because they were also in the playoffs a couple days later and did not want to use any more of their actual bullpen. Anyway, that's still pretty different and I don't think would have been altered or avoided by any roster rule changes.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Jan 23, 2009
12,279
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Another request to the board to point out a single example of this ever happening in baseball history, where one team was in a pennant race with their seed unclear and the other was hopelessly out of it and playing multiple guys who would not be on their 25 man roster. Maybe it's happened, but I think it's very infrequent at most.

The only example even close that I can think of is the final day in 2011 when NY used some scrub pitchers late in a game against TB, but that was because they were also in the playoffs a couple days later and did not want to use any more of their actual bullpen. Anyway, that's still pretty different and I don't think would have been altered or avoided by any roster rule changes.
I agree with you that the consternation about the expanded rosters significantly impacting pennant races is overblown. If the concern is a team tanking games with subpar lineups, that goes beyond the expanded rosters I would think. Like teams that trade off a bunch of quality players at the trade deadline and call up prospects and scrubs to finish out the year. The 2014 Red Sox seem like a good example of that, at least as far as their rotation goes.

But absent those kind of wholesale roster changes, September lineups are, at worst, less late-inning Cactus League and more mid-season Sunday getaway day specials...5-6 of their usual starters and 3-4 reserves. I'm not sure there's much way to legislate that out of the game. I think even if they got rid of expanded September rosters, teams that are out of it may work around it by putting some of their regulars on the DL to finish the year. That is, if they're so hell bent on giving kids that much playing time.
 

charlieoscar

Member
Sep 28, 2014
1,339
The pitcher hitting in the NL is even more stupid than it used to be. At no other level of baseball do pitchers hit but in the highest level of the game all of the sudden they do.
The DH is used in Rookie and Single-A ball. In Double- and Triple-A, pitchers may bat if both clubs are National League affiliates. In the Pacific Coast League both teams must be NL affiliates and both must agree to pitchers batting.
 

RedOctober3829

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Jul 19, 2005
44,424
deep inside Guido territory
The DH is used in Rookie and Single-A ball. In Double- and Triple-A, pitchers may bat if both clubs are National League affiliates. In the Pacific Coast League both teams must be NL affiliates and both must agree to pitchers batting.
I mean in youth, high school, and college levels. Most good pitchers only pitch entering HS, so they never hit but if they make the big leagues they all of a sudden have to hit against the best. It makes no sense.
 

Pandarama

lurker
Aug 20, 2018
103
If the NL teams are so enamored with “strategy” let them choose each game whether they want to use the lineup spot for a DH or a pitcher. Prediction: NL teams would quickly stop using their pitchers to hit.
Did you realize that the existing DH rule is already written exactly this way?
 

joe dokes

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 18, 2005
15,644
Less time between pitches. Everything else is nibbling around the margins and/or making large changes for very minimal gain. Nothing will fix the experience more- both length and pace- than reducing the time between pitches.

I will never stop being annoyed that they're wasting time on anything else.
It makes sense. There are 250 pitches in a game.
Make the average just 3 seconds faster and it's more than 10 minutes off the game, with a faster pace.
 

charlieoscar

Member
Sep 28, 2014
1,339
Did you realize that the existing DH rule is already written exactly this way?
Not exactly. First of all, it says in the Foreward that "the rules governs the playing of baseball games by professional teams of Major League Baseball and the leagues that are members of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues."

And it says in Section 5.11 that "Any League may elect to use Rule 5.11(a), which shall be called the Designated Hitter Rule."

Therefore, if a league has not adopted the Designated Hitter Rule, teams in that league cannot just start using the DH. Because each of the minor leagues are made up of affiliates from both Major Leagues, their use of the DH has probably been assigned by MLB.
 

SirPsychoSquints

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Jul 13, 2005
4,638
Charleston, SC
Not exactly. First of all, it says in the Foreward that "the rules governs the playing of baseball games by professional teams of Major League Baseball and the leagues that are members of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues."

And it says in Section 5.11 that "Any League may elect to use Rule 5.11(a), which shall be called the Designated Hitter Rule."

Therefore, if a league has not adopted the Designated Hitter Rule, teams in that league cannot just start using the DH. Because each of the minor leagues are made up of affiliates from both Major Leagues, their use of the DH has probably been assigned by MLB.
He meant the rule, as applied in the AL, already works the way described in that post, not that the NL is allowed to use it.
 

drbretto

guidence counselor
SoSH Member
Apr 10, 2009
9,879
Concord, NH
Just FYI, the "8 batter thing," or exempting the pitcher from hitting was first proposed in 1891 and at least one executive thought it was going to pass. Alas, it was voted down 7-5, with two "for" votes ultimately going the other way. https://sabr.org/research/historical-evolution-designated-hitter-rule#footnote4_nl1srht

I would love to see the parallel universe where that rule was approved. No "Curse of the Bambino" I would presume.

I would love seeing the AL play DH and the NL going to 8 batters.

Interesting trivia, but that doesn't sway me any. It just tells me we should have had the DH on the table in 1891.

Given these two potential options (DH vs 8 batters) I absolutely hate 8 batters. It's just so clumsy. A perfect game right now is perfect, 9 batters bat 3 times each, no overlap. 8 batters breaks up all the symmetry. DH at least adds something to the game. I really just don't see any advantage 8 batters has over the DH. I don't see anything wrong with a wildcard slot for aging sluggers. Either option breaks up the "strategy" aspects of the non-DH thing anyway, but I feel like that adds real depth back into roster construction.

Frank Thomas, David Ortiz and Edgar Martinez spent a lot of time giving the DH position some legitimacy and it's time to make it universal.