Thursday, January 21, 2016

The World is Going to Hell

You read about it every day in the paper.  Terrorism, global warming, asshole republicans, and now this.

"Adding the DH to NL would bring a number of benefits to the game, though: It would increase offense, since many pitchers are looked as easy outs (the Zack Greinkes and Madison Bumgarners of the world notwithstanding) and that's something that would benefit baseball overall, since fans like offense."   Fans like offense.  There it is, the simplemindedness that is in charge of our national pastime.  So those 45 - 28 run baseball games?  Fans must absolutely love those.  This is the crappy, fuzzy, illogical thinking that threatens the sport, and with it, America.  Baseball is packing them in a deriving record revenues.  MLB, who apparently already thinks the game it too long (although it means more time for fans to spend money and watch commercials), now wants to slow it down.  So Adam Wainwright tore his achilles tendon running to first?  Why not carry him to the mound and back and let him forego fielding grounders?  More offense, if that is what the effect is, will make the game longer.  I find American League baseball more boring in that where you are in a line up is really irrelevant.  Once you start a game, if you have all hitters then there is no point to putting your weaker hitters towards the end of the batting order.  It just doesn't matter anymore.  If baseball wants fans, making the game simpler isn't going to help - it will just lose those nerdy kids who love everything about the game and want to discuss it for hours.  Kids like we used to be before we all grew into nerdy adults.  I know that pitchers make outs.  But the worst thing in the world is to bloat up your roster with fat, old guys and watch them swing for the fences.  I can go to the park and watch senior league softball for free if I want that.  The honeymoon's over.  Fire Rob Manfred NOW!


Ron said...

100% agree - I am disturbed by this development.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Of course NL baseball is superior. But there's the rub, eh? "NL" baseball. All other forms of baseball use the DH. It seems inevitable to me. Sure, I'd like to hang on as long as possible, but I think I gave in to the notion of the DH infecting the NL some time ago. That is, I went through the grieving process already. I have found acceptance, and made my peace with Satan, His Minions, and The Forces of Darkness.

Pitchers and catchers report February 17th!


M.C. O'Connor said...

One consequence of universal DH would be no more need for AL and NL. One big happy ML for all 30 teams! Doesn't that bring joy to your hearts? (insert sarcasm emoji here)

nomisnala said...

I am very upset by the development of bringing to DH to the N.L. I am a big giants fan, and a big N.L. baseball fan. I can hardly watch the A.L. and I distinctively hate the imbalance that interleague games force on the schedule. No DL in the NL, and stop interleague baseball. Babe Ruth must be rolling over in his grave. If pitchers couldn't hit, he may never have been discovered as a great hitter.

M.C. O'Connor said...

So after all that fuss and bother Cespedes stays in NYC but only for three years. At $25M AAV that's a spendy player, but for three years it's not such a huge risk. Sheesh, talk talk talk talk talk and this is the result? Boring. Anyway, I didn't really care as long as he didn't wind up on the Dodgers or D-Backs!

Ron said...

Sports-wise, yesterday was a lovely day. I watched Chelsea upset Arsenal in the morning, & my afternoon / evening was filled with glimpses of 3 baseball games, thanks to Latin American Sports Channel:

- Santurce v. Mayaguez in the Liga Roberto Clemente de Puerto Rico (yes, I saw Jonathan Sanchez sitting in the Mayaguez dugout!).

- Mexicali v. Mazatlan in the Liga del Pacifico de Mexico, with various former big leaguers on display, most notably Yuniesky Betancourt. Mazatlan now leads, 3 games to 1, in the Championship Series. The winner goes to the Serie del Caribe, starting on Feb. 1.

- Industriales v. Holguin in the Serie Nacional de Cuba. Watching the Cuban league games is always super-fun - I love the baritone-voiced color commentator.

All of this, plus a lovely dinner with my Wife at an Italian Restaurant in Portland we had never tried.

carmot said...

Hey all, long time... Yeah, I'm with y'all. I think we all recognize that offense is down. So, following that train of thought, uhhh... Doesn't that fall upon players? Only 20 players last season hit 30+ HR? Only 13 had 100+ RBI? So, how would getting an aging Carlos Lee or Manny Ramirez back into MLB solve ANYTHING??? Oh puh-leeze. Its not like we have a preponderance of sluggers who don't currently hold roster spots. Just the opposite, in fact.

Maybe if MLB didn't disincentivize athletes due to their minor league "system." Uh, making less than minimum wage. Paying foreign amateurs (pros) more than domestic amateurs. I mean Cubans and Japanese nd others. I mean Lucius Fox going through the IFA draft by returning to the Bahamas. Not his fault, it's the current system.

Via ESPN, the 8th best DH last season (min. 300 AB) = 0.2 WAR:
Jimmy Paredes: .275 avg/.310 obp/.416 slg/.726 ops. 10 HR/42 RBI, 19 BB/111 SO.

Clearly we DO NOT have 15 MORE DH's that would help "improve" baseball, nor make it any more fun for me to watch. Just my opinion. Cheers.

obsessivegiantscompulsive said...

Well, the lineup still matters: the guys at the end gets less PA on average than the guys up top, and thus you still want high OBP up top and hitters in the middle.

I will also pass on the good news that Manfred said that that was just a thought exercise, that the MLB is not close to changing the NL to DH, he was just answering the hypothetical question posed to him as a thought exercise.

I'm against the DH as it is now. Either go whole hog for the whole lineup, all DH, follow the NFL, or keep things as is in the NL. But the players union would be against elimination so the only way to get such a change would be to expand the 25-man roster to at least 28, I have seen the suggestion, but I think that won't be enough, maybe 30?

If people want more offense, reduce the strike zone, like they are considering right now, or juice the ball, which some suspect happened from 1993 to 2007, because if steroids was the cause of that era, then an S-curve adoption would have caused a long term rise in offense, not the binary on-off that happened in 1993-94. Or drop the mound like they did after 1968.

M.C. O'Connor said...

I've thought for a long time that they should call a rule book strike zone. At first, this will give advantage to the pitchers, but hitters will adapt and swing more. Thus, more balls in play. I think baseball doesn't need "more offense" but more balls in play. Kind of like World Cup soccer doesn't need more goals so much as more action, i.e. legitimate chances at a goal. All that noodling around in the middle of the field is what kills the excitement. In baseball, making the fielders work and the runners run would improve the sense of action for the fan. Fewer whiffs and walks, more contact. This would force teams to employ guys who can hit to all fields and who can run well. And it would increase the emphasis on defense, requiring fielders to be smarter and more athletic. Then the home run (and the strikeout) would have more drama. I know that's only a half-assed notion, and not clearly thought out, but it's MY half-assed notion and I'm sticking with it! :-)

And I agree with carmot that the CBA should address minor league pay and move some of the millions from the ML game to the lower levels. They are professionals, after all. This would improve the quality of play and bring more fans to the smaller venues. And I detest the use of amateur sports as farm teams for pro leagues. The NCAA is, in my view, wholly corrupt. School sports should be for school kids and not generate billions for assholes in suits. Pro sports should be required to "raise" their own talent in their own leagues and not rely on outside entities like colleges to do it for them. (Major M.C. pet peeve rant, sorry!)

The DH is a red herring. It won't change things enough to make the game more interesting to the non-fan and it won't bring more people to the park. Almost all the baseball played in the world uses the DH already so it's not like it is some revolutionary new idea, just another minor tweak. Like I said earlier I prefer non-DH ball, but I also prefer my LPs and CDs to digital downloads. And no one gives a shit about my anachronistic tastes! I used to think about the DH a lot more, and I used to think that DH-ball was significantly worse than it really is, now I'm not so bothered. I would like to point out, just for fun, that Madison Bumgarner may be a total stud in all departments but he is 0-22 with 13 K in his three post-seasons!

Zo said...

Making the strike zone smaller is another boneheaded idea. I have stated and still believe that we have seen the sunset of an era of truly great sluggers and are now seeing an era of truly great pitching. Look at Kershaw, look at what Madison did in the World series and playoffs, look at the year that Greinke put together, look at the fucking Mets' youngsters. Who is it that wants more offense, or is this just become such a oft-repeated mantra that no one questions it?

If you want to make baseball quicker, don't implement things to make it dumber, but longer. It seems like Manfred is trying to make a name for himself. Maybe he only intends to be commissioner for a couple years, and sort of just like Carly Fiorina, doesn't care about the wreckage he leaves behind. In any case, he needs to shut up and go away.

campanari said...

I think there are two issues. One is, how anomalous in the history of baseball is MLB now as to hitting/scoring? Are pitchers getting better or is specialization in the use of pitchers tilting the game away from batters. When I cast an eye over the record of the last 75 years or so, looking at RS, OBP, and BA, I don't see lots of anomaly, though there is a marked change from the so-called PED era, better named the juiced-up ball era. (Since pitchers were as likely to be doped up as batters, I'm not sure why PEDs per se should have warped the hitter/pitcher balance.) But I haven't tried to figure out statistical criteria by which to judge degrees of anomaly.

The other issue is, do fans nowadays, given an accelerated life by modern technology, require a quicker, jazzier kind of baseball? If Ihey do, how does one explain the big bucks ballclubs accumulate, from large numbers of fans but also from advertisers eager to reach the widest, most susceptible audiences? Maybe there is no problem.

As to the strike zone, I vote for literal enforcement of it as written in the rule book, and for the written criteria to be programmed into a the appropriate technological machinery, which would take over calling balls and strikes.

Ron said...

The strike zone is already so tiny & inconsistent - shrinking the strike zone is what they did during the steroid era. It led to horrible baseball & a generally shitting era in the game. Blccch.

Mark said call a 'rule book strike zone' - that is exactly the point. I am so sick of each Umpire having his own personal view of the pitch & his own personal strike zone. It's so bad that Krukow has to give a dissertation on each Umpire's strike zone prior to each game, & no one really needs to hear him prattle on any more than necessary. Why is it OK to enforce every other rule in baseball to the nth degree, but not the most fundamental rule of all?

And, aside from all of that, I love Pitchers' duels - less offense (or, at least, less wanton, HR-dependent offense) makes games more tense & exciting. And, rewarding Teams who value Pitchers who are versatile athletes isn't such a bad thing, either.

M.C. O'Connor said...

I never thought when I was watching "PED Era" baseball that it was inherently shitty. Like anything of sufficient complexity to hold our attention as fans there will be ebb and flow. Sometimes hitters rule, sometimes pitchers. Now we see fielding coming to the fore. (I don't know what "wanton" offense is. Is that what they play in Colorado?)

I like baseball. Sometimes it is 6-5 and sometimes it is 2-1. Both can be great games or shitty games. I've watched enough to know. I like tension and drama and I like impressive displays of skill. Muscling an outside pitch inches off the ground for an oppo-homer to win is exciting. So is spearing a liner to save a run, or making the perfect ground ball DP pitch to end an inning, or blowing one past the slugger to get the whiff. I don't think baseball should be played any particular "way". I want to see it done expertly and with verve and passion. Good teams adapt to the times and play the "way" that works best.

nomisnala said...

Baseball still the best sport by far for intelligent fans. I enjoyed the hitters era, and the pitchers era. Its baseball. Gibson Koufax Marichal, was a great era, but so was the Bonds, McGuire, Sosa era. I like games where hitters yield tough at bats, like Duffy and Panik, who make the pitcher actually have to pitch intelligently. There is no player I would rather see play the game than a 20 something Willie Mays, and that is on both sides of the field. Although Koufax may have been the most dominant pitcher that I have seen, Marichal was the most fun to watch. The game does not need to be shorter or longer, it is nine innings, unless tied, or shorter sometimes if rained out. I would rather go to a baseball game any day, given the choice of baseball, Hockey, Basketball, football, or soccer. (team sports). Other than baseball, I probably would rather watch a great tennis match before watching an entire football, basketball, Hockey, or soccer game.

Ron said...

The steroid era coincided with the tiny strike zone era & the juiced ball era. Therefore, trying to get a called strike resulted in having to pipe a juiced up ball to a juiced up hitter - result lots of runs, particularly driven in by HR's, including many fly balls that would have not left the yard in any other era. That was uninteresting baseball to me. Notably, despite having the game's best Hitter during that period (plus a few of its better Pitchers), the Giants won -0- championships.

Don't forget that I am someone who will spend part of my Winter Sunday afternoon watching Puerto Rican, Mexican, & Cuban baseball - no need for lectures about the beauty of baseball in its many forms. Aside from masterful Pitching, I love 2B's, 3B's, bunts 1B's, & strategy, plus HR's, too. I'm not fond of HR's flying out of the park every which way, or OF's who have to play so deep that multiple poorly hit bloopers fall in during every single game.

But, mostly what I was whining about in my last post was inconsistency, including how every Umpire has a different strike zone or a moving strike zone throughout the game. That drives me nuts, & it must drive Pitchers nuts, too.

Ron said...

I also love great defensive plays, but there are fewer of those possible, when the OF's just have to stand there & watch yet another HR disappear.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Nice piece from Baggs on Timmy.

campanari said...

Bleacher Reports has not only picked the Giants to win the NL West, but also picks them to win the World Series again. We can all relax.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Thank the gods!!

Ron said...

Well, I guess that's that then. Is there any need to watch the games?

M.C. O'Connor said...

Spring comes early according to Punxsutawney Phil. That's good for baseball fans, right? Lousy for skiers, though. I want this winter to last!

I see Kontos avoided arb, what will they do with Belt?