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 Post subject: 2015 Baseball Thread
PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2015 7:16 pm 
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Spring training is but a few weeks away. Bud Selig is gone, gone, gone from office. And his replacement wants to do stupid things...

http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/mlb-big-l ... 29801.html

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Commissioner-elect Rob Manfred speak with the media during a news conference at the Major League Baseball owners meeting, Thursday, Jan. 15, 2015, in Phoenix. Manfred succeeds Bud Selig when he retires later this month
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Commissioner-elect Rob Manfred speak with the media during a news conference at the Major League Baseball owners meeting, Thursday, Jan. 15, 2015, in Phoenix. Manfred succeeds Bud Selig when he retires later this month. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

New baseball commissioner Rob Manfred has been in office a little more than 12 hours and he's already making some interesting waves. In an interview that aired on ESPN on Sunday morning, Manfred made it clear that examining the pace of the game is first on his list of priorities, but not far behind will be finding ways to "inject additional offense into the game."

Without being prompted for an example, Manfred specifically mentioned he'd be open to pursuing the elimination of defensive shifts, which he says give the defensive team a competitive advantage.

Defensive shifting is something we've seen implemented more and more in recent years as teams begin to shift — pun most certainly intended — to more sabermetric based research. It's more regularly reserved for strict pull hitters, which in most cases could be identified without a ton of research, but we're also seeing more creative — and even extreme — uses of defensive positioning that go beyond such tendencies. In some ways, it has become as important as pitch selection, which is sometimes influenced by positioning.

How Manfred would go about proposing the change and what his suggested guidelines would be are unclear. He'd almost have to create a specific zone that each defender has to stay within when each pitch is delivered. If that's the case, does that mean we'd see more lines drawn on the field, or is it up to umpire discretion? Can a defender creep in anticipating a bunt, or is that unfair? We'd be opening up a whole new can of worms here.

Those questions aside, Yahoo's Jeff Passan has learned that key figures within the game, including general managers who believe in sabermetrics, are actually open to such changes.

So perhaps the potential change has traction, but we're not entirely sure it's a change fans would get behind. Would more offense be great? Of course it would. Most would agree to that. But fans also enjoy the strategy that goes into the game, and eliminating something like the shift takes away one layer of discussion and second-guessing that we all like to engage in.

Which side of the argument are you on? Do you think the shift belongs in baseball, or would you like to see it banned?

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 Post subject: Re: 2015 Baseball Thread
PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2015 7:17 pm 
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I have no problem with the shift. Baseball is a game of strategy, the shift adds another layer. Have at it.

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 Post subject: Re: 2015 Baseball Thread
PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2015 7:17 pm 
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On another note, anyone have/use MLB.tv? I'm obviously in the Cardinals' market, but I thought about splitting the price w/ my dad and sharing the login info. There is a guy from our hometown that's trying to latch onto the Rangers and it would be awesome to follow him if he did. Plus, getting the At Bat app, plus MLB.tv for essentially 65 bucks seems like a no brainer, right?

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 Post subject: Re: 2015 Baseball Thread
PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2015 7:30 pm 
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glen a richter wrote:
I have no problem with the shift. Baseball is a game of strategy, the shift adds another layer. Have at it.


100% agree. I hate that he wants to do away with it. Why eliminate strategy?

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 Post subject: Re: 2015 Baseball Thread
PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2015 8:27 pm 
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I don't like his idea either. I don't know anything about this guy, but on his first day in office he's talking about micromanaging something that's not causing a problem. I think some teams overdue the shift, but that's a problem for themselves, not one that MLB should be managing.

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 Post subject: Re: 2015 Baseball Thread
PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2015 8:30 pm 
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dmiles2186 wrote:
On another note, anyone have/use MLB.tv? I'm obviously in the Cardinals' market, but I thought about splitting the price w/ my dad and sharing the login info. There is a guy from our hometown that's trying to latch onto the Rangers and it would be awesome to follow him if he did. Plus, getting the At Bat app, plus MLB.tv for essentially 65 bucks seems like a no brainer, right?


I've had access to it in the past. It can be nice, but local blackouts suck. First year I had access, a buddy passed on a NY account's information to me, so I got to watch cards games at work a mile from the stadium. Last year I got access to a different account, based in Oregon, and Cards games were blacked out. Not sure if they fixed a bug or if there was something special about the first account.

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 Post subject: Re: 2015 Baseball Thread
PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2015 9:44 pm 
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dmiles2186 wrote:
Spring training is but a few weeks away. Bud Selig is gone, gone, gone from office. And his replacement wants to do stupid things...

http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/mlb-big-l ... 29801.html

Quote:



Commissioner-elect Rob Manfred speak with the media during a news conference at the Major League Baseball owners meeting, Thursday, Jan. 15, 2015, in Phoenix. Manfred succeeds Bud Selig when he retires later this month
.

View photo
Commissioner-elect Rob Manfred speak with the media during a news conference at the Major League Baseball owners meeting, Thursday, Jan. 15, 2015, in Phoenix. Manfred succeeds Bud Selig when he retires later this month. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

New baseball commissioner Rob Manfred has been in office a little more than 12 hours and he's already making some interesting waves. In an interview that aired on ESPN on Sunday morning, Manfred made it clear that examining the pace of the game is first on his list of priorities, but not far behind will be finding ways to "inject additional offense into the game."



Glad I read the entire blurb. Cause I was thinking something different reading the first paragraph...

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 Post subject: Re: 2015 Baseball Thread
PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2015 10:11 pm 
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I got no issues with the shifts... hitters should learn how to hit to opposite field.

If you go back and watch some of the great hitters of years past, they look completely different than modern hitters. There's like one swing now and everyone does it. Take a guy like Ichiro, who puts up 200 hits or more in a season and you can see someone who can actually hit a baseball. It isn't always pretty, but he puts the ball in play where it needs to be so he can get on base. Go ahead and shift against a guy like that, lol.

I also don't understand why there needs to be more offense. We had that era, it was a hopping ball and steroids. He wants that back?

But speeding up the pace would be great. Stopping hitters from stepping out on every single pitch would be an excellent start. I would love to see a pitcher who was ready just pitch a strike while the batter was fixing his balls out of the box. That would totally speed this thing up.

I don't think you can put a "play clock" on the pitchers, but that's the next step.

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 Post subject: Re: 2015 Baseball Thread
PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2015 5:53 am 
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Having warm up pitches in between innings is a time waster too. Go cart yourself out to the bullpen and do it before the inning is over so you can get right to action after two short commercials.

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 Post subject: Re: 2015 Baseball Thread
PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2015 8:21 am 
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not_a_wings_fan wrote:
But speeding up the pace would be great. Stopping hitters from stepping out on every single pitch would be an excellent start. I would love to see a pitcher who was ready just pitch a strike while the batter was fixing his balls out of the box. That would totally speed this thing up.

I don't think you can put a "play clock" on the pitchers, but that's the next step.


I agree about stepping out of the box. My rule would be either A) If you don't swing, you can't step out of the box. Or B) Get 2 step out's per AB. Something along those lines.

I would like a play clock on pitchers too, but from a TV perspective, I'd hope they'd avoid showing it until there are only 5 seconds left or something (like the NFL) so that the focus isn't on that clock.

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 Post subject: Re: 2015 Baseball Thread
PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2015 9:29 am 
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dmiles2186 wrote:
not_a_wings_fan wrote:
But speeding up the pace would be great. Stopping hitters from stepping out on every single pitch would be an excellent start. I would love to see a pitcher who was ready just pitch a strike while the batter was fixing his balls out of the box. That would totally speed this thing up.

I don't think you can put a "play clock" on the pitchers, but that's the next step.


I agree about stepping out of the box. My rule would be either A) If you don't swing, you can't step out of the box. Or B) Get 2 step out's per AB. Something along those lines.

I would like a play clock on pitchers too, but from a TV perspective, I'd hope they'd avoid showing it until there are only 5 seconds left or something (like the NFL) so that the focus isn't on that clock.


They are testing play clocks on pitchers in the minors this year. So it's coming if it goes over well there.

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 Post subject: Re: 2015 Baseball Thread
PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2015 11:28 pm 
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Read a blurb about shifts which suggested that strike outs were more the problem than shifts. It basically detailed the numbers and noted that the average on balls in play is similar to the peak offensive years, but the strike outs have increased dramatically over that same span.

ESPN Article wrote:
But there were 731 more strikeouts in 2014 than in 2013 and 5,613 more than 2004.


When I was a kid we were taught that we needed to just put the ball in play with two strikes, that your swing and your approach to hitting changed when you only had one strike left. You don't see that any more. Most guys hack at the first pitch the same as the last... and many more of them miss both of them.

I am not sure this is a rules issue as much as an instructional issue. Alex Gordon is a good example of this - guy has a perfect swing if you run the ball into his bat. He can't hit for shit if you don't pitch into his swing. George Brett made some not so nice comments about it and Kevin Seitzer did as well on the radio here in KC. Both of those guys pretty much described modern ball players not having bat control as much as they have the "learn the mechanics of The Major League Swing" video approach.

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 Post subject: Re: 2015 Baseball Thread
PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2015 8:02 am 
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Like you all have said, eleminating the shift would be stupid. If we're going to do that let's just eliminate all the the players on defense and draw lines on the field and put baskets out there... You get it in the basket you get a free steak dinner or two free tokens at the batting cages... Wait, I mean, you score runs or something...

What they really need to change is the way the managers make challenges for replays. Maybe don't make them have challenges at all... Just review all plays automatically, only a few will actually need more time. Don't make the manager walk backwards out to the field to look into the dugout the entire time. That's a waste of time.

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 Post subject: Re: 2015 Baseball Thread
PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2015 8:18 am 
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Replay sucks. Of course I'm a traditionalist. I believe that hockey should still have the Norris, Smythe, Patrick and Adams, and I believe baseball should still have no replay (no sport should have replay). It's not a matter of using technology to improve the quality and equity of the game, it's a matter of if you went back in time and instituted replay from the beginning of the game, how many outcomes would be different? It would change the entire course of professional sports. If athletes don't get do-overs for human error, why should the officials? It's like when Berglund wiped out on the one timer attempt last season. What if they said "No fair, try again!"? It might change everything. Replay would have shown Jeffrey Maier reached over the fence and stole the ball away from Tony Tarasco or that Steve Bartman clearly interfered with Moises Alou in the Cubs/Marlins series. Maybe the Yankees don't beat the Orioles, George Steinbrenner has a meltdown and trades the entire core four. Mo Rivera ends up on the Cardinals, Derek Jeter ends up on the Cubs, Pettitte and Posada end up wherever and the Yankees never dominate the second half of the 90's. Maybe the Cubs go on to win the World Series, and many more after that, instead of the Marlins and stop being the lovable losers.

If you want to beat the shift, just bunt. It's happened plenty of times. That or learn how to hit to all fields. The shift is self correcting over time, creating an illegal defense in baseball is moronic.

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Last edited by glen a richter on Tue Jan 27, 2015 8:19 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: 2015 Baseball Thread
PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2015 8:19 am 
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I think if they want to eliminate the shift, the most they should do is to not allow the 2nd baseman or SS to be on the other side of 2B until after the ball is hit. You don't need lines on the field for that. I wouldn't be against that.
I understand where they are coming from. It kind of makes a mockery of the game in a way.
But we do the same thing in softball when there is a lefty pull hitter up. I play SS and when they are up, I play on the other side of 2B. It's just smart baseball...but when we are doing it, it does feel like cheating in a way.
Nobody ever used to emply the shift back in the day. If they do away with it, people will forget about it.

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 Post subject: Re: 2015 Baseball Thread
PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2015 8:21 am 
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cprice12 wrote:
I think if they want to eliminate the shift, the most they should do is to not allow the 2nd baseman or SS to be on the other side of 2B until after the ball is hit. You don't need lines on the field for that. I wouldn't be against that.
I understand where they are coming from. It kind of makes a mockery of the game in a way.
But we do the same thing in softball when there is a lefty pull hitter up. I play SS and when they are up, I play on the other side of 2B. It's just smart baseball...but when we are doing it, it does feel like cheating in a way.
Nobody ever used to emply the shift back in the day. If they do away with it, people will forget about it.


If I have a tendency to loop shallow singles should the outfield not be allowed to play shallow to protect against that? If I'm trying to prevent doubles, can I not have my outfield play deep? What's the limit to restrictions on defensive positioning? Here, stand on this X and stay there?

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 Post subject: Re: 2015 Baseball Thread
PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2015 8:44 am 
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cprice12 wrote:
dmiles2186 wrote:
not_a_wings_fan wrote:
But speeding up the pace would be great. Stopping hitters from stepping out on every single pitch would be an excellent start. I would love to see a pitcher who was ready just pitch a strike while the batter was fixing his balls out of the box. That would totally speed this thing up.

I don't think you can put a "play clock" on the pitchers, but that's the next step.


I agree about stepping out of the box. My rule would be either A) If you don't swing, you can't step out of the box. Or B) Get 2 step out's per AB. Something along those lines.

I would like a play clock on pitchers too, but from a TV perspective, I'd hope they'd avoid showing it until there are only 5 seconds left or something (like the NFL) so that the focus isn't on that clock.


They are testing play clocks on pitchers in the minors this year. So it's coming if it goes over well there.


Yep, and I know they're testing it out in winter ball as well. I'm all for it.

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 Post subject: Re: 2015 Baseball Thread
PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2015 9:34 am 
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glen a richter wrote:
Replay sucks. Of course I'm a traditionalist. I believe that hockey should still have the Norris, Smythe, Patrick and Adams, and I believe baseball should still have no replay (no sport should have replay). It's not a matter of using technology to improve the quality and equity of the game, it's a matter of if you went back in time and instituted replay from the beginning of the game, how many outcomes would be different? It would change the entire course of professional sports. If athletes don't get do-overs for human error, why should the officials? It's like when Berglund wiped out on the one timer attempt last season. What if they said "No fair, try again!"? It might change everything. Replay would have shown Jeffrey Maier reached over the fence and stole the ball away from Tony Tarasco or that Steve Bartman clearly interfered with Moises Alou in the Cubs/Marlins series. Maybe the Yankees don't beat the Orioles, George Steinbrenner has a meltdown and trades the entire core four. Mo Rivera ends up on the Cardinals, Derek Jeter ends up on the Cubs, Pettitte and Posada end up wherever and the Yankees never dominate the second half of the 90's. Maybe the Cubs go on to win the World Series, and many more after that, instead of the Marlins and stop being the lovable losers.

If you want to beat the shift, just bunt. It's happened plenty of times. That or learn how to hit to all fields. The shift is self correcting over time, creating an illegal defense in baseball is moronic.


I'm like polar opposite of this. I think they should expand it (and change the current system). Yeah, it changes things. But, why is that a bad thing? Going from a system of wrong calls to a system of fewer wrong calls, to me it's a no brainer to choose the fewer wrong calls. A player making a mistake and an official aren't on the same level to me. When Berglund whiffed, it impacted his team. Mistakes from teammates are part of the nature of being on a team. When an official makes a mistake, it doesn't impact his team. It impacts other teams that are competing. The role of an official is to make things as fair as possible. Increasing the percentage of correct calls brings officials closer to their goal.

I do hate how they have it set up right now though. It's really dumb watching a manager and an umpire discuss the weather while somebody in the manager's clubhouse watches a replay to determine whether the umpire should also watch the replay. Make crews 5 men instead of 4. The 5th man buzzes the crew chief or home plate umpire when a call is blown. 20-30 second process instead of 3 minutes.

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 Post subject: Re: 2015 Baseball Thread
PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2015 9:38 am 
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dmiles2186 wrote:
cprice12 wrote:
dmiles2186 wrote:
not_a_wings_fan wrote:
But speeding up the pace would be great. Stopping hitters from stepping out on every single pitch would be an excellent start. I would love to see a pitcher who was ready just pitch a strike while the batter was fixing his balls out of the box. That would totally speed this thing up.

I don't think you can put a "play clock" on the pitchers, but that's the next step.


I agree about stepping out of the box. My rule would be either A) If you don't swing, you can't step out of the box. Or B) Get 2 step out's per AB. Something along those lines.

I would like a play clock on pitchers too, but from a TV perspective, I'd hope they'd avoid showing it until there are only 5 seconds left or something (like the NFL) so that the focus isn't on that clock.


They are testing play clocks on pitchers in the minors this year. So it's coming if it goes over well there.


Yep, and I know they're testing it out in winter ball as well. I'm all for it.


I'm for a clock of some sort. I just don't want it to be a shot clock like basketball or a play clock like football. There's already a rule (that I think exists on the ML level, but not certain) that restricts a pitcher to 12 seconds or something in between pitches. That is awkward to call without an actual clock though.

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 Post subject: Re: 2015 Baseball Thread
PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2015 11:06 am 
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glen a richter wrote:
cprice12 wrote:
I think if they want to eliminate the shift, the most they should do is to not allow the 2nd baseman or SS to be on the other side of 2B until after the ball is hit. You don't need lines on the field for that. I wouldn't be against that.
I understand where they are coming from. It kind of makes a mockery of the game in a way.
But we do the same thing in softball when there is a lefty pull hitter up. I play SS and when they are up, I play on the other side of 2B. It's just smart baseball...but when we are doing it, it does feel like cheating in a way.
Nobody ever used to emply the shift back in the day. If they do away with it, people will forget about it.


If I have a tendency to loop shallow singles should the outfield not be allowed to play shallow to protect against that? If I'm trying to prevent doubles, can I not have my outfield play deep? What's the limit to restrictions on defensive positioning? Here, stand on this X and stay there?


No. I get what you are saying, but that's not what I'm saying at all.
Just play your position. Outfielders can play shallow or deep and shade left or right, just like infielders can play in or back as that is the accepted area for the position. But a shortstop shouldn't be standing on the other side of 2B where the second baseman plays and the 2nd baseman shouldn't be out in right field.
Also, if the second baseman wants to play 20 ft. into the outfield grass, that's fine, but the SS can't come over and cover his normal spot. To me, that would mean you are playing without a shortstop and you have to field a shortstop.
All sports have something like this when it pertains to positions on the playing surface. You have to lineup in certain spots in football (illegal formation), there is an illegal defense in basketball, and the NHL has a crease rule, offsides and a no-touch zone for goalies (goalies also can't skate past center without getting a penalty).

There is no need for lines or x's on the field. It would just be a judgement call by the umpire. It doesn't seem like that difficult of a thing to do.

I totally get the strategy of playing the shift, but I also don't like it. It just seems wrong.

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