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Morrisey - If MLB isn’t careful, it will die by its own boring

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https://chicago.suntimes.com/sports/chicago-white-sox-mlb-tanking-rebuilding-manny-machado-bryce-harper-scott-boras/

 

Never really agree with anything by Morrisey and still don't.

Sports are a personnel preference.  I couldn't sit through an NBA game.  College basketball use to be great until teamwork went out the window. The NFL media is loaded with experts under the guise as former players.  Yawn.  Maybe younger kids are less interested in sports since there is more distractions for them.

 Baseball may have had it's rise during the steroid era but please don't go back to that.

 Maybe it's a generation thing. How many of you born after the 80's like baseball? When I was a kid WGN had Ray Rainer in the morning, Bozo during lunch, and the Cubs after school.  That exposed kids to baseball.

 I do think there is a point with the overkill of relief pitchers.  Starters are now treated like they have glass arms and fans call for "shutting them down" because games are meaningless. I call it the Strasburg Effect.   Somehow there is this belief you can around injury.

 Tanking is not unusual in sports.  In the NFL or NBA, getting that first pick right makes all of the difference in a couple seasons.  In baseball many go through a development process.

  Professional sporting events are expensive anyway so it's just not the economic factor.

  Of course baseball is boring if you never played it. For me golf is boring but if you ever noticed the sponsors are pricey product?

  As for collusion it's a reality in life.  See the music industry. You can be bad at professional sports and still be a millionaire. Expensive contracts are a major risk.  I've seen enough NFL players not perform as well once they got paid.

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"Penalizing teams for earnestly failing two or three years in a row might be the answer. Maybe that involves losing draft position or having to pay a loser tax. But something needs to be done."

 Uh what?   That doesn't solve anything.   Bad drafts are possible.  Even free agency is not a cure.

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35 minutes ago, kitekrazy said:

 

 I do think there is a point with the overkill of relief pitchers.  Starters are now treated like they have glass arms and fans call for "shutting them down" because games are meaningless. I call it the Strasburg Effect.   Somehow there is this belief you can around injury.

 

This is the killer for me.

Starting pitchers used to be main attractions - guys like Ryan, Doc Gooden, Randy Johnson, Maddux - their starts were appointment viewing. 

Now, outside of Sale, DeGrom, Scherzer, maybe Verlander - who are you tuning in to watch? 

Baseball's devolved into 5 innings of starting pitching, and then an endless parade of anonymous flamethrowing relievers who blow their arms out and are replaced by the another carbon copy - and this leads to excess strikeouts, 45 minute innings with 3 and 4 pitching changes, etc, etc - just as the drama of the game should be building in the late innings.

Fix this, bring back the attraction of the starting pitcher, and you fix baseball, IMHO. 

Tanking is a problem, but IMHO, the problem is that it takes 4-5 years to really rebuild. Tweak the draft/acquisition process so that teams can turn around much more quickly, and that will fix itself. 

Edited by TenneSox
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you don't fix baseball (yes it's broken) until you can solve the amount of time it takes to play a game.  Too many visits to the mound, too many conversations, pitchers throwing over 50 times an at bat, the time inbetween innings, it all needs to be re-done.  They need to get rid of the warm up between innings, they really do, that alone will save 5+ minutes per inning.  Give the SP 3 pitches and then we go.  No other balls on the field.  

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6 minutes ago, cjgalloway said:

you don't fix baseball (yes it's broken) until you can solve the amount of time it takes to play a game.  Too many visits to the mound, too many conversations, pitchers throwing over 50 times an at bat, the time inbetween innings, it all needs to be re-done.  They need to get rid of the warm up between innings, they really do, that alone will save 5+ minutes per inning.  Give the SP 3 pitches and then we go.  No other balls on the field.  

Without warming up between innings, there are no commercials, and therefore no TV contracts.

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Game time is a problem, but there are some 3 1/2 hour games that are a joy to watch, and some that seem like it started 2 days ago. Limiting the mound visits was a great start. The number of pitchers used is only going to go up, unfortunately.  With the emphasis on being selective, ABs are going to take longer. It generally takes someone longer to strike out than ground out to SS. So basically it's just find some way to eliminate as much of the dead time as you can.

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2 minutes ago, Dick Allen said:

Game time is a problem, but there are some 3 1/2 hour games that are a joy to watch, and some that seem like it started 2 days ago. Limiting the mound visits was a great start. The number of pitchers used is only going to go up, unfortunately.  With the emphasis on being selective, ABs are going to take longer. It generally takes someone longer to strike out than ground out to SS. So basically it's just find some way to eliminate as much of the dead time as you can.

I think the league should stop messing around so much with 'gameplay" stuff and figure out ways to make pitchers less effective. Either by speeding up time between pitches, lowering mound, whatever, it would add action (more plays/contact) even if it doesn't cut time.

I think we could also see that smooth out the aging curve. My hunch is that eventually the added average velocity hit a level that made veterans that could have at least been league average in years past become unplayable due to lower bat speed.

Would this see a return of things like the running game in the 80s? Maybe not, but I think the league is too scared due to the relationship with numbers to "change" the game artificially in the way that other leagues don't care about.

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2 hours ago, TenneSox said:

This is the killer for me.

Starting pitchers used to be main attractions - guys like Ryan, Doc Gooden, Randy Johnson, Maddux - their starts were appointment viewing. 

Now, outside of Sale, DeGrom, Scherzer, maybe Verlander - who are you tuning in to watch? 

Baseball's devolved into 5 innings of starting pitching, and then an endless parade of anonymous flamethrowing relievers who blow their arms out and are replaced by the another carbon copy - and this leads to excess strikeouts, 45 minute innings with 3 and 4 pitching changes, etc, etc - just as the drama of the game should be building in the late innings.

Fix this, bring back the attraction of the starting pitcher, and you fix baseball, IMHO. 

Tanking is a problem, but IMHO, the problem is that it takes 4-5 years to really rebuild. Tweak the draft/acquisition process so that teams can turn around much more quickly, and that will fix itself. 

So your solution is to force pitchers to pitch longer and shorten the life on their arms

all of the pitchers you named above are simply freaks in their generation.   Teams are trying to preserve their attractions by working to their strengths and managing the game from then on.   Baseball has a player marketing problem not a starting pitching problem

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I could talk on this topic for days..

my take:

a) sports are competing against more entertainment than ever. Better video games, more kids activities, better technology, etc.

b)baseball does really need a pretty big overhaul. I fancy myself probably a top 1% involved fan. I have the MLB package, play fantasy baseball, gamble online on the games on a daily basis, watch every Sox game that is not during work, etc. Even at that I couldn't convince myself to sit through 4 hour playoff games. And those are supposed to be the most entertaining games to the random fan.

c) The issue is the time & pace. Yes, it'll bring in some fans if you sell the players better via ideas like player's weekend and cool jerseys, etc. But the reality is there are 162 games. It's a ridiculous time constraint to expect anybody who casually follows baseaball to tune into a Dodgers/Pirates game during the middle of the season if they are from Chicago. And unlike football or basketball where the superstar can continually affect the whole game, baseball you're up to bat like once an hour. The only true superstars are the pitchers in a way. So I always think baseball will be at a disadvantage in that sense. But time and pace is the main driver in my opinion. When Buehrle pitched it was awesome. It kept me as a viewer on the edge of my seat a bit more. Games should be 2.5 hours consistently with give or take dependent on the game.

d) how do you do that? I think its a clock in between pitches like they've tried in the minors, but even quicker than what they have in the minors. Players can complain, but it's not really up to them.. the fans dictate what they want and I think if you took a poll I'd guess 80%+ would rather watch a 2 hour 15 min game rather than 3 hour and 15 min game.

 

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2 hours ago, kitekrazy said:

https://chicago.suntimes.com/sports/chicago-white-sox-mlb-tanking-rebuilding-manny-machado-bryce-harper-scott-boras/

 

Never really agree with anything by Morrisey and still don't.

Sports are a personnel preference.  I couldn't sit through an NBA game.  College basketball use to be great until teamwork went out the window. The NFL media is loaded with experts under the guise as former players.  Yawn.  Maybe younger kids are less interested in sports since there is more distractions for them.

 Baseball may have had it's rise during the steroid era but please don't go back to that.

 Maybe it's a generation thing. How many of you born after the 80's like baseball? When I was a kid WGN had Ray Rainer in the morning, Bozo during lunch, and the Cubs after school.  That exposed kids to baseball.

 I do think there is a point with the overkill of relief pitchers.  Starters are now treated like they have glass arms and fans call for "shutting them down" because games are meaningless. I call it the Strasburg Effect.   Somehow there is this belief you can around injury.

 Tanking is not unusual in sports.  In the NFL or NBA, getting that first pick right makes all of the difference in a couple seasons.  In baseball many go through a development process.

  Professional sporting events are expensive anyway so it's just not the economic factor.

  Of course baseball is boring if you never played it. For me golf is boring but if you ever noticed the sponsors are pricey product?

  As for collusion it's a reality in life.  See the music industry. You can be bad at professional sports and still be a millionaire. Expensive contracts are a major risk.  I've seen enough NFL players not perform as well once they got paid.

I was born in 94. I started watching baseball when I was 10 years old (2004), which is the same year I started little league. I decided to watch the White Sox the next year, and obviously they won the World Series. That hooked me. Maybe it was the magic of the team winning that year that got me hooked, with the fantasy of being able to really experience it one day? I am not sure, but I do watch it religiously during the summer months and cannot wait to experience that same magic of 2005 and 2006, especially when the Cubs were good too. It was great to be a fan of the better team in the city. Maybe if the Sox never won it that year, I wouldn't care as much as an adult? I'm not really sure how to explain it. I definitely connect more with baseball than I do any other sport. Football is probably a good second, but I wouldn't say it's really close. I lost interest in the sport when I moved to Wisconsin, as I couldn't get the Sox on TV and they weren't really good during those years (2009-2011). When I went to college out of state I was able to purchase mlb.tv and those were the years the Sox were supposed to be good as they won the offseasons (2013-2016). Now I'm hooked on the fantasy of what this rebuild is supposedly promising us. If it doesn't work, then who knows? As for now, I still love the sport, specifically the Sox, love teaching my wife about it and her experiencing the game for the first time just like I did when I was a kid, and visiting every park in the country fascinates me. The game most definitely will not die. Too many people have stories like mine about why they love the game. These slow offseasons won't break anything. 

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44 minutes ago, Leonard Zelig said:

Without warming up between innings, there are no commercials, and therefore no TV contracts.

Right.. and the game will never be fixed and it'll turn into Golf

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Basketball has become so much more offense focused, and therefore more entertaining, which has included rule changes.  Interest seems to have grown.  Same with football.  And nobody is really saying things have changed for the worse.  It's ok to make changes to make baseball more entertaining.

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34 minutes ago, Kyyle23 said:

So your solution is to force pitchers to pitch longer and shorten the life on their arms

all of the pitchers you named above are simply freaks in their generation.   Teams are trying to preserve their attractions by working to their strengths and managing the game from then on.   Baseball has a player marketing problem not a starting pitching problem

Would it shorten the life on their arms though?

Take the top 10 guys in innings pitched in 1985, and it's 270 average. 

Take the top 10 in 1990 and it's 240. Looking at the leaderboard from 1990 has guys like Frank Viola, Dave Stewart, Bob Welch in the top 10. I'm not sure these guys are "freaks of the generation". 

Take the top 10 in 2018 and they average 209. 

No one in 2018 threw more than 2 complete games. In 1990, 2 CG would have ranked you 84th in baseball. 

And I don't know if I buy that guys back then, in the era of booze in the clubhouse, cocaine, and greenies, were better and more durable athletes than the guys today who are trained by sports science from the time they can walk to throw a baseball. 

 

Granted, we are seeing an era where velocity trumps all, but that in itself may be one of the biggest problems. Guys are max effort guys for 4-5 innings. Why develop a second, third or even fourth plus pitch when all you have to do to make the big leagues is throw 101mph to 15 batters and your day is done.

 

Edited by TenneSox
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I can remember as a kid that going to a baseball game once or twice a year was a big deal. But for this generation it has really changed. The game itself  is just not as entertaining especially the length.  It is an expensive proposition for many families. There are a lot of distractions. Every game is on TV if you want it. Families have a lot of "kids" activities on weekends.  Many families are attending their kids baseball, soccer, etc games on weekends. 

We have been hearing about the soccer emergence in the US. In Europe it is a major attraction. But in the US, it still takes a backseat to the major sports because it lacks "action". Baeeball  has the same problem. 

I laugh when fans say how a new stadium( i.e Tampa) will boost attendance. That tells you all you need to know about attending a game.  That is a in a city where an NHL team draws more fans( many wearing shorts) than Boston, NY, Detroit, St Louis etc.   

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45 minutes ago, TenneSox said:

Would it shorten the life on their arms though?

Take the top 10 guys in innings pitched in 1985, and it's 270 average. 

Take the top 10 in 1990 and it's 240. Looking at the leaderboard from 1990 has guys like Frank Viola, Dave Stewart, Bob Welch in the top 10. I'm not sure these guys are "freaks of the generation". 

Take the top 10 in 2018 and they average 209. 

No one in 2018 threw more than 2 complete games. In 1990, 2 CG would have ranked you 84th in baseball. 

And I don't know if I buy that guys back then, in the era of booze in the clubhouse, cocaine, and greenies, were better and more durable athletes than the guys today who are trained by sports science from the time they can walk to throw a baseball. 

 

Granted, we are seeing an era where velocity trumps all, but that in itself may be one of the biggest problems. Guys are max effort guys for 4-5 innings. Why develop a second, third or even fourth plus pitch when all you have to do to make the big leagues is throw 101mph to 15 batters and your day is done.

 

Honest question, the top ten guys in the first two years you mentioned, how long were their careers after those max inning seasons?  I'm not trying to set you up, I genuinely do not know.  If those guys throwing all of those innings and CGs aren't lasting much longer, I would say it is shortening the life on their arms

 

If my pitcher threw 20 CGs and washed out of the league two years later due to blowing out his arm, I wouldn't call that a good strategy

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All conversation points aside, this is a terribly written and non-convincing article. This looks more like a blog post than something published in a respected newspaper. 

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7 minutes ago, Kyyle23 said:

Honest question, the top ten guys in the first two years you mentioned, how long were their careers after those max inning seasons?  I'm not trying to set you up, I genuinely do not know.  If those guys throwing all of those innings and CGs aren't lasting much longer, I would say it is shortening the life on their arms

 

If my pitcher threw 20 CGs and washed out of the league two years later due to blowing out his arm, I wouldn't call that a good strategy

Looking at 1985, the top 5 guys in complete games were Bert Blylevn (22 year career in MLB), Doc Gooden (16 years), John Tudor (11 years), Charlie Hough (knuckleballer so you can throw him out, 24 years), Mike Moore (19 years), Fernando Mania (17 years). 

Looking at 1990, Ramon Martinez (13 year career), Jack Morris (18 years), Dave Stewart (16 years), Bruce Hurst (15 years), Doug Drabek (16 years). 

As far as memory serves, none of those guys above had their career end due to injury. They just got old. 

At least back then, there doesn't appear to be a correlation between # if innings pitched and injury. 

One thing I'm not sure how to account for is today's reliance on velocity. I'm not sure other than Doc and Jack Morris and maybe Dave Stewart, any of those guys would compare to todays upper-90's max effort guys.  It does seem like every pitcher today has a upper 90's fastball and a 90's hard slider. I don't think there's any doubt that today's harder throwers are more susceptible to injury. 

But that goes back to having them learn to use multiple pitches through 6-7 innings, rather than just throw 99 for 4-5. The way we develop pitchers these days is almost like their disposable. Throw hard until your arm blows out, and we find another one. 

Guys like Aaron Nola, Kershaw, Verlander who have a well developed arsenal of pitches don't have to throw 99 to be effective. But the guys who develop like that seem to take a backseat to guys who's only asset is velocity. 

I'd love to see a graph of injury vs velocity - how many guys are more likely to get hurt living at 91 mph, 95mph, 99mph?

We all love Kopech right, but who didn't see that coming?

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2 minutes ago, TenneSox said:

Looking at 1985, the top 5 guys in complete games were Bert Blylevn (22 year career in MLB), Doc Gooden (16 years), John Tudor (11 years), Charlie Hough (knuckleballer so you can throw him out, 24 years), Mike Moore (19 years), Fernando Mania (17 years). 

Looking at 1990, Ramon Martinez (13 year career), Jack Morris (18 years), Dave Stewart (16 years), Bruce Hurst (15 years), Doug Drabek (16 years). 

As far as memory serves, none of those guys above had their career end due to injury. They just got old. 

At least back then, there doesn't appear to be a correlation between # if innings pitched and injury. 

One thing I'm not sure how to account for is today's reliance on velocity. I'm not sure other than Doc and Jack Morris and maybe Dave Stewart, any of those guys would compare to todays upper-90's max effort guys.  It does seem like every pitcher today has a upper 90's fastball and a 90's hard slider. I don't think there's any doubt that today's harder throwers are more susceptible to injury. 

But that goes back to having them learn to use multiple pitches through 6-7 innings, rather than just throw 99 for 4-5. The way we develop pitchers these days is almost like their disposable. Throw hard until your arm blows out, and we find another one. 

Guys like Aaron Nola, Kershaw, Verlander who have a well developed arsenal of pitches don't have to throw 99 to be effective. But the guys who develop like that seem to take a backseat to guys who's only asset is velocity. 

I'd love to see a graph of injury vs velocity - how many guys are more likely to get hurt living at 91 mph, 95mph, 99mph?

We all love Kopech right, but who didn't see that coming?

The drop in innings isn't just about saving their arm, it's because a fresh reliever is more effective in the later innings than a tired starter. Also back in the 80s only a handful of relievers threw really hard, but now every team has multiple guys throwing high 90s that they can turn to. So it's not just trying to keep the arm fresh you can also blame analytics.

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2 hours ago, Dick Allen said:

Game time is a problem, but there are some 3 1/2 hour games that are a joy to watch, and some that seem like it started 2 days ago. Limiting the mound visits was a great start. The number of pitchers used is only going to go up, unfortunately.  With the emphasis on being selective, ABs are going to take longer. It generally takes someone longer to strike out than ground out to SS. So basically it's just find some way to eliminate as much of the dead time as you can.

Go back to teaching pitchers to pitch to contact and it solves many of those. Shorter at bats, pitchers going deeper in games, fewer pitching changes.

The only issue is that ground balls aren't the guaranteed out that the strikeout is. Thus the new age of baseball, more strike outs but also more walks and more pitches along with shorter outings and more pitchers.

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1 hour ago, Kyyle23 said:

So your solution is to force pitchers to pitch longer and shorten the life on their arms

all of the pitchers you named above are simply freaks in their generation.   Teams are trying to preserve their attractions by working to their strengths and managing the game from then on.   Baseball has a player marketing problem not a starting pitching problem

Going deeper in games doesn't shorten the lifespan on their arms. Throwing with near maximum effort for as long as they can does. The numbers of ulnar collateral injuries has gone up recently not down.

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With all the media choices to be surfing at home and esp replays I get really restless when I attend games. Plus I don't like beer. I get really p.o.'d when they don't show replays at the park. It seems kind of insulting. Making the games longer and the tedious bullpen usage has not helped. The Sox are the only team I regularly follow. 

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5 hours ago, kitekrazy said:

"Penalizing teams for earnestly failing two or three years in a row might be the answer. Maybe that involves losing draft position or having to pay a loser tax. But something needs to be done."

 Uh what?   That doesn't solve anything.   Bad drafts are possible.  Even free agency is not a cure.

I'm actually good with a rule change that a team is limited to 1 pitching change per inning unless there's an injury (and there'd be a requirement that the pitcher go on the DL if he's the second to get pulled that inning).  

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This is one of those cases where increasing franchise values (gambling legalization) , rising revenues from bigger and bigger broadcast revenues is masking underlying problems with keeping young people interested, compared to those 50+ who grew up with the sport when it was almost co #1 with the NFL.

Now MLB earns just a bit more than the NBA but is losing the battle in terms of marketing and worldwide appeal, largely due to the popularity of the game in China with young people.

We can blame better tv shows, IPads, tanking or rebuilding teams, mixed martial arts rising in popularity, online gaming, the rising costs of kids to participate on travel teams, the fact that kids aren’t safe to just be outside every day until it turns dark playing (think The Sandlot), more and more kids simply being out of shape or couch potatoes, the amount of space for baseball fields vs. basketball courts (not to mention equipment costs)...it goes on and on.  Let’s throw in too much product, regionalism vs. games of national interest, boring divisions like the AL Central and Greg’s yearly diatribe about the always-increasing costs of parking/concession items/souvenirs for a middle class family.

As soon as baseball teams start to lose money when the broadcasting deals stop growing or their attendance continues to fall 5-10% per year, nothing will happen.  Period.  There’s no incentive to change dramatically, not yet.

We also haven’t seen how the concussion/CTE issues will impact the number of youth football players...as mothers refuse to allow their kids to play and they likely are forced to participate in other sports like baseball.

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