Pitch clocks are a good idea to aid enforcement of a rule that already exists but is never enforced to make pitchers throw the ball. Rob Manfred is right to continue pushing for them to be used at the major league level after succe sful trials in the Arizona Fall League and the minors. It’s an idea that addre ses an actual i sue with pace of play, with no change in the fundamental aspects of the way the game works.That is a lot more than can be said for the ideas of cracking down on infield shifts and the number of relievers that can be used in a game.If you accept the premise https://www.rangersedges.com/texas-rangers/joey-gallo-jersey that infield shifts are stifling non-home run offense, the idea of legislating against them would help in that area, but would be counterproductive to addre sing the time i sue that is so peculiarly the commi sioner’s obse sion. The game never slows down more than when there are runners on base, and if you’re putting in rules to generate more singles, you’re putting in rules that encourage more pickoff throws, stepping off the rubber and catchers cycling through more signs.MORE: The most productive baseball names of the last 100 years Even if you can get past the contradictory nature of seeking shorter games with more baserunners, there is a philosophical i sue at hand, which is that a team has nine players on the field, with all but the pitcher and catcher free to position themselves wherever they choose. Stripping that liberty would be a ma sive change, and would be made without the recognition that if batters were so stymied by shifts, they could adapt their approach and work the open field, forcing teams to play them straight-up.The nature of the game is sorting this out. Teams employ shifts, gambling that hitters won’t bunt or intentionally slap balls the other way. Hitters generally take their chances with their normal approach. There are some fluke hits on soft contact against the shift, but mostly, hitters don’t concern themselves with infielders because they are looking to hit line drives and fly balls that infielders don’t deal with. If they lose a few singles on balls that they didn’t hit well anyway, so be it.MORE: SPECTOR: How baseball mimics wrestling And remember that premise? It’s bunk. If shifts were having a major impact on offense, we would see a decrease on leaguewide batting average on balls in play, better known as BABIP, which takes strikeouts and home runs out of the equation. In 2000, at the peak of offense in MLB, the leaguewide BABIP was .300. In 2016, the leaguewide BABIP is .300. In the intervening years, it has been as low as .293 in 2002 and as high as .303 in 2007.If there has been a change since 2000, it’s that https://www.rangersedges.com/texas-rangers/martin-perez-jersey there are more ground balls. At the turn of the century, there were 0.68 ground balls for every fly ball, whereas today the major league ground ball/fly ball ratio is 0.84. This says more about 2000, though, than it does about 2016. Baseball Reference’s numbers for GB/FB go back to 1988, and in 29 seasons of data, there are only three years where the figure came in outside the range of 0.78-0.86. Those years are 2000 https://www.rangersedges.com/texas-rangers/ferguson-jenkins-jersey (0.68), 2001 (0.70) and 2002 (0.69), with the rate going back up to 0.82 in 2003, coincidentally or not, the year that survey testing for steroids began.So, if there has been an increase in shifts, but with no real measurable change to the game, why do anything about them at all?The use of relief pitchers has risen, indisputably, but making up new rules about that is rife with unintended consequences, the easiest of which to see would be managers pushing pitchers further than is healthy in an effort to save their pitching changes. Philosophically, the idea is garbage anyway: if you have 25 players on your roster, you should be able to use them as you please. If that means an extra six minutes of game time because there are two mid-inning pitching changes, so be it.A big part of baseball’s problem with time has been conflating pace of game i sues with length of game i sues. The former is worth addre sing. The latter is, for lack of better words, a waste of time. Football games are longer and have le s action, and it’s not hurting that sport’s popularity in the least. If it was really so important to baseball to have shorter games, some thought would be given to cutting out a bit of the time between innings, except that time generates revenue from commercials.Bring on the pitch clocks, but don’t start me sing with fundamental aspects of strategic freedom in baseball for reasons that are dubious at best.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Comments are closed.