Tuesday, February 17, 2015

0 comments Terence Moore Only Likes MLB's Bad Ideas

I think Terence Moore only likes the bad ideas that MLB has. He doesn't like the good ideas MLB has proposed and put into use, like expanded replay (he likes this idea now that it is proven to work), the DH, and various other rule changes. What I consider to be the bad ideas that MLB has, like the one-game wild card and a pitch clock, Terence thinks those are just brilliant ideas. Major League Baseball is looking to institute a 20 second pitch clock to games in order to increase the pace of play. I think pace of play will always be a problem given the increased pitching changes due to increased relief pitcher specialization, but I have a better idea. How about baseball doesn't add a 20 second pitch clock and just enforces the two pace of play rules on the books? Would that be too easy? Rule 8.04 states:

When the bases are unoccupied, the pitcher shall deliver the ball to the batter within 12 seconds after he receives the ball. Each time the pitcher delays the game by violating this rule, the umpire shall call “Ball.”
The 12-second timing starts when the pitcher is in possession of the ball and the batter is in the box, alert to the pitcher. The timing stops when the pitcher releases the ball.
The intent of this rule is to avoid unnecessary delays. The umpire shall insist that the catcher return the ball promptly to the pitcher, and that the pitcher take his position on the rubber promptly. Obvious delay by the pitcher should instantly be penalized by the umpire.
Rule 6.02(d)(1) states:
The batter shall keep at least one foot in the batter’s box throughout the batter’s time at bat, unless one of the following exceptions applies, in which case the batter may leave the batter’s box but not the dirt area surrounding home plate:
(i) The batter swings at a pitch;
(ii) The batter is forced out of the batter’s box by a pitch;
(iii) A member of either team requests and is granted “Time”;
(iv) A defensive player attempts a play on a runner at any base;
(v) The batter feints a bunt;
(vi) A wild pitch or passed ball occurs;
(vii) The pitcher leaves the dirt area of the pitching mound after receiving the ball; or
(viii)The catcher leaves the catcher’s box to give defensive signals.

If the batter intentionally leaves the batter’s box and delays play, and none of the exceptions listed in Rule 6.02(d)(1)(i) through (viii) applies, the umpire shall award a strike without the pitcher having to deliver the pitch. The ball is dead, and no runners may advance. The umpire shall award additional strikes, without the pitcher having to deliver the pitch, if the batter remains outside the batter’s box and further delays play.
So rather than put a whole new rule on the books for the umpires to enforce, how about having the umpires enforce the two rules that are already on the books? Why is this hard? Does there need to be a running clock for some reason or is it that the umpires are too scared to enforce Rule 8.04 and Rule 6.02(d)(1) without a buzzer going off after 20 seconds? Do your job. Instead of having a 20 second pitch clock, that's what I would tell the umpires. Do your job and enforce the rules. Terence Moore thinks it's a great idea to have a pitch clock that enforces the rules already on the books. Of course he does.

Sooner rather than later, Major League Baseball will add a 20-second pitch clock to the game, and I will be fine with that.

Of course you will. Good ideas you hate, ideas that will never come to fruition (like the six man rotation) you think will ruin the game, but bad ideas involving a running clock that only reinforces a rule that is already on the books, now that is an idea you love.

This is huge news. Not only the part about the pitch clock, but the fact that I approve of such a thing as The World's Greatest Baseball Traditionalist.

This news is mainly about Terence Moore of course. How does it affect him and what does he think about it? Everything else is unimportant.

I mean, if I don't have a problem with this, then neither will the Players Association, which has to give its nod to rule changes.

Because if Terence Moore approves of something then clearly the Players Association will fall in line. Terence's opinion represents the interests of the Players Association of course.  

The bulk of baseball fans will agree, too.

Two issues here:

1. By Terence stating that he isn't being a contrarian and is agreeing with this rule change, so the bulk of baseball fans will agree too, he is also stating that he believes himself to normally be completely out of step with what the bulk of baseball fans think. Because normally, he wouldn't support this move and the bulk of baseball fans would disagree with him.

2. Simply because Terence Moore is paid by MLB and likes an idea doesn't mean that others will similarly like this idea. It's not a logical train of thought for Terence to have.

I'm also for those other proposed changes to speed up the game that were used this year during the Arizona Fall League.

Terence is moving into the modern age. I'm not sure it's on his own accord or MLB.com is forcing him to not write like baseball peaked in 1976 and it's all downhill from there.

I hear what some of you are saying. These changes would give baseball a different feel from the days of Babe Ruth slugging, Whitey Ford throwing and Lou Brock running.

No, I'm not saying that at all because I would use much, much more modern references than that. Plus, sports have to adapt or die. If baseball is different from when Babe Ruth played the game then that is not a bad thing at all.

I once had that viewpoint. It's just that, upon further review (as in baseball's new expanded replay, which hasn't exactly caused the earth to crash into the sun),

No shit! Really? And here I thought the 3-4 posts I wrote in response to the 3-4 columns you wrote was just me being stubborn and stupidly embracing progress because I like to watch old baseball ideas die.

Here are examples of Terence's dislike for expanded replay.

maybe some of you are as wrong as I was when it comes to this whole time-of-game debate.

I'm very rarely wrong, so I really, really doubt it. There's no need for a 20 second pitch clock because the rules already point out that pitchers and batters must make haste in throwing a pitch or stepping into the batter's box, and gives the umpires a chance to penalize pitchers and batters for taking up too much time. So the umpires just need to enforce the rule on the books, even though I know they seem too scared to do this, rather than have a new rule created with a 20 second pitch clock.

Consider this: 2:31, 2:28, 2:20, 2:57, 2:40, 2:34, 2:44. That's how much time it took to play each of the seven games during the 1955 World Series between the Yankees and the Dodgers.

Yes, but back then there were fewer pitching changes and less specialization among pitchers, so the game moved quicker. Remember how you harp on how pitchers back in your day used to complete the game they started? Well, when pitchers completed the game they started, the game went faster. There are more pitching changes in the modern game of baseball, so the games last longer.

With the addition of a pitch clock (you know, among other things), maybe the average time of Major League games actually will return baseball to those days of yore.

It will not due to the reason I just explained. Pitcher specialization has caused more pitching changes during a game. What could help baseball speed up the pace of play without a 20 second pitch clock is the umpires could grow a pair of balls and just enforce the rules currently on the books and Major League Baseball could back the umpires when they enforce the rules. Would that just be too easy?

It hit a record last season of 3 hours and 8 minutes. That doesn't include the postseason. Take, for instance, Game 2 of the 2014 American League Championship Series between the Royals and the Orioles. It was a nine-inning affair that lasted 4 hours and 17 minutes. By comparison, last year's World Series was swift, when the Royals met the Giants. Most games were completed within three to 3 1/2 hours, but Game 4 went four hours.

Now go back to the length of the games from the 1955 World Series, and tell me again why baseball doesn't need at least a pitch clock.

Because there is already a rule that can and should be enforced which could help speed up the game. Because a pitch clock seems like a trite and ridiculous way to solve the length of games issue.

You can't.

I just did.

Especially since we're in the age of the Internet, social media, 24/7 cable television and Millennials who are obsessed with filling the next millisecond with something different.

People will either enjoy baseball or they don't. It's really simple. Umpires should enforce the rules which can speed up the game and perhaps an idea involving speeding up the process of changing pitchers is the solution. For example, maybe a relief pitcher should not be allowed warm up pitches or maybe umpires can be stricter about the time a manager or pitching coach spends at the mound dicking around waiting for another relief pitcher to warm up. That will increase the speed of the game and won't involve a stupid clock counting down to the next pitch.

But here's the primary reason for both of those things: Bud Selig spent his 22-plus years as Commissioner looking beyond the present toward the future.

Interleague Play. Wild Card teams. Meaningful All-Star Games by giving the winning league home-field advantage during the World Series. Replay reviews, and then extended replay reviews.

Interleague play is a good idea. One game wild card is dumb. Homefield advantage is the All-Star game is increasingly dumb. All replay is a good idea.

So it's a mixed bag.

Once, Major League officials only encouraged umpires, players, managers and coaches to speed things. Those officials went from words to actions during this year's Arizona Fall League, where they tested six possible rule changes.

In 2013, the average AFL game lasted two hours and 52 minutes. The new rules sliced 10 minutes off that time.

These rules decreased the time of a game by 10 whole minutes! So playoff games will now be only a few minutes shy of four hours long! Everything is fixed!

Everything begins and ends with that pitch clock. That's because nobody on the diamond controls the tempo of the game more than the pitcher.

The umpire and the batter also control the tempo of the game at times as well.

OK, the hitter also is a mighty contributor here, but nothing of significance happens in a game until the pitcher takes the mound.

Which is why there is a rule that states: 

When the bases are unoccupied, the pitcher shall deliver the ball to the batter within 12 seconds after he receives the ball. Each time the pitcher delays the game by violating this rule, the umpire shall call “Ball.”

I'm not sure what is supposed to happen when there are runners on base. Maybe all bets are off when there are runners on base.

Baseball games have definitely gotten faster since Andy Pettitte retired. It took him approximately three minutes to throw each pitch and at no point did an umpire step in and make him hurry it up. See, that's the part where Terence is correct. Nothing does happen until the pitcher takes the mound, which is why there is an unenforced rule stating the pitcher should not waste time making his next pitch.

Which means the pitcher actually has to be standing on the mound before he can throw. Which means a pitch clock in the Major Leagues would keep a pitcher from doing a little of this and a lot of that before he decides to take the mound.

OR telling the umpires to emphasize to pitchers that they have to speed up how long they take between pitches, tell MLB teams this is happening, and then the umpires would begin to enforce the rule. This is a better idea than having a pitch clock in the bottom right hand corner of the screen during a game distracting the viewer and distracting the fans at the game.

You've seen it. Some guys stand on the mound, shake off their catcher a slew of times and then go back to doing this and that.

I've seen it and the slower pace has become a part of baseball. I'm not going to repeat myself (yes, I am), but baseball emphasizing the rule of 12 seconds between pitches is the best move rather than take the drastic step of creating a pitch clock.

For AFL participants, the pitch-clock rule went into detail as to when the clock would begin in relation to the position of the pitcher and the batter, but this wasn't complicated stuff. A clock was placed in both dugouts, behind home plate and in the outfield. If a pitcher didn't deliver the ball within 20 seconds, the umpire called a ball.

I'm frustrated because this is a circuitous route to solving a problem that doesn't require a circuitous route. Simply use the tools that baseball currently has and see what happens from there. I'm betting if MLB emphasizes the rule and enforces it there will be no need for a pitch clock.

It didn't take many "balls" in that situation for even the traditionally slow pitchers to get the message.

If the umpires would grow some "balls" and just enforce the rule then a pitch clock is unnecessary. Are ballparks going to have a pitch clock within view so the crowd knows when a pitcher is coming close to going over the allotted time span to throw the next pitch?

As for the other time-saving rules from those AFL games, hitters were required to spend the majority of their plate appearances with one foot in the batter's box, and hitters were waved to first base on intentional walks.

So basically, MLB is enforcing Rule 6.02(d)(1) for hitters but find it necessary to create a new rule requiring pitchers to throw a pitch in 20 seconds instead of just enforcing Rule 8.04 that is already on the books. This is non-brilliant, typical MLB thinking.

There was a maximum 2:30 break between innings, and hitters had to enter the batter's box by the 2:15 mark or the umpire would call an automatic strike. If a pitching change wasn't made within two minutes and 30 seconds, the umpire called a ball.

This can be all done in regular season MLB games without a pitch clock. Requiring a pitch clock is trying to invent a complicated device that kills a fly when a simple flyswatter would do the job.

Teams only were allowed three timeouts during games to conference on the mound, and that included extra innings.

I don't like the idea of teams having timeouts, just make sure the mound conferences are speedy.

Now Major League Baseball folks just have to implement it.
And they will.

MLB has had some good ideas in the recent past, but I think this pitch clock is like trying to kill an ant with a shotgun and there has to be a more seamless way to increase the pace of play without adding a timer in which the pitcher has to throw a pitch.