April 28, 2021

More Banging On About How MLB Is Not Plagued By Super-Long Games (So We Don't Need Bullshit Gimmick Rules)

The sport of major league baseball has problems.

But the people in charge of running major league baseball, starting with Commissioner Rob Manfred, would rather attempt to "solve" imaginary problems rather than deal with the real issues.

Biggest case in point: the extra-innings runner-on-second rule.

Many people have pointed out that fans had not been complaining about any surge in extraordinarily long games. That's because there has never been a surge in extra-inning games. Perhaps it was to save wear and tear on pitchers' arms. (Why not shorten the season and schedule more off days? That would mean less profits.)

In 2019, MLB teams played 2,429 games. (I searched for games in which the winning team pitched 9.1+, 10.1+, and 11.1+ innings.

2,221 games were completed in nine innings, or 91.5%.

2,312 games were completed in ten innings, or 95.2%.

2,370 games were completed in eleven innings, or 97.6%.

The entire 2019 season had a grand total 59 games that lasted more than two extra-innings. (That averages out to two games per team. Checking a few teams: Red Sox (6 games, 3-3), Yankees (3 games, 1-2), Padres (1 game, 1-0), Nationals (1 game, 0-1), Royals (1 game, 0-1).)

37 games went more than 12 innings. That's 1.52%. Or one game per week.

Excessively long games is not a problem.

Craig Calcaterra (Cup of Coffee) reports that the independent Pioneer League, a designated "partner league" of MLB, will decide games tied after nine innings with home run derbies. MILB:

To avoid the excessive strain on our pitching staffs, the Pioneer Baseball League will not have extra innings, but rather will employ a first-of-its-kind 'Knock Out' rule that resolves tied games with a head-to-head, 'sudden death' home run duel. Under the rule, each team designates a hitter who receives 5 pitches, with the game determined by the most home runs hit. If still tied after the first 'Knock Out' round, another hitter is selected for a sudden-death home run face-off until a winner is declared.

I'm shitty at predicting the future, but I'll be surprised if I have any serious interest in major league baseball in 10 years. Robot umps will finally be here, but there will be so much other gimmicky garbage, I won't care.


FenFan said...

I may get there sooner than you. The only game I've seen this season is the one I attended at Fenway the first weekend in April. I have not watched a minute of television coverage. I'm still following via GDGD, and that's about the extent of it. Part of it relates to how busy I am these days, but there is a percentage related to my frustration with these changes that no one requested.

I have to believe that I still like baseball but Manfred seems determined to overtake Selig in terms of ineptness. None of his decisions seem like they were made with much thought or with any data to provide rationale. I'm fine with tweaks at the minor league like the HR derby (there's a summer college league around us that started doing this two years ago) in the interest of minimizing wear-and-tear on young players, but MLB will continue to lose its core base if the madness doesn't end.

allan said...

There is no question whether we both like baseball. Of course we do. That's why this bullshit bothers us so much.

MLB is already losing its core base. I read recently that the average baseball fan in the US is 57 years old. (I'm 57, by the way.) It seems hard to believe (both the age of the average fan and my own age), but I'd be interested in the median age. And what percentage is under 30?

If the typical MLB fan is 57, then she's been a fan for more than 30 years and might not be the kind of person who freely accepts Manfred's meddling nonsense. Why does MLB think people under 25 will flock to baseball now that there's a possibility that two or three of their local team's 162 games will end a couple of extra innings earlier than they would have three years ago.

Naturally, That sounds utterly ridiculous. But that's MLB's mindset, as far as I can tell. It's the same tact that NESN tried with Heidi's Ballpark Food segments (showing us food that no viewer will get to try without spending thousands of dollars to go to that opposing park) or its Dating Game or what's in Don's shaving kit or showing us his shaky cellphone videos of cement walkways or the truly idiotic "Stay In The Park", which is a great cure for insomnia if they showed it for an hour.

Why was all that done? To boost ratings, to hopefully lure non-fans into watch games. It's madness. Anyone who thinks that would do the trick is either literally insane or a complete moron with a single-digit IQ.

So what if attendance keeps dropping and MLB doesn't make billions, but only hundreds of millions? Who says attendance and viewers and profits have to keep increasing? Maybe the sport reached its limit and is now tapering off - like every other fucking thing in the world.

Everyone doesn't do or read or watch or listen to everything. That's okay. Baseball is fucking awesome. But not everyone is going to like it. Why should that be the case? (I'll never watch football, no matter what the NFL does to make the game more "fun". Should the NFL shorten the field to 80 yards in the desperate hopes that I'll tune in? No!!!!)

Baseball's attitude should be similar to New York City's. "This is what I am. I'm not going to change to please you. If you like it, great. If you don't, go fuck yourself."