Ten Ways To Make X Better: Baseball Comment Count

Brian August 2nd, 2016 at 11:43 AM

Previously: hockey, soccer, basketball, football.


10. No warmup pitches for relievers.

What did you just spend 15 minutes doing in the bullpen? Why are you wasting our time like this? I have things to look at that aren't you! Ever heard of a book, buddy? Yeah, probably not.

9. Every time a pitcher throws to first he has to put on another hat.

If the hats fall off before the end of the inning that counts as one ball per hat that falls off.

8. Balks are cool.

Balk away.

7. I don't have any other ideas.

Baseball! It's good if you want to drink beer outside with something else going on vaguely in your perception. The exact structure of the game is beside the point.

6. Wait, wait, now I do.

Remember Basewars? Yeah, do that.

I prefer robots but if we can get this on the road with people I'm down. You want me out? Put me out. I do not recognize the authority of this "ball" you have tagged me with.

5. This is a bad post.

You can think that. It's okay.



August 2nd, 2016 at 5:32 PM ^

Watching the Warriors play the last couple of years rekindled my love for NBA hoops. I find them wildly entertaining, and the atmosphere at Oracle is fantastic. Can't wait for them to build the new arena here in SF.

I try not to spend too much time looking under the hood with all sports; it can be ugly and off-putting.

Hard to buy completely fair competition in NBA after the officiating scandal; doping in MLB dramatically altered the game (and probably still does, and the other sports as well); soccer has had more than its share of scandals (players and refs throwing games, FIFA b.s.).  Tour de France? Olympics?  Yikes.

Lalalalalala, nothing to see here. Sit back and enjoy the game!


August 2nd, 2016 at 4:46 PM ^

Sorry in advance; reply to both Gmoney and Bigku.

1. I love all sports - love to play, love to watch. I watch A LOT of team sports games. If I devoted full attention to them all, I'd look like Jabba the Hut and never get anything done. It's either multi-task or not watch (not just baseball but all sports); I  prefer to catch as much as I can. If you'd rather watch only when you can totally commit, that's cool. 

Michigan games, playoffs or big rivalries I'm all in. 

2. Specifically said multi-tasking when a game is on TV. Fully engaged at a live event.

3. Commercials - great point. One of the best things about soccer. Football is my favorite sport to watch, but probably the worst when it comes to commercials.

4. Constant end-to-end action  - I can't agree. Just my opinion, but to me basketball and hockey have constant end-to-end action. (American) football has short bursts of crazy action followed by pauses of verying length. 

Depending on the match, soccer can be entertaining and action-packed, or a dull slog with semi-random midfield passing, floppers rolling around in fake agony, and few attempts to score. Similarly, baseball can be full of exciting plays and action, or mostly balls and strikes and crotch grabbing.

The single most disappointing sporting event I've attended was a soccer match in Barcelona. The pace and competition were awful, the (meager) crowd was completely disengaged, and the stadium was a big concrete dump. That said, I've seen Barca matches on TV that were absolutely thrilling. Like baseball, hoops and hockey, it's a long season and players don't give 100% every time.

5. Not to harp, but big difference between "usually don't crave constant stimulation" and "slow pace lifestyle". Amended phrasing much better.


August 2nd, 2016 at 4:34 PM ^

If you watch Baseball Tonight or MLB Quick Pitch you will see how spoiled we are in SF - with the packed houses of rollicking fans. So many other ballparks, even those of contending teams, just don't have "It"... instead you see sparsely populated outfield sections, and so many prime seats right behind home plate empty, as they've apparently priced out anyone from sitting there - including well-heeled fan bases like the Yankees or Nationals.

I suppose in some other cities (Comerica even?) it's just not as "cool" to go to a ballgame as in SF. That's what baseball might be missing in some places - it's not an age thing I don't think. It's an "event" thing. We got it!





August 2nd, 2016 at 5:02 PM ^

Baseball here is a blast.

I've been lucky to have grown up in A2, watching the Tigers at Michigan and Trumbull, then lived a few blocks from Wrigley, DC (pre-Nats) just a party train ride away from Camden Yards, and now SF. I guess that's influenced my opiniion of how much fun baseball can be.

MLS games in Portland and Seattle look incredible. The one 'Quakes game I saw was sleep-inducing. Maybe it's better in their new stadium.



August 2nd, 2016 at 6:42 PM ^

Interesting about SF.  The Giants didn't draw that well in Candlestick Park, did they?  I remember one year (1992?  '93?  Something like that) there was even talk of moving the franchise to Tampa.  

Sounds like the new stadium has been a great success.  I suppose Comerica has been one for the Tigers as well, but I still miss Tiger Stadium.



August 2nd, 2016 at 6:58 PM ^

HUGE difference between the 'stick and AT&T. 

They did a fantastic job with the new park. Great location near downtown that helped completely revitalize a formerly dead part of town. Gorgeous ballpark with spectacular views.

Probably the best feature is the location. SF has crazy "microclimates", with drastically different weather in different parts of the city, especially in summer. Many nights you can see the fog rolling in, but hitting AT&T last, if at all.

Candlestick was an ugly, crumbling multi-sport dump in a dead part of town, with horrible parking, no real mass transit access and the worst weather in the city. Good riddance.  

It wasn't that bad for football, because we usually don't have fog in the autumn months - that's basically our summer.



August 2nd, 2016 at 12:24 PM ^

In the past three days, I have watched 4 9-inning baseball games. Watched the Tigers win on a walk-off (exciting), watched the Tigers trounce the Astros 11-0 (fun/Miggy is awesome), watched the Cubs beat the mariners in a game where a pitcher made a running catch into the LF wall and a different pitcher had a game-winning suicide squeeze. And watched the Cubs shut-out the Marlins while also hoping Ichiro would get closer to 3000 hits. 


Goggles Paisano

August 2nd, 2016 at 1:09 PM ^

Atta boy!  Those that hate it just don't get it. Baseball has far more nuances to it than any other sport. As they say - it is the games within the game that are so exciting. I love watching college football more than anything but as far as the game goes as to rules, dimensions, unique skill set, etc. there is nothing as good as baseball.

On another note for the baseball fans, I read Tim Kurkjian's book I'm Fascinated with Sacrifice Flies. Loved it - lots of fun to read.  

L'Carpetron Do…

August 2nd, 2016 at 3:04 PM ^

Its an acquired taste actually.  I got bored with it as a kid but always liked to watch the playoffs and World Series.  Once I understood pitching and the battles that go on in a given at-bat I enjoyed it a lot more.  It's a game made up of multiple mind games within it.  

Also - it's great for other reasons too - drinking beer outside and people watching.  Listening on the radio in the car or having on in the background while you do stuff around the house.  And of course its unique place in American history.  And it doesn't take itself as seriously as the NBA and NFL.

You gotta appreciate the game for its uniqueness - give it a chance!


August 2nd, 2016 at 11:56 AM ^

Speed the damn game up.  Take more than 10 seconds between pitches?  It counts as a ball.  Take too many time outs as a batter?  Counts as a strike.

Goggles Paisano

August 2nd, 2016 at 1:17 PM ^

I go to a few Class A minor league games here in Bradenton. The thing I noticed with these games compared to Major league games is that the Minors take less time between innings. You can shave 15-20 mins a game just speeding up in between innings.  Unfortunately, with TV this won't change in the Big Leagues.  

Pitchers need to watch old Fidrych tape - he worked extremely fast and was ready to throw the next pitch as soon as he got it back from the catcher. This is where the game really bogs down.  


oriental andrew

August 2nd, 2016 at 12:00 PM ^

Do it for both leagues or don't do it for both leagues. Although it is pretty hilarious watching AL pitchers trying to hit during interleague away games. It's like many of them have forgotten how to hold a bat. 

EDIT: agree on above about how much time it takes between pitches. It's absurd. Seriously, man, you don't have to step out of the batter's box and adjust your helmet/gloves/cup/whatever after every single pitch. And pitchers need to stop grabbing the rosin bag and adjusting the cap/glove, rubbing the (base)ball, and taking a walk around the mound between every pitch. This stuff is just stupid and annoying. 


August 2nd, 2016 at 6:10 PM ^

I never liked the DH, but I really dislike that it differs by league. Watched Madbum PH a double on Sunday, it was great.

Two things that are striking when watching clips of old games: how quickly pitchers worked in baseball, and how it used to be possible to take two free throws without slapping hands with the entire team between shots.

IMO, making new rules is less effective than simply emphasizing to players and management how boring and wasteful these things are.

It's torturous when Santiago Casilla comes in to close a Giants game - it feels like an hour between each pitch. Just throw the damn thing.



August 2nd, 2016 at 12:18 PM ^

This was a bad post. Come on. At least you admitted it and added the tongue-in-cheek "#content" post. But, seriously, it's august and there was nothing else worth reporting on?  

Maybe it would have been cool to allow a guest post from someone that actually cared about baseball? Or talk about the recent interview where the MLB commish actually talked about changes to the game.

I do appreciate the BaseWars reference and it was pretty funny that you just stopped at 5.


August 2nd, 2016 at 4:43 PM ^

I think you completely missed the point of the piece? 

The point is there aren't 10 things TO fix about baseball for those that love it, and nothing could "fix" it for those that don't.

So a funny 10 things that's only 5 things long was perfect.

Like the person that said allow unlimited substitutions doesn't get the game at all, and nothing is going to change that. Having to be judicious with replacing pitchers and pinch-hitting is the VERY essence of baseball, and why No DH is SO MUCH BETTER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This coming from a Tiger fanatic born and raised who moved to a NL city and learned to appreciate the game.

Blue Durham

August 2nd, 2016 at 5:22 PM ^

by Brian that would suggest that he likes baseball, let alone love it. Hockey? Soccer? Sure. College football? Absolutely. I might be wrong, but I can't ever recall him discussing Michigan baseball, let alone MLB/Tigers or whatever other team.

I read his response as total indifference. He also seemed to save this for last, after his obvious passions of hockey, soccer, and college football, also seemingly indicating indifference.

I do agree with your thoughts regarding the DH.


August 2nd, 2016 at 11:59 AM ^

  • No instant replay
  • Free substitution for position players (hockey style would be even better)
  • Stepping out of the batters box while the pitcher is delivering is an automatic strike
  • Getting beaned while your body is over the plate is an automatic out
  • No more DH
  • No more interleague play
  • Games that are tied after 12 innings are a tie.
  • Managers that get ejected for arguing a legitimate call get a $50 bonus (max 2 per month) b/c it's fun to watch.


August 2nd, 2016 at 12:30 PM ^

1. Yup
2. Eh, thats kind of taking away strategy and a part of baseball's DNA to fix something thats not a problem.
3. It pretty much is right now. The Ump doesnt have to grant time, if your not ready its probably going to be a strike.
4. Just give em a strike
5. Yes
6. I dont think IL play is a problem. You have odd numbers of teams in both leagues. Its fine.
7. Interesting
8. Totally agree. 


August 2nd, 2016 at 12:33 PM ^

Wow, I pretty much disagree with every single one of your points:

  • It's 2016.  Instant replay should be used more, not less.
  • The games are already too long.  Allowing defensive changes at any time would drag it out even further.
  • Sure, I guess.
  • This is already somewhat a rule.  If your body part is in the strike zone and you get hit, it's called a strike (though rarely called that way).
  • People don't pay to see pitchers hit (if you can call what they do "hitting").
  • As a Tigers fan, I enjoy seeing them play the Mets/Giants/etc. occasionally.  Watching them play the Twins 20+ times a year gets old.
  • Baseball isn't soccer.  No ties.
  • I could get on board with this but make it at least $1000.


August 2nd, 2016 at 12:43 PM ^

RE: Instant Replay:

Games are too long. Replay makes them even longer. Fix it or dump it. If you keep it, make it so teams can't watch a video and walk around before they decide to challenge. If you think the ump messed-up, challenge it right away and deal with the consequences. No way should it take 2-3 minutes from the end of a play to decide if a guy is out or not. 


August 2nd, 2016 at 1:25 PM ^

The umpires don't do the looking, it's a guy in a video booth somewhere in NYC.

The way to do instant replay is easy.  Call up the video guy.  Give him at most three angles, one look each, and no more.  Ask him what the call is and don't let him watch the game beforehand.  In other words, don't say "the ump called this guy out, what do you think?"  Say, "Is this guy out or safe?"  If he can't tell, the ump's call stands.

Managers get unlimited challenges, but a missed challenge is a balk.


August 2nd, 2016 at 12:53 PM ^

(though rarely called that way)

(though rarely called that way)

(though rarely called that way)

Rarely?  How about never?  This is why I find baseball unwatchable.  There are already rules for most of the horrible problems with it, from players stalling to blatant cheating, but there are just too many goddamn "gentlemen's agreements" in the sport.  It's not a sport; it's more like a homoerotic throwback to a non-existent time when men wore smoking jackets and monocles and howdy-dooed each other in lounges.  I've seen phantom tags on "double plays" where the shortstop didn't even try to look like he touched the base.  The foot planted so far from the base that you could see dirt between the shoe and bag from a foreshortened angle on replay.

I don't really care about the DH rule one way or another.  Whatever.  Just enforce the damn rules you have and it'd be a brisk, enjoyable game, but the umps are more obsessed with imposing their will on the strike zone than impartial officiating.


August 2nd, 2016 at 1:07 PM ^

Good thing football refs call every hold, Illegal man downfield, and pass interference. I'm sure glad that basketball refs call every travel, double-dribble and illegal screen. Those sports are infinitely superior in their ability to have every rule enforced. 

Man..i'd hate to see you get worked up about something that you know, is actually terrible. 


August 2nd, 2016 at 1:39 PM ^

I wonder about these people who say "we must complain about Y!" in a thread that's explicitly about X.  Um, this is a thread about basebaw?  FYI, they don't have a double dribble rule.

We've complained about the inconsistency of targeting, holding, illegal man downfield and pass intereference. . . in threads about football.  We have basketball threads here too.  Apparently that wasn't enough?  I'm not too concerned; if it makes you feel better, there'll be threads about football or basketball officiating where you can be on-topic to your heart's content, if you can hang on 'til then.


August 2nd, 2016 at 2:20 PM ^

Thank you for pointing out that baseball doesnt have a double dribble rule. That, and your snarky spelling of basebaw really made me feel bad about myself for my comment. Unless you are pointing out that basketball, sorry basketbaw, doesnt have a double-dribble rule, because its called an Illegal Dribble. My fault for using a more common name.

I didnt say we must complain about Y. And I dont complain about the officiating in football or basketball in those threads. I just said that Baseball isnt the only sport that doesnt always enforce its rules, which you thought was a terrible thing. Like others mentioned, the neighborhood play has been legistlated.

PS. Thanks for the heads up on being on-topic. Looking forward to seeing you in the thread about smoking jackets and monocles and homo-erotic howdy-doos so we can continue this later!


August 2nd, 2016 at 1:13 PM ^

The reason it's rarely called is because batters are rarely in the strike zone when they get hit.  Sure, their elbow may be hanging above the strike zone or they may lean into and inside breaking ball, but I watch a lot of baseball and I can't remember a time when a player's actual body part was hit while in the strike zone.


August 2nd, 2016 at 12:07 PM ^

1. Playoffs should reward the best teams. Eliminate the wildcard, reconfigure the leagues into two divisions. Go back to two teams from each league making the playoffs. 5 game series (divisional series) are waaay too much of a crap-shoot after a 162 game season. 

2. Institute promotion-relegation. Keeps interest in bottom teams in each league. MLB is the one professional league that could readily feature relegation. End of year features a relegation series between the bottom two teams in each league. Series loser is relegated to AAA with the champion and runner up of AAA being promoted to MLB. Proceeds down the table to A ball.


August 2nd, 2016 at 12:16 PM ^

Relegation doesn't work for MLB, because the minor league teams (with the exception of independent leagues that have a much lower overall quality of play) are all affiliated with the major league teams, and the major league teams hold the contracts for the minor league players.  If the Twins were to be relegated, for example, and the best performing AAA team would be promoted, then you've either got the the major league team that owns the contracts for those AAA players pulling all of those players from that team (why would they pay the players for a team competing against them?) or they would get screwed for having a good farm system by, I dunno, cancelling all of those contracts so that they could sign directly with the new major league team.

Bottom line is that it's a mess that would never work given the structure and ties of MLB and MiLB, as neat as it sounds in theory.


August 2nd, 2016 at 12:29 PM ^

Obviously, pro-rel won't happen. But the league structure that allows it to be imagined is in place.

But you're correct, it would be a mess. It would obviously require a restructuring of how players are contracted to teams and would essentially mean that lots minor league players would be regarded as on loan from major league teams to get experience. Other minor leaguers would be signed to AAA teams, who would have to make decisions about whether they were good enough to compete in MLB when promoted. 

And it would make the end of the season so much more interesting.


August 2nd, 2016 at 12:36 PM ^

Beyond structural/contractual issues, there are also major logistical issues that would get in the way.  Most (all?) minor league teams don't have the stadium and/or revenue base to support a successful major league team.  The Iowa Cubs (AAA team in Des Moines) do fine where they are and for what they are, but their stadium is small (11,500 seats and 45 skyboxes).  They could never compete in the majors.


August 2nd, 2016 at 12:45 PM ^

That's not really a logistical issue. If they can't generate the revenues to compete, they'd be relegated after a season or so. Or they'd attempt a rapid expansion to raise their revenues.

For comparison, AFC Bournmouth, promoted last year into the English Premier League, is playing in a stadium that seats 11,000, when the average around the league is around 45,000. They managed to stave off relegation in their first year, but ti's doubtful that they stay up for long. But being in the top level has no doubt been a treat for their fans.



August 2nd, 2016 at 1:38 PM ^

Is there a measureable increase in attendance numbers for teams that are in relegation struggles?


If promotion-relegation adds excitement to the bottom of the table there should be an increase in attendance for teams that finish within a few points of 18th place vs say a team that is mathematically eliminated from relegation and euro qualifying position with a lot of season left.


August 2nd, 2016 at 2:02 PM ^

Great question

I just looked into what I could find quickly about last season's attendance figures among the bottom 5.

1. Two of the teams in relegation fights (Norwich and Bournemouth) basically sold out every game all season (99% and 97% capacity all year).

2. Sunderland saw an uptick of about 5,000 tickets (going from about 39,000 to full capacity) for their last 4 home games. Newcastle (which had 93% capacity for the season) saw a similar uptick for their last 2 home games.

3. Aston Villa didn't see any uptick. They drew about 10,000 under capacity for their last five games, but it was pretty clear they were going down with about 10 games left in the season. 

So I think the answer is "generally yes," but it depends on the terms of the relegation fight, and that's info for only one year.


August 2nd, 2016 at 6:19 PM ^

They wouldn't be relegated to AAA.  There would have to be a newly-created tier of baseball in between that and the majors.  

Promotion/relegation might eventually come to North American sports, if only because they can't realistically keep adding expansion franchises.  A league with 40 or 50 teams isn't very workable.



August 2nd, 2016 at 12:18 PM ^

2. Promotion-relegation would be near impossible to transition to.  How would you deal with all the minor league contracts that MLB teams own?   I don't get the obsession with promotion relegation.  It is cool in soccer but baseball has promotion relegation on an individual player level (ie the better players move up and the worse players move down).