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2018 MLB Postseason Discussion Thread

Other Baseball Today, 06:57 PM
How about a postseason game thread? Any MLB postseason discussion can just go here.
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Article: Offseason Primer: The Core Seven (?)

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 06:56 PM
At the All Star break in 2017, I wrote up an article discussing the Twins Core Four. During the Twins recent poor seasons, there was a lo...
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Elizabethton Update

Twins Minor League Talk Today, 05:37 PM
Looks like it is a go!!! https://www.wjhl.com...wins/1517735418
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Damning article in the Washington Post re: Pressly / Anal...

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 04:12 PM
Very damning article for the (now former) coaching/analytics staff. Pressly is used an example of how the Astros use analytics & coac...
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Article: Offseason Primer: Can Minnesota Mimic Milwaukee...

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 04:12 PM
There are more things tying the Twins and Brewers together than geographic proximity.Both are mid-market teams with finite resources. Bot...
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Players’ Union Rejects Pace Of Play Proposals

Pace of play has been one of the major focuses during Rob Manfred’s time as commissioner. Timers have been added for between innings and when new pitchers take the mound. In the minor leagues, a 20-second pitch timer has been used at the Double-A and Triple-A levels since 2015. Major League Baseball wants to see some more changes to baseball’s highest level but the Players’ Association doesn’t agree with these changes.
Image courtesy of Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports
On Thursday, the Players’ Association rejected a proposal to add a 20-second pitch clock and limits on mound visits. These rule changes were proposed last season which means the commissioner’s office could implement the rules without the approval of the Players’ Union. A decision could come as early as the next owner’s meeting scheduled to start on January 30th.

Even with attempts to shorten games, the average length of a nine-inning game increased by nearly four and a half minutes. In 2017, it took 3 hours, 5 minutes and 11 second to complete a nine-inning game. Just one year earlier, it was 3 hours and 42 seconds. During last year’s postseason play, the average game took three hours and 29 minutes. The amount of replays also decreased so that wasn’t a factor in adding to the time of games.

At November’s quarterly owners’ meeting, Commissioner Rob Manfred made it clear that changes would be coming to the game. He said, “My preferred path is a negotiated agreement with the players, but if we can’t get an agreement we are going to have rule changes in 2018 one way or the other.”

According to AP reports, MLB can implement the following changes:
  • 30-second clock between batters
  • 20-second clock between pitches
  • Hitters would be required to be in the batter’s box with at least five seconds left on the timer
  • The clock would start when the pitcher has the ball on the mound
  • The clock would reset when a pitcher steps off the rubber for a pickoff throw
  • Warnings would be issued for a first offense and then a ball is called against a pitcher and a strike is given to a batter
  • A team would be allowed one mound visit per pitcher each inning
  • The mound visit could be from a manager, coach or player
  • A second mound visit must result in a pitching change
What are your thought on the potential rule changes? Does MLB need to continue to focus on pace of play? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

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103 Comments

Can't say I really have a "problem" with most of those proposed additions with the one exception being players talking to the pitcher or "visiting" the mound. That has been a part of the game since it's inception and IMHO should be left alone.

 

I would agree that the hitter constantly stepping out of the batters box to adjust every part of his uniform imaginable is mind numbingly irritating, but to me a huge part of that starts with the umpire. Don't give the player Carte Blanc to step out all willy nilly. Actually hold his feet to the proverbial fire. If the hitter keeps stepping out, let the pitcher throw a free strike. That would keep them honest.

    • lwarring, Oldgoat_MN, dgwills and 2 others like this
I'm all for these changes and more. The pitch clock isn't going to be a factor except with notoriously slow pitchers. Fans won't even notice the clocks and will enjoy pace keeping up throughout the game.
    • bluechipper, dgwills and wsnydes like this

Can't say I really have a "problem" with most of those proposed additions with the one exception being players talking to the pitcher or "visiting" the mound. That has been a part of the game since it's inception and IMHO should be left alone.

I would agree that the hitter constantly stepping out of the batters box to adjust every part of his uniform imaginable is mind numbingly irritating, but to me a huge part of that starts with the umpire. Don't give the player Carte Blanc to step out all willy nilly. Actually hold his feet to the proverbial fire. If the hitter keeps stepping out, let the pitcher throw a free strike. That would keep them honest.


There's a fine line with pitching mound visits. I agree that fielders running over to the pitcher has been a part of the game forever. However, there should be a limit because some players take advantage of it.

I remember in game 163 Gary Sanchez could have created a dirt path walking back and forth from the plate to the mound.
    • wsnydes likes this
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Lee-The-Twins-Fan
Jan 19 2018 09:34 AM

I don't have a problem with any of the above proposed rule changes. I think they would all help, but I do question 'what constitutes a mound visit?' If a catcher stands up and takes a few steps to the mound, says something to the pitcher and then throws the ball back and returns to behind home plate, is that a "mound visit?" With no runners on, there is no prohibition against the catcher hanging on to the ball for a few extra seconds, before returning it to the pitcher. 

 

At some point, I suspect, the MLBPA will instead want managers, pitchers and catchers to have radio headsets (like they do in football) to communicate. That would indeed speed up the pace of play. 

Look, MLB needs to find a way to thread the needle between the length of a game and advertising revenue.

 

More rules are not always the answer because enforcing rules can have an impact pace of play and the length of a game.

 

If anything, I find "pace of play" to be somewhat of a deflection from where the problem actually lies.

    • KirbyDome89 likes this
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Tom Froemming
Jan 19 2018 09:44 AM

I wouldn't have a problem with a pitch clock and restricted visits but, 1) I'll be pretty upset if this dispute causes some kind of labor issues, and 2) there are better ways to speed up the game. How about cutting the time between half innings?

 

Also, for me the main frustration when a game takes longer is that it ends later. There comes a certain point on a weeknight where I've just gotta pull the plug and head home/go to bed so I'm not a wreck at work the next day. Why not start the games at 6, or at least 6:30, instead of 7:10?

    • Carole Keller, sploorp, KirbyDome89 and 2 others like this

I wouldn't have a problem with a pitch clock and restricted visits but, 1) I'll be pretty upset if this dispute causes some kind of labor issues, and 2) there are better ways to speed up the game. How about cutting the time between half innings?

Also, for me the main frustration when a game takes longer is that it ends later. There comes a certain point on a weeknight where I've just gotta pull the plug and head home/go to bed so I'm not a wreck at work the next day. Why not start the games at 6, or at least 6:30, instead of 7:10?


SCORCHING Hawt Taek: The pace of play MLB is focusing on now is a distraction for the impending money s***-storm coming up in 2021.

Jeff Passan wrote a detailed article about this topic too and mentioned they were proposing cutting half inning commercial breaks to 2 min 20 seconds for local games, 2:40 for national games.

https://sports.yahoo...-224752035.html
    • Oldgoat_MN likes this
How soon before the “capologist” becomes a staple of MLB front offices?
    • Dave The Dastardly likes this

hell, I'd like a rule mandating a pitcher must face at least 3 batters, barring injury. the many many pitching changes gets very old.

    • gil4, blindeke, sploorp and 2 others like this
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Tom Froemming
Jan 19 2018 10:12 AM

 

SCORCHING Hawt Taek: The pace of play MLB is focusing on now is a distraction for the impending money s***-storm coming up in 2021.

Jeff Passan wrote a detailed article about this topic too and mentioned they were proposing cutting half inning commercial breaks to 2 min 20 seconds for local games, 2:40 for national games.

https://sports.yahoo...-224752035.html

Isn't it 2:25 right now? If they're going to make a stink about it, might as well slice it down more than that. I appreciate the fact that Commissioner Manfred is open to tinkering with some things in hopes of making improvements, but if he pisses off the MLBPA over a bunch of petty changes that's really going to be a drag.

Isn't it 2:25 right now? If they're going to make a stink about it, might as well slice it down more than that. I appreciate the fact that Commissioner Manfred is open to tinkering with some things in hopes of making improvements, but if he pisses off the MLBPA over a bunch of petty changes that's really going to be a drag.


Hmm, I don't know how long commercial breaks go for currently... Good point though. If they're eliminating 5 seconds that's not enough to make a difference.

If anything it will end up being 5 less seconds of highlights before the inning begins.
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diehardtwinsfan
Jan 19 2018 10:38 AM

 

hell, I'd like a rule mandating a pitcher must face at least 3 batters, barring injury. the many many pitching changes gets very old.

this would do more to speed up games than anything...

    • gil4, nater79a and sploorp like this

I think that a lot of this is politics.The players and the owners are not on the same page, in general, right now and the players want nothing of the backlash those new measures might bring.

 

That said, I'd rather see them get rid of: character races, T-shirt canons, children's games, dedications to veterans, anthem choir and bands, and everything else non-baseball related between innings or before the first pitch, and then try to change the game.

 

Also there are lower hanging fruits than those:the ridiculous number of throws to first base.Even with the proposed rules, someone can throw 10 times without an effect.That's got to stop.

    • Carole Keller, h2oface, sploorp and 2 others like this

 

 

this would do more to speed up games than anything...

 

Or speed up fake injuries...

    • SD Buhr and Tom Froemming like this
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ashburyjohn
Jan 19 2018 10:44 AM

With regard to the fidgeting on the mound and the batter stepping out of the box, baseball needs to confront why they're doing that. The players don't do it to be irritating to fans, they do it to "slow the game down" so that they are focused. That, or to try to get into each other's head. Whether they are correct in their belief or not, batters and pitchers alike, they're going to find every way they can to maximize whatever time between pitches is allowed. Trying to get to the root cause, if possible, seems like a better solution than an arbitrary time limit

 

With regard to pitching changes, I'm not in favor of limiting the number, but why do we have to sit through several warmup pitches, after the reliever has been doing exactly that for the prior ten minutes? Make the reliever come to the dugout before the pitching change can even be called, and then have him trot straight to the mound and get to work. (Bullpens may need to be redesigned so that there is a good route to the dugout while staying off the field of play. A tunnel can be dug, as a last resort.)

    • Carole Keller, Dantes929, wsnydes and 2 others like this

Also, for me the main frustration when a game takes longer is that it ends later. There comes a certain point on a weeknight where I've just gotta pull the plug and head home/go to bed so I'm not a wreck at work the next day. Why not start the games at 6, or at least 6:30, instead of 7:10?

I would love if it were 6 or 6:30, but I don't know that they'd ever change it because a lot of people work until 5. Rush hour traffic etc.
    • sploorp, Broker, Tom Froemming and 2 others like this

 

 

Trying to get to the root cause, if possible, seems like a better solution than an arbitrary time limit

 

To have a root cause there needs to be a problem. There is a good number of fans out there who think that there is no problem in the pace of game or the duration of games (Two different things btw).

 

What is next?7 inning games at double headers? Extra innings up to 10 and then either have a tie or have 5 HR derby shots (think penalty shots in soccer)?  

 

If it ain't broken...

    • Carole Keller and Sam Morley like this

 

I don't have a problem with any of the above proposed rule changes. I think they would all help, but I do question 'what constitutes a mound visit?' If a catcher stands up and takes a few steps to the mound, says something to the pitcher and then throws the ball back and returns to behind home plate, is that a "mound visit?" With no runners on, there is no prohibition against the catcher hanging on to the ball for a few extra seconds, before returning it to the pitcher.

 

I would think a 'mound visit' is anything that can't be done within the pitch clock time. If the catcher can talk to the pitcher when returning the ball and they can deliver the pitch before the timer hits bottom, no problem. If they have to call time for the visit, then it's a mound visit.

    • Kevin, bizaff, Hosken Bombo Disco and 3 others like this
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ashburyjohn
Jan 19 2018 11:07 AM

To have a root cause there needs to be a problem. There is a good number of fans out there who think that there is no problem in the pace of game or the duration of games (Two different things btw).

 

What is next?7 inning games at double headers? Extra innings up to 10 and then either have a tie or have 5 HR derby shots (think penalty shots in soccer)?  

 

If it ain't broken...

There's never going to be unanimous agreement, so there being a "good number" thinking things are hunky-dory isn't enough reason to do nothing. As for the strawman solutions you raised, they appear to me as being possibly strawmen.

    • diehardtwinsfan, Vanimal46 and MN_ExPat like this
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Tom Froemming
Jan 19 2018 11:10 AM

From the sound of Rosenthal's initial article, the players are somewhat concerned about fan backlash.

 

"But some players, believing the new rules will be unpopular with fans and damaging to the game, want to absolve themselves of responsibility while putting the onus on Manfred to deal with any public fallout and unintended consequences, sources said."

 

It's nice to hear the players are taking the fans into consideration, but they also need to realize that we like to watch baseball. Not guys fidgeting with their caps on the mound or adjusting their batting gloves in the box. We don't need to see you and your catcher discuss every single pitch or a guy who's been warming up in the bullpen for 15 minutes go toss another eight pitches on the mound before play resumes.

    • Carole Keller, dgwills, MN_ExPat and 1 other like this

 

Hmm, I don't know how long commercial breaks go for currently... Good point though. If they're eliminating 5 seconds that's not enough to make a difference.

If anything it will end up being 5 less seconds of highlights before the inning begins.

Feels like they are always adding 5 or 10 seconds so to go backwards would be nice just to stop the bleeding so to speak. 

Does anyone know why the union did shoot this down? Do they value adjusting their batting gloves that much" I think it was Tom F that made the good point of if they are both a little rushed then it is still fair. I am sure most offenses in NFL would like a little more time to talk or think about plays but they manage. It seems like these clocks would be more than fair and as was pointed out if a guy is onfirst base a pitcher can always buy time by throwing over there. If there is not a guy on base then what is the holdup? I would be ok with the third visit of player, coach or manager initiating a pitching change and I love the idea of a reliever making his way to the field earlier.Seeing a manager point to the pen holding up an arm holds no value to me. Three warm up pitches should be enough also.Should be enough time for a 30 second commercial.

Thyros said

"I'd rather see them get rid of: character races, T-shirt canons, children's games, dedications to veterans, anthem choir and bands, and everything else non-baseball related between innings or before the first pitch, and then try to change the game."

 

Agree with everything here except instead of getting rid of the canons triple the number and shoot them off as many times as possible for 30 seconds every half inning.T-shirts are not dangerous, catching them is fun and getting freebies are always nice. Just do it and don't make a production of it.

    • MN_ExPat and Original Whizzinator like this

 

I'm all for these changes and more. The pitch clock isn't going to be a factor except with notoriously slow pitchers. Fans won't even notice the clocks and will enjoy pace keeping up throughout the game.

I agree I don't think the pitch clock will be much of an issue.I don't remember there being any issues with them in the minors.If someone can bring up problems they had that would be nice to know but I don't remember any.  

 

Commercials are the biggest time challenge but those won't change because revenue is too important to owners and ultimately players as their salaries depend on revenue.

 

At any rate I am for some changes.If they don't work well then fine roll them back but all indications seem to point to these changes not impacting much and hopefully they get players more focused on keeping the game moving.

    • Carole Keller likes this

From the sound of Rosenthal's initial article, the players are somewhat concerned about fan backlash.

"But some players, believing the new rules will be unpopular with fans and damaging to the game, want to absolve themselves of responsibility while putting the onus on Manfred to deal with any public fallout and unintended consequences, sources said."

It's nice to hear the players are taking the fans into consideration, but they also need to realize that we like to watch baseball. Not guys fidgeting with their caps on the mound or adjusting their batting gloves in the box. We don't need to see you and your catcher discuss every single pitch or a guy who's been warming up in the bullpen for 15 minutes go toss another eight pitches on the mound before play resumes.


Exactly. Seems like they're grasping at straws claiming that fans think this will ruin the game. They're still doing the same thing for the last 100+ years. The only thing different is asking them to do it in a very reasonable amount of time.

I'd be curious to read Hildenberger, Buesenitz, and other recent call ups who's worked under these constraints.
    • Tom Froemming and MN_ExPat like this
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Carole Keller
Jan 19 2018 11:35 AM

 

I agree I don't think the pitch clock will be much of an issue.I don't remember there being any issues with them in the minors.If someone can bring up problems they had that would be nice to know but I don't remember any.  

 

Commercials are the biggest time challenge but those won't change because revenue is too important to owners and ultimately players as their salaries depend on revenue.

 

At any rate I am for some changes.If they don't work well then fine roll them back but all indications seem to point to these changes not impacting much and hopefully they get players more focused on keeping the game moving.

This is part of my problem. I don't mind some adjustment, but looking for all of it to come from the play of game itself instead of some of the external causes just seems to be, well, self-serving on the part of ownership. Sorry, but ads are out of control, as is all the extra folly. Lessening the actual play time and not the other stuff just doesn't sit well with me.

    • Thrylos, bizaff, KirbyDome89 and 2 others like this

This is part of my problem. I don't mind some adjustment, but looking for all of it to come from the play of game itself instead of some of the external causes just seems to be, well, self-serving on the part of ownership. Sorry, but ads are out of control, as is all the extra folly. Lessening the actual play time and not the other stuff just doesn't sit well with me.


Well, it's self serving for ownership and the cable networks that spent $100 million to broadcast the games.

It would be nice to set a limit on commercial break time before they get to NFL levels. Since they'll never go away, I wouldn't mind split screen commercials or product placement like "Snapper Mow' em down" innings.

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