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Online Mathguy

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Committee To Improve Baseball
« Topic Start: December 17, 2009, 07:44:09 AM »
This Tom Bozwell column is in the Washington Post this morning and it describes his ideas to improve baseball.  But I think it misses the point for more competition by letting "rich' teams pay all the salaries they want.  Baseball will never get the fan interest if everything is run by the NY or LA teams.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/16/AR2009121603913.html

Offline tomterp

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Re: Committee To Improve Baseball
« Reply #1: December 17, 2009, 08:10:05 AM »
The DH discussion we've been having is as a result of comments made regarding this committee.

Offline tomterp

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Re: Committee To Improve Baseball
« Reply #2: December 17, 2009, 08:25:56 AM »
Some comical takes on George Will, among Joe Sheehan's (Baseball Prospectus) comments

Quote
You Say You Want a Revolution?
by Joe Sheehan

As I write this, it’s becoming just a little bit suspicious that nearly two days after they presumably "happened," neither of the two huge trades the Phillies made have actually come to fruition. The Phillies have apparently negotiated an extension with Roy Halladay, and physicals are being taken, but there have been no actual announcements, and as I write this on Wednesday afternoon, with a piece on the trade burning a hole in my hard drive, it’s just starting to feel a little weird. The deal has been "imminent" for about 48 hours now, but there’s been no movement since yesterday afternoon, when word that Halladay and the Phillies had agreed on a contract leaked out.

I’m not saying the deal will or will not happen, just that I’m still not convinced I have enough information to write about it. The details on the prospects coming to Philadelphia from Seattle remain unclear, as do the specifics of Halladay’s contract extension. Once a domino falls, I’ll post my breakdown of all the moves, but until we get something more solid than "sources" holding forth, I’m going to hold back.

Bud Selig to the rescue. Earlier this week, Selig formed a 14-man committee to look at ways to improve baseball games on the field. As Barry Bloom reported at MLB.com, the committee’s charge is to consider everything that goes into the play of the game, such as "pace of game, umpiring, further extension of the use of instant replay, and various rule changes, among others." It’s always a good idea to keep an open mind to changes, and while one of baseball’s best qualities is that the rules don’t change from year to year the way they do for the NFL and NBA, there are definitely elements of the game that can be addressed.

Where it goes wrong is in the construct of the committee, which includes no one under 40 and just one person, Indians general manager Mark Shapiro, under 50. There are four managers, four current or former GMs, four owners, Selig’s version of Tony Phillips in Frank Robinson, and the desiccated remnants of George Will. It is an even more transparently useless version of the Blue Ribbon Committee, which also featured Will, a panel that handed down some of the most innumerate, economically illiterate advice on baseball in the history of the game.

That’s not even what bothers me the most. No, what bothers me the most is that there are no players on the committee. You have more effete, past-prime political writers than players. You have more 70-year-olds than players. You have more DUI arrests than players. During every labor negotiation, the standard line of management is that they want a partnership with the players, a line that is usually code for an agreement to cap labor costs and guarantee profits for ownership. Every time that line is trotted out, I think of moments like this, far from the muck of negotiations, when management—and I specifically mean Selig here—shows exactly what kind of partnership he wants with the players.

There are 14 spots on this committee to discuss how to make baseball better, and not a single spot for a player? Just four spots for uniformed personnel? How can you possibly have a cogent discussion about how to make baseball better for the 2010s when you don’t have a single committee member who’s been in a game since the 1970s? There are 1200 or so players on MLB rosters, and you couldn’t find a half-dozen of them for this task? You don’t think player input on pace of game would be helpful? The opinions of current players on the state of umpiring wouldn’t be germane? The eight teams that played in the postseason repeatedly encountered situations where instant replay would have been a useful tool, but you don’t want to know what the players on those teams think about using it, whether the increased accuracy is worth the tradeoff of time?

I don’t know how players would answer these questions, but I know their answers would mean a whole hell of a lot more than would George Will’s, or for that matter, Chuck Armstrong’s. Mind you, this is coming from the guy who thinks players do a terrible job of evaluating themselves and each other, and are far too prominent in the coverage of the game. But the issues that this committee is charged with require player input, player evaluation, player opinion. The lack of players on this committee renders it impotent from the start, a good idea gone bad halfway through the introductory press release.

The problems with the assembly of the committee go deeper than that. By my count, more than half the committee will be above retirement age. What kind of advice for the future are you trying to get from a group of people who collectively have nothing but a past? Populism aside, is there really no place in this for an outsider’s perspective, a fan’s slot? I’m not talking about bringing in someone to ask for $20 box seats and two-dollar beers and banning of all steroid users he’s heard of, but surely someone involved in this process, someone on Park Avenue, knows a bright young person who loves the game and has real ideas on how to make it better. MLB likes to talk about how important the fans are to the game while making the fan experience steadily more expensive and difficult; maybe some feedback would be useful.

Where can I sign up for George Will’s gig, where you write one fawning book and become branded as some kind of baseball guru for decades to come? The idea that George Will has something useful to say about the play of baseball games in 2010 is ludicrous, and even if you disagree with that statement, you have to agree with me that he wouldn’t be one of the first thousand writers you’d ask to be on a committee about modern baseball. I look around and I see writers with credibility among current audiences and a deep love of the game grounded in knowledge of its history, people such as Steven Goldman and Rob Neyer and Joe Posnanski. Having them on the committee, rather than a ghost from the 1980s, would give the group a validity it simply does not have, while also showing two generations of fans who don’t give a rip about George Will that MLB has been paying attention to what’s happening around it.

Finally, what about someone who doesn’t neatly fit into any of these categories, but who is clearly a thinker about baseball? Bill James is a facile answer, but what about Nate Silver, who has a baseball background, non-baseball gravitas, and more raw intelligence than the rest of the committee combined? What about Sean Forman, a non-writer who has contributed as much to the enjoyment of fans as anyone outside the game’s structure in the internet era? Where is the committee going to get the next great idea, as opposed to the ones that have been repeated over and over and shown to get no one excited?

This committee isn’t designed for that, of course. Most of its value has already passed, in the press release and the conference call, designed so that Selig could say he was doing something. That’s how you end up with George Will and Frank Robinson and Bill DeWitt, rather than a committee with a chance to actually make a difference to the game.


Offline Minty Fresh

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Re: Committee To Improve Baseball
« Reply #3: December 17, 2009, 09:38:55 AM »
Joe Sheehan sounds like he's pouting in the corner for not being invited. 

Suck it up.

Offline JCA-CrystalCity

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Re: Committee To Improve Baseball
« Reply #4: December 17, 2009, 09:40:49 AM »
Nate Silver and Curt Schilling would bring some balance, in more ways than one.

Of Boz's suggestions, I think the "conceded base" (IBB) makes a lot of sense, as well as once a month day night double headers (before travel days or on Saturdays).  I'm not too keen on requiring pitchers to pitch to two batters.  They already can lose a platoon advantage if the opponent pinch hits . . .  And kill GBA, thank G-d I'm a Country boy, or any other second song during the 7th inning stretch. 

The manager selection seems a little tilted towards "old school" managers.  If you pick the committee, you can control the result.

Offline Minty Fresh

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Re: Committee To Improve Baseball
« Reply #5: December 17, 2009, 09:42:46 AM »
Nate Silver and Curt Schilling would bring some balance,

I stopped reading after this.  JCA:  I usually like what you have to say and you bring some interesting perspective, but Curt Schilling is nothing short of a chicken-crap blowhard.  I would NEVER invite Curt Schilling to a birthday party let alone to serve on a committee to improve anything.

No thanks.

Online HalfSmokes

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Re: Committee To Improve Baseball
« Reply #6: December 17, 2009, 09:53:34 AM »
I stopped reading after this.  JCA:  I usually like what you have to say and you bring some interesting perspective, but Curt Schilling is nothing short of a chicken-crap blowhard.  I would NEVER invite Curt Schilling to a birthday party let alone to serve on a committee to improve anything.

No thanks.

what about his other suggestions

Quote
Finally, what about someone who doesn’t neatly fit into any of these categories, but who is clearly a thinker about baseball? Bill James is a facile answer, but what about Nate Silver, who has a baseball background, non-baseball gravitas, and more raw intelligence than the rest of the committee combined? What about Sean Forman, a non-writer who has contributed as much to the enjoyment of fans as anyone outside the game’s structure in the internet era? Where is the committee going to get the next great idea, as opposed to the ones that have been repeated over and over and shown to get no one excited?

Its not like the committee matters anyway- do you really think AL owners would vote to eliminate the DH or if the compromise with the MLBPA is a roster expansion that owners (especially NL owners) would vote to ratify when you have teams that seem determined to keep payroll as small as possible

Offline Minty Fresh

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Re: Committee To Improve Baseball
« Reply #7: December 17, 2009, 09:58:49 AM »
what about his other suggestions

I like the scheduled d-hers, I would love to eliminate songs other than "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" in the stretch (though I don't think that really matters) and I haven't thought about the IBB and pitcher restrictions yet. 

But anytime anyone thinks Curt Schilling would be a beneficial participant on a committee to improve anything, it makes me skin crawl.  Schilling is a freaking douche-bag (hyphenated for political correctness).

Offline Minty Fresh

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Re: Committee To Improve Baseball
« Reply #8: December 17, 2009, 09:59:41 AM »
And by the way, nice of Joe Sheehan to focus on the lack of players despite the fact that the committee is littered with former players and even Hall of Famers.  Too bad guys like that don't have perspective.  :?

Online HalfSmokes

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Re: Committee To Improve Baseball
« Reply #9: December 17, 2009, 10:07:14 AM »
And by the way, nice of Joe Sheehan to focus on the lack of players despite the fact that the committee is littered with former players and even Hall of Famers.  Too bad guys like that don't have perspective.  :?

his focus isn't on the lack of players, but on the lack of current or recent players
Quote
How can you possibly have a cogent discussion about how to make baseball better for the 2010s when you don’t have a single committee member who’s been in a game since the 1970s?

That seems pretty valid to me

Offline Minty Fresh

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Re: Committee To Improve Baseball
« Reply #10: December 17, 2009, 10:36:15 AM »
his focus isn't on the lack of players, but on the lack of current or recent players
That seems pretty valid to me

Not so.  A lot of the problems with the game today stem from how far it has deviated from the way it was.

Games are routinely four-plus hours long.  Playoff games start at 8:30 Eastern.  The season begins (and ends) while there's snow on the ground in the Northern cities (where most of the teams are located). 

Pitchers take too long between pitches.  Pitchers mounds are lower.  Ball parks are smaller.  The game is oriented for the offense.

Television runs the game of baseball.

None of these were problems in the 1970's and prior.

Offline PANatsFan

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Re: Committee To Improve Baseball
« Reply #11: December 17, 2009, 10:43:52 AM »
Boswell's column was a gem, IMO.

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Re: Committee To Improve Baseball
« Reply #12: December 17, 2009, 10:53:22 AM »
I agree.  But Boswell didn't comment on the imbalence in payrolls between the teams (such as NY or LA) and the effect on fan interest that's harmed by payroll imbalences.

Also, Boswell is on a Washington Post Chat at 11am this morning, which is in a few minutes.

Boswell's column was a gem, IMO.

Offline NatsAddict

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Re: Committee To Improve Baseball
« Reply #13: December 17, 2009, 10:56:54 AM »
This Tom Bozwell column is in the Washington Post this morning and it describes his ideas to improve baseball.  But I think it misses the point for more competition by not letting "rich' teams pay all the salaries they want.  Baseball will never get the fan interest if everything is run by the NY or LA teams.

http://jobview.usajobs.gov/getjob.aspx?JobID=85116138&aid=37537659-17129&WT.mc_n=125&rc=4&TabNum=1


Are you implying Selig needs a new job?   :lol:



Quote
Under Selig and newly formed committee, the fix is finally in for baseball
Commissioner Bud Selig's new 14-man special committee will "analyze ways to improve" baseball.
By Thomas Boswell
Thursday, December 17, 2009

My holiday gift came early. Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig announced Tuesday, to the surprise of many inside the sport, that he had appointed a 14-man special committee to fix the sport. Of course, Selig didn't say "fix." His group will just "analyze ways to improve" the sport. In other words: fix.

After the various embarrassments of this year's postseason, piled on top of a recession-plagued year with sinking attendance, MLB has decided to get serious about correcting its problems, many of which have festered for years. From excessively long games to bad umpiring to World Series games in November to the intractable DH rule, Selig says, "There will be no sacred cows."

With three seasons left before his term as commissioner is over, Selig is determined to do all he can to put the game "on the field" in as good of shape as possible as part of his legacy.

"We're not just reacting to things in October," Selig told me Wednesday. "I've been thinking about this for years."

The proof of his seriousness is in the superb quality of his committee.

His group includes four managers who've at some point won World Series: Tony La Russa (St. Louis), Jim Leyland (Detroit), Joe Torre (Los Angeles Dodgers) and Mike Scioscia (Los Angeles Angels). "You guys are on the field. You live this every day. We need your input," said Selig, and the four have already been batting ideas among themselves for two weeks.

The committee also includes elite executives such as John Schuerholz of Atlanta and Andy MacPhail of Baltimore as well as owner representatives like Paul Beeston (Toronto), Bill DeWitt (St. Louis) and Dave Montgomery (Philadelphia). Frank Robinson, who has studied issues like slow play, is on board.

These are baseball's brand names. Any issue on which they offer a consensus proposal will almost certainly be adopted by the sport. If this sounds like the NFL's powerful Competition Committee, it should. And it's about time.

"We're open to talk about anything," said Selig, confirming that issues such as pace of play, quality of umpiring, expansion of instant replay, November World Series dates and some surprisingly fundamental rule changes are all fair game.

For example, to reduce excessive use of specialty relievers and speed up the game, could you change the rules so a pitcher would have to face at least two batters? "Nothing wrong with that," said Selig, not endorsing, of course, but sounding enthusiastic.

The committee's first brainstorm session will be at the owners' meeting (Jan. 13-14) with all GMs invited. Expect some changes by next year. Others may take a year or two. " 'Expeditious,' is the word," said Selig. At least an in-depth process is finally underway.

So, let's get busy and fix this sport. Here are 10 places to start:

-- Cut 15 to 20 minutes off the average time of a regular season game. Everybody knows this is baseball's elephant-in-the-room. The game is too slow in total time and too sluggish while in process. This doesn't just alienate "the young" or "the old." It drives anybody crazy who has a life. When revenue drops in an industry, folks are suddenly open to new ideas and common sense.

-- I've "timed" every facet of the game. Okay, I'm a nut. But I'm right. The average "mound visit" wastes 60 to 70 seconds. Ban 'em all. Middle-aged guys stay in the dugout. Mike up the pitcher and a coach. Talk all you want. Use a crackberry. But no visits.

-- Putting a clock on mid-inning pitching changes is a must. If it only takes 150 seconds between innings, there's no excuse why "waving for the left-hander" should burn more than three minutes.

-- Sorry about "God Bless America" at the seventh-inning stretch, but it needs to go. It was a fine idea after 9/11. But it has served its purpose. And it wastes two minutes.

-- Yes, of course, wave the hitter to first on an intentional walk.

-- A huge time saver, since every relief pitching change eats about four minutes, would be curtailing the plague of relief specialists who now face only one hitter. This isn't "core" to baseball. It evolved. Then metastasized. Change the rules. A relief pitcher must face two hitters. The effect: more offense, and better pace of play, in late innings.

-- Stop the insanity: Don't award home field in the World Series on the results of the all-star game. At least go by "better record." The history of the all-star game is a series of long 15- to 20-year streaks of dominance by one league. The last thing any sport needs is an arrangement that reinforces the imbalance between leagues or conferences. You want to hide it.

-- Make sure no game is ever scheduled for November again.

"Nobody is more aware of this problem than me," said Selig.

Then solve it.

First, never again delay the start of the MLB season to accommodate the World Baseball Classic as was done last year. The WBC is nice, but it can't drive MLB's schedule.

Next, have less off-days built into the postseason. Selig's all over this. Just go back to the way it was a couple of years ago.

-- What will never happen is cutting the 162-game schedule. "That idea gets zero votes" from owners," Selig said. Lost games mean lots of lost revenue.

Is there a compromise? Could every team schedule one doubleheader per month -- a day-night, split-gate affair?

"That's an example of the kind of things we have to talk about," Selig said. "We're going to have to go outside the box."

-- Finally, hanging in the air after so many umpiring mistakes in this postseason is the issue of instant replay. As long as Selig is boss, don't expect to see much more of it in the regular season than currently exists. Over 162 games, most baseball people believe the proper attitude is, "It all evens out. Live with it."

However, more use of replay in the postseason appears to be an open subject. Modern fans are driven nutty by the idea of a pennant being decided by an incorrect umpire call that millions of TV viewers realize is incorrect within a minute. Selig gets that.

The next couple of years should be a rich opportunity for baseball to fix -- sorry -- to "improve" itself.

With its new committee and Selig's wide "best interests of the game" powers, the sport can take a broad and deep look at itself. Other constituencies, especially the union, will have their proper say in time. But for the first time in baseball, a group of the most respected people in the sport is looking squarely at the game's biggest problems. And they have the commissioner behind them.

Washington Post

Online Mathguy

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Re: Committee To Improve Baseball
« Reply #14: December 17, 2009, 11:48:07 AM »
Oh my - it was the wrong cut & paste.  Use this against me at your most opportune moment !

But yes - since you mention it - Selig needs a new job

Try this:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/16/AR2009121603913.html

Are you implying Selig needs a new job?   :lol:


Washington Post

Offline JCA-CrystalCity

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Re: Committee To Improve Baseball
« Reply #15: December 17, 2009, 11:59:46 AM »
I stopped reading after this.  JCA:  I usually like what you have to say and you bring some interesting perspective, but Curt Schilling is nothing short of a chicken-crap blowhard.  I would NEVER invite Curt Schilling to a birthday party let alone to serve on a committee to improve anything.

No thanks.

I should have put a smiley on it.  No way I would want to give Curt a forum to pontificate. He has so many already. 

Offline Minty Fresh

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Re: Committee To Improve Baseball
« Reply #16: December 17, 2009, 12:06:59 PM »
I should have put a smiley on it.  No way I would want to give Curt a forum to pontificate. He has so many already. 

Definitely a smiley next time.  Nearly every one of your posts are serious and well thought out so it's difficult to pick up on your sarcasm - and there aren't any sarcasm lock keys you can push yet, so.....    ;)

Offline Lintyfresh85

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Re: Committee To Improve Baseball
« Reply #17: December 17, 2009, 12:08:20 PM »
Quote
For example, to reduce excessive use of specialty relievers and speed up the game, could you change the rules so a pitcher would have to face at least two batters? "Nothing wrong with that," said Selig, not endorsing, of course, but sounding enthusiastic.

Hell no.

Offline Minty Fresh

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Re: Committee To Improve Baseball
« Reply #18: December 17, 2009, 12:11:38 PM »
Hell no.

There are more effective ways of speeding up pitching changes than forcing pitchers to face a two-batter minimum, but I don't hate the idea....

Offline JCA-CrystalCity

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Re: Committee To Improve Baseball
« Reply #19: December 17, 2009, 12:12:15 PM »
Definitely a smiley next time.  Nearly every one of your posts are serious and well thought out so it's difficult to pick up on your sarcasm - and there aren't any sarcasm lock keys you can push yet, so.....    ;)


Then there was this post:
White Sox swallow Putz; Wang still out there.

Offline Minty Fresh

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Re: Committee To Improve Baseball
« Reply #20: December 17, 2009, 12:14:57 PM »
Then there was this post:

That's why I said "nearly every one."   :lol:

So maybe not smileys but at least some Putzs and Wangs will help out.

Offline Lintyfresh85

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Re: Committee To Improve Baseball
« Reply #21: December 17, 2009, 12:17:30 PM »
There are more effective ways of speeding up pitching changes than forcing pitchers to face a two-batter minimum, but I don't hate the idea....

Any changes to the game itself... i.e. no double switches because it takes too long for the replacement player to run to his new position or this new 'two batter minimum' rule and I'd be totally against it.

I am all for cutting time around the edges wherever possible.

Still doesn't change the fact that the average football game runs just as long if not longer than the average baseball game. (A point most ignore)

Hell, if they really want to speed up the game... remove TV and radio from the equation. Then the game would really fly.

Offline The Chief

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Re: Committee To Improve Baseball
« Reply #22: December 17, 2009, 12:20:59 PM »
I'm with Linty on this one, that idea just feels too forced and artificial.

Offline Minty Fresh

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Re: Committee To Improve Baseball
« Reply #23: December 17, 2009, 12:36:02 PM »
I'm with Linty on this one, that idea just feels too forced and artificial.

I will admit that the rule would seem contrived, but 35 years later, the DH doesn't feel contrived and it changed the game forever.

Offline KnorrForYourMoney

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Re: Committee To Improve Baseball
« Reply #24: December 17, 2009, 12:39:15 PM »
I don't think it'd change that much.  You couldn't use LOOGY's the same way, but you'd still have managers making pitching chances once every two batters instead.