Author Topic: Can baseball borrow from football to dramatically shorten its games  (Read 1963 times)

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Offline _sturt_

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Just had this thought, and figured surely someone has already written on this. But if they have, Google doesn't appear to have figured out where they posted it.

Maybe it's too simple.

You know those football helmets that QBs and one player on defense get... the ones with a small lightweight speaker inside them?

Pitcher and catcher each get earpieces.

No more visits from the dugout to the mound. No need, so non-existent. To be clear, all that time wasted by pitching coach or manager walks to the mound are no more--they can talk to them directly. "How we want to pitch this guy" is relayed directly, just like the QB is told what play is to be run. Pitching change? No more waiting. The guy on the mound gets told he's being taken out, and he just starts walking to the dugout while the bullpen guy come in.

Mind you, sometimes you just want your catcher to go out and kill some time to give your pitcher a breather or your infield wants to huddle on how to play a situation; and there's nothing to prevent those huddles. They just don't involve waiting for someone to walk from the dugout or back to the dugout in order for them to occur.

Here's what else will save time. No more waiting for the catcher to give a sign. Better, with a runner on second, no more waiting for the catcher to give a sign, then give another, then give another, then decide to re-start the cycle all over again because the battery can't seem to get it together.

Rather, the call is made from the dugout by the pitching coach or manager, ie, whichever has the mic... and though the pitcher could still decide to shake off the first call, and succeeding calls until he gets what he wants to pitch... it's still naturally going to shave off seconds from every batter's plate appearance.

All told, this one change reduces seconds and even minutes from the first pitch through the last out.

All we need is a minor league to introduce it and pilot test it.


Online JCA-CrystalCity

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I'm not sure I want my catcher getting something audible from the bench.  Too easy for the hitter to pick it up.  If it is just an earpiece thing, then can it be loud enough to get above the crowd noise and not be heard by the batter?  I also don't think the catcher can speak back at that point.  It's not like you can cover your mouth like you can in a mound visit.  If you have to deal with codes, then it gets to be like the Dodgers when they had to check signs all the time. 

Offline _sturt_

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I'm not sure I want my catcher getting something audible from the bench.  Too easy for the hitter to pick it up.  If it is just an earpiece thing, then can it be loud enough to get above the crowd noise and not be heard by the batter?  I also don't think the catcher can speak back at that point.  It's not like you can cover your mouth like you can in a mound visit.  If you have to deal with codes, then it gets to be like the Dodgers when they had to check signs all the time.

It's an earpiece. And in 2016, we make earpieces that are, yes, audible only to the person in whose ear it is fitted. Not a problem.

Catcher has no need to speak back. Some will complain that this makes the catcher a whole lot more, well, "catcher," and a whole lot less the "play caller" of the battery, since he's not any more. All he's doing is hearing what's being called from the dugout, just like the pitcher... and catching whatever pitch was called.

Any change is going to naturally be just that... a change. Some will no doubt grieve over the loss of catchers giving signs. Some may even grieve the loss of watching managers walk to the mound and back. For all of a few days, anyway. It will speed the game along... no more of that mess that we saw from the Dodgers. There's no doubt about that. Only question is by how much will it speed the game along. We'd need to see it in action, as I say, in a minor league to gauge that more precisely.

Online Natsinpwc

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I am all for trying out things that will speed up the game. It just seems they don't enforce the current rules. How about just not letting the batters continually step out like they said they would do last year. Or not letting pitchers take too much time. If they start enforcing the rules and penalizing those who violate that will help move things along.

Offline tomterp

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I'm not sure I want my catcher getting something audible from the bench.  Too easy for the hitter to pick it up.  If it is just an earpiece thing, then can it be loud enough to get above the crowd noise and not be heard by the batter?  I also don't think the catcher can speak back at that point.  It's not like you can cover your mouth like you can in a mound visit.  If you have to deal with codes, then it gets to be like the Dodgers when they had to check signs all the time.

 :old:

It's an earpiece. And in 2016, we make earpieces that are, yes, audible only to the person in whose ear it is fitted. Not a problem.

 :lol:


Offline blue911

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One long back swing and you're looking at hours of surgery to remove it from your inner ear.

Offline tomterp

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One long back swing and you're looking at hours of surgery to remove it from your inner ear.

Maybe have a way to be a switch ear catcher?    :shrug:

Online mitlen

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One long back swing and you're looking at hours of surgery to remove it from your inner ear.

Could it be part of the head protection like QBs?     Just a thought though I don't particularly like the idea of a transmitter/receiver.    I agree with Natsinpwc  ...   enforce the rules you have and see how that works.

Offline DPMOmaha

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I don't care about the time of game. It's pace of game that's an issue. There's a number of factors that go into that, and baseball does a bunch of things that hurt itself in that regard.

Offline _sturt_

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Maybe have a way to be a switch ear catcher?    :shrug:

Do they make them switchable between right and left ears?

Offline BrandonK

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Gio would have a nervous breakdown if he heard voices talking in his head

Offline blue911

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Online GburgNatsFan

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Gio needs a buddhist therapist that can teach him about the concept of self.


Offline DPMOmaha

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  • Take two of these 30 minutes before first pitch.
Gio needs a buddhist therapist that can teach him about the concept of self.
He needs Agent May to teach him how to keep his heart rate steady despite the circumstances.

Online KnorrForYourMoney

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Start by ending the practice of making old, creaky-kneed managers waddle out to the mound just to make a pitching change.  That can be done with a mere signal - no need to have them trot all the way out there.

Offline Mathguy

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This whole idea of making games shorter is pointless, for MLB will not want to do it.  Stadiums sell concessions during breaks in the action.  TV sells ads during breaks in the action.  There is no incentive.

Offline _sturt_

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Incentive? Incentive is rooted in the general agreement, one would reasonably think based on their own internal research, that peripheral fans lose interest based on the length of games, and conversely, stands to gain with improvement in that way. That's always seemed a reasonable theory. I could be wrong, but I'm not initially inclined to think they lose that much in concessions chopping off, say, 10-20 minutes on average per game.

Online KnorrForYourMoney

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Incentive? Incentive is rooted in the general agreement, one would reasonably think based on their own internal research, that peripheral fans lose interest based on the length of games, and conversely, stands to gain with improvement in that way. That's always seemed a reasonable theory. I could be wrong, but I'm not initially inclined to think they lose that much in concessions chopping off, say, 10-20 minutes on average per game.

Not only that, but I'd imagine concession sales are a pittance compared to TV revenue, especially in the age of the RSN.  It's all about salvaging TV ratings.  Dollars to doughnuts - most MLB owners would gladly give up 20% of concession sales to see a 10% increase in TV ratings.

Offline Minty Fresh

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Baseball is a dying sport.  Baseball should focus on making the game more exciting as opposed to shortening the length of games.

Legalize PED's.

Offline dracnal

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Baseball is a dying sport.  Baseball should focus on making the game more exciting as opposed to shortening the length of games.

Legalize PED's.

The only counter argument I've heard to this that made me pause was health of the players.  I don't know enough about the long term health effects of PEDs and it's fair to say that if they legalize some, players will still try to push an edge by using ones that are still illegal at the expense of their own future. 

Regarding pace, both football and baseball have big play potential - any given snap or pitch can have a truly exciting result.  Football however has a LOT fewer plays per game. Also, on a drive it either results in exciting plays (because people get first downs and move the ball) or it results in a commercial break because they punted.  When you have a slow pitcher and a guy who fouls off a ton of pitches, one at bat can be longer than an entire football drive plus the commercial break after it.

I don't know that there is a fix to that aspect of baseball. It's a slower game and the old people like that fact while the young people have things to do that don't take hours. (blatant generalization alert)

Offline DPMOmaha

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  • Take two of these 30 minutes before first pitch.
This whole idea of making games shorter is pointless, for MLB will not want to do it.  Stadiums sell concessions during breaks in the action.  TV sells ads during breaks in the action.  There is no incentive.
they sell ads between innings and pitching changes, not when pitchers are taking their sweet time to deliver a pitch, catchers conference with the pitcher and batters adjust their batting gloves. If more people watch games, that means more eye will see the ads which means more exposure for the sponsors which means higher revenue can be generated by the teams/league/networks. It's in everyones best interest to put a better product on the field.

Online mitlen

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Regarding pace, both football and baseball have big play potential - any given snap or pitch can have a truly exciting result.  Football however has a LOT fewer plays per game. Also, on a drive it either results in exciting plays (because people get first downs and move the ball) or it results in a commercial break because they punted.  When you have a slow pitcher and a guy who fouls off a ton of pitches, one at bat can be longer than an entire football drive plus the commercial break after it.


One at bat (see J. Werth) can have more "plays" (12 pitches) than an entire drive and result in a game winning home run.

Online GburgNatsFan

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The only thing I'd like to see if fewer steps out of the batters box and maybe less wandering off the mound. That'd do it for me.

One at bat (see J. Werth) can have more "plays" (12 pitches) than an entire drive and result in a game winning home run.

Online mitlen

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The only thing I'd like to see if fewer steps out of the batters box and maybe less wandering off the mound. That'd do it for me.


In the end, that's where I'm at as well.