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The L.A. Dodgers baseball team hit a record 8 homers on Opening Day.

The 2019 season baseball season might resemble the kind of men’s professional softball of the 1970s in which beefy guys sponsored by breweries stood around waiting to see if the batter him a home run or not. Personally, I think baseball is more fun with not so many homers, where the batter trots smugly around the bases, and more doubles and triples where hitters, baserunners, and outfielders all have to run hard. (I offered a few suggestions for how to get more triples in 2014.)

In recent years, the Dodgers, who have gone to the last two World Series, have transformed a bunch of nobodies into guys who can hit 20 to 40 homers per season. This ESPN article explains that it is due to the Science of Launch Angles:

Prized hitting guru Robert Van Scoyoc, 3 others join Dodgers coaching staff for 2019
Nov 28, 2018
Alden Gonzalez
ESPN Staff Writer

LOS ANGELES — Robert Van Scoyoc, the 32-year-old cutting-edge hitting instructor who helped turn J.D. Martinez into a superstar, was announced as the Los Angeles Dodgers’ new hitting coach on Wednesday.

Van Scoyoc didn’t play baseball beyond college and spent several years working with hitters alongside Craig Wallenbrock in Santa Clarita, California, which resides about 30 miles northwest of Dodger Stadium. Van Scoyoc and Wallenbrock harped on the importance of launch angle before it became vogue throughout the industry. Van Scoyoc preached keeping swing paths through the strike zone as long as possible and lifting the ball in the air, concepts the Dodgers — and most of Major League Baseball — ardently adhered to this past season.

Martinez began working with Van Scoyoc after the 2013 season. Van Scoyoc repositioned Martinez’s hands, put him in a more athletic stance and introduced him to the benefits of launch angle, helping Martinez go from a middling fourth outfielder to a menacing middle-of-the-order bat. The Dodgers hired Van Scoyoc and Wallenbrock as consultants from 2016 to 2017, at which point the duo also helped launch the career of Chris Taylor.

Pro golfers optimized their tee shot launch angles about 15+ years to get enough distance to keep up with Tiger Woods, so it just took longer for baseball players to do the same.

The Dodgers have huge amounts of money and a lot of brains so this could be legit.

 
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  1. The Launch Angles Dodgers

    • LOL: fish
  2. In that video, what type of pitch is being thrown for each home run?

    • Replies: @ben tillman
    A meatball.
    , @The Last Real Calvinist
    It looked to me like the following:

    1 Curve
    2 Curve
    3 Fastball
    4 Fastball
    5 Fastball
    6 Fastball
    7 Slider
    8 Fastball

    Zack Greinke, the first Arizona pitcher, throws one of the slowest pitches in MLB, i.e. those 72-mph-curveballs that got bashed for the first two home runs. He's lost a lot of velocity. His fastballs that got hit out for homers 3 and 4 were only coming in at 88 mph; he used to throw much harder. He's been one of the best pitchers in MLB for the past decade or so, but this was certainly not a promising outing for him.

  3. During the 2017 World Series Dallas Kuechel said in an interview everybody knows they have juiced the baseballs.

  4. Personally, I think baseball is more fun with not so many homers, where the batter trots smugly around the bases, and more doubles and triples where hitters, baserunners, and outfielders all have to run hard.

    It’s why the 2015 Royals were so fun to watch.

    • Replies: @sanjoaquinsam
    Though I hated the team, the 2002 Angels had an exciting style of offense.
  5. anonymous[340] • Disclaimer says:

    Not again! This was all thrashed out here last season, such as on October 18, when many were trying to salvage a game ruined by an industry that has intentionally turned it into Home Run Derby. I repeat:

    ———

    The one, simple thing that can (and should) be done is to return to the relatively high-seamed ball of just a few years ago. That may not be enough, but at least give it a chance before turning the field into something like GoofyGolf. Briefly:

    1. It has been repeatedly noted on this blog, most notably last year [2017] by commenter Travis, that the new ball carries substantially farther. Beyond the immediate effect of converting a can of corn to a dinger, everyone retools, not just general managers: batters swing for the fences, pitchers try to strike everyone out, and more batters are walked but disinclined to run the bases aggressively.

    2. I’m not aware of formal analyses, but have also read that pitchers who would otherwise (even in light of #1) throw an off-speed pitch don’t because the new ball won’t break as sharply. Another reason that pitching to contact is no longer an effective approach.

    Some faithful fans don’t want to see it, but the game is now home run derby. Instead of a replay of a spectacular fielding play, great throw, or close play at the plate, everyone here is fixated on an umpire’s judgment call about whether the new super ball cleared the fence.

    Maybe guys just need to nerd?

    ———

    I love the real game, too, but you need to face the fact that it is no more.

    Boycott Ba$hball

    • Replies: @The preferred nomenclature is...
    The new game is unwatchable. This from someone who can still name whole lineups from the 1970s.
  6. @istevefan

    Personally, I think baseball is more fun with not so many homers, where the batter trots smugly around the bases, and more doubles and triples where hitters, baserunners, and outfielders all have to run hard.
     
    It's why the 2015 Royals were so fun to watch.

    Though I hated the team, the 2002 Angels had an exciting style of offense.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    The 2002 Angels won the postseason by stringing together huge numbers of singles. I never saw anything quite like it in terms of timely hitting in which they'd score 8 or 10 runs in one inning by hitting line drive after line drive.

    These days, they know where you are likely to hit a line drive and put fielders there. They's got Albert Pujols completely mapped out and he's too stubborn to change.

  7. Yeah….”launch angles.” That’s the ticket.

    C’mon Steve, were you born yesterday?

    Way back in the 1960s, Ted Williams was talking about swinging-slightly-up because the angle was better. Put it into his classic The Science of Hitting.

    This is a cover story. Either there’s some new juice on the market that beats the current test, or the baseballs are juiced, or the Dodgers organization is getting notice ahead of time of when the steroid testers are coming and giving it to players so they can cycle their steroid use accordingly to beat the test.

    P.S. who says Tiger and the golfers who copied him weren’t juicing either?

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Vijay Singh was using moose antlers, or something, when he won all those tournaments in his 40s.
  8. On a related note — one which I admit we’ve thrashed around pretty comprehensively here at iSteve — three-true-outcomes baseball tends to be slow baseball, mostly because of high pitch counts and endless pitching changes.

    In a burst of opening-day enthusiasm, I totted up the game times for today’s slate of MLB openers:

    Mets 2, Nats 0 – 2:44

    Yankees 7, Orioles 2 – 3:06

    Brewers 5, Cardinals 4 – 2:36

    Phillies 10, Braves 4 – 3:04

    Tigers 2, Jays 0 – 2:25

    Astros 5, Rays 1 – 2:38

    Cubs 12, Rangers 4 – 3:07

    A’s 4, Angels 0 – 2:18

    Reds 5, Pirates 3 – 2:54

    Rockies 6, Marlins 3 – 2:55

    Indians 2, Twins 0 – 2:18

    Padres 2, Giants 0 – 2:18

    Dodgers 12, D-backs 5 – 2:49

    Royals 5, White Sox 3 – 3:12

    Mariners 12, Red Sox 4 – 3:34

    As you can see, 2-0 was the score of the day, and usually low scoring means relatively short games. There were indeed three matchups that only went 2:18, which is not bad at all.

    Even the Dodgers’ slugfest only went 2:49. The D-backs only used two pitchers, which surely helped.

    Of course the Red Sox were involved in the day’s longest game. They’re good at winning these days, but they’ve got to be about the worst at dragging games out.

    • Replies: @ben tillman

    On a related note — one which I admit we’ve thrashed around pretty comprehensively here at iSteve — three-true-outcomes baseball tends to be slow baseball, mostly because of high pitch counts and endless pitching changes.
     
    I saw the Phillies beat the Dodgers 2-0 in LA in 1972. Steve Carlton allowed exactly two hits. Carlton knocked in exactly two runs. And the game lasted exactly two hours.

    https://www.philly.com/philly/sports/sportsweek/20120406_Pitcher_perfect__The_story_behind_Carltons_amazing_season_in_1972.html
    , @Steve Sailer
    Did they make any rule changes over the offseason to speed things up, or are they trying them out in the minors this year?
    , @duncsbaby
    Twins beat the Indians, 2 - 0.
  9. @R.G. Camara
    Yeah...."launch angles." That's the ticket.

    C'mon Steve, were you born yesterday?

    Way back in the 1960s, Ted Williams was talking about swinging-slightly-up because the angle was better. Put it into his classic The Science of Hitting.

    This is a cover story. Either there's some new juice on the market that beats the current test, or the baseballs are juiced, or the Dodgers organization is getting notice ahead of time of when the steroid testers are coming and giving it to players so they can cycle their steroid use accordingly to beat the test.

    P.S. who says Tiger and the golfers who copied him weren't juicing either?

    Vijay Singh was using moose antlers, or something, when he won all those tournaments in his 40s.

    • Replies: @Anon

    Vijay Singh was using moose antlers
     
    And when that didn't work he just fudged his scorecard.
    , @Desiderius
    Worst putter to ever be dominant.
  10. @sanjoaquinsam
    Though I hated the team, the 2002 Angels had an exciting style of offense.

    The 2002 Angels won the postseason by stringing together huge numbers of singles. I never saw anything quite like it in terms of timely hitting in which they’d score 8 or 10 runs in one inning by hitting line drive after line drive.

    These days, they know where you are likely to hit a line drive and put fielders there. They’s got Albert Pujols completely mapped out and he’s too stubborn to change.

    • Replies: @sanjoaquinsam
    Yeah. They were great at taking extra bases too. I remember line drive to right-center, baserunner goes first to third...line drive to right-center, baserunner goes first to third...line drive to left-center, baserunner goes first to third. And it annoyed the hell out of me at the time. That and the damned Rally Monkey!
  11. @The Last Real Calvinist
    On a related note -- one which I admit we've thrashed around pretty comprehensively here at iSteve -- three-true-outcomes baseball tends to be slow baseball, mostly because of high pitch counts and endless pitching changes.

    In a burst of opening-day enthusiasm, I totted up the game times for today's slate of MLB openers:

    Mets 2, Nats 0 – 2:44

    Yankees 7, Orioles 2 – 3:06

    Brewers 5, Cardinals 4 – 2:36

    Phillies 10, Braves 4 – 3:04

    Tigers 2, Jays 0 – 2:25

    Astros 5, Rays 1 – 2:38

    Cubs 12, Rangers 4 – 3:07

    A’s 4, Angels 0 – 2:18

    Reds 5, Pirates 3 – 2:54

    Rockies 6, Marlins 3 – 2:55

    Indians 2, Twins 0 – 2:18

    Padres 2, Giants 0 – 2:18

    Dodgers 12, D-backs 5 – 2:49

    Royals 5, White Sox 3 – 3:12

    Mariners 12, Red Sox 4 – 3:34

    As you can see, 2-0 was the score of the day, and usually low scoring means relatively short games. There were indeed three matchups that only went 2:18, which is not bad at all.

    Even the Dodgers' slugfest only went 2:49. The D-backs only used two pitchers, which surely helped.

    Of course the Red Sox were involved in the day's longest game. They're good at winning these days, but they've got to be about the worst at dragging games out.

    On a related note — one which I admit we’ve thrashed around pretty comprehensively here at iSteve — three-true-outcomes baseball tends to be slow baseball, mostly because of high pitch counts and endless pitching changes.

    I saw the Phillies beat the Dodgers 2-0 in LA in 1972. Steve Carlton allowed exactly two hits. Carlton knocked in exactly two runs. And the game lasted exactly two hours.

    https://www.philly.com/philly/sports/sportsweek/20120406_Pitcher_perfect__The_story_behind_Carltons_amazing_season_in_1972.html

  12. @newrouter
    In that video, what type of pitch is being thrown for each home run?

    A meatball.

  13. @Steve Sailer
    The 2002 Angels won the postseason by stringing together huge numbers of singles. I never saw anything quite like it in terms of timely hitting in which they'd score 8 or 10 runs in one inning by hitting line drive after line drive.

    These days, they know where you are likely to hit a line drive and put fielders there. They's got Albert Pujols completely mapped out and he's too stubborn to change.

    Yeah. They were great at taking extra bases too. I remember line drive to right-center, baserunner goes first to third…line drive to right-center, baserunner goes first to third…line drive to left-center, baserunner goes first to third. And it annoyed the hell out of me at the time. That and the damned Rally Monkey!

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    The World Series in 2002 was strange: the Angels were a whole bunch of line drive hitters while the Giants were basically a one man team with Bonds hitting gigantic homers that would disappear: I think he hit a couple above the stadium lights so most spectators would lose track of the ball at the peak of its arc, so there'd be this puzzled buzzing in the stadium as everybody asked "What happened?"
  14. @sanjoaquinsam
    Yeah. They were great at taking extra bases too. I remember line drive to right-center, baserunner goes first to third...line drive to right-center, baserunner goes first to third...line drive to left-center, baserunner goes first to third. And it annoyed the hell out of me at the time. That and the damned Rally Monkey!

    The World Series in 2002 was strange: the Angels were a whole bunch of line drive hitters while the Giants were basically a one man team with Bonds hitting gigantic homers that would disappear: I think he hit a couple above the stadium lights so most spectators would lose track of the ball at the peak of its arc, so there’d be this puzzled buzzing in the stadium as everybody asked “What happened?”

  15. @Steve Sailer
    Vijay Singh was using moose antlers, or something, when he won all those tournaments in his 40s.

    Vijay Singh was using moose antlers

    And when that didn’t work he just fudged his scorecard.

  16. @The Last Real Calvinist
    On a related note -- one which I admit we've thrashed around pretty comprehensively here at iSteve -- three-true-outcomes baseball tends to be slow baseball, mostly because of high pitch counts and endless pitching changes.

    In a burst of opening-day enthusiasm, I totted up the game times for today's slate of MLB openers:

    Mets 2, Nats 0 – 2:44

    Yankees 7, Orioles 2 – 3:06

    Brewers 5, Cardinals 4 – 2:36

    Phillies 10, Braves 4 – 3:04

    Tigers 2, Jays 0 – 2:25

    Astros 5, Rays 1 – 2:38

    Cubs 12, Rangers 4 – 3:07

    A’s 4, Angels 0 – 2:18

    Reds 5, Pirates 3 – 2:54

    Rockies 6, Marlins 3 – 2:55

    Indians 2, Twins 0 – 2:18

    Padres 2, Giants 0 – 2:18

    Dodgers 12, D-backs 5 – 2:49

    Royals 5, White Sox 3 – 3:12

    Mariners 12, Red Sox 4 – 3:34

    As you can see, 2-0 was the score of the day, and usually low scoring means relatively short games. There were indeed three matchups that only went 2:18, which is not bad at all.

    Even the Dodgers' slugfest only went 2:49. The D-backs only used two pitchers, which surely helped.

    Of course the Red Sox were involved in the day's longest game. They're good at winning these days, but they've got to be about the worst at dragging games out.

    Did they make any rule changes over the offseason to speed things up, or are they trying them out in the minors this year?

    • Replies: @Desiderius
    Unfortunately, making pass interference reviewable will only slow things down, but you gotta feel for Brees missing the World Series at his age.
    , @The Last Real Calvinist
    There were a couple of minor changes aimed at speeding up the pace of games:

    • Inning Breaks: Subject to discussions with broadcast partners, inning breaks will be reduced from 2:05 to 2:00 in local games, and from 2:25 to 2:00 in national games. (The Office of the Commissioner retains the right to reduce the inning breaks to 1:55 in local and national games for the 2020 season.)

    • Mound Visits: The maximum number of mound visits per team will be reduced from six to five.
     

    (See this LINK for the full rundown of rule changes.)

    The big proposed change, i.e. a pitch clock, has still not been adopted. MLB tried it out in spring training this year, but it's been put off until at least 2022.

    The other big change that's being considered is requiring each relief pitcher to face at least three batters. That would make a noticeable difference in tight games.

  17. Santa Clarita!

    • Replies: @Charles Pewitt
    Where is the scene where Jonathan Winters tears the gas station apart?
  18. @Steve Sailer
    Vijay Singh was using moose antlers, or something, when he won all those tournaments in his 40s.

    Worst putter to ever be dominant.

  19. @Steve Sailer
    Did they make any rule changes over the offseason to speed things up, or are they trying them out in the minors this year?

    Unfortunately, making pass interference reviewable will only slow things down, but you gotta feel for Brees missing the World Series at his age.

  20. @Steve Sailer
    Did they make any rule changes over the offseason to speed things up, or are they trying them out in the minors this year?

    There were a couple of minor changes aimed at speeding up the pace of games:

    • Inning Breaks: Subject to discussions with broadcast partners, inning breaks will be reduced from 2:05 to 2:00 in local games, and from 2:25 to 2:00 in national games. (The Office of the Commissioner retains the right to reduce the inning breaks to 1:55 in local and national games for the 2020 season.)

    • Mound Visits: The maximum number of mound visits per team will be reduced from six to five.

    (See this LINK for the full rundown of rule changes.)

    The big proposed change, i.e. a pitch clock, has still not been adopted. MLB tried it out in spring training this year, but it’s been put off until at least 2022.

    The other big change that’s being considered is requiring each relief pitcher to face at least three batters. That would make a noticeable difference in tight games.

  21. “I offered a few suggestions for how to get more triples in 2014.”

    Left out pulling back the OF power alleys, which in turn would increase more OF space for a batted ball to bounce around in. For the speedy runners who can hit the ball to the fences, it would then be easier to sprint around the base paths to 3B.

    * One of the main reasons during the Deadball Era and into the ’20’s for the high number of 3B’s was due in large part to the OF fences being so far back. HR’s were of course a rarity but triples were not.

    So if you want to see more triples, move the power alleys back about 20-40 feet.

    • Replies: @ben tillman

    So if you want to see more triples, move the power alleys back about 20-40 feet.
     
    What's better than a triple? An inside-the-park homer. And the way to get more of them is basically the same thing. Move the fences back. I prefer simply moving the fence back in straightaway center.
  22. lol. launch angles. yeah right.

    they just changed the baseball so it travels farther.

    that in combination with the “home run or strike out” doctrine has lead to all the homers.

    kind of like how the NBA has almost no defense now, so even bad teams can score 100 points, and good but not great players can average 25 points a game all of a sudden. you can check this out for yourself simply by looking up average points per game, per team, going back to 2000, during the era of crushing defense, versus today. the worst teams in the league were averaging 80 points per game in 2000 and now they average 100.

    • Replies: @anonymous
    "they just changed the baseball so it travels farther."

    Ding, ding, ding! Here's the October 26, 2017, information from commenter Travis that I referred to upthread:

    "The new flat-seam ball in college baseball is having the desired effect, with teams hitting 40 percent more home runs after they changed the ball. The NCAA introduced the flatter seamed ball with the stated aim of increasing Home runs. The flatter-seamed ball has a seam height of .031 inches compared to .048 inches for a raised-seam ball. The NCAA Committee members made the decision to change to a flat-seamed baseball after research showed that flat-seamed baseballs launched out of a pitching machine at averages of 95 mph traveled 20 feet further. The NCAA’s official supplier of baseballs, Rawlings, also conducted testing of the flat-seam balls in its own research lab. That research was consistent with the findings in the WSU lab, the balls travel 5% further causing routine fly balls to go over the fence.nJust as predicted by physics, the distance the baseball travels is increased due to less drag on the baseball.

    MLB also introduced a new flat-seam ball which had the same effect in the MLB, Home runs increased by 47% after they changed the balls. Two studies confirms that home runs are up due to a change in the baseball. http://mlb.nbcsports.com/2017/06/29/a-second-study-confirms-that-home-runs-are-up-due-to-a-change-in-the-baseball/

    Now that it is easier for an average hitter to go yard, we will continue to see more strike-outs as most players will be able to hit 20 home-runs each year. Players who hit 20 home runs with the older balls will be expected to hit 30 home runs with the newer balls. Will have less effect on players who were home run hitters, as home run hitters who previously hit 40 home runs will get less benefit, boosting their number s by just 20% while the weaker players will see their home runs increase by 50%."

    Why all the willful ignorance on this subject among people as sharp as Occam's Razor? The game was intentionally changed. I lost interest, and moved on. If the industry wants people like me back, they can easily unjuice the ball. But it sounds like things are instead headed down the path of the NBA and its farm system's shot clock, altered lanes, prohibition of zone defenses, etc.

    Boycott Ba$hball.
  23. @The Last Real Calvinist
    On a related note -- one which I admit we've thrashed around pretty comprehensively here at iSteve -- three-true-outcomes baseball tends to be slow baseball, mostly because of high pitch counts and endless pitching changes.

    In a burst of opening-day enthusiasm, I totted up the game times for today's slate of MLB openers:

    Mets 2, Nats 0 – 2:44

    Yankees 7, Orioles 2 – 3:06

    Brewers 5, Cardinals 4 – 2:36

    Phillies 10, Braves 4 – 3:04

    Tigers 2, Jays 0 – 2:25

    Astros 5, Rays 1 – 2:38

    Cubs 12, Rangers 4 – 3:07

    A’s 4, Angels 0 – 2:18

    Reds 5, Pirates 3 – 2:54

    Rockies 6, Marlins 3 – 2:55

    Indians 2, Twins 0 – 2:18

    Padres 2, Giants 0 – 2:18

    Dodgers 12, D-backs 5 – 2:49

    Royals 5, White Sox 3 – 3:12

    Mariners 12, Red Sox 4 – 3:34

    As you can see, 2-0 was the score of the day, and usually low scoring means relatively short games. There were indeed three matchups that only went 2:18, which is not bad at all.

    Even the Dodgers' slugfest only went 2:49. The D-backs only used two pitchers, which surely helped.

    Of course the Red Sox were involved in the day's longest game. They're good at winning these days, but they've got to be about the worst at dragging games out.

    Twins beat the Indians, 2 – 0.

    • Replies: @The Last Real Calvinist

    Twins beat the Indians, 2 – 0.

     

    Yes, thanks for the correction.

    As a NW Iowa boy, I've followed the Twins for many years. In recent seasons it isn't that often they appear first in the scores, so my expecations betrayed me.

  24. The Dodgers have the highest elevation in the lowest half of the National League, and the lowest elevation in the top half of the majors:

    http://baseballjudgments.tripod.com/id62.html

    Elevation appears to be highly correlated with hitting for distance. I don’t know if that works indoors, though. The Metrodome was nicknames “Homerdome”, but there was no agreement why it earned the title. The indoor air? But the Astrodome was the ultimate pitcher’s park.

    Minnesota has the highest elevation in the American League; only Kansas City comes close to them. On the other hand, the Twins have been a beer-bellied softball franchise ever since moving from Washington in 1961. It’s in their DNA, just like the Yankee pinstripes they ape.

    Maybe going indoors is a case of what Robert McCloskey called “Ever So Much More So”– it amplifies the inherent characteristics of the environment.

  25. @duncsbaby
    Twins beat the Indians, 2 - 0.

    Twins beat the Indians, 2 – 0.

    Yes, thanks for the correction.

    As a NW Iowa boy, I’ve followed the Twins for many years. In recent seasons it isn’t that often they appear first in the scores, so my expecations betrayed me.

  26. The old game is gone. This isn’t evolution so much as metagame-type rule breaking. Technology, chemistry and an expanded international talent pool have made it that the people playing the game at a top level are more talented than the original intent of the bulk of the rules were designed for. It’s been a 100+ year arms race but the point we are at now was baked into the cake when baseball adopted overhand throwing from a mound, the foul ball/walk rules, established two cooperative major leagues and shortly thereafter the “live” ball.

    Baseball wasn’t meant to be cricket- the distinguishing action was supposed to be in the running and fielding and not the batter&bowler relation, as in cricket.

    The good news is now that the record books are screwed up, it is a perfect time for radical changes- particularly ones which would re-establish the single (and putting the ball in play) as having value.

    [MORE]
    –move first base in one foot. I’d say two, but you’d have to be careful about this. Now that almost every infielder is both huge and with the quickness of a shortstop, the runner is at a disadvantage not baked into the original intent of the rules. A foot closer should lead to more value for singles/slap hitters; or at least more exciting, closer plays at first.

    –if they aren’t going to move the fences back, establish a home run line farther into the stands, so that only the monster shots few can hit count. The rest should be ground rule doubles or maybe even singles. Heck, make it that home runs can only be called at a certain section according to ground rules established before the game. Make it so that the Yankees have to negotiate stocking up on left handed hitters for their short porch home runs but be at a disadvantage at Fenway with its Green Monster.

    –devalue the strike out and the walk. Players who earn a walk should not be automatically awarded first base outside of the final three innings of the game. Instead, walks should become an accumulating asset between innings 1-6 for managers to deploy base runners (of their choosing) to first base at their digression. But only one “walked” base runner can be deployed at a time. Every four walks should count as an automatic run for the team at bat.

    –Similarly, strike outs should no longer count as an automatic out, ideally after the fifth inning. Instead, players who strike out should merely head back to the dugout. Every two or three strike outs per half an inning would now count as a single out. The two strike foul ball rule would also be eliminated in this scenario.

    –And if these aren’t radical enough; I would also allow teams to change the batting order after the third time through the line up, as well as establish a tiered fielding system, while eliminating one outfield position. Make it so that with the bases empty, teams in the field need to declare with every batter which of the 3rd baseman, shortstop or the 2nd baseman is ineligible to record an out on a batter with a play at first base, unless they field the ball on the infield grass or in the air. (2nd basemen could still record a put out when covering first base on bunt attempts.)

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    How much would batting averages go up if basepaths were shrunk from 90 feet to 89 or 88 feet? Stolen base percentages?

    But, it would seem simpler just to go back to the bigger seams on the baseball.

    , @The Last Real Calvinist
    Interesting stuff; thanks for laying it out in detail.

    Speaking of adjusting the dimensions of the playing field, I came across this article from the NYT (LINK) that mentions the following:


    The distance from the pitcher’s rubber to home plate will be increased to 62 feet 6 inches, a two-foot increase. Such a move would be an aid to batters, and would presumably cut down on strikeouts, which have drastically increased in recent years.

     

    An automated strike zone is likely feasible and might even be helpful, but moving the mound back seems pretty crazy. It will be another huge advantage for batters, which they hardly need at this point. Yes, there will be fewer strikeouts, maybe, but I suspect the games are going to be slugfests. It'll be interesting to see how this works out this season in practice.
    , @anonymous
    "Mister Baseball," huh?

    More likely a Russian bot, sent by Putin to undermine Our National Pastime.
  27. anonymous[340] • Disclaimer says:
    @prime noticer
    lol. launch angles. yeah right.

    they just changed the baseball so it travels farther.

    that in combination with the "home run or strike out" doctrine has lead to all the homers.

    kind of like how the NBA has almost no defense now, so even bad teams can score 100 points, and good but not great players can average 25 points a game all of a sudden. you can check this out for yourself simply by looking up average points per game, per team, going back to 2000, during the era of crushing defense, versus today. the worst teams in the league were averaging 80 points per game in 2000 and now they average 100.

    “they just changed the baseball so it travels farther.”

    Ding, ding, ding! Here’s the October 26, 2017, information from commenter Travis that I referred to upthread:

    “The new flat-seam ball in college baseball is having the desired effect, with teams hitting 40 percent more home runs after they changed the ball. The NCAA introduced the flatter seamed ball with the stated aim of increasing Home runs. The flatter-seamed ball has a seam height of .031 inches compared to .048 inches for a raised-seam ball. The NCAA Committee members made the decision to change to a flat-seamed baseball after research showed that flat-seamed baseballs launched out of a pitching machine at averages of 95 mph traveled 20 feet further. The NCAA’s official supplier of baseballs, Rawlings, also conducted testing of the flat-seam balls in its own research lab. That research was consistent with the findings in the WSU lab, the balls travel 5% further causing routine fly balls to go over the fence.nJust as predicted by physics, the distance the baseball travels is increased due to less drag on the baseball.

    MLB also introduced a new flat-seam ball which had the same effect in the MLB, Home runs increased by 47% after they changed the balls. Two studies confirms that home runs are up due to a change in the baseball. http://mlb.nbcsports.com/2017/06/29/a-second-study-confirms-that-home-runs-are-up-due-to-a-change-in-the-baseball/

    Now that it is easier for an average hitter to go yard, we will continue to see more strike-outs as most players will be able to hit 20 home-runs each year. Players who hit 20 home runs with the older balls will be expected to hit 30 home runs with the newer balls. Will have less effect on players who were home run hitters, as home run hitters who previously hit 40 home runs will get less benefit, boosting their number s by just 20% while the weaker players will see their home runs increase by 50%.”

    Why all the willful ignorance on this subject among people as sharp as Occam’s Razor? The game was intentionally changed. I lost interest, and moved on. If the industry wants people like me back, they can easily unjuice the ball. But it sounds like things are instead headed down the path of the NBA and its farm system’s shot clock, altered lanes, prohibition of zone defenses, etc.

    Boycott Ba$hball.

  28. Is it still possible to go to Chavez Ravine, see a game, eat a Dodger Dog and drink a brewski and not have to mortgage your house? There are some things I miss about America; opening day is one of them.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    I almost went to a Dodger game last year: $30 to sit in the 4th deck behind home plate, $17 to park, $15 for hot dog and a beer: $62 sounds like about the minimum for the first person, and you'll probably spring for more to get a Dodger Dog and a better beer. The right field pavilion has an all you can eat pavilion, which can be a decent meal, although I'd probably have a heart attack eating all those carbs.

    Interestingly, Dodger Stadium is the third oldest ballpark. Capacity has been reduced from the famous 56,000 to somewhere around the same as new Yankee Stadium's 52,300, although the Dodger's claim capacity is still 56,000 for tradition's sake. But it's either the biggest or second biggest stadium. But it's a huge market, so demand is high.

  29. @newrouter
    In that video, what type of pitch is being thrown for each home run?

    It looked to me like the following:

    1 Curve
    2 Curve
    3 Fastball
    4 Fastball
    5 Fastball
    6 Fastball
    7 Slider
    8 Fastball

    Zack Greinke, the first Arizona pitcher, throws one of the slowest pitches in MLB, i.e. those 72-mph-curveballs that got bashed for the first two home runs. He’s lost a lot of velocity. His fastballs that got hit out for homers 3 and 4 were only coming in at 88 mph; he used to throw much harder. He’s been one of the best pitchers in MLB for the past decade or so, but this was certainly not a promising outing for him.

  30. I think the improvement in home runs is due to the Science of Injection Angles.

  31. @The Alarmist
    Is it still possible to go to Chavez Ravine, see a game, eat a Dodger Dog and drink a brewski and not have to mortgage your house? There are some things I miss about America; opening day is one of them.

    I almost went to a Dodger game last year: $30 to sit in the 4th deck behind home plate, $17 to park, $15 for hot dog and a beer: $62 sounds like about the minimum for the first person, and you’ll probably spring for more to get a Dodger Dog and a better beer. The right field pavilion has an all you can eat pavilion, which can be a decent meal, although I’d probably have a heart attack eating all those carbs.

    Interestingly, Dodger Stadium is the third oldest ballpark. Capacity has been reduced from the famous 56,000 to somewhere around the same as new Yankee Stadium’s 52,300, although the Dodger’s claim capacity is still 56,000 for tradition’s sake. But it’s either the biggest or second biggest stadium. But it’s a huge market, so demand is high.

    • Replies: @Clyde

    I almost went to a Dodger game last year: $30 to sit in the 4th deck behind home plate, $17 to park, $15 for hot dog and a beer: $62 sounds like about the minimum for the first person, and you’ll probably spring for more to get a Dodger Dog and a better beer. The right field pavilion has an all you can eat pavilion, which can be a decent meal, although I’d probably have a heart attack eating all those carbs.
     
    Around 1992 or so a few visits to Boston for Red Sox day games.
    Parking free. You found a residential area and walked ten blocks.
    Food $4 Pregame grilled sausage sandwich and beer bought outside the park..
    Tickets $3 bleachers. The park is so small that bleacher seats are good and the bleacher crowd was great.

    I never bought the crap food inside the park and usually didn't buy a beer though my friends did. So my bill for the day was usually $7 at Fenway.

    Too many drunken yobs were messing around with the mustard and ketchup pumps so they had to go to individual packets. Also got rid of chopped onions for the hot dogs...same reason.

    , @The Alarmist
    Last baseball game I saw in person was in 1998, at Yankee Stadium, compliments of Arthur Andersen (RIP). I remember it seeming to seat a few more than that. It was one of the few times I deliberately took a subway up to the Bronx.
    , @Anon87
    I've never understood the dual complaint about games being too expensive, but also too long. Do people really want to drop $100+ for 2 hours or less of entertainment? It's like an odd inverse of Woody Allen's small portions of bad food joke.
  32. @Mister.Baseball
    The old game is gone. This isn't evolution so much as metagame-type rule breaking. Technology, chemistry and an expanded international talent pool have made it that the people playing the game at a top level are more talented than the original intent of the bulk of the rules were designed for. It's been a 100+ year arms race but the point we are at now was baked into the cake when baseball adopted overhand throwing from a mound, the foul ball/walk rules, established two cooperative major leagues and shortly thereafter the "live" ball.

    Baseball wasn't meant to be cricket- the distinguishing action was supposed to be in the running and fielding and not the batter&bowler relation, as in cricket.

    The good news is now that the record books are screwed up, it is a perfect time for radical changes- particularly ones which would re-establish the single (and putting the ball in play) as having value.

    --move first base in one foot. I'd say two, but you'd have to be careful about this. Now that almost every infielder is both huge and with the quickness of a shortstop, the runner is at a disadvantage not baked into the original intent of the rules. A foot closer should lead to more value for singles/slap hitters; or at least more exciting, closer plays at first.

    --if they aren't going to move the fences back, establish a home run line farther into the stands, so that only the monster shots few can hit count. The rest should be ground rule doubles or maybe even singles. Heck, make it that home runs can only be called at a certain section according to ground rules established before the game. Make it so that the Yankees have to negotiate stocking up on left handed hitters for their short porch home runs but be at a disadvantage at Fenway with its Green Monster.

    --devalue the strike out and the walk. Players who earn a walk should not be automatically awarded first base outside of the final three innings of the game. Instead, walks should become an accumulating asset between innings 1-6 for managers to deploy base runners (of their choosing) to first base at their digression. But only one "walked" base runner can be deployed at a time. Every four walks should count as an automatic run for the team at bat.

    --Similarly, strike outs should no longer count as an automatic out, ideally after the fifth inning. Instead, players who strike out should merely head back to the dugout. Every two or three strike outs per half an inning would now count as a single out. The two strike foul ball rule would also be eliminated in this scenario.

    --And if these aren't radical enough; I would also allow teams to change the batting order after the third time through the line up, as well as establish a tiered fielding system, while eliminating one outfield position. Make it so that with the bases empty, teams in the field need to declare with every batter which of the 3rd baseman, shortstop or the 2nd baseman is ineligible to record an out on a batter with a play at first base, unless they field the ball on the infield grass or in the air. (2nd basemen could still record a put out when covering first base on bunt attempts.)

    How much would batting averages go up if basepaths were shrunk from 90 feet to 89 or 88 feet? Stolen base percentages?

    But, it would seem simpler just to go back to the bigger seams on the baseball.

    • Replies: @anonymous
    Thanks
    , @Mister.Baseball
    I don't understand this amnesia as to why MLB changed the ball to begin with.

    Raise the seams and we are back to the early 2010s, when pitching became so dominant that people were talking about a "new dead ball era". Yet unlike the actual dead ball era, no one made any contact whatsoever. That 2010-2014 period was one where the game had all the strike outs of today but coupled with zero offense. It was triage for a problem I don't think the MLB knows how to address without radical changes.

    Moving first base in a foot or two (shrinking all the base paths would be a bad idea) would generate 5-15 more hits for speedier players and 2 to 7 for guys with average speed. That doesn't sound like a lot but for the former that can be an almost 30-point swing in average and a 10-point swing for the latter.

    What is unknown is how much of today's precision positioning and better infield athleticism actively discourages trying to leg out singles. Players are very good at judging the possibility of a hit off the bat and having the situational awareness to decide on whether to expend the energy to run; and when they aren't good at it (or are actually dogging it) clubhouses police the matter (for every player who isn't the superstar slugger.) Today's player is going down the first baseline at a half-speed pace, what, 60-70% of the time? Creating even a tiny amount of more opportunities would, at the very least, produce an illusion of closer, more exciting plays at first base. But what we'll really see is an uptick of (healthy) players who feel they can get awfully close to just legging out that extra single, and that will create more success along with more pressure on defenses.

  33. @Mister.Baseball
    The old game is gone. This isn't evolution so much as metagame-type rule breaking. Technology, chemistry and an expanded international talent pool have made it that the people playing the game at a top level are more talented than the original intent of the bulk of the rules were designed for. It's been a 100+ year arms race but the point we are at now was baked into the cake when baseball adopted overhand throwing from a mound, the foul ball/walk rules, established two cooperative major leagues and shortly thereafter the "live" ball.

    Baseball wasn't meant to be cricket- the distinguishing action was supposed to be in the running and fielding and not the batter&bowler relation, as in cricket.

    The good news is now that the record books are screwed up, it is a perfect time for radical changes- particularly ones which would re-establish the single (and putting the ball in play) as having value.

    --move first base in one foot. I'd say two, but you'd have to be careful about this. Now that almost every infielder is both huge and with the quickness of a shortstop, the runner is at a disadvantage not baked into the original intent of the rules. A foot closer should lead to more value for singles/slap hitters; or at least more exciting, closer plays at first.

    --if they aren't going to move the fences back, establish a home run line farther into the stands, so that only the monster shots few can hit count. The rest should be ground rule doubles or maybe even singles. Heck, make it that home runs can only be called at a certain section according to ground rules established before the game. Make it so that the Yankees have to negotiate stocking up on left handed hitters for their short porch home runs but be at a disadvantage at Fenway with its Green Monster.

    --devalue the strike out and the walk. Players who earn a walk should not be automatically awarded first base outside of the final three innings of the game. Instead, walks should become an accumulating asset between innings 1-6 for managers to deploy base runners (of their choosing) to first base at their digression. But only one "walked" base runner can be deployed at a time. Every four walks should count as an automatic run for the team at bat.

    --Similarly, strike outs should no longer count as an automatic out, ideally after the fifth inning. Instead, players who strike out should merely head back to the dugout. Every two or three strike outs per half an inning would now count as a single out. The two strike foul ball rule would also be eliminated in this scenario.

    --And if these aren't radical enough; I would also allow teams to change the batting order after the third time through the line up, as well as establish a tiered fielding system, while eliminating one outfield position. Make it so that with the bases empty, teams in the field need to declare with every batter which of the 3rd baseman, shortstop or the 2nd baseman is ineligible to record an out on a batter with a play at first base, unless they field the ball on the infield grass or in the air. (2nd basemen could still record a put out when covering first base on bunt attempts.)

    Interesting stuff; thanks for laying it out in detail.

    Speaking of adjusting the dimensions of the playing field, I came across this article from the NYT (LINK) that mentions the following:

    The distance from the pitcher’s rubber to home plate will be increased to 62 feet 6 inches, a two-foot increase. Such a move would be an aid to batters, and would presumably cut down on strikeouts, which have drastically increased in recent years.

    An automated strike zone is likely feasible and might even be helpful, but moving the mound back seems pretty crazy. It will be another huge advantage for batters, which they hardly need at this point. Yes, there will be fewer strikeouts, maybe, but I suspect the games are going to be slugfests. It’ll be interesting to see how this works out this season in practice.

    • Replies: @The Last Real Calvinist
    Sorry, forgot to mention that the longer pitching distance is not for MLB; it's being tried out in the Atlantic League as an experiment.

    I also wonder if walks will go up just as much as strikeouts go down.

    , @Captain Tripps

    Yes, there will be fewer strikeouts, maybe, but I suspect the games are going to be slugfests.
     
    With more walks per game since pitchers now have farther to throw to the same size strike zone, unless umpires adjust it to accommodate.
    , @Mister.Baseball
    I'm glad that the MLB and Atlantic League are experimenting. I'm just not sure how useful it will be. We're coming to the end of the big leaps in the arms race, at least for the foreseeable future. Pitcher velocity maximization has plateaued in recent years and every hitter coming up from the minors has adjusted to 94+ (or something awfully close to it) as normal. Give these batters longer opportunity times and we'll have a redux of the steroid era where no one not named Pedro Martinez or Randy Johnson could pitch inside. Oh! And the average pitcher sported a high 4 era and arms were burnt out mid-July.

    94+ (from start to finish) is the broken barrier. How hitters adjust and play against that is a totally different game than the old 85-93 range. The last pitching revolution in process now is teaching spin rate. As recently as two years ago, the conventional wisdom was that it wasn't something that could be taught. Yet, in the last year, some enterprising pitchers and teams have proven that to be untrue. You can teach and improve spin rate as Adam Ottavino and Astros have demonstrated; or you can achieve better spin rates by doctoring the ball with foreign substances (see Trevor Bauer's experiments).

    So we are very close to a future game where all the star pitchers throw 98 and above fastballs with insane spin rates on breaking pitches; and the average guys won't be far behind them. A league of Aroldis Chapmans in his age 27 season- its nickname could be The Cuban Missle Crisis.
  34. @The Last Real Calvinist
    Interesting stuff; thanks for laying it out in detail.

    Speaking of adjusting the dimensions of the playing field, I came across this article from the NYT (LINK) that mentions the following:


    The distance from the pitcher’s rubber to home plate will be increased to 62 feet 6 inches, a two-foot increase. Such a move would be an aid to batters, and would presumably cut down on strikeouts, which have drastically increased in recent years.

     

    An automated strike zone is likely feasible and might even be helpful, but moving the mound back seems pretty crazy. It will be another huge advantage for batters, which they hardly need at this point. Yes, there will be fewer strikeouts, maybe, but I suspect the games are going to be slugfests. It'll be interesting to see how this works out this season in practice.

    Sorry, forgot to mention that the longer pitching distance is not for MLB; it’s being tried out in the Atlantic League as an experiment.

    I also wonder if walks will go up just as much as strikeouts go down.

  35. @Steve Sailer
    How much would batting averages go up if basepaths were shrunk from 90 feet to 89 or 88 feet? Stolen base percentages?

    But, it would seem simpler just to go back to the bigger seams on the baseball.

    Thanks

  36. @Mister.Baseball
    The old game is gone. This isn't evolution so much as metagame-type rule breaking. Technology, chemistry and an expanded international talent pool have made it that the people playing the game at a top level are more talented than the original intent of the bulk of the rules were designed for. It's been a 100+ year arms race but the point we are at now was baked into the cake when baseball adopted overhand throwing from a mound, the foul ball/walk rules, established two cooperative major leagues and shortly thereafter the "live" ball.

    Baseball wasn't meant to be cricket- the distinguishing action was supposed to be in the running and fielding and not the batter&bowler relation, as in cricket.

    The good news is now that the record books are screwed up, it is a perfect time for radical changes- particularly ones which would re-establish the single (and putting the ball in play) as having value.

    --move first base in one foot. I'd say two, but you'd have to be careful about this. Now that almost every infielder is both huge and with the quickness of a shortstop, the runner is at a disadvantage not baked into the original intent of the rules. A foot closer should lead to more value for singles/slap hitters; or at least more exciting, closer plays at first.

    --if they aren't going to move the fences back, establish a home run line farther into the stands, so that only the monster shots few can hit count. The rest should be ground rule doubles or maybe even singles. Heck, make it that home runs can only be called at a certain section according to ground rules established before the game. Make it so that the Yankees have to negotiate stocking up on left handed hitters for their short porch home runs but be at a disadvantage at Fenway with its Green Monster.

    --devalue the strike out and the walk. Players who earn a walk should not be automatically awarded first base outside of the final three innings of the game. Instead, walks should become an accumulating asset between innings 1-6 for managers to deploy base runners (of their choosing) to first base at their digression. But only one "walked" base runner can be deployed at a time. Every four walks should count as an automatic run for the team at bat.

    --Similarly, strike outs should no longer count as an automatic out, ideally after the fifth inning. Instead, players who strike out should merely head back to the dugout. Every two or three strike outs per half an inning would now count as a single out. The two strike foul ball rule would also be eliminated in this scenario.

    --And if these aren't radical enough; I would also allow teams to change the batting order after the third time through the line up, as well as establish a tiered fielding system, while eliminating one outfield position. Make it so that with the bases empty, teams in the field need to declare with every batter which of the 3rd baseman, shortstop or the 2nd baseman is ineligible to record an out on a batter with a play at first base, unless they field the ball on the infield grass or in the air. (2nd basemen could still record a put out when covering first base on bunt attempts.)

    “Mister Baseball,” huh?

    More likely a Russian bot, sent by Putin to undermine Our National Pastime.

    • LOL: Bubba
  37. Baseball has to be racist. The players resemble the population instead of being 70% African-American like Football and Basketball.

  38. Personally, I think baseball is more fun with not so many homers, where the batter trots smugly around the bases, and more doubles and triples where hitters, baserunners, and outfielders all have to run hard.

    You, me, and Bill James all agree.

  39. A triple was so rare it was my favorite hit. Also the guy who hits a double, tries to make it into a triple and gets thrown out. At the pinnacle is the inside the park home run.
    http://seamheads.com/blog/2016/06/08/fun-facts-about-inside-the-park-home-runs/

  40. @Steve Sailer
    I almost went to a Dodger game last year: $30 to sit in the 4th deck behind home plate, $17 to park, $15 for hot dog and a beer: $62 sounds like about the minimum for the first person, and you'll probably spring for more to get a Dodger Dog and a better beer. The right field pavilion has an all you can eat pavilion, which can be a decent meal, although I'd probably have a heart attack eating all those carbs.

    Interestingly, Dodger Stadium is the third oldest ballpark. Capacity has been reduced from the famous 56,000 to somewhere around the same as new Yankee Stadium's 52,300, although the Dodger's claim capacity is still 56,000 for tradition's sake. But it's either the biggest or second biggest stadium. But it's a huge market, so demand is high.

    I almost went to a Dodger game last year: $30 to sit in the 4th deck behind home plate, $17 to park, $15 for hot dog and a beer: $62 sounds like about the minimum for the first person, and you’ll probably spring for more to get a Dodger Dog and a better beer. The right field pavilion has an all you can eat pavilion, which can be a decent meal, although I’d probably have a heart attack eating all those carbs.

    Around 1992 or so a few visits to Boston for Red Sox day games.
    Parking free. You found a residential area and walked ten blocks.
    Food $4 Pregame grilled sausage sandwich and beer bought outside the park..
    Tickets $3 bleachers. The park is so small that bleacher seats are good and the bleacher crowd was great.

    I never bought the crap food inside the park and usually didn’t buy a beer though my friends did. So my bill for the day was usually $7 at Fenway.

    Too many drunken yobs were messing around with the mustard and ketchup pumps so they had to go to individual packets. Also got rid of chopped onions for the hot dogs…same reason.

    • Replies: @Desiderius
    You can get close to that for Reds games now. They even have a $1 food stand inside the park where you can get a crappy hot dog, small coke, or bottle of water.

    Still didn’t go to a game for the first time last year.
  41. @anonymous
    Not again! This was all thrashed out here last season, such as on October 18, when many were trying to salvage a game ruined by an industry that has intentionally turned it into Home Run Derby. I repeat:

    ---------

    The one, simple thing that can (and should) be done is to return to the relatively high-seamed ball of just a few years ago. That may not be enough, but at least give it a chance before turning the field into something like GoofyGolf. Briefly:

    1. It has been repeatedly noted on this blog, most notably last year [2017] by commenter Travis, that the new ball carries substantially farther. Beyond the immediate effect of converting a can of corn to a dinger, everyone retools, not just general managers: batters swing for the fences, pitchers try to strike everyone out, and more batters are walked but disinclined to run the bases aggressively.

    2. I’m not aware of formal analyses, but have also read that pitchers who would otherwise (even in light of #1) throw an off-speed pitch don’t because the new ball won’t break as sharply. Another reason that pitching to contact is no longer an effective approach.

    Some faithful fans don’t want to see it, but the game is now home run derby. Instead of a replay of a spectacular fielding play, great throw, or close play at the plate, everyone here is fixated on an umpire’s judgment call about whether the new super ball cleared the fence.

    Maybe guys just need to nerd?

    ---------

    I love the real game, too, but you need to face the fact that it is no more.

    Boycott Ba$hball

    The new game is unwatchable. This from someone who can still name whole lineups from the 1970s.

  42. The number of home runs fell after they started testing for Steroids , thus MLB introduced the new smaller ball to increase the number of home runs. It worked , as predicted when the NCAA introduced the smaller ball to increase home runs in the NCAA baseball.
    The MLB could easily return to the older balls and have the number of home runs reduced. But this is not likely, the

    MLB believes people want more home runs and less base running , less fielding etc…I agree with Steve , baseball is more interesting and exciting to watch with more doubles , more base runners and less home runs. But the Owners keep making the stadiums smaller and juicing the ball to increase home runs.

  43. @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    "I offered a few suggestions for how to get more triples in 2014."

    Left out pulling back the OF power alleys, which in turn would increase more OF space for a batted ball to bounce around in. For the speedy runners who can hit the ball to the fences, it would then be easier to sprint around the base paths to 3B.

    * One of the main reasons during the Deadball Era and into the '20's for the high number of 3B's was due in large part to the OF fences being so far back. HR's were of course a rarity but triples were not.

    So if you want to see more triples, move the power alleys back about 20-40 feet.

    So if you want to see more triples, move the power alleys back about 20-40 feet.

    What’s better than a triple? An inside-the-park homer. And the way to get more of them is basically the same thing. Move the fences back. I prefer simply moving the fence back in straightaway center.

    • Replies: @Travis
    MLB should stop using the new juiced balls. in 2015 they introduced the new smaller, lighter ball. The balls became bouncier as the core itself changed, research at FiveThirtyEight showed that they also became less air resistant. The decrease in drag is probably a result of a smaller, slicker baseball with lower seams. The change in air resistance could add an additional 5 feet to the travel distance of a fly ball. Combine all these factors together — a lighter, more compact baseball with tighter seams and more bounce — and the ball could fly as much as 8.6 feet farther.

    In 2000 when players were juicing and the MLB was not testing for steroids, there was a record number of Home runs hit in MLB. but 17 years later the record was broken again when 6,105 Home runs were hit in 2017 thanks to the introduction of the new ball after the 2015 all star game.

    research shows that, beginning in the middle of the 2015 season, the MLB baseball began to fly further. Research commissioned by “ESPN Sport Science,” suggests that MLB baseballs used after the 2015 All-Star Game were different than older baseballs. Research has shown that balls used in games after the 2015 All-Star Game were bouncier and less air resistant compared with baseballs from the 2014 season, when players hit a relatively modest 4,186 homers compared to 5,610 in 2016 (the first full year with the new balls) https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/juiced-baseballs/
  44. @ben tillman

    So if you want to see more triples, move the power alleys back about 20-40 feet.
     
    What's better than a triple? An inside-the-park homer. And the way to get more of them is basically the same thing. Move the fences back. I prefer simply moving the fence back in straightaway center.

    MLB should stop using the new juiced balls. in 2015 they introduced the new smaller, lighter ball. The balls became bouncier as the core itself changed, research at FiveThirtyEight showed that they also became less air resistant. The decrease in drag is probably a result of a smaller, slicker baseball with lower seams. The change in air resistance could add an additional 5 feet to the travel distance of a fly ball. Combine all these factors together — a lighter, more compact baseball with tighter seams and more bounce — and the ball could fly as much as 8.6 feet farther.

    In 2000 when players were juicing and the MLB was not testing for steroids, there was a record number of Home runs hit in MLB. but 17 years later the record was broken again when 6,105 Home runs were hit in 2017 thanks to the introduction of the new ball after the 2015 all star game.

    research shows that, beginning in the middle of the 2015 season, the MLB baseball began to fly further. Research commissioned by “ESPN Sport Science,” suggests that MLB baseballs used after the 2015 All-Star Game were different than older baseballs. Research has shown that balls used in games after the 2015 All-Star Game were bouncier and less air resistant compared with baseballs from the 2014 season, when players hit a relatively modest 4,186 homers compared to 5,610 in 2016 (the first full year with the new balls) https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/juiced-baseballs/

  45. The article doesn’t appear to be online yet, but the most recent issue of Sport Illustrated has an article by Tom Verducci about the use of specialized cameras and computers, which, currently, seem to be mostly used to improve pitching.

    The article estimates that the Dodgers spend $20 million a year in research and development.

  46. @Steve Sailer
    I almost went to a Dodger game last year: $30 to sit in the 4th deck behind home plate, $17 to park, $15 for hot dog and a beer: $62 sounds like about the minimum for the first person, and you'll probably spring for more to get a Dodger Dog and a better beer. The right field pavilion has an all you can eat pavilion, which can be a decent meal, although I'd probably have a heart attack eating all those carbs.

    Interestingly, Dodger Stadium is the third oldest ballpark. Capacity has been reduced from the famous 56,000 to somewhere around the same as new Yankee Stadium's 52,300, although the Dodger's claim capacity is still 56,000 for tradition's sake. But it's either the biggest or second biggest stadium. But it's a huge market, so demand is high.

    Last baseball game I saw in person was in 1998, at Yankee Stadium, compliments of Arthur Andersen (RIP). I remember it seeming to seat a few more than that. It was one of the few times I deliberately took a subway up to the Bronx.

    • Replies: @ScarletNumber
    The 1998 Yankee Stadium no longer exists. Its capacity was 56,936.
  47. Hanging curve balls, two 88 mph fast balls, a 93 mph fast ball low and outside to a righty batter that allows the batter to plant his foot and pull the bat through the hitting zone producing an opposite field blast.

    The other 93 mph fast ball the pitcher was pissed because he couldn’t overpower the batter who was guessing fast ball and popped it.

    If I know a hanging curve ball is on the way I’d hit it over the wall too — with a corked bat.

  48. @trelane
    Santa Clarita!

    https://youtu.be/apHZKlQJI_c?t=12

    Where is the scene where Jonathan Winters tears the gas station apart?

    • Replies: @trelane
    https://youtu.be/w3DOHvR1-yw?t=165
    , @trelane
    https://youtu.be/w3DOHvR1-yw?t=165
  49. @The Last Real Calvinist
    Interesting stuff; thanks for laying it out in detail.

    Speaking of adjusting the dimensions of the playing field, I came across this article from the NYT (LINK) that mentions the following:


    The distance from the pitcher’s rubber to home plate will be increased to 62 feet 6 inches, a two-foot increase. Such a move would be an aid to batters, and would presumably cut down on strikeouts, which have drastically increased in recent years.

     

    An automated strike zone is likely feasible and might even be helpful, but moving the mound back seems pretty crazy. It will be another huge advantage for batters, which they hardly need at this point. Yes, there will be fewer strikeouts, maybe, but I suspect the games are going to be slugfests. It'll be interesting to see how this works out this season in practice.

    Yes, there will be fewer strikeouts, maybe, but I suspect the games are going to be slugfests.

    With more walks per game since pitchers now have farther to throw to the same size strike zone, unless umpires adjust it to accommodate.

    • Replies: @Mister.Baseball
    It really should be a non-issue. The average pitcher already knows how to throw all his pitches up to five feet farther than the current mound position. They do so in practices; either while warming up or on imprecise mounds. They also do it already in game, where they already adjust up to two feet for batters positioned in the back of the box.
  50. Yet another example of how Sabermetrics ruined baseball.

  51. Anonymous [AKA "aSlightModification"] says:

    The Launch Angle-iss Dodgers!

  52. @Clyde

    I almost went to a Dodger game last year: $30 to sit in the 4th deck behind home plate, $17 to park, $15 for hot dog and a beer: $62 sounds like about the minimum for the first person, and you’ll probably spring for more to get a Dodger Dog and a better beer. The right field pavilion has an all you can eat pavilion, which can be a decent meal, although I’d probably have a heart attack eating all those carbs.
     
    Around 1992 or so a few visits to Boston for Red Sox day games.
    Parking free. You found a residential area and walked ten blocks.
    Food $4 Pregame grilled sausage sandwich and beer bought outside the park..
    Tickets $3 bleachers. The park is so small that bleacher seats are good and the bleacher crowd was great.

    I never bought the crap food inside the park and usually didn't buy a beer though my friends did. So my bill for the day was usually $7 at Fenway.

    Too many drunken yobs were messing around with the mustard and ketchup pumps so they had to go to individual packets. Also got rid of chopped onions for the hot dogs...same reason.

    You can get close to that for Reds games now. They even have a $1 food stand inside the park where you can get a crappy hot dog, small coke, or bottle of water.

    Still didn’t go to a game for the first time last year.

    • Replies: @Clyde
    That's an amazing bargain to see the Cincinnati Reds (Redlegs). I would try to see a day game. Maybe eat before you go in and down a vodka nip.
  53. The battle against steroid use favours batters. Pitchers use steriods for strength and to heal the damage they do to their joints. Batters use amphetamines to improve their attention and concentration.

  54. @The Alarmist
    Last baseball game I saw in person was in 1998, at Yankee Stadium, compliments of Arthur Andersen (RIP). I remember it seeming to seat a few more than that. It was one of the few times I deliberately took a subway up to the Bronx.

    The 1998 Yankee Stadium no longer exists. Its capacity was 56,936.

  55. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:

    Chavez Ravine’s finest moment:

  56. @Charles Pewitt
    Where is the scene where Jonathan Winters tears the gas station apart?

  57. @Charles Pewitt
    Where is the scene where Jonathan Winters tears the gas station apart?

  58. Personally, I think baseball is more fun with not so many homers, where the batter trots smugly around the bases, and more doubles and triples where hitters, baserunners, and outfielders all have to run hard.

    Commissioner Manfred is a tool, a nonentity and a disgrace for allowing/encouraging the new ‘true outcomes’ baseball to replace the game of baseball.

    • Agree: Prodigal son
  59. @Steve Sailer
    How much would batting averages go up if basepaths were shrunk from 90 feet to 89 or 88 feet? Stolen base percentages?

    But, it would seem simpler just to go back to the bigger seams on the baseball.

    I don’t understand this amnesia as to why MLB changed the ball to begin with.

    Raise the seams and we are back to the early 2010s, when pitching became so dominant that people were talking about a “new dead ball era”. Yet unlike the actual dead ball era, no one made any contact whatsoever. That 2010-2014 period was one where the game had all the strike outs of today but coupled with zero offense. It was triage for a problem I don’t think the MLB knows how to address without radical changes.

    Moving first base in a foot or two (shrinking all the base paths would be a bad idea) would generate 5-15 more hits for speedier players and 2 to 7 for guys with average speed. That doesn’t sound like a lot but for the former that can be an almost 30-point swing in average and a 10-point swing for the latter.

    What is unknown is how much of today’s precision positioning and better infield athleticism actively discourages trying to leg out singles. Players are very good at judging the possibility of a hit off the bat and having the situational awareness to decide on whether to expend the energy to run; and when they aren’t good at it (or are actually dogging it) clubhouses police the matter (for every player who isn’t the superstar slugger.) Today’s player is going down the first baseline at a half-speed pace, what, 60-70% of the time? Creating even a tiny amount of more opportunities would, at the very least, produce an illusion of closer, more exciting plays at first base. But what we’ll really see is an uptick of (healthy) players who feel they can get awfully close to just legging out that extra single, and that will create more success along with more pressure on defenses.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Why not reduce all the basepaths by a foot, thus making a double 2 feet closer and a triple 3 feet closer?
    , @anonymous
    First, thank you for acknowledging that the ball was intentionally altered. People weighing in here who are ignorant of that aren't amnesiac, but unqualified.

    Point taken about the rise in strikeouts. However, as you note in a subsequent comment, batters may be adapting to the faster pitches. I am a romantic conservative, but tradition is a vital aspect of baseball. So I would favor -- in conjunction with going back to the pre-2015 ball -- tweaks like lowering the mound or even moving it back per your discussion with Tripps over shortening the first basepath. If too many SO are the problem, the remedy isn't a superball that motivates yesterday's singles hitter to swing for the fences -- now those guys are whiffing more often, too.

    Another point that was raised the last two seasons here is that "offense" is much more than scored runs. A game that ends 3-2 with, say, 14 LOB after hitting safely, 3 SB and 2 CS has much more offense (and fan interest) than today's typical 6-4 home run derby.

  60. @Mister.Baseball
    I don't understand this amnesia as to why MLB changed the ball to begin with.

    Raise the seams and we are back to the early 2010s, when pitching became so dominant that people were talking about a "new dead ball era". Yet unlike the actual dead ball era, no one made any contact whatsoever. That 2010-2014 period was one where the game had all the strike outs of today but coupled with zero offense. It was triage for a problem I don't think the MLB knows how to address without radical changes.

    Moving first base in a foot or two (shrinking all the base paths would be a bad idea) would generate 5-15 more hits for speedier players and 2 to 7 for guys with average speed. That doesn't sound like a lot but for the former that can be an almost 30-point swing in average and a 10-point swing for the latter.

    What is unknown is how much of today's precision positioning and better infield athleticism actively discourages trying to leg out singles. Players are very good at judging the possibility of a hit off the bat and having the situational awareness to decide on whether to expend the energy to run; and when they aren't good at it (or are actually dogging it) clubhouses police the matter (for every player who isn't the superstar slugger.) Today's player is going down the first baseline at a half-speed pace, what, 60-70% of the time? Creating even a tiny amount of more opportunities would, at the very least, produce an illusion of closer, more exciting plays at first base. But what we'll really see is an uptick of (healthy) players who feel they can get awfully close to just legging out that extra single, and that will create more success along with more pressure on defenses.

    Why not reduce all the basepaths by a foot, thus making a double 2 feet closer and a triple 3 feet closer?

    • Replies: @Clyde

    Why not reduce all the basepaths by a foot, thus making a double 2 feet closer and a triple 3 feet closer?
     
    How about just reduce the distance to first base by three feet. And keep second base in line with home plate and the pitcheer's mound but experiment with moving second base in and out.
  61. @Captain Tripps

    Yes, there will be fewer strikeouts, maybe, but I suspect the games are going to be slugfests.
     
    With more walks per game since pitchers now have farther to throw to the same size strike zone, unless umpires adjust it to accommodate.

    It really should be a non-issue. The average pitcher already knows how to throw all his pitches up to five feet farther than the current mound position. They do so in practices; either while warming up or on imprecise mounds. They also do it already in game, where they already adjust up to two feet for batters positioned in the back of the box.

  62. @The Last Real Calvinist
    Interesting stuff; thanks for laying it out in detail.

    Speaking of adjusting the dimensions of the playing field, I came across this article from the NYT (LINK) that mentions the following:


    The distance from the pitcher’s rubber to home plate will be increased to 62 feet 6 inches, a two-foot increase. Such a move would be an aid to batters, and would presumably cut down on strikeouts, which have drastically increased in recent years.

     

    An automated strike zone is likely feasible and might even be helpful, but moving the mound back seems pretty crazy. It will be another huge advantage for batters, which they hardly need at this point. Yes, there will be fewer strikeouts, maybe, but I suspect the games are going to be slugfests. It'll be interesting to see how this works out this season in practice.

    I’m glad that the MLB and Atlantic League are experimenting. I’m just not sure how useful it will be. We’re coming to the end of the big leaps in the arms race, at least for the foreseeable future. Pitcher velocity maximization has plateaued in recent years and every hitter coming up from the minors has adjusted to 94+ (or something awfully close to it) as normal. Give these batters longer opportunity times and we’ll have a redux of the steroid era where no one not named Pedro Martinez or Randy Johnson could pitch inside. Oh! And the average pitcher sported a high 4 era and arms were burnt out mid-July.

    94+ (from start to finish) is the broken barrier. How hitters adjust and play against that is a totally different game than the old 85-93 range. The last pitching revolution in process now is teaching spin rate. As recently as two years ago, the conventional wisdom was that it wasn’t something that could be taught. Yet, in the last year, some enterprising pitchers and teams have proven that to be untrue. You can teach and improve spin rate as Adam Ottavino and Astros have demonstrated; or you can achieve better spin rates by doctoring the ball with foreign substances (see Trevor Bauer’s experiments).

    So we are very close to a future game where all the star pitchers throw 98 and above fastballs with insane spin rates on breaking pitches; and the average guys won’t be far behind them. A league of Aroldis Chapmans in his age 27 season- its nickname could be The Cuban Missle Crisis.

  63. anonymous[340] • Disclaimer says:
    @Mister.Baseball
    I don't understand this amnesia as to why MLB changed the ball to begin with.

    Raise the seams and we are back to the early 2010s, when pitching became so dominant that people were talking about a "new dead ball era". Yet unlike the actual dead ball era, no one made any contact whatsoever. That 2010-2014 period was one where the game had all the strike outs of today but coupled with zero offense. It was triage for a problem I don't think the MLB knows how to address without radical changes.

    Moving first base in a foot or two (shrinking all the base paths would be a bad idea) would generate 5-15 more hits for speedier players and 2 to 7 for guys with average speed. That doesn't sound like a lot but for the former that can be an almost 30-point swing in average and a 10-point swing for the latter.

    What is unknown is how much of today's precision positioning and better infield athleticism actively discourages trying to leg out singles. Players are very good at judging the possibility of a hit off the bat and having the situational awareness to decide on whether to expend the energy to run; and when they aren't good at it (or are actually dogging it) clubhouses police the matter (for every player who isn't the superstar slugger.) Today's player is going down the first baseline at a half-speed pace, what, 60-70% of the time? Creating even a tiny amount of more opportunities would, at the very least, produce an illusion of closer, more exciting plays at first base. But what we'll really see is an uptick of (healthy) players who feel they can get awfully close to just legging out that extra single, and that will create more success along with more pressure on defenses.

    First, thank you for acknowledging that the ball was intentionally altered. People weighing in here who are ignorant of that aren’t amnesiac, but unqualified.

    Point taken about the rise in strikeouts. However, as you note in a subsequent comment, batters may be adapting to the faster pitches. I am a romantic conservative, but tradition is a vital aspect of baseball. So I would favor — in conjunction with going back to the pre-2015 ball — tweaks like lowering the mound or even moving it back per your discussion with Tripps over shortening the first basepath. If too many SO are the problem, the remedy isn’t a superball that motivates yesterday’s singles hitter to swing for the fences — now those guys are whiffing more often, too.

    Another point that was raised the last two seasons here is that “offense” is much more than scored runs. A game that ends 3-2 with, say, 14 LOB after hitting safely, 3 SB and 2 CS has much more offense (and fan interest) than today’s typical 6-4 home run derby.

  64. @Desiderius
    You can get close to that for Reds games now. They even have a $1 food stand inside the park where you can get a crappy hot dog, small coke, or bottle of water.

    Still didn’t go to a game for the first time last year.

    That’s an amazing bargain to see the Cincinnati Reds (Redlegs). I would try to see a day game. Maybe eat before you go in and down a vodka nip.

  65. @Steve Sailer
    Why not reduce all the basepaths by a foot, thus making a double 2 feet closer and a triple 3 feet closer?

    Why not reduce all the basepaths by a foot, thus making a double 2 feet closer and a triple 3 feet closer?

    How about just reduce the distance to first base by three feet. And keep second base in line with home plate and the pitcheer’s mound but experiment with moving second base in and out.

  66. @Steve Sailer
    I almost went to a Dodger game last year: $30 to sit in the 4th deck behind home plate, $17 to park, $15 for hot dog and a beer: $62 sounds like about the minimum for the first person, and you'll probably spring for more to get a Dodger Dog and a better beer. The right field pavilion has an all you can eat pavilion, which can be a decent meal, although I'd probably have a heart attack eating all those carbs.

    Interestingly, Dodger Stadium is the third oldest ballpark. Capacity has been reduced from the famous 56,000 to somewhere around the same as new Yankee Stadium's 52,300, although the Dodger's claim capacity is still 56,000 for tradition's sake. But it's either the biggest or second biggest stadium. But it's a huge market, so demand is high.

    I’ve never understood the dual complaint about games being too expensive, but also too long. Do people really want to drop $100+ for 2 hours or less of entertainment? It’s like an odd inverse of Woody Allen’s small portions of bad food joke.

    • Replies: @Desiderius
    Time is money.
  67. You would think the bias against 30+ year old players and MLB’s youth movement would actually decrease the TTO style of play (typically be considered “old player skills”).

    It’s a power game, especially with pitchers. Hard to stay in the league with a low K rate. At the same time, teams are allegedly obsessed with proprietary defensive metrics, which should help pitch to contact guys.

    Who knows, it may just all be a phase.

  68. @Anon87
    I've never understood the dual complaint about games being too expensive, but also too long. Do people really want to drop $100+ for 2 hours or less of entertainment? It's like an odd inverse of Woody Allen's small portions of bad food joke.

    Time is money.

  69. Anonymous [AKA "JohnAnon"] says:

    I’ve lost interest in sports, now that it’s a spectacle of 3rd-worlders running around. I used to like major league baseball when Americans played it, in the 1960s.

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