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MLB 2021 Season Thread


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1 hour ago, BBTV said:

Is Baseball Tonight still a thing?  Just realized I haven't seen it for two seasons (not that I'm putting much stake in anything that happened last year).

Nuked it for more talk/debate shows and NFL & NBA shows.

 

BBTN only Sunday and Holiday nights

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20 minutes ago, TrueYankee26 said:

Nuked it for more talk/debate shows and NFL & NBA shows.

 

BBTN only Sunday and Holiday nights

 

That's bullscat.  Probably want to work some dumb-ass gambling shows in there too.  

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13 minutes ago, BBTV said:

 

That's bullscat.  Probably want to work some dumb-ass gambling shows in there too.  

ESPN hasn’t exactly been a bastion of quality in recent times. 

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I miss just watching a half hour of the previous day’s league happenings. YouTube and social media is paradoxically bad for it! Just give me a simple show, here’s how to keep up with what’s happening, the end.

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On 4/14/2021 at 12:20 PM, Sport said:

I used to be pro-shift, but in the last few years I'm tired of watching left handed batters either strikeout attempting to hit opposite field, hit home runs, or hit it into a wall of fielders.

 

The way to beat the shift: bunt. 

 

 

Anything that limits a manager's ability to deploy his players how he likes should be vigorously opposed. This covers not only cockamamy notions about banning the shift, but also the rule about relief pitchers needing to face a minimum number of batters, or restrictions on when a position player can take the mound.

 

Moving the rubber back is a perfectly reasonable adjustment to account for the current state of the power balance between pitchers and hitters, just as was the lowering of the mound in 1969.

 

Finally, tying the DH to the starting pitcher is a bad idea. One of the great things about the DH is that it allows managers to more easily pinch-hit for other players, and also to pinch-run. That goes away if you have to keep pinch-hitters on the bench for when the starting pitcher inevitably leaves the game.

 

The change to the DH rule that I would like to see would be to make it a normal position, in the sense that a manager should be able to swap the DH and the first baseman during the game, just as he could swap the left fielder and the right fielder. There should be no way for a team to lose the DH and no way for the pitcher to enter the lineup — except if a manager intends this, either by pinch-hitting or pinch-running for the DH with the current pitcher, or by starting the game with the pitcher in the lineup (à la Ohtani).

 

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On 4/17/2021 at 9:36 AM, TrueYankee26 said:

Dodgers-Padres yesterday was the game of the year bar none so far.

As a Dodgers fan, I really hope the Padres are legit and remain good for a while. The more strong rivalries, the better. Finally have good uniforms, too.

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On 4/2/2021 at 10:45 AM, Ferdinand Cesarano said:

and generally spitting in the eye of history

If that's what is important, then we should also get rid of night games. There should be ties (although you were in favor of this in another post), no teams west of the Mississippi should exist, and there really shouldn't be any playoffs, either. After all, that's how baseball used to be played.

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There should be a "magic bat" that has a 4'-diameter barrel and is made of titanium or some other super-light-but-hard substance.  A manager could call for the magic bat one time per game, and the player that's using it cannot be intentionally walked or hit (if he's hit, the other pitcher and one other player of the batting-team's choosing will be suspended for a while. 

 

Special "magic bat" music would play throughout the whole at-bat - either through the sound system or a live band.  Infielders would be able to grab special padded vests since the chances of them being murdered by a ball are much higher during the magic-bat at-bat.

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12 hours ago, TrueYankee26 said:

Nuked it for more talk/debate shows and NFL & NBA shows.

 

BBTN only Sunday and Holiday nights

 

11 hours ago, BBTV said:

 

That's bullscat.  Probably want to work some dumb-ass gambling shows in there too.  

 

Baseball Tonight's mostly gone!?  Shame on you, ESPN. 

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12 hours ago, Digby said:

I miss just watching a half hour of the previous day’s league happenings. YouTube and social media is paradoxically bad for it! Just give me a simple show, here’s how to keep up with what’s happening, the end.

But I want more hours of talking heads and also people telling me how to piss away my hard earned money!

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5 minutes ago, JayMac said:

But I want more hours of talking heads and also people telling me how to piss away my hard earned money!

Don’t forget today’s ultra-hot take that doesn’t make any logical sense but can give us clicks, despite it essentially turning our sports analysts and “experts” into paid actors!

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5 hours ago, Quillz said:
On 4/2/2021 at 1:45 PM, Ferdinand Cesarano said:

and generally spitting in the eye of history

If that's what is important, then we should also get rid of night games. There should be ties (although you were in favor of this in another post), no teams west of the Mississippi should exist, and there really shouldn't be any playoffs, either. After all, that's how baseball used to be played.

 

"Spitting in the eye of history" is not meant as a broad declaration that nothing should ever change.  I have said many times that I like the DH; and other changes were absolutely for the better, ranging from night baseball and the lowering of the mound, to societal changes such as the integration of the Majors.  While creating straw men is great fun, the statement about "spitting in the eye of history" refers specifically to the violence done to the record books by interleague play.

 

Let us remember that, for each achievement, there had always been an American League record and a National League record; and one of these two was the Major League record. For instance, when Matt Williams was hitting home runs at an amazing rate in 1994 (before he quietly went on strike along with the rest of his union brothers, in an unheralded but heroic act of union solidarity), not only was he on pace to break what was then the Major League single-season record of 61, but almost as important was that he was possibly going to break the National League home run record, which was then Hack Wilson's 56.

 

When Ron Guidry struck out 18 hitters in a game during the magical season of 1978, he held the American League record for lefties. Meanwhile, the National League single-game strikeout record for lefties was 19 by Steve Carlton (which at the time was the overall Major League record).  Also in 1978, Pete Rose amassed his 44-game hitting streak. While he did not match the Major League record of 56 held by Joe DiMaggio, he did succeed in equalling the National League record of 44, which had been set by Wee Willie Keeler.

 

Before it became apparent that Rose was going to surpass Ty Cobb's Major League hit total, the focus was on his passing Stan Musial for the National League record. So, when Rose became a free agent after the 1978 season, he announced that American League teams need not even bother contacting him, because he would be staying in the National League in order to pursue Musial's league record. Say what you will about Rose (and, sadly, my position that he clearly belongs in the Hall of Fame probably qualifies as a post for the "Unpopular Opinions" thread), but his willingness to leave millions of dollars on the table illustrates the seriousness with which players — along with everyone else — took league identities and league records.

 

After Randy Johnson threw his perfect game sometime in the early 2000s, I saw a list of perfect games published somewhere, in which these games were listed by American League and National League. In the American League list was Don Larsen's perfect game in the World Series, with an asterisk to indicate that it was not actually an American League game. But in that same list of American League perfect games, there appeared David Cone's game against the Expos. This game had no asterisk or any other sort of indication that something is askew here; there was just the incongruous inclusion of the Expos in an American League list.

 

So, if a National League player today were to achieve a hitting streak of 45 games to break Rose's and Keeler's league record, some of those games would surely be against American League teams. And other players could conceivably set American League records those games — meaning that the same game could count as both as a National League game and an American League game.

 

To put it most starkly: this is bad. Of course, in the grand scheme of injustices in the world, the screwing up of baseball's record books ranks absolutely nowhere. But in the fun little universe of baseball history, this counts as a major travesty.

 

Baseball's history and records, more than an allegiance to any team, are what made me a fan.  And so it is natural that the fundamental alteration to the record books represented by interleague play broke my emotional connection and drove me away.  I didn't leave baseball; baseball left me.  (Though of course my interest in baseball history remains undiminished.)

 

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12 hours ago, Ferdinand Cesarano said:

The way to beat the shift: bunt.

 

The best example of those high IQ plays to beat the shift was Matt Carpenter's bunt double.  Matt Carpenter's thoughts on the shift?  He thinks they should mandate where defenders line up.  And Carpenter's next at bat in that game, he faced a shift and did not bunt because he knows it's not actually the high IQ play.  If it was the high IQ play, he wouldn't have done it just 2.1% of the time that season.

 

Bunting or just hitting away from the shift isn't a solution to the shift because if it was, the same analytical minds that brought you the increased emphasis on shifts would have also brought you bunting to beat the shift.  The solution instead has been to just pull the ball with an emphasis on HRs and balls to the outfield gaps, which has made the sport trend towards becoming unwatchable (having the best hitters just bunt would make it completely unwatchable).  Teams would gladly take the bat out of their opponents best hitters hands in exchange for a single at the rate that bunting is actually successful because there's no risk of a double or HR on those at-bats.

 

The whole argument that players should just hit it or bunt it away from the shift also ignores that if you're a pitcher and your defense is an extreme shift to defend against the pull, you're not going to throw pitches the batter can easily hit, or even bunt, to the opposite field.

 

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34 minutes ago, See Red said:

The best example of those high IQ plays to beat the shift was Matt Carpenter's bunt double.  Matt Carpenter's thoughts on the shift?  He thinks they should mandate where defenders line up.  And Carpenter's next at bat in that game, he faced a shift and did not bunt because he knows it's not actually the high IQ play.  If it was the high IQ play, he wouldn't have done it just 2.1% of the time that season.

 

Bunting or just hitting away from the shift isn't a solution to the shift because if it was, the same analytical minds that brought you the increased emphasis on shifts would have also brought you bunting to beat the shift. 

 

Players don't bunt much because that skill, which had usually been used for sacrifices, has fallen into disuse in a game in which trading an out for a base has become less of a good deal.  But the continued use of the shift creates conditions in which bunting is primarily for the purpose of getting a base hit, not for sacrificing.  This will inevitably put pressure on teams to teach that skill, and it will also put pressure on players to refine that skill — which includes learning to bunt on pitches that are hard to bunt against.

 

 

34 minutes ago, See Red said:

Teams would gladly take the bat out of their opponents best hitters hands in exchange for a single at the rate that bunting is actually successful because there's no risk of a double or HR on those at-bats.

 

First of all, the rate that bunting would be successful against the extreme shift is very high, as the margin of error is enormous, and even those bunts that would not be "good bunts" in a normal sacrifice situation would nevertheless be successful in resulting in a hit against a team that has no defensive players on the left side of the infield.  Secondly, while there may be no risk of a home run, the video showed several instances of doubles.

Once players start reacting to conditions by bunting more (which will surely happen eventually if the shift remains legal), then that threat will be the mitigating factor in teams choosing to deploy the shift.

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Bryce Harper has bunted for hits against the shift a few times, but then the shifting team wins!  If he were to bat "normal", even into the shift, while his percentages on grounders would obviously be lower, his extra-base-hits and HR would be mostly unaffected.  By not even trying for a line-drive or HR, he's played right into their hands, even if he's on 1b with a bunt single.  The math probably shows that you're better off just batting normally when they shift.

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15 minutes ago, LMU said:

If this doesn’t give you all the feels, you’re dead inside.

 

 

 

Even as a Dodger-hater, I am very moved by this.  Vin Scully created beauty; and it is wonderful that he is able to enjoy this title.

It's the most touching thing since the Giants' history-conscious GM Larry Baer gave rings for the team's three recent championships to Monte Irvin, whose 1954 World Series ring had been stolen.

 

rawImage.jpg

 

 

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