FanDuel - WFBC

February 14, 2006

Top 25 Baseball Innovations: In case you didn't notice, the game has changed quite a bit in the past 25 years.

posted by dyams to baseball at 12:27 PM - 31 comments

1. The 1993 Blue Jays should get some sort of recognition for being the last team to win the World Series without the namby-pamby wild card. 2. I object to interleague play for all the usual reasons. Half the games I've been to in the past two years have been interleague (I really wanted to see the 'Spos, Nats, and Cards). Conclusion? I'm a hypocrite. But so are most baseball purists. 3. I'll let grum handle this one. 4. I still run into the Braves' game du jour while channel-surfing. Also, if you go by TBS ads, Atlanta's only industry is culinary education. 5. "installed a Jumbotron the size of Idaho": Represent! 6. Represent! 7. Someday, Sara Orlesky will start covering MLB, and the world will have become a little bit brighter. 8. ... wait, there are twenty-five of these?

posted by DrJohnEvans at 12:58 PM on February 14

2. I'm not what you would call a purist, but interleague play still bugs the crap out of me. That was always part of the charm of baseball for me: it was the only major sporting league (in the USA) that avoided this type of scheduling until the champioship series. And the All-Star Game, of course. I just thought it was kind of cool.

posted by NoMich at 01:17 PM on February 14

I used to like it when there were more day games played, especially during playoff time. These days, playoff and World Series games don't end until midnight or after, and if your team is in it for a long run, you can pretty much count out getting much sleep for several weeks.

posted by dyams at 01:25 PM on February 14

1. The 1993 Blue Jays should get some sort of recognition for being the last team to win the World Series without the namby-pamby wild card. I don't follow your logic on this one. The Blue Jays had an easier time than any team that has won it since installing the wild card system. Most of those WS winners were division winners also. Argue against the wild card if you wish...but the Blue Jays may have lost if they had to play that extra round. Should we give an extra pat on the back to the team that won the last WS before the namby-pamby LCS series?

posted by stofer71 at 01:30 PM on February 14

We can glean what coast you live on, dyams...

posted by Venicemenace at 02:04 PM on February 14

Agreed, NoMich. I really like the idea of two separate and slightly different leagues each having their own seasons and not meeting until the super-duper king-of-the-world championship. Kind of like the Stanley Cup before the NHL took it over; more often than not the challenger would be the winner of one of the many hockey leagues of the time. The good news is that the NHL is moving back in that direction, with the Northeast division not scheduled to play in the Northwest until approximately 2045.


stofer71: damn straight! Why have the league's second-best team in the World Series! And they better put the Series back to nine games like in the old days! Seven is just wimpy! Seriously, though, you can argue the point either way:
  1. It's more difficult to win a World Series in the old system because you had to win a seven-team division outright.
  2. It's more difficult to win a World Series in the new system because you have to win an extra playoff round.
But why bother? The wild-card system is without a doubt here to stay. I appreciate the positive qualities of both systems, and I'm fine with the status quo. Really, my only problem with the wild-card system is that it makes the Jays' World Series wins seem like they were in another era...

posted by DrJohnEvans at 02:06 PM on February 14

Pitch count anyone?

posted by timdawg at 02:12 PM on February 14

interleague play- it's great when the cubs/whitesox, mets/yankees, dodgers/angels play. it's a dud when you get a classic dbacks/twins midweek three game series wild card-i like the extra round of playoffs and it generates more interest in september when there are more teams in the hunt for a playoff spot. i also like the new retro parks that are being built now but I wish that something could be done to get rid of the turf in minnesota, tampa, and toronto.

posted by erkno11 at 02:34 PM on February 14

I must admit, I do miss the Game of the Week.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 02:39 PM on February 14

In defence of FieldTurf: it's the best solution Toronto has in the SkyDome, and the SkyDome isn't going anywhere anytime soon. It's a little duller to look at than real grass, yes, but it's better than that eyesore Astroturf. I also play on FieldTurf twice a week, and it's so much better as a playing surface than any grass I've ever played on. (Admittedly I've never played on any professionally manicured major-league-grade grass.)

posted by DrJohnEvans at 02:47 PM on February 14

I'd like to see 4 man rotations again. Who wants to watch some kid who should still be in AAA (or worse, old guy waaay past his prime) giving up hit after hit, or walking 4 straight? Quick! Name your team's fifth starter...do you trust him with a start in a critical series?

posted by wildwoodbike at 02:53 PM on February 14

Fiveman rotation, four man rotation; hogwash. I remember when the Boston Braves went with Spahn and Sain and pray for rain.

posted by ancientfan at 03:15 PM on February 14

I'd like to see 4 man rotations again. Who wants to watch some kid who should still be in AAA (or worse, old guy waaay past his prime) giving up hit after hit, or walking 4 straight? The reductio ad absurdum approach would be to ask why you don't want to go back to one-man rotations.

posted by yerfatma at 03:16 PM on February 14

The reductio ad absurdum approach would be to ask why you don't want to go back to one-man rotations. Of course, this wouldn't actually be a rotation and so you could not go back to 'it'.

posted by billsaysthis at 03:23 PM on February 14

The "one-out setup man" drives me crazy. Back & forth with the righty-righty/lefty-lefty matchups ad nauseum from the 6th to 8th innings. Tony LaRussa is the king of this "strategy". Doesn't matter how well a guy is pitching, a guy can strike out the 1st 2 batters he faces and he'll be yanked for a "better matchup".

posted by Bury Bonds at 03:42 PM on February 14

The reductio ad absurdum approach would be to ask why you don't want to go back to one-man rotations. Of course, this wouldn't actually be a rotation and so you could not go back to 'it'. If I'm not mistaken, it would technically be a rotation on and off the disabled list.

posted by DrJohnEvans at 03:50 PM on February 14

I understand inter-league play, it's all about the dough. Alternate jerseys and such, nothing but loot. Why then can we not agree on the designated hitter rule? Either implement it in the National League or get rid of it. C'mon pitchers!! Stand up and be counted, swing the damn bat!!

posted by GoBirds at 03:52 PM on February 14

Putting the word innovation and MLB in the same sentence is like putting D-Rays and World Series in the same sentence. It just doesn't make any sense. The most significant changes in baseball in the last 25 years are skyrocketing salaries, the steroid explosion and how the pace of a baseball game has slowed to a nearly unwatchable crawl...hardly innovative

posted by challack at 03:58 PM on February 14

Remember when a Cy Young candidate had 300+ innings, 250+ K's, 25+ wins, ERA's under 2.50? Todays "aces" get by with half of those totals. Pitch 6 innings once a week, and you're an "ace". Does anyone really think that Clemens or Pedro would still be pitching if the game were still played the same as when we were kids? This rubbish about pitchers only being able to last for 100 pitches sickens me. Koufax, Carlton, Jenkins...they all got mad when pulled from a game. Today's pitchers are just big babies.

posted by wildwoodbike at 04:24 PM on February 14

Yeah wildwood, woe to the manager that walked to the mound to try and yank Bob Gibson in the late innings. He was in for an ass-chewing!

posted by Bury Bonds at 04:33 PM on February 14

Like I said, pitch count anyone? Didn't Nolan ryan used to throw in the neighborhood of 200 pitches per game on average. Has anyone seen footage on this to check late inning velocity. He was a man when men were men and Clemens, Pedro, Johnson and Schilling were boys. If I'm not mistaken, Ryan was also 34 in 1981 and had 9 years left in his career.

posted by timdawg at 04:41 PM on February 14

As embarassing as it is, I have to agree with challack. I play college baseball, and I have to say that the game I grew up with beat the crap out of today's games. Jumbotrons take more away from the game than they add. The reason most Americans still pay a hundred bucks to watch a game is homeruns.

posted by gator_2_17 at 04:51 PM on February 14

While we are talking about the Top 25 Baseball Innovations I feel obligated to bring up the topic of the worst baseball inovations. The top for me would have to be the DH rule. I live in Michigan so I usually only see AL games, but when the NL games are on I make sure I'm around when the pitcher bats. Of course you could also argue that steroids is the worst innovation of all and I would not be able to support an arguement against it. As for the Top 25 I would definitly agree with the Wild Card as being the number one, if only to keep Red Sox and Yankee fans to not commit suicide if the other team were to win their division and then them being the number two or three team in the League but not making the Playoffs.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 05:33 PM on February 14

I've been in favor of some kind of wild card since the late 80's when I thought the best two teams in baseball were the A's and the White Sox, both in the AL west. I think it's good for the game. Interleague play sucks and is bad for the game.

posted by gradioc at 07:02 PM on February 14

Remember when a Cy Young candidate had 300+ innings, 250+ K's, 25+ wins, ERA's under 2.50? There is a pretty good chance that most of the people on this site would not "remember" when a pitcher did that. It's happened only 6 times in the past 82 years: Steve Carlton - 1972 Denny McLain - 1968 Sandy Koufax - 1966 Sandy Koufax - 1965 Sandy Koufax - 1963 Bob Feller - 1946 If you drop the 300IP requirement and lower the win total to 20 (to properly reflect the fewer opportunities to pitch due to the 5-man rotation), it's happened 20 times in the past 82 years: Randy Johnson - 2002 Randy Johnson - 2001 Pedro Martinez - 1999 Randy Johnson - 1997 Roger Clemens - 1997 Dwight Gooden - 1985 Steve Carlton - 1980 Mickey Lolich - 1972 Steve Carlton - 1972 Tom Seaver - 1971 Vida Blue - 1971 Bob Gibson - 1969 Bob Gibson - 1968 Luis Tiant - 1968 Denny McLain - 1968 Sandy Koufax - 1966 Sandy Koufax - 1965 Sandy Koufax - 1963 Bob Feller - 1946 Hal Newhouser - 1946 This rubbish about pitchers only being able to last for 100 pitches sickens me. Koufax, Carlton, Jenkins...they all got mad when pulled from a game. Today's pitchers are just big babies. Modern day pitchers can last more than 100 pitches. Theoretically, they could probably keep throwing past 150 pitches. However, managers don't leave them out that long for three reasons:

  1. Declining Ability - after a certain point, velocity and control start to disappear when the arm gets tired. There is nothing noble about staying in a game past a certain pitch count and then getting lit up like a roman candle and lose the game.
  2. Increased Injury Opportunity - The more tired the arm becomes, the more likely it becomes injured. Whether it's wear and tear from repeated use, or altered mechanics because of exhaustion, the chance for injury increases.
  3. Lineup Investment - If you've got $9million invested in a pitcher, there is a reason to protect your investment. If you've also invested in a $5million relief pitcher, you might as well use him and save the starter for another time.
And before you start talking about "the old days", it should be pointed out that there are probably more pitchers surviving longer in their career nowadays than there ever were. Some of them are rubber-arms (like Livan Hernandez), and could probably match the pitch counts of old. However, we don't know how many old time pitchers were abused by their pitch counts and then disappeared. Nowadays, those pitchers either become closers or become famous for being "failed" high draft picks. Interleague play sucks and is bad for the game. You had a spelling mistake in there. Let me fix it for you: "Interleague play is immensely popular and draws more fans to the games and to watch on TV. Therefore, more attention to the game and more revenue for the teams, players and everyone involved. It is great for the game." There we go. Didn't Nolan ryan used to throw in the neighborhood of 200 pitches per game on average. Probably not.

posted by grum@work at 07:25 PM on February 14

From the article #6: Think nothing good came from that strike in 1994-95? Wrong. The revenue-sharing ball might never have started rolling without it. I'd love to believe that revenue sharing is making a difference, but it's hard to accept that fact when teams rake in money from the sharing but then don't invest any of it on the building of a quality team.

posted by grum@work at 07:31 PM on February 14

What belongs in the Top 10 is the incessant barrage of ridiculous mini-advertisements we have to put up with at every opportunity DURING the game: from "the McDonald's I'm Lovin' It Starting Line-up" to "the Goodyear Tire Player of the Game" (not to mention "the Lo-Jac Caught-Stealing replay," or the "Rolaids How-Do-You-Spell Relief incoming pitcher statistics," or "the Safe at Home Depot moment," or "the WaterPik Professional Oral Cleaning System Pick-off attempt replay," or "the ‘Oh what a feeling!’Toyota game-recap", or...

posted by rockamora at 09:28 PM on February 14

Holy cow, grum. You beat me to every single point I wanted to make as I was reading the thread. I don't know whether to be angry for being beaten to the punches, or pleased for being saved the trouble. Right on, man, every point.

posted by BullpenPro at 12:33 AM on February 15

I'm a purist and miss the old days when American League teams played only AL teams, but I bow to the increased revenue. I would prefer they play by the visiting team rules though. I see the DH all year. I want to see pitchers bat.

posted by ?! at 08:20 AM on February 15

I would prefer they play by the visiting team rules though. I see the DH all year. I want to see pitchers bat. I'd go for that as well.

posted by grum@work at 08:55 AM on February 15

Great post grum@work.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 04:16 PM on February 15

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