There's no ducking the numbers: MLB has a bad baseball problem that's only getting worse

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Lipitor

huh?
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https://www.usatoday.com/story/spor...bad-baseball-attendance-strikeouts/718162002/

It’s a shame Eddie Gaedel isn’t with us anymore. This is his time to shine.

You remember Gaedel. He was the 3-foot-7 slugger hired by St. Louis Browns owner Bill Veeck as a publicity stunt to bat against the Detroit Tigers in the second game of a doubleheader in 1951.

He walked on four pitches in his only major-league plate appearance that afternoon, giving him a lifetime 1.000 on-base percentage.

He couldn’t hit. He couldn’t run. He had no power. He certainly would have struck out if he ever took the bat off his shoulders. But, oh, how he could draw a walk.

Gaedel would have fit right in today’s game of baseball, where fans are staying away in droves, scouts are covering their eyes in disbelief and baseball executives are running for cover.

In an era when athletes are bigger, stronger and faster, something has gone dreadfully wrong with our glorious pastime.

Players are striking out more than at any time, an alarming 22.5 percent of all plate appearances. We are on pace for more strikeouts than hits – 18,613 strikeouts compared to 18,136 hits entering Wednesday's non-action.

636651196664612086-062018-mlb-offense-decline-hits-strikeouts-v2.png

The National League, which is expected to adopt the DH within the next five years, has only four teams with more hits than strikeouts.

Yet instead of these offensive woes dragging teams down like they’re the ’62 Mets, they’re hardly a detriment.

The Arizona Diamondbacks have the lowest batting average (.227) in all of baseball, with 135 more strikeouts than hits, and they’re in first place in the NL West.

The Milwaukee Brewers have been shut out a major-league-leading 10 times, produced a paltry .316 on-base percentage, have grounded into more double plays than any team in the NL and they’re in first place in the NL Central.

The Cleveland Indians are the only team in their division, the American League Central, with a winning record, a division so putrid that it has been outscored by a cumulative 230 runs.

A staggering 41 position players who appeared in Tuesday night’s games were batting .200 or below.

SportsPulse: MLB insider Bob Nightengale details how the AL West race is heating up between Houston and Seattle, and tries to put into perspective how historically bad Baltimore is. USA TODAY Sports

The disparity between the haves and have-nots among teams never has been greater, either. There are five teams with winning percentages below .400 and four teams that are on pace to win 100 games – both would be unprecedented marks should they hold up.

It’s sucking the life out of any suspense in the AL, unless you’re a lover of playoff seeding. The New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Houston Astros and Indians can virtually set their playoff rotations now, with playoff probabilities of at least 96%, according to FanGraphs.

And you wonder why attendance is down 6.5 percent from this point last year. The average attendance to date is 27,675, which would be the lowest since 1996.

While some of the 18 teams whose attendance has declined from a year ago may make up the gap in the summer months, there are five whose attendance has plummeted by more than 200,000 fans. The Toronto Blue Jays, who have a retractable roof, are down a major-league worst 429,665 fans – 11,017 fewer per game.

The game is simply devoid of action, with players striking out, walking or hitting home runs in 34 percent of their plate appearances. So, for more than a third of every game, there’s not a fielder involved in the action.

The average time between balls put in play, according to "Sports Illustrated," is a staggering 3 minutes, 45 seconds.

Meanwhile, scoreboards display an academic decathlon's worth of advanced statistics, almost drowning out the fact that the team that scores the most runs actually wins the game.

“The two biggest stats to me are runs scored and RBI,’’ says two-time MVP Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels, the game’s greatest player in the midst of his finest season. “I mean, that’s how you win games right, scoring the most runs?’’

In theory, yes. But why ponder actual outcomes when you can obsess over expected ones?

We’re having our heads filled with so many exit velocities, spin rates, launch angles and catch probabilities, it’s as if scoring the most runs in a game is considered as antiquated as the eight-track.

636651032847091312-USP-MLB-Atlanta-Braves-at-Miami-Marlins-99798575.JPG

Baseball 2018: Marlins first baseman Justin Bour draws a walk in a game 9,149 fans came to watch in Miami. (Photo: Steve Mitchell, USA TODAY Sports)

These days you’re a hero when you take that pitch that’s 1/8th of an inch off the plate and draw your walk, even though a mere ground ball to the right side of the infield would have driven in that runner from third base with less than two outs.

If you strike out three times but happen to mix in a walk, take a bow.

Strikeouts used to be a hitter’s ultimate embarrassment.

We’re seeing relievers start games these days, legitimate starters expected to last 5⅓ innings, shifts on every pitch and hit-and-runs becoming as obsolete as library cards.

Pitchers are pitching away from contact, hitters are swinging like it’s a Sunday beer league softball game, and every game is being managed like it’s Game 7 of the World Series.

We’ve already had three no-hitters – one more than the last two seasons combined – with eight pitchers having a no-hitter through at least seven innings and 27 pitchers with a no-no through six innings.

When will it end? Can we have some baserunners now and then? How about some old-fashioned rallies? Perhaps the occasional baserunner in motion?

Hitters aren’t saying they want the shift outlawed, but they sure wouldn’t mind seeing the mounds lowered, with pitchers such as Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander doing their greatest Bob Gibson impersonation, or maybe pushing the mound back.

If you listen to the umpires, and pitching coaches, too, maybe widening the strike zone is the answer, at least forcing hitters to swing the bat.

Some players, such as Washington Nationals All-Star outfielder Bryce Harper, are suggesting games be reduced to seven innings.

Commissioner Rob Manfred believes a pitch clock would be the magical elixir. Perhaps it wouldn’t bring any further excitement into the game, but it at least would reduce the time of boredom.

Maybe we just have to be patient, hoping this is only an ugly cycle. Maybe, in time, hitters will actually learn to hit the other way and actually beat those relentless shifts.

But baseball better hurry, because with the NFL dominating the sports landscape and LeBron James and the NBA stealing the headlines, it’s starting to get late awfully early.
 

Varg Did Nothing Wrong

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Boo hoo, this cash cow we've been milking dry for the past 70 years is showing signs of not producing quite so much milk anymore!

Maybe you guys should reconsider paying people multiple millions of dollars a year to throw a ball around.
 

Coconut Gun

He's the gun member of the coconut crew
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So the whole story is about how strikeouts and stuff are up, yet homeruns are also up in the last few years. Also they said "The game is simply devoid of action, with players striking out, walking or hitting home runs in 34 percent of their plate appearances," as if fielding is the most exciting part of baseball, and not dingers. Unless it's a really spectacular catch, home runs are way more exciting than fielding.

Baseball teams probably figured out that strikeouts don't matter if you can hit more homers, and I assume it's a better strategy since they all seem to be doing it. It's kind of like basketball becoming more about 3-points and dunks ever since they realized it's worth it to go for 3s, or get a guaranteed 2. It's just how the sport evolved once a better strategy was figured out.

Maybe attendance is down because people realized baseball just sucks.
 

Red Hood

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Cheaper tickets. Cheaper beer. Cheaper parking. You do that and I'll be at every home game for my local team.

Sports are always better when it's a social experience. I'd love to be able to pile a bunch of friends in the car on the cheap and watch a game and get really really drunk.
 
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Lipitor

huh?
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Cheaper tickets. Cheaper beer. Cheaper parking. You do that and I'll be at every home game for my local team.

Sports are always better when it's a social experience. I'd love to be able to pile a bunch of friends in the car on the cheap and watch a game and get really really drunk.
Some teams are doing just this! Unfortunately a lot of them are some of the worst teams in baseball. The Orioles have a great program where you can sign in using the ballpark app, and your 4th ticket is free. Hot dogs are $2.50, unlimited refill souvenir sodas are $4 a pop... and sneaking alcohol in consists of you being chill enough to just walk right in with a plastic flask in your back pocket (no pat downs, though they will check your bags).
 

Red Hood

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Some teams are doing just this! Unfortunately a lot of them are some of the worst teams in baseball. The Orioles have a great program where you can sign in using the ballpark app, and your 4th ticket is free. Hot dogs are $2.50, unlimited refill souvenir sodas are $4 a pop... and sneaking alcohol in consists of you being chill enough to just walk right in with a plastic flask in your back pocket (no pat downs, though they will check your bags).
That's good enough for me! Sometimes it doesn't matter if your team wins or loses. It's worth it when your buddy loses his lunch on the bleachers in front of him.
 

Piss Clam

Squeeze me.
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Some teams are doing just this! Unfortunately a lot of them are some of the worst teams in baseball. The Orioles have a great program where you can sign in using the ballpark app, and your 4th ticket is free. Hot dogs are $2.50, unlimited refill souvenir sodas are $4 a pop... and sneaking alcohol in consists of you being chill enough to just walk right in with a plastic flask in your back pocket (no pat downs, though they will check your bags).

Nobody want's to go see the Orioles. I love Camden yards, but no way I would support what is going on.

Hit pickles: https://www.picklespub.com/
Hit Camden yards.
Hit little Italy for some dinner.
Hit fells point.

None of that anymore, the Orioles are bottom feeders and the team needs to be sold.
 

Iron Hamster

Days Twitch has waited for DSP apology: 363
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Necro'd this thread due to financial woes of MLB. This could be interesting as I would think they would have to open the books to prove losses and the MLBPA must be salivating at that possibility.


Major League Baseball and all 30 of its teams are suing their insurance providers, citing billions of dollars in losses during the 2020 season played almost entirely without fans due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The suit, filed in October in California Superior Court in Alameda County, was obtained Friday by The Associated Press, says providers AIG, Factory Mutual and Interstate Fire and Casualty Company have refused to pay claims made by MLB despite the league’s "all-risk" policy purchases.

The league claims to have lost billions of dollars on unsold tickets, hundreds of millions on concessions, tens of millions on parking and millions more on suites and luxury seat licenses, in-park merchandise sales and corporate sponsorships. It also cites over a billion dollars in local and national media losses, plus tens of millions in missed income for MLB Advanced Media. It says all of those losses should be covered by their policies.


MLB cut short spring training and postponed the start of its regular season in March, then began a truncated schedule in late July during which fans were barred from stadiums. Teams were limited to 60 regular-season games, down from 162.

Most postseason games were played without fans, though there was limited capacity of about 11,000 per game for the National League Championship Series and World Series at Arlington, Texas.

"Due to COVID-19, the Major League Baseball entities, including those of the 30 major league clubs, have incurred significant financial losses as a result of our inability to play games, host fans and otherwise conduct normal business operations during much of the 2020 season," the league said in a statement to the AP. "We strongly believe these losses are covered in full by our insurance policies, and are confident that the court and jury will agree."

Messages seeking comment were not immediately returned by the insurance providers.

Over 1,400 lawsuits have been brought against insurance companies regarding business interruptions claims related to the pandemic, according to data compiled by the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School. That includes several similar suits by minor league baseball teams, whose season was wiped out completely when baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred canceled it.

At least one of those minor league cases, filed in Arizona and led by the Chattanooga Lookouts, has already been dismissed due to a virus exclusion in the policy.

Insurers in many cases have insisted that financial losses caused by the coronavirus do not constitute physical loss or property damage. MLB is claiming the virus has led to both.

"The presence of the coronavirus and COVID-19, including but not limited to coronavirus droplets or nuclei on solid surfaces and in the air at insured property, has caused and will continue to cause direct physical damage to physical property and ambient air at the premises," the suit says. "Coronavirus, a physical substance, has attached and adhered to Plaintiffs’ property and by doing so, altered that property. Such presence has also directly resulted in loss of use of those facilities."

Many teams have laid off front office employees in response to the pandemic, and many are predicting a slow offseason for players in free agency. Several clubs have already cut loose high-level players as a way to save money, including when the Cleveland Indians declined a $10 million club option on three-time All-Star Brad Hand and the Chicago Cubs failed to offer a contract to popular slugger Kyle Schwarber, allowing the 2016 World Series champion to become a free agent.

MLB has not said whether 2021 spring training or the season will start on time.
 

DerSneedstrom

Shocked Mormon of Color, pronouns are fuck/you
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Super-Chevy454

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If people can't get insurance coverage for lost flights and vacations, I don't expect MLB to be able to recoup money for financial loss.

Welcome to insurance.

Indeed, however the MLBPA should not salivating too fast if the losses in question are very real.
 

HumanHive

Human Behavior is Exceptional Behavior
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Baseball is too easily rigged by ensuring only select teams get the best players. This happens in other sports sure, but there is at least enough chaos on the pitch for the possibility of upsets. Baseball allows for very little strategy or unpredictability. So really what needs to change is how players are distributed.
 

Super-Chevy454

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Make the regular season 100 games to finish before football starts and change the game length to 7 innings.

Maybe they could go even a step further, 80 games but having a playoff formula similar to hockey, basket-ball and football instead of having only the division winners and the wild card teams doing the playoffs.
 

Shroom King

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Dec 22, 2014
That's good enough for me! Sometimes it doesn't matter if your team wins or loses. It's worth it when your buddy loses his lunch on the bleachers in front of him.

That will get you sent home from Lambeau Field... or so I heard.