Blog Archives

Trimming the Fat: Major League Baseball Can Fix Pace-of-Play, Ineffective Bullpens and Revenue Issues with One Simple Change

We hear a lot about length of game and payrolls, and the need for fixing MLB pace-of-game. To the point John Lackey in August states baseball’s getting “soft”. I can’t argue with that. It is; snd part of the issue is the widespread use of the bullpen. 30 years ago, starters were throwing 120 or more pitches during a game. The logic was simple: They are the start, so the onus is on them. This logic, this mentality, gave us great hurlers like Nolan Ryan and Jack Morris, guys who often went beyond 120 pitches and lead Major League Baseball in pitches, complete games and a slew of other records. They were hard and gritty. But the game is getting “soft” as Lackey points out.

20160617_191520 - CopyWe now get to see the arbitrary pitch count grow. Every network showing Major League Baseball games has a pitch count somewhere. Every stadium advertises the pitch count. It’s become a staple for predicting when a pitching change will occur. We’d see a softening of the game on pitchers. Baseball has created an arbitrary number, the century mark, as the delineating point between continuing to pitch and stopping.

I still recall Jim Leyland and Brad Ausmus taking out starters who were into the 8th inning, even the 9th inning, because they hit 100-110 pitches. Then seeing the bullpen choke up the game.  Tigers fans are still smarting from the 2013 ALCS Game 2 debacle caused by Jim Leyland. Ironman Max Scherzer had 108 pitches through the 7th inning. He had a lead of 5-1 over the Red Sox. Jim removed Max, much to the astonishment of fans. Had it been Verlander, he’d have kept him in. The result was catastrophic. The Tigers bullpen choked up five runs in only two innings, and wound up losing 6-5. Ausmus pulled the same stunt on Scherzer in 2014 during the ALDS Game 1 against teh Baltimore Orioles. With Max at 98 pitches after 7.1 innings Ausmus yanked him. Granted, Max was credited with giving up five runs, but he wasn’t given the opportunity to redeem himself as he’s so great at doing. He’s a clutch pitcher. The result of being pulled? The Orioles buried the bullpen, scoring seven runs beyond the five Scherzer gave up. Essentially, by pulling Max at 98 pitches, Ausmus guaranteed the loss, relying on three relievers over 2-2/3rds innings. Instead of a two-run game, it became a blowout.

Stories like these are common throughout baseball. Coaches are so stuck on 100 pitches they no longer thing in terms of the big picture.  

BULLPEN PITCHERS OVERPAID AND INEFFECTIVE

 

READ THE REST AT FoulBallz.com

Ed Comber (VP Of The BBBA/Owner – foulballz.com)  

Foul Call: Jim Joyce Ruling Exposes Flaw in Major League Baseball Umpire Judgment Calls

I am not at all a fan of  many Major League Baseball umpires. I especially dislike Jim Joyce and would love to see him leave the game. I’m a lifelong Tigers fan and the image of him blowing a call that cost Tigers starter Armando Galarraga his perfect game is still very fresh in my memory. So when he makes a foul call, I tend to jump all over him.

September 2016 gave me another reason to dislike Joyce. I fell for a “foul ball” call by Joyce. Joyce, behind the dish during a Houston Astros – Cleveland Indians game was brutally maligned on Twitter for a wild pitch call during a Lonnie Chisenhall at-bat. People, including well-respected reporters all jumped on the “Bash Joyce” bandwagon. I am embarrassed to admit my own distaste for the man colored my response too…until I went to the official Major League Baseball rule book. Then I changed my mind. Kind of.

It was on September 7, 2016.

This is the play that awaken the disdain:

 

Houston Astros hurler David Paulino threw a pitch into the dirt. The ball hit about a foot in front of the plate and bounced up. Chisenhall, the Indians’ batter, checked his swing and the ball caromed off to the left of the catcher.

 

READ THE REST AT FoulBallz.com.

MLB Foul Ball Week in Review (September 19 – September 25): Running the Mile, Gloves and a WAG Snag

The MLB foul ball week in review shows that Major League Baseball ended the week of September 19 – September 25, 2016 with about 164 Foul Ball Facials in 168 days of games. These are only those fans hit in the head area at Major League Baseball games as self-reported on Twitter. That equates to one fan per day of play. It seems like a lot, and it is, but it could be fewer because just over 40% of these tweets indicate the fan wasn’t paying attention. To put that into perspective, it means roughly 45 fans (conservative estimate) would have avoided foul balls to the face had they not been buried in their phones.

But that’s not the only thing going on with foul balls this week. Here’s the rundown of the best and worst foul ball and fan-related actions from the past week…it was also a very slow week:

FLASHING YOUNGSTER FLASHES GLOVE

So many people assert there’s no time to react to a baseball hit at them. Granted, this one did bounce, but it was still going at a good speed. This young man saved the fan next to him. And that guy covered his face with his arms. Plenty of reaction time since both were paying attention.

RUNNING THE MILE IN…

Did you catch this Eduardo Munez catch? The guy hauled it from 3B to snag a ball Buster Posey lost in the lights. Amazing.

 

READ THE REST AT FoulBallz.com

 

Ed Comber (VP Of The BBBA/Owner – foulballz.com)  

MLB Foul Ball Week in Review (September 12 – September 18): Glove Theft, Umpire Concussion & a Tooth Lost by a Toss Up

The MLB foul ball week in review shows that Major League Baseball ended the week of September 11 – September 18, 2016 with about 162 Foul Ball Facials in 162 days of games. These are only those fans hit in the head area at Major League Baseball games as self-reported on Twitter. That equates to one fan per day of play. It seems like a lot, and it is, but it could be fewer because just over 40% of these tweets indicate the fan wasn’t paying attention. To put that into perspective, it means roughly 45 fans (conservative estimate) would have avoided foul balls to the face had they not been buried in their phones.

But that’s not the only thing going on with foul balls this week. Here’s the rundown of the best and worst foul ball and fan-related actions from the past week:

BOTCHED BOBBLE

This has to be one of the worst feelings in the world of baseball from a fan’s perspective. It was there. It was right there. But this poor Boston Red Sox fan was denied his foul ball

“HOW THE?” IS RIGHT

Washington Nationals’ Ryan Zimmerman managed something I’ve never seen before. He managed to hit himself in the back with his own foul ball. This should count as more proof of the dangers of netting. The foul ball nailed him in the back of the head after it bounced off netting behind home plate in the top of the 8th inning:

 

READ MORE AT FOULBALLZ.COM

Ed Comber (VP Of The BBBA/Owner – foulballz.com)  

MLB Foul Ball Week in Review (September 5 – September 11): Jim Joyce Wild Pitch Foul Ball,

The MLB foul ball week in review shows that Major League Baseball ended the week of September 5 – September 11, 2016 with about 156 Foul Ball Facials (#FoulBallFacials) in 155 days of games. These are only those fans hit in the head area at Major League Baseball games as self-reported on Twitter. That equates to one fan per day of play. It seems like a lot, and it is, but it could be fewer since nearly 50% of these tweets indicate the fan wasn’t paying attention. To put that into perspective, it means roughly 65 fans (conservative estimate) would have avoided foul balls to the face had they not been buried in their phones.

But that’s not the only thing going on with foul balls this week. Here’s the rundown of the best and worst foul ball and fan-related actions from the past week:

EMPLOYEE OF THE WEEK

How’s this for a day at work as a non-player? I wonder if they got the Atlanta Braves foul ball certificate. Maybe that doesn’t apply to employees who snag foul balls.

THE JIM JOYCE WILD PITCH

I am not at all a fan of Major League Baseball umpires. I especially dislike Jim Joyce and would love to see him leave the game (I’m a lifelong Tigers fan and the image of him blowing a call that cost Tigers starter Armando Galarraga his perfect game is still very fresh in my memory). Last week, I fell for a “foul ball” call by Joyce. Joyce, behind the dish during the Astros – Cleveland Indians game was brutally maligned on Twitter for a wild pitch call on a Chisenhall at-bat. People, including well-respected reporters all jumped on the “Bash Joyce” bandwagon. I am embarrassed to admit my own distaste for the man colored my response too…until I went to the official Major League Baseball rule book. Then I changed my mind. This is the play that awaken the disdain:

As you can see in the replay, the ball hit the dirt nearly a foot before the plate. How any baseball fan doesn’t see that as a wild pitch is bewildering. Actually, it’s a great deal more complicated than that though. Read on.

 

READ THE REST AT FOULBALLZ.COM.

Ed Comber (VP Of The BBBA/Owner – foulballz.com)  

MLB Foul Ball Week in Review (August 29-September 4): Wicked Spin, Stay Home, a Ballboy Epic Fail and More

Foul Ball DiagramMajor League Baseball ended the week of August 29-September 4, 2016 with over nearly 150 Foul Ball Facials (#FoulBallFacials) in 148 days of games in this MLB Foul Ball Week in Review. These are only those fans hit in the head area at Major League Baseball games as self-reported on Twitter. That equates to one fan per day of play. It seems like a lot, and it is, but it could be fewer since nearly 50% of these tweets indicate the fan wasn’t paying attention. To put that into perspective, it means roughly 65 fans (conservative estimate) would have avoided foul balls to the face had they not been buried in their phones.

But that’s not the only thing going on with foul balls this week. Here’s the rundown of the best and worst foul ball and fan-related actions from the past week:

TWO YEARS to SUE

It took this woman two years to decide to file a lawsuit. TWO YEARS. Notice the sign in the article? Why did it take 2 years?

WICKED BACKSPIN

The El Paso Chihuahuas may be home to the craziest, most bizarre foul ball turned fair ball in modern ball. It’s beyond explanation and description:

 

READ THE REST AT FOULBALLZ.COM

Ed Comber (VP Of The BBBA/Owner – foulballz.com)  

MLB Foul Ball Week in Review (August 22-28): Ballboys, Netting Issues and Freddie Freeman’s Fall

Major League Baseball ended the week of August 22-28, 2016 with over nearly 144 Foul Ball Facials (#FoulBallFacials) in 141 games. These are only those fans hit in the head area at Major League Baseball games as self-reported on Twitter. That equates to one fan per day of play. It seems like a lot, and it is, but it could be fewer since nearly 50% of these tweets indicate the fan wasn’t paying attention.

But that’s not the only thing going on with foul balls this week. Here’s the rundown of the best and worst foul ball and fan-related actions from the past week:

MESSING WITH THE BALLBOY

Ballboys and ballgirls have been a staple of foul ball plays for seasons. Some have lightning quick reflexes. Some may be surprised to learn that ballgirls have faster gloves than ballboys. Here’s a perfect example of how ballboys aren’t always the best at doing their job. This young man botched what should have been a reasonably routine play.

The Tampa Bay Rays bullpen decided to take over his job since he wasn’t able to perform his protective duties.

On the other hand, and to be fair, not all ballboys miss routine foul balls. This ballboy for the Toronto Blue Jays had no issues with being calm and making a good, solid snag.

 

READ the rest at FOULBALLZ.com

Ed Comber (VP Of The BBBA/Owner – foulballz.com)  

MLB Foul Ball Week in Review (August 15-21): Pence Victim of Baseball Gods, Racist Tweet and Using the Force

Major League Baseball ended the week of August 15-21, 2016 with over nearly 140 Foul Ball Facials (#FoulBallFacials) in nearly 135 games. These are only those fans hit in the head area at MLB games as self-reported on Twitter. That equates to one fan per day of play. It seems like a lot, and it is, but over 60% indicate they weren’t paying attention.

But that’s not the only thing going on with foul balls this week. Here’s the rundown of the best and worst foul ball and fan-related actions from the past week:

DID THEY SEE IT?

This. I don’t know how to describe it. Is it The Force being used? Is it something else? An angel in the bullpen? This ball shot past the third base umpire, who moved out of the way quickly, and toward the Cubs bullpen. Every reliever was oblivious to it. The ball appears to careen off something, but again, none of the pitchers seem to even see it. You decide what happened:

Cubs bullpen is oblivious?

UMPIRES

READ THE REST ON FOULBALLZ.com

Ed Comber (VP Of The BBBA/Owner – foulballz.com)  

MLB Foul Ball Week in Review: Nacho Face, Dugout Danger and Fan/Player Love During Week of August 7-14

Major League Baseball ended the week of August 8-14, 2016 with over nearly 130 Foul Ball Facials (#FoulBallFacials) in nearly 130 games. These are only those fans hit in the head area at MLB games as self-reported on Twitter. That equates to one fan per day of play. It seems like a lot, and it is, but over 60% indicate they weren’t paying attention.FoulBallYankeeSeatWarning_Copyright

But that’s not the only thing going on with foul balls this week. Here’s the rundown of the best and worst foul ball and fan-related actions from the past week:

FALLING for FOULS

I admire people who ignore their own personal safety to make a play. But running and leaning over a wall and falling horizontally into the seats is one thing. Jonathan Villar had a different take on this: He went vertical, horizontal and then vertical again, falling into a camera well.

NACHO FACE

First we had nacho ball, now nacho face. This fan, well, just watch.

SANTANA NAILED IN DUGOUT

Carlos Santana was nailed by a foul ball while in Indians dugout. I often have people tell me “There’s netting across the dugouts” as a reason players don’t get hit by balls into the dugout. That is only a perception though. Many players get slammed by foul balls into the dugout. Santan happens to be the most recent:

READ MORE AT FOULBALLZ.com

Ed Comber (VP Of The BBBA/Owner – foulballz.com)  

Calculating Foul Ball Odds: More Considerations (UPDATED)

 

Cleveland-Field-300x224Continuing the discussion about calculating foul ball odds, my research indicates the data reported by ESPN Stats and Info a few years ago (2103 season) was even more erroneous than originally thought. In a Distilled article from that year we learned the odds of catching a 2nd, 3rd and 4th foul ball actually decrease exponentially; in other words, the odds don’t stay the same. Thus, one doesn’t multiply 1000x1000x1000x1000 to get the odds of catching four foul balls at an MLB game. Doing so turns out to be inaccurate math.

We also discovered a foul ball forum where fans were having a discussion about the odds originally reported. Each pointed out that the odds calculated included everyone at the game, but not everyone can catch a foul ball. They rightfully too noted that there are people in fair territory. And this point, as we mentioned in our earlier post, is the crux of the argument. ESPN shouldn’t have posted those stats without double and triple checking them.

What we find interesting about this argument is that so many people base their MLB foul ball odds on averages that simply don’t do the lowly foul ball justice. Nearly every fan wants a foul or homerun ball. But not all of us get one. This is surprising since the odds aren’t all that bad in the grand scheme of things.

ERRONEOUS COMPUTATIONS

Even with all the erroneous or incomplete computations out there a few constants do exist: Lower deck seats get more foul balls. On average there are about 25-30 foul balls HIT into the stands (there are probably another 10 or so tossed into the seats each game by players and ball boys and girls). And Pitcher/Batter matchups matter: Left-handed hitters against right-handed pitchers tend to foul off balls in one direction, while hitting them differently when facing a lefty (and so it goes for the reverse hands)….

 

READ MORE AT FoulBallz.com

Ed Comber (VP Of The BBBA/Owner – foulballz.com)  

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