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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

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I really wish I knew where this crazy idea is coming from. Why would the Phil's carry three reserve infielders? Especially since the only reserve OF would be part of a platoon.

And why do the Phillies need lots of defensive replacement options on the infield when Michael Young is the only infielder that would possibly be removed late?

It's Galvis or Began court.

Ha! Auto-correct of Betancourt!

Looking at the possible bench, I'd almost prefer Hamels or Lee grab a bat if a pinch hitter is needed than this lot.

As far as Yuni is concerned, I'd be ok with him making the club if Frandsen and Galvis weren't around but they are, so what's the point? Let him go.

Funny fact: Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels have identical career OPS+ of 7. What are the odds?

Also, Roy Halladay has an OPS+ of -23. He makes Mini-Mart look like Lou Gehrig.

Again I ask, why are pitchers asked to bat when they are god awfully deplorable at it? Why is this preferable to the DH?

You field, you hit. That's baseball. The DH is part of a different sport entirely.

"tti: I will worry about Betancourt being on the roster when they actually put him on the roster. "

Isn't worrying something you do over something that my happen in the future?

"Again I ask, why are pitchers asked to bat when they are god awfully deplorable at it? Why is this preferable to the DH?"


Because if one plays a "position", one should be able to perform on both sides of the ball. At the beginning of the live-ball era, pitchers routinely hit much better as a group than they do today. Why? Because they actually WORKED at it (perish the thought, eh). Go to b-r.com and take a look at what the 9-hole hitters did from about 1920 onwards.

The only reason pitchers, some of who are the best athletes on the field, and many, many of whom were very good hitters when they were younger, suck at hitting is because they don't work at it. Period.

Your lament rings hollow, Fatti, because you would rather enable a crappy version of baseball where there is less in-game strategy and intrigue solely to get a better hitter in one lineup spot, a situation (read: not a 'problem') which sould easily be solved by requiring pitchers to actually work at that aspect of the game.

"could" easily be solved...

suck at hitting is because they don't work at it. Period.

A bit of overstatement, dontcha think? A guy with a strong arm who can't track a baseball coming out of the other guy's hand or has mediocre hand-eye coordination, can become a pitcher with enough skill to make the majors. If it was just hard work, heck, I would have had a major league career.

They don't work at it because 30 teams have all decided that the best use of their resources is to have pitchers devote their time to pitching.

I don't feel strongly one way or the other, but it seems to me that if the teams have all decided that pitchers shouldn't be bothered to hit, it doesn't really make sense for the rules to insist otherwise. I guess, therefore, I am somewhat reluctantly in favor of the DH.

I should have said "If hitting a ball just took hard work ... "

rolo, so because pitchers could hit 70 years ago, we should expect them to be able to hit today? Also, any player who is athletic and works hard can become a good hitter? I don't buy that for a second. Stupid lazy Roy Halladay. If only he'd worked harder at hitting, he might have seen his OPS+ rise from -23 to -10, a marginal increase that surely would have been worth the less than marginal decrease he would have suffered were he to dedicate himself less to his pitching responsibilities.

I'd bet 99% of pitchers who play major league baseball would never even make it past A-ball if they were trying to make the majors based on their hitting prowess.

Also, the argument that you must "play both sides of the ball" rings as hollow as any lament I brought up. When's the last time Ryan Howard pitched? How about Chase Utley?

You know why they don't pitch? Because they would be awful at it.

Lastly, it's fine if you value in-game strategy over the addition of a competent hitter to the lineup over one that is clearly outmatched and out-gunned. That's your opinion, and one to which you're entitled. Just remember that it's an opinion not shared by every fan of baseball.

"The only reason pitchers, some of who are the best athletes on the field, and many, many of whom were very good hitters when they were younger, suck at hitting is because they don't work at it."

That is a small part of it but, as a general proposition, I'm not buying it. Many pitchers were good hitters when they were younger for the same reason that many pro athletes were 3-sport stars in high school: because they are great athletes & it's easy for a great athlete to excel in many areas when he's facing high school competition. If you put that same pitcher against that same high school competition right now, he would be a good hitter again -- whether he worked on it or not.

The main reason most pitchers can't hit is because they were never major league caliber hitters in the first place. They were drafted to be pitchers because that's what they excelled at.

But, it's really neither here nor there as far as the DH debate goes. Whatever one's theory for why pitchers can't hit, the fact remains: pitchers can't hit. Having a DH definitely detracts from the tactical elements of the game, but it improves the overall quality of play by leaps and bounds.

If they removed the DH in the AL, I wouldn't be upset. My biggest grievance is that the leagues have different rules.

But to insist that the DH is an abomination to the "purity of baseball" (a sentiment which I find insipid and ridiculous), while finding it perfectly reasonable that pitchers are asked to hit while fielders aren't asked to pitch, is a little baffling.

Hell, I wouldn't even be averse to an 8 man lineup, if you really despise there being a batter who can't field.

But just don't give me this "both sides of the ball' nonsense. Because that's what it is.

Considering all the homeruns that the opposing pitchers seem to hit against the Phillies, switching to the DH would probably improve our team ERA.

I agree with Fats regarding the DH. Not a fan of it, but it bothers me more that one league uses it, and the other doesn't. I can't think of another example in sport where the 2 different conferences, leagues, etc. use different rules.

Debating the DH, nice! When do we get to discuss the merits of the WAR stat? What about Bobby Abreu?


...I keed

I find this DH discussion entertaining. Also entertaining: the fact that Kevin Frandsen is our DH today.

Utley DHing now by the sound of it.

If they standardize the rules across the leagues, a DH should bat for the starting pitcher, but be removed once the starter is pulled.

It's a "best of both worlds" rule where you get to see a DH bat, but you also get to see in-game strategy.

JR King, that may be the best solution I've heard.

Instead of being a designated hitter for the pitcher's position, he's just the DH for the starting pitcher himself. After he exits, the manager would have to use his bench just like an NL manager has to do these days, with double switches and the like.

That's really a great compromise, that would keep in-game strategy for the purists, but severely decrease the amount of time we spend watching overmatched pitcher get worked over in the batter's box.

I like it!

I guess the field is wet?

All kidding aside, that's actually not a bad idea, J.R. I'd rather have that than a full DH in the NL.

Love J.R. King's DH idea. Also think starters arms would start falling off as managers kept the starter in much longer to avoid losing the DH's bat. It actually adds another layer of strategy over what the NL has now...

That idea comes from a guy I met at a bar. Given the usual rubbish you hear from "the guy at the end of the bar," I was really impressed.

Exactly, TEB! If anything, it adds even more strategy to the NL game.

J.R.: I think I need to go to that bar.

AL pitchers would hate the rule as when they are getting shelled in the 1st inning they'd get left in to suffer.

NL pitchers might just go for it as a trade for never having to bat again.

The players union might even go for it because it would add 15 more high paying DH jobs in trade for 15 low paying back end of the bullpen jobs...

Due to the wet field, Phils don't want Utley to field. He's DH and Frandsen in at 2B.

Yeah. I think the players union is the chief lobbyist for the DH.

The DH stands for The Devil's Hitter in my house. Nature and Nature's God abhor it.

I like J.R. King's idea, too, but it would have to be coupled with an expansion of the active roster to 26 players.

"rolo, so because pitchers could hit 70 years ago, we should expect them to be able to hit today?"


Yes. Period. The rest of your post is just an apology to the contrary. Period.

(Unless, of course, you think pitchers were better athletes 70 years ago?)

I've never heard anyone mention an idea like JR King's. I'm completely anti-DH, but it is very intriguing. If MLB "needs" to institute a DH across-the-board, I'm all for a compromise like that. That could all change, of course, once I examine all the pros and cons.

"A bit of overstatement, dontcha think?"


Only if you ignore the first part of the sentence and take what I wrote out of context, Edmundo, no?

The overall talent pool 70 years ago was not nearly as deep as it is today. I suspect that might have a little something to do with why pitchers can't hit anymore. As a simple mathematical proposition, the larger the talent pool is, the less likely it becomes that any particular player will possess both the ability to pitch AND hit at the major league level.

rolo, are you proposing that hitting is all about athleticism? That there's no intelligence, hand-eye coordination and patience needed, as well as either raw power or raw speed, or quick hands, or a strong mid-section.

You can be a great pitcher with limited athleticism. C.C. Sabathia isn't a great athlete, and not nearly close to the best athlete on his team. He's a terrific pitcher, who can't hit. I guess he's not working hard enough. But your argument assumes that you also need athleticism to hit well, so I guess he shouldn't be allowed in the majors, since he wouldn't be able to do both.

Also rolo, if you're going to castigate someone for taking you out of context, please elaborate on how they took you out of context. I can't see how he did, and it's a cop-out when debating to just scream, "Out of context!" without actually reiterating what your context was, and how it was passed over.

Cloyd, Rosenberg, Robles, Gillies and Valle sent down.

To take JR's idea even further, how about have a DH for any player (non-discriminatory DH)?

So let's say the worst starting position player hitter you have is not a pitcher. (e.g. Carlos Zambrano or the pitcher formerly known as Micah Owings). Then you have a DH for an all-glove no-bat fielder, with the same stipulation that when the fielder gets pulled, so does the DH?

You can also have the DH for a person sitting on the bench (but strategically, that obviously makes less sense) so long as the DH designation is established when lineups are posted.

GREAT IDEA BAR GUY (via JR)

Tom Tango has written about the DH rule that JR King proposes. It's his 3rd "solution".

http://espn.go.com/blog/tmi-mlb/post/_/id/395/four-hybrid-solutions-to-the-dh-problem

Fatti, nice strawman.

Because a position player who only fields and doesn't pitch, he doesn't qualify as playing on both sides of the ball?

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

These DH ideas are the kind of progressive thinking that baseball needs to engage in more often. I'm actually genuinely intrigued by JR's ideas (and the one echoed in the 3rd solution by Tango), or just the thought of some sort of hybridized compromise to the DH problem.

I don't have anything against the DH-rule. The best thing about it is that it allows a skilled hitter like Ortiz or E. Martinez to continue to their careers well after they would have possibly had to retire. More often than not though, you get a mediocre-to-below average bench guy or a few guys on an AL team to take the spot.

Just prefer the non-DH game for 2 simple reasons:

1. More strategy in the game which makes me in the clear small minority among baseball fans overall I bet.

2. Quicker games. I love watching/listening to baseball games but watching a ~4 hour AL game that doesn't even go extra-innings can be pretty damn boring.

Alright rolo, if you don't want to have an actual discussion, then just don't respond.

MG, what about the hybrid idea, wherein once the starter leaves, the "DH" leaves, as well, and you would have a much more NL game, strategy-wise, from that point on.

Is there any evidence that the DH makes the game longer?

LaRussa never had a DH and all his pitching changes made games last half a lifetime.

I always thought AL games took longer because of the Yankees' and Red Sox' proclivity to have long at bats combined with Sunday Night Baseball's extra commercials.

Also, "both sides of the ball" is an incorrect statement. There are THREE elements to baseball: pitching, fielding and hitting.

Just remembered LaRussa managed in Oakland. I meant he never had a DH in St. Louis.

Ideally a baseball game should be 2:30-3 hours long if it doesn't go extra innings.

What baseball should do and they have tried half-hardheartedly is try to increase the speed of a game a bit. Enforce the rules about hitters stepping out of the batter's box & make sure pitchers don't screw around on the mound.

Papelbon is the best example I can think of this. You have to be at the ball park to really experience it first hand but once he starts to pitch he literally stucks the energy out of the park. Did the same thing when I watched him much earlier in this career in Boston.

Ball park just goes dead quiet waiting for him to stop screwing around between each pitch and actually throw the damn ball. Even in a 1-run game, it can be tough to watch.

I actually could get behind the hybrid idea.

TNA, what does the DH rule currently state? Does it state that it MUST be the picher for whom the DH hits?

If it doesn't, your idea could be implemented without a rule change, and Michael Martinez might have an MLB future because he could go to the AL and someone else could hit for him. ;)

Fat - That's not a bad idea but MLB won't ever give it serious merit.

Since Interleague play is here to stay (an idea that has worn out its welcome generally) with arbitrary dates through out the season, I imagine the NL will incorporate the DH before the end of the decade.

I would bet most fans would prefer a 10-7 game with a few HRs to a 2-1 game that is well-pitched with few offensive highlights.

I would take a low-scoring game that is played quickly with great defense & pitching but again I bet that puts me in a real minority among baseball fans.

Go to a stadium and hear the younger fans during a low-scoring game. 'Its boring' 'Nothing is happening' etc etc.

Yes - DH is only for pitchers.
DH Rule:

The Designated Hitter rule:
A hitter may be designated to bat for the starting pitcher and all subsequent pitchers in any game without otherwise affecting the status of the pitcher(s) in the game. A Designated Hitter for the pitcher must be selected prior to the game and must be included in the lineup cards presented to the Umpire-in-Chief.

The Designated Hitter named in the starting lineup must come to bat at least one time, unless the opposing club changes pitchers. It is not mandatory that a club designate a hitter for the pitcher, but failure to do so prior to the game precludes the use of a Designated Hitter for that game.

Pinch hitters for a Designated Hitter may be used. Any substitute hitter for a Designated Hitter himself becomes a Designated Hitter. A replaced Designated Hitter shall not re-enter the game in any capacity. The Designated Hitter may be used defensively, continuing to bat in the same position in the batting order, but the pitcher must then bat in the place of the substituted defensive player, unless more than one substitution is made, and the manager then must designate their spots in the batting order.

A runner may be substituted for the Designated Hitter and the runner assumes the role of the Designated Hitter.

A Designated Hitter is "locked" into the batting order. No multiple substitutions may be made that will alter the batting rotation of the Designated Hitter.

Once the game pitcher is switched from the mound to a defensive position this move shall terminate the DH role for the remainder of the game. Once a pinch-hitter bats for any player in the batting order and then enters the game to pitch, this move shall terminate the Designated Hitter role for the remainder of the game.

Once a Designated Hitter assumes a defensive position this move shall terminate the Designated Hitter role for the remainder of the game.

FAtti, pithing IS defense, and qualifies as that side of the ball, hair-splitter.

MiniMart would need both a DH and DF(fielder) to be relevant.
I guess he could have a job as a batboy and clubhouse energy guy.

I would have to look to see what the difference in average time is for AL vs NL games but I do remember seeing an article a few years ago that NL games were 7-12 minutes shorter with some variation from year to year.

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1271178-major-league-baseball-why-games-need-to-be-shortened-and-how-it-can-be-done

This isn't a bad article and there are a couple of no-brainers here including the IBB instead of making the pitcher throw 4 pitches (arguably one of the dumbest things in the game today).

"I would take a low-scoring game that is played quickly with great defense & pitching but again I bet that puts me in a real minority among baseball fans."

Put me in that minority also.

"Ideally a baseball game should be 2:30-3 hours long if it doesn't go extra innings."

MG - I understand this is your opinion, but when you have a pass away from kids and you're at a ballgame, the ideal baseball game is more than 3 hours long - so long as they don't cut off the beer in the 8th inning and the 9th takes longer than an hour.

Rolo, if you want to call the act of fielding a ball hit by a batter and pitching to him the same thing, be my guest.

That doesn't actually make them the same thing, or even close the same thing.

Also, I don't mind being called a "hair-splitter" after I've split hairs, or when I'm in the middle of splitting hairs, or about to split hairs.

But not when I'm not splitting hairs!

"I would take a low-scoring game that is played quickly with great defense & pitching but again I bet that puts me in a real minority among baseball fans."

If I'm watching on TV, I don't really care. If I'm at a ballpark, I want an entertaining, well-played game where the fans are going crazy (low-scoring or otherwise) because crowd involvement is definitely a factor in my entertainment value.

Baseball games have increased in time simply due to being on TV and the increased add times.

If Selig was serious though about speeding up the games, he should implement at least 4 of those rules including:

1. Enforcing the 12-second rule between pitches for a pitcher

2. Making the IBB an automatic sign instead of throwing 4 pitches

3. Not letting hitters get out of the box after every pitch (Nomar was the signal worst offender I have ever seen of this with his OCD routine after every pitch)

4. Limiting the warm-up pitches

The only one I would be against is limiting the pitcher moves per-inning but MLB might consider that any pitcher inserted into the game has to actually pitch to one batter although this would give the clear advantage to the opposing manager.

"Then you have a DH for an all-glove no-bat fielder, with the same stipulation that when the fielder gets pulled, so does the DH?"

I wouldn't have any objection to that rule but it would be a very rare occasion when the pitcher is not the worst hitter in your lineup. Carlos Zambrano's career OPS+ is 62. Freddy Galvis's is 64. And Zambrano's probably the best hitting pitcher in baseball if you don't count Micah Owings.

MG, I agree. Tense, low-scoring, well pitched games are definitely my favorite, as well.

But if your fanbase responds most favorably to increased offense, and you are trying to market to and increase your fanbase as effectively as possible (after all, this is a business), then MLB has no reason to not institute the DH across baseball.

But, seeing as such a much seems providential as this point, if MLB hopes to maintain some remnant of the "finer points" of the sport, including late game strategy, they may be forced to eventually re-interpret the DH position, and hybridize it to bring back some of those "finer points".

it all depends, though, on what they prioritize.

BAP, Owings is definitely the best, but Daniel Hudson might give him a run for his money some day.

Fat - I don't think they do and what they really want is to try to push the game more internationally.

Selig's goal as the MLB commissioner really has been about increasing revenues & driving up the value of teams. On that measure, he has been phenomenally successful but it is starting to reach a zenith.

Most teams have relatively new parks (still drives me berserk that it is paid for largely by public dollars or backed bond offerings) and I bet the TV deals are at a high-water point with the last Dodgers deal.

If the game is going to really grow in the future & the value of franchises continue to escalate, it needs to grow internationally which is a really big challenge for MLB. Only sport that faces a tougher uphill international climb is the NFL.

Fat: I'm not sure Owings still counts as a pitcher. He's currently with the Nats, who have converted him to 1st base. He'll probably start the year at AAA, though.

MG- The problem is that, unlike football, basketball, etc, baseball is not a sport for people that have short attention spans. When you watch a game on TV or go to a game, you have to go in knowing that there will be lots of breaks in the action and it is more of an experience than it is a 'game.' You have to sit there, drink a beer, discuss the game and soak it all in. You cant just sit there screaming your head off. You have to know this going in, or yeah, it's going to bore you.

It reminds me of people saying how soccer is boring because it is low-scoring. Well, yeah, that's the nature of the game. Baseball is simply different than the other major sports. A 2-1 game that relies heavily on strategy where a pitcher dominates and the defense makes a lot of slick plays is beautiful to some, but majority of people would rather see Chris Volstad out there getting his brains beat in and have a four-hour 10-8 game with six pitching changes per side.

Selig has tried to cater to a larger portion of sports fans by implementing interleague play, making the ASG 'count,' shrinking the strike zone to promote offense, etc. You could also argue that he turned a blind eye to the steroid era because it was bringing so much attention to the game while McGwire, Sosa, Bonds etc were killing the ball and even guys like Brady Anderson and Luis Gonzalez were hitting 50 HRs.

clout jokes about the 'short attention span' crew all the time, but he's pretty much exactly right. Football-first fans usually don't make great baseball fans, and the league has been trying to cater to these types of fans for well over a decade now. Whenever people cry about how a game is 'boring' because of the lack of offense, it makes my skin crawl. These people should stick to other sports and change the channel instead of whining like they're unable to change the channel.

Iceman, all great points. I would guard myself against feeling "superior" to other sports fans, though. For example, I feel as though I have a pretty good understanding of the game of baseball, but football isn't a mindless game, at all. The writers whom I follow most closely regarding the Eagles are guys who know the sport a thousand times better than I do, and I find most of the finer points of blocking schemes, coverage schemes, and quarterback play nearly intractable and beyond my ability to understand sometimes.

Football does cater more to the short-attention span fan, but there are plenty of incredibly knowledgable fans out there, who would give even the most SABR-oriented baseball fan a run for their money, and probably a lot more than we think.

"It reminds me of people saying how soccer is boring because it is low-scoring."

Soccer isn't boring because it's low-scoring. Soccer is boring because it's just not all that exciting to watch a sport in which 99% of the offensive attacks are thwarted because of an asinine off-sides rule or because the defensive guy suddenly blasts the ball 3/4 of the length down the field (an act which requires no skill whatsoever).

Yeah, Micah Owings is trying to pull a Rick Ankiel.

To put my 2 cents in there is more than just pitching, fielding, and hitting. There is running the bases. So in offense there is hitting and running, and in defense there is pitching and fielding.
So if there is a DH for hitting there should be a person who stands next to a pitcher to field any balls hit at them. I mean if we don't ask Utley to pitch how can we ask Lee to field a bunt?
The best thing Giles ever did was vote no on the DH. That is why the DH wasn't added in the NL, he was the last vote.

If they want to speed up the game, stop allowing catchers to visit the pitcher on the mound. It really is pretty ridiculous. If the pitcher and catcher aren't on the same page, that should be their tough luck. They can chat about it in the dugout after they give up a few runs.

[Fatalotti] "But to insist that the DH is an abomination to the purity of baseball while finding it perfectly reasonable that pitchers are asked to hit while fielders aren't asked to pitch, is a little baffling."

I don't really understand the logic on this one. The pitcher plays a defensive position like every other defensive position. Some defensive positions are more complicated than others. Following your logic, it's unfair that the pitcher isn't asked to catch and play shortstop.

BAP when you can kick a ball 75 yards in the air you can say it takes no skill at all.

Reverend: Perhaps I should have said that it requires no finesse at all.

rolo, do you have a link to the prowess of pitcher-hitters 70 years ago? I did a quick look at 1941 (closest non-war year to 70 years ago) and 2012. The 9th position in the NL for both years had a tOPS+ of 31. Now starters pitched longer in the old days (actually I don't have the time to confirm that but not everyone pitched 300 innings in those days) so there were an number of extra PAs by pitcher per game than today**. It's a bit apples and oranges but I'm not sure how dramatic the difference is.
Certainly the expanded pool of players would give us more specialized players, so that is a mitigating factor, albeit hard to put a % on it.
I still call you out for overstating without some better backing data from you.

** Another change is the current shortened bench, likely meaning weaker PHs, i.e., too many MiniMartian PHs in this day and age.

BAP: Except "blasting the ball 3/4 of the length down the field" is generally a poor play to make in soccer - even defensively. Yes, you've maybe gotten the ball out of the "danger zone," but you've done nothing to help your team get/keep possession.

Except in a few cases, what you aren't seeing is how that 'blast' is being used to reset the field, and just how controlled those long kicks are. There are times when the ball lands a good 15 yards from the nearest player, but far more often it's taken in by a player within 1-2 seconds, and often that player is on the same team as the one who kicked it (and taken in the air to boot).

As for the offsides rule being asinine, how is it any more so than the infield fly rule? Which isn't to say that the IFR is asinine, but that the offsides rule is no more so.

I love soccer (good elite soccer, not crap MLS level soccer) and baseball.

I also follow pro cycling for that matter. I like the strategy involved in all 3...but then I also love football, hockey, and pretty much any athletic competition.

Also, the DH sucks.

ST stats are just short of meaningless, but that doesn't make them entirely meaningless!

The high K number from the team is certainly of note.

Fata- oh I definitely agree that there are a lot more intricacies to football than those who follow it casually might think.

But the difference is I don't tell these fans that football is just some barbaric sport where guys beat each others brains in, and therefore it 'bores' me, simply because I don't care to understand it at the level I care to understand baseball. If I don't want to watch a game, I don't watch it. I don't tell football fans that their sport is boring and one-dimensional.

I can't tell you the amount of times I've seen or heard people decry baseball as 'boring.' They do it on ESPN all the time, actually. Baseball has been around for over a century. It can survive without the people that think it isn't entertaining, and I'm tired of hearing it from people.

Philli: Ok, here goes.

Blasting the ball really ISN'T a poor play (which is the problem). You get the ball away from your own goal. And I just don't buy that these long kicks are controlled. These guys just kick the ball as far as they can and then the two sides battle it out to see who can gain control.

As for offsides & infield fly rule, I don't really see what one has to do with the other. The infield fly rule makes sense to me. If it didn't exist, the infielder could drop a simple pop-up on purpose & get an easy double-play. But even if you think it's a dumb rule, what does that have to do with whether the off-sides rule in soccer is dumb?

I simply don't buy that players would hang out by the goal if the off-sides rule didn't exist; they would pay a significant price on defense if they did so. When a particular penalty has the effect of wiping out the most exciting plays that happen in a particular sport, it's fair to ask whether it should really be a penalty. To me, the off-sides penalty in soccer is like banning the fast break in basketball.

"Soccer isn't boring because it's low-scoring."

You can think what you want, but this is a common complaint, along with the "I don't like games that end in a tie," which is also used to complain about hockey.

Basically, people should live and let live. Most of my good friends happen to be 'car' people. I have virtually no interest in cars. Bores the crap out of me to hear them talk about it, but I don't tell them that their interest in cars is inferior to my interest in, say, John Mayberry's platoon splits, which I could discuss for hours to anyone who will listen.

Exactly. They want baseball to be more popular internationally. So it makes sense that they would encourage offense and scoring so it can be more like the world'd most popular sport, football ("soccer").

Philibuster,

The soccer offsides rule is asinine because a player standing still can go from being onsides to offsides because of defensive action. An offsides rule like hockey, where the ball must precede the player into a designated zone, would be much preferable.

Soccer also suffers from a substitution rule which values endurence over skill, and a person who can only run for 20 straight minutes is worthless in soccer, no matter how skilled otherwise. A rule like the early days of football, where if you left the game, you could not return until the start of the next period, would be an improvement.

Finally, soccer has the nonsense of a tie in playoff games being decided by penalty kicks, which is the equivalent of a basketball playoff game being decided by a foul shot contest (at least hockey removes their dumb rule for the playoffs).

Doc gave up a leadoff walk to Berry who stole second and scored on a base hit up the middle. 1-0 Tigers.

Deep counts for Doc so far. 18 pitches in the first inning and just one out.

Outstanding play by Michael Young to his backhand side. He jumped up and made a strong accurate throw to 2nd and Frandsen turned the double play.

Really good play.

Revere lucks into a "double" when CF Berry inexplicably calls off the LF and the ball drops between them.

Iceman: I'm not casting aspersions on anyone for liking soccer. But if someone brings up the subject, I'm happy to volunteer why I think it's dull. I think the women's game is somewhat more interesting because, when they blast the ball down the field, it doesn't go as far. Hence, the game doesn't get bogged down for as long. But they still have that damn off-sides rule. Every European thinks I'm nuts whenever I express my disdain for the off-sides rule. But, then again, I think they're nuts for having watched soccer their whole lives without it ever having occurred to them that this is an utterly stupid rule.

KAS - Halladay looked like he had trouble getting loose that inning and didn't feel particularly comfortable with anything. Really struggled to hit his spots on the outside corner.

Ever since '11, Halladay has had issues in the 1st inning and then seems to settle in. I don't expect it will be any different this year.

I don't like the DH but, I also don't like pitchers who are incompetent with a bat. It's not that they don't 'practice' at the professional level. It's that almost all lower levels of baseball have adopted teh DH. I generally pick games to attend or watch based on the starting pitching matchup and, the ones I like best are the (rare) ones with competent hitting pitchers. A guy I think can hit in this category that no one mentions is Strasburg in D.C.

Query on international appeal: Do they use a DH in the Japanese, Mexican or Korean leagues?

Frandsen gets Revere to 3rd on a short fly ball to right-center field. Berry with a weak throw, Revere with a good read.

Halladay didn't look that comfortable either in the 1st inning pitching out of the stretch.

Iceman keeps bringing up that point and it is a really good one to keep watching in spring training.

Revere scores to tie the game on a soft ground ball to a drawn in SS. Revere with another really nice read to score.

Speed is nice.

Doc really not sharp today. Two more hits including what looked like a hanger that got banged out of the park. 3-1 Tigers.

KAS, any velocity readings?

Doc is just tired.

Doc and Cole watched a soccer game yesterday. Then they stayed up all night arguing about whether or not the offsides rule was asinine and if booting a soccer ball 75 yards required any skill.

BAP: Again, yes, it may get the ball away from your goal, but unless you're in a situation where the offense is outnumbering you dramatically, chances are good all you did was temporarily delay the situation, and possibly open new lanes for the other team. Clearances are rarely as blind as you seem to believe them to be.

Having one position player uninvolved in defense doesn't constitute a "significant price." Coupled with the goalie, at worst the defensive team could end up in a 10-on-10.

Keeping one offensive player inside another team's half necessitates at least one, and possibly two defenders being assigned to mark him because of the goalie's ability to put the ball within 5 yards of his feet.

Very peculiar that Doc is having so much trouble getting the ball over the plate.

Let the hand wringing begin.

Set panic levels to: Through the roof!!!


Doc doesn't look good. He's wild. Mound visit in just the 2nd inning. Horst jumps up and starts his warmup early.

Doc looks awful. Stuff, body language, everything.

That was a nice sequence to Dirks, but he looks exhausted out there.

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EST. 2005

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