June 22, 2019

"I would love to see vintage Pete Rose in today’s game. He would get absolutely annihilated."

"Guys that are striking out 200 times, like Joey Gallo — in 1990 he would have hit 75 home runs every year because he’s facing guys with an average velocity of 90 miles an hour, good command and O.K. breaking balls," said Trevor Bauer, quoted in in "Trevor Bauer, Baseball’s Imperfect Evangelist" (NYT).
Strikeout and home run rates have never been higher in the majors, and walk rates are at a 10-year peak. To Bauer, those three so-called true outcomes indicate that the game is better than it has ever been — and held to a different standard from basketball and football.

“The N.B.A. is true outcomes: Either dunk the ball or shoot a 3, and that’s the direction it’s going,” he said. “The N.F.L. is more true-outcome based, as well: throwing high-percentage passes. So other sports are going this way, but they’ve found a way to make it popular.”

76 comments:

traditionalguy said...

Or Pete would become a rich man simply by betting on the next pitch.

David Begley said...

Things were better back in the 60’s and 70’s. Everything! The good old days! No internet! No social media.

The guy is a stats nut. How about the pitchers are better? Or things ebb and flow?

And now players are taught to work the count for walks. Moneyball.

David Begley said...

The real problem is we only have 12 years to act or we will have to move to the moon.

Climate change will destroy baseball.

traditionalguy said...

OK. We outlaw sliders and change ups.Then the game will be fun again.

traditionalguy said...

Begley is right. Global cooling cometh when teams will need to play the first half of the season in Florida and the last half in Canada after the snow melts . And that is happening now.

David Begley said...

I’d love to see vintage Bob Gibson pitch today. He’d win 30 games.

And he’s a Creighton alum. He said Creighton made him a man.,

Mike Petrik said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mike Petrik said...

Talk about "annihilated"! Can you imagine what would happen to the manager who walked to the mound to remove Gibson because he'd reached his pitch count? Heh!

alanc709 said...

The man knows nothing. Rules in football have been drastically changed to favor the offense. In baseball, rules were changed to protect the batters and hamper the pitchers. If you think pitchers throw harder today, it's because you don't understand how speed measurements used to be made. Only real difference is the proliferation of relief pitching, and that starting pitchers KNOW they will get pulled. It used to be expected a starter would go 9 innings. Now, a guy that consistently lasts more than 6 innings is considered a horse. If you know you're only going to throw 100 pitches max, you don't have to save anything for later in the game. You can throw hard all the time.

Sydney said...

Saw Mr Bauer pitch against the Yankees a couple of weeks ago. Got pulled after two innings.

mockturtle said...

Dave Begley comments: I’d love to see vintage Bob Gibson pitch today. He’d win 30 games.

I remember Gibson! Yes, a great pitcher and sturdy, too. Today a starter might pitch--at most--six innings. And the injuries are so common that there is always at least one out of the rotation every week.

Home runs used to be exciting but, unless they are walk-offs, no longer momentous. It's the fastball that spawns them. I don't recall Jamie Moyer's change-up being hit out of the park very often.

Ken B said...

The list is a manifestation of “we know better”.
I agree about hickenlooper. From what I have seen I quite dislike him, but he had the guts to stand up to the Left part of the party, and he has something resembling qualifications. He is plausible in a way most of the others are not.

Curious George said...

"David Begley said...
I’d love to see vintage Bob Gibson pitch today. He’d win 30 games."

He wouldn't. The most games he ever won was 23, and in 1968, the deadest of deadball years in the modern era, he only won 21. Denny McClain on the other hand won 31 that year.

tim in vermont said...

Take Babe Ruth and apply todays training methods and he would probably be hitting them over the roof of Yankee Stadium. If you are going to bring back guys, you got to level the playing field, and if you are going to send guys back, you have to send them on a six month bender with Hemingway and friends across Europe, with no gyms around, first.

tim in vermont said...

The Red Sox won a lot in recent years by working the pitch count and wearing out starters. The Red Sox were big into money ball.

Fernandistein said...

The wonders of steroids.

tim in vermont said...

Let’s put a modern F1 car into the 1934 Le Mans! This whole concept is stupid.

Curious George said...

Baseball is committing suicide, as the best way to win is not interesting to watch, and leads to loooooong games, another problem. They still fill seats but are losing viewership, especially to the young, who simply watch the free homerun highlights. And TV (in all its forms) is where the money to sustain the game comes from.

Leland said...

Let’s put a modern F1 car into the 1934 Le Mans!

Ok [not exactly but same point made]

tim in vermont said...

What I find boring are solo home runs.

tim in vermont said...

That video took way too long to ramp up, so I bailed.

Henry said...

Trevor Bauer is an entertaining guy. He's a jerk, but a smart jerk.

alanc709 said... If you think pitchers throw harder today, it's because you don't understand how speed measurements used to be made.

Sorry, but we're not talking about fastest pitchers. We're talking about average pitchers.

There's an argument that Nolan Ryan pitched the fast pitch ever recorded (faster than Arnoldis Chapman). Pitch speed in the '70s was measured at the point the ball crossed the plate. Now it is measured when the ball leaves the hand of the pitcher. A simple physics equation allows '70s era pitch speeds to be recalibrated. Here's a pretty interesting article on Ryan's speed as well as the attempt to measure Bob Feller and Walter Johnson using gun range equipment.

More recently the switch from PITCHf/x, which measured pitch speed at a distance of about 55 ft. from home plate to Statcast, which measures pitch speed at the time the ball leaves the pitcher's hand bumped average speed up about 0.6mph. (lots of numbers here, by baseball statistician Tom Tango)

But just using PITCHf/x data, the average pitch speed increased by more than 1 MPH between 2008 and 2014. The number of pitchers (starters and relievers) who averaged a velocity of 95+ doubled in that time.

It's not hard to extrapolate backwards. For decades now, baseball has been populating pitching staffs with a much large pool of athletes who train better and are more focused on increasing velocity from a young age.

I'm Full of Soup said...

Pete Rose could probably still hit at least .275 today and he's over 60 years old!

I'm Full of Soup said...

Isn't Meade an old Reds fan? He probably wants to see Bauer get beaned.

mockturtle said...

What I find boring are solo home runs.

Especially when that same team proceeds to leave the bases loaded at the end of the inning.

Lucien said...

@Curious George:

IIRC Gibson’s ERA in’68 was 1.12. If he only won 21 games it might be that the Cardinals didn’t generate a lot of runs when he was pitching.

tim maguire said...

You know what's not a good way to increase baseball's popularity?

Slice your hand open while playing with knives just before you're supposed pitch in the ALCS.

Curious George said...

"Lucien said...
@Curious George:

IIRC Gibson’s ERA in’68 was 1.12. If he only won 21 games it might be that the Cardinals didn’t generate a lot of runs when he was pitching."

No one scored a lot of runs that year. But the Cards were 4th in runs scored and first in run differential. Ten teams. And they averaged 3.03 runs per game in games he pitched.

Also, he only averaged 31 starts in his career, with a high of 38. Never came close to 30.

Bob Gibson was a great pitcher, but to say he would 30 today is absurd.

pacwest said...

"The real problem is we only have 12 years to act or we will have to move to the moon."

And set the right field fence at 62 miles.

wendybar said...

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Dave Begley said...

Moonball. Moneyball. What's the difference?

gilbar said...

I'm pretty sure, that if these newbies were Back in the Old days; they'd have to learn about brush backs, and what hit by pitch feels like (every three times to the plate)

Yancey Ward said...

Yeah, hand-eye-coordination is such a new thing in baseball.

Jeff said...

Bauer is a smart guy who knows a lot about what makes a baseball player good at his craft. Last year he was one of the best pitchers in the game, and this year he started out well but seems to have lost some of his control since early May. He's trying very hard to figure out why.

It's no secret why there are so many home runs in the modern game. It's the ball. Until this year, the minor leagues used a different ball than the majors did. This year, the AAA clubs switched to using the major-league balls and home runs skyrocketed. If MLB wants to see more base hits and fewer home runs, all they have to do is deaden the ball a bit.

The innovation I'd really like to see is automated calling of balls and strikes. It's crazy that different umpires have different strike zones, and that even the same umpire may call the identical pitch a ball one time and a strike another.

Also, managers should have small retractable trowel blades on the fronts of their shoes to help them kick dirt at umpires and home plate.

Michael said...

The excitement of the game is a ball in play between the foul lines: drives to the gap or down the line, great fielding plays, hit-and-runs, sacrifices, plays at the plate, etc. Strikeouts, walks, and home runs are boring. What to do? Deaden the ball, maybe? Or just accept that the players are too good and the game has changed.

Jason said...

Not too long ago, I found an epic World Series game on YouTube. Dodgers vs. Twins, Koufax vs. Jim Katt. Both phenomenal pitchers, though Katt didn't attain the living legend status that Koufax did.

I was surprised at how fast the game went. Koufax was a pitching machine by today's standards. He got the ball and he wanted to throw it.

And, of course, you had a lot more complete games then.

WHEN GIANTS WALKED THE EARTH

Michael Fitzgerald said...

One thing that turns me away from watching pro sports is the attitudes and public faces of the players. When I was a kid, there was a mystic aspect of the athletes who were part of the teams we rooted for. Free agency came along and eliminated a lot of the emotional attachment cities and fans to players. Much worse is the ubiquity and immediacy of the personal lives of these players, which they actively promote. And surprise, surprise, the loudest voices are frequently the stupidest and the most obnoxious. Baseball bores me, but asswipes like this shithead Bauer repel me. Fuck him. Pete Rose would have.750 off that faggot.

stevew said...

Google points me to conflicting reports on the health of the spectator sport we call baseball. Some say interest is declining, some say it is increasing. Apparently the only certainty at the moment is that we don't really know which is true.

Speaking only for myself, I don't watch as often as I used to and almost never see a game from start to finish. It's not because of the home runs, walks, and strikeouts though, I don't watch because the games take too stinkin' long to play. The average length of a game is more than three hours, and many individual games run closer to three and a half hours. My Red Sox's games are notoriously slow, especially when they play the Yankees.

Get it down to two and a half hours and I may come back. Until then I'll just read the box score in the morning.

Jeff Brokaw said...

Pete Rose was a singles hitter who slapped the ball all over the field; such hitters thrive no matter how fast the pitch comes at them.

Bauer’s point might make sense if he chose a different hitter to illustrate it. Rose is not that guy.

Doug said...

It's crazy that different umpires have different strike zones, and that even the same umpire may call the identical pitch a ball one time and a strike another.

Umps even have different strike zones for different pitchers. Greg Maddux's looked like an upside down mushroom.

Doug said...

Michael Fitzgerald said:When I was a kid, there was a mystic aspect of the athletes who were part of the teams we rooted for.

Did you mean "mythic"?

Rory said...

"The innovation I'd really like to see is automated calling of balls and strikes."

This is not a simple change. The zones we see on TV have a top and bottom defined in various ways, but all of those ways can be gamed. The only objective way to set a top and bottom is to say that the strike zone is from 12 to 42 inches (or some such) above the ground. They might decide to do that, but they have to anticipate that they will probably be driving tall and short players out of the game.

Limited blogger said...

They will finally put Charlie Hustle in the HOF after he passes. Letting Bart Giamatti and the MLB have the final insult against one of the game's greatest.

mockturtle said...



"The real problem is we only have 12 years to act or we will have to move to the moon."


And set the right field fence at 62 miles.

Good one, pacwest! ;-)

Jeff Brokaw said...

In recent times Ichiro is recognized as the best singles hitter. He had 2500 singles.

Rose had 3200: first all time, 700 more than Ichiro, 150 more than Ty Cobb (2nd all time). Rose is also 2nd all time in doubles.

First all time in total hits. First all time in singles, by 150 (almost 5% ahead of Cobb). Second all time in doubles. Struck out only 50 times a year as the all time leader in Games, PA, and AB.

These are the stats of a guy who knows how to hit any kind of pitching.

https://www.baseball-reference.com/leaders/1B_career.shtml

Michael Fitzgerald said...

Doug@12:15 LMFAO! Good catch! Although I was a fan of Spaceman Lee, certainly he was one who believed in the spiritual apprehension of truths that are beyond the intellect.

Roger Sweeny said...

Baseball is committing suicide, as the best way to win is not interesting to watch, and leads to loooooong games, another problem. [Curious George above]

"'How did you go bankrupt?" Bill asked. "Two ways," Mike said. "Gradually and then suddenly." [from Ernest Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises

Baseball attendance and ratings are gradually going down ...

rcocean said...

The old, "Bigger, stronger, faster" argument we've heard a million times. BB is primarily about hand-eye coordination with some power and speed thrown in. Ted Williams hit .400 in 1941, and .388 in 1957. Despite "bigger, stronger, faster"

It doesn't apply to BB or to Gold. Tom Watson almost won the british open at 59. Tiger won the Masters at 43, Jack at 46. Somehow all those bigger, stronger, faster young golfers couldn't beat them.

In the NBA its another matter. You got 6-9, 6-10, 6-11 7-0 foot guys who can do everything. Pass shoot play defense, etc. I guy like Dave Cowens could NOT play Center. Bill Russell would be a defense specialist playing forward like Dennis Rodman.

rcocean said...

Rule changes and Equipment changes make more difference than you think. Guys are hitting drives 320 yards because the clubs and balls are adding 30-40 yards to everyone's drives. The Sweet spots are enormous, so a big lug like Koepka and can rare back and blast away. In the old days, with the old wooden drivers, you had to be more careful.

In tennis the new rackets are added power and control, who would Vanessa Williams do with an old 80's wooden racket? In the NBA, how would everyone do if they were hand checked and bumped like the old days? Babe Ruth had to go up against spitballs until 1924. Etc.

mockturtle said...

'Way too many pitching changes. There should be a limit of two except in extra innings.

rcocean said...

I would limit the total number of pitching changes per game to three.

rcocean said...

I would also ban NFL QB's from getting signals from the sidelines. Let them call their own plays.

I'd also change it from 4 balls and 3 strikes to 3 balls and 3 strikes. Now, THAT would speed up the game.

Browndog said...

I'd also change it from 4 balls and 3 strikes to 3 balls and 3 strikes. Now, THAT would speed up the game.

So would 2 strikes and 3 balls.

So would 7 innings.

So would...

Doug said...

They will finally put Charlie Hustle in the HOF after he passes. Letting Bart Giamatti and the MLB have the final insult against one of the game's greatest.

Not now. Not ever.

Greg Hlatky said...

If you want to speed up the game, stop batters from stepping out of the box after every pitch. What earned Mike Hargrove the title of "The Human Rain Delay" is now commonplace and worse.

Henry said...

rc -- It's like the steroid era never happened!

There's a strong case that the ball this year is different than in previous years. Equipment does matter. I would deaden the ball a little going forward.

And put some crazy obsessive person in charge of quality control.

* * *

My one crazy idea to speed up the game and give more power to speedy singles hitters is what I call the Jon Lester rule: No throwing to first base.

More technically, once a pitcher comes to set position, a throw to first base is a ball. It's just another kind of pitchout.

stevew said...

"Baseball bores me, but asswipes like this shithead Bauer repel me. Fuck him. Pete Rose would have.750 off that faggot."

Sheesh, can't he just be wrong? I think Bauer is. Rose would have excelled in today's game just as he did in the game of his day.

AZ Bob said...

If only they could make Formula 1 more competitive.

M Jordan said...

Rose would adjust.

Jim at said...

Not now. Not ever.

Exactly. He broke the unbreakable rule and lied about it for decades.
Let him rot.

Michael Fitzgerald said...

Stevew@4:29PM You're right, Steve's, I am unnecessarily profane, needlessly angry. It's kinda my thing here, machine gun Mike the keyboard killer, but sometimes I do go back and look at the shit I spew and I have to say, Take it easy, Francis....

Unknown said...

I'd love to see Chuck Norris at the plate...

Yancey Ward said...

I don't think baseball will improve until they figure out how to use tasers in the game...and pepper spray.

gilbar said...

Henry said...
My one crazy idea to speed up the game and give more power to speedy singles hitters is what I call the Jon Lester rule: No throwing to first base.


in fairness to Jonny, he's getting better at it now;
He's got this trick where he bounce passes the ball
And another trick, where he just throws his glove (with the ball in it)
Oh! and he runs over to 1st alot.

But, you're right; he doesn't kill time with pointless tosses over there. He only goes after the batter (if he goes after anyone). Just another thing about him that's Awesome!

stevew said...

@Michael Fitzgerald: totally understand, Bauer is rather presumptuous and condescending. Like he knows something those of us that have watched for 50+ don’t or haven’t seen!

gilbar said...

rcocean said... I would limit the total number of pitching changes per game to three.
I say, let them change all they want; BETWEEN INNINGS
if you stop play to take a player out, you have to put them on the 5 day disabled list

rule 1.1 baseball is a game for NINE players

Static Ping said...

Tossing a player into another era is a grand example of "what if" ball, and the problem is you never really know anything. It is quite possible that there are certain players that succeed in their era and would never be as good, or for that matter any good at all, in any other era, but trying to figure who is who is impossible. Beyond basic player skills, there is the very important matter of player development. Pete Rose played in a time when strength training was generally frowned upon and if he played today he almost certainly would have been bigger and stronger than he was. Also, if any player would take performance enhancing drugs to be competitive, I'm pretty sure Pete would be the one if they were available to him. And with all the shifts and other defensive tactics used these days, Pete might have been good enough to sick at second or third, instead of being shifted to the outfield and eventually first base. Pete Rose 2019 would not be the same player as Pete Rose 1976.

There is also the matter of medical treatments available. A pitcher who blew out his arm in 1920 or 1960 was pretty much finished. These days getting Tommy John surgery is pretty much a rite of passage for pitchers. If you took the MLB in 2019 and transplanted them into the 1970s, half the pitchers would be gone along with their unassailable pitches.

How good would Honus Wagner be a hundred years later? He was 5-11, 200 lbs. and reportedly was one of the few players of the age that did any sort of weight lifting. There are utility infielders that are more imposing than that.

Fen said...

As a child, Pro Baseball triggered my first awareness that I was Not Right In The Head.

It was when I first saw the players charge the mound. Such blasphemy, it made me so angry I fantasized about a hand grenade being thrown into the mix to teach them an object lesson about flirting with violence.

I think I was 12. I wonder now if that was a result of having alcohlic parents or some deeper sociopathy?

I don't buy all that New Age crap, but whenever I've indulged a Reader or Empath, they all have picked up on a shady Damien vibe.

Kinda sad. I remember as a little boy crying into my pillow "I don't want to be evil". It's why I studied CS Lewis. To harness that Terrible Purpose for good, and to prove Arthur's Dream thatvMight really can be channeled for Right.

It mostly worked. Although I definitely sense the servant in Heaven dilemma - I could be a Master in Hell if I ever cut loose and embraced my true potential.

Oh well. Hope you guys show up at my parole hearing. Tuesday 9am remember?

Jamie said...

Same stuff works with performance. Could (for instance) Melissa Manchester keep up with... um... Ariana Grande in performance - singing plus very energetic dancing plus wardrobe changes? Could Tony Curtis compete with Steve Carrell? The styles are just so different that the question becomes, at best, a fun conversation piece over drinks, ISTM.

Come on, rocean. 3 balls and 3 strikes? So a batter's count is, what, 2-1? That's just wrong.

I am, however, willing to have a "no stepping out of the box except for a legit equipment- or sneeze/cough-related reason" rule.

Narr said...

Fen, ease up. Parents don't have to be alcoholics to screw you up.

"They fuck you up, your mum and dad,
They may not mean to, but they do,
They give you all the faults they had,
And add a little, just for you."

P. Larkin

Narr
Keep talking to us, man

Guimo said...

Tennis is boring because of new racket technology. Go back to wood rackets. They required more skill to use.

Martin said...

Yeah, well, maybe he's right about the statistically most effective way to win. Or maybe he's not, it strikes me that "true outcomes" is one way of looking at it, but there are others. But, maybe he's right.

But there is a word for baseball that is nothing but HRs, Ks and Ws: BORING.

Ditto, basketball that is nothing but dunks and 3-pointers: BORING.

Ditto, football that is nothing but long passes: BORING.

The New Jersey Devils almost killed the NHL in the 1990s with a defensive scheme that nobody could penetrate, the neutral zone trap. It was the most effective way to win games under the rules at the time, but it was BORING and people stayed away in droves. When nobody could solve it, the NHL made rule changes.

Just as baseball did after the hitters ruled in 1961, and again when then the pitchers ruled in 1968. As basketball did in widening the lane (multiple times) and then instituting the 3-pointer, as players became too large for the game to remain interesting under the previous rules.

It is the players' and coaches aim to win the game, but the owners and the league have higher aims--to be popular and make money and have good competition and enhance their franchise value over time. The two mind-sets do NOT necessarily lead to the same place.

And, finally, mediocrities ought to show a bit of humility when ragging on all-time greats. Babe Ruth never faced a slider, but that isn't to say he couldn't have adjusted. Ditto, Pete Rose.

DavidUW said...

Agree with Martin. These mediocrities love to try to bring past greats down because of some modern invention. You really think they didn't have enough talent to adjust? That's why you're mediocre, dude, you have no clue as to what real talent is.

Known Unknown said...

"Baseball bores me, but asswipes like this shithead Bauer repel me. Fuck him. Pete Rose would have.750 off that faggot."

Are you sure baseball bores you?

Known Unknown said...

" 3 balls and 3 strikes. Now, THAT would speed up the game."

That would SLOW down the game with more bases on balls and more runners on bases.

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