MLB wants to change the time it takes to play a game… but, still pump up the action… i.e., shorter games with more runs. So the powers that be are playing around with some the official rule book and it could effect both the pitchers and the batters.
Plus, the 8-man rotation… a thing of the future for MLB?
And, why is everybody always picking on Joey Votto?
The crew tells ya what they think about it all…
1) According to NY Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild, the team could go with a 6-man rotation early in the season. Your thoughts on 6 man pitching rotations? Can you ever see MLB teams returning to and utilizing a 4-man rotation?
With 6, it is too far between starts when you include days off. And, with a four man rotation you wear your starters out. The difference is 27 starts average for 6, 32 starts for a five and 40 starts with a four. Too few and too many, the five man is about as good as it gets. Especially with all the arm soreness and injuries from overwork.
Earl: Maybe I’m wrong, but don’t most teams go with a 6th man rotation at least early in the season? I’m probably wrong, but, for some reason I don’t see why going with a 6 man rotation early in the year is an issue. Anyway, as far as a 4 man rotation, I can’t see it. The days of work horse big inning pitchers are over. The era of a starter going 5 or 6 innings then turning it over to the bullpen is here.
Joe: I understand why the Yanks would think about a 6 man rotation… their starting pitching is, to say the least, very fragile… but I still hate the direction baseball appears to be trending… simply put with pitching specialization becoming the rage in MLB, I think, eventually all teams will be using 6 man rotations in the future.
Therefore, my answer to the second part of the question is “No”… unless something drastically happens in MLB, the 4 man rotation is dead.
Steve: In today’s era it seems to be inconceivable that any team would transition to a four man rotation. Teams tend to rest their pitchers, especially teams who are hoping to make a long post-season run. It is, however possible that teams could move to a four man rotation temporarily in order to rest a certain starter….COUGH Strasburg. That is the only way a team would do that though.
2) Recently, a news item reported that Major League Baseball may seek to alter the rulebook definition of the strike zone in the service of increasing run-scoring.
In your opinion is there a need for MLB to tweak the strike zone, or, should MLB just let it be?
Archie: In My Honest Opinion they can do all the revamping of the strike zone they want to and it will not make a difference. The Umpires do not call a “by the rule book” strike zone now. So, what difference would it make? The only way to enforce it would be to use an electronic detector. I personally don’t want the game to evolve to that.
Earl: Let it be. The game isn’t perfect, but, I don’t think it needs all these radical changes just to attract new fan interest. It would just feel like the game is being weakened just for a few more eyeballs. Doesn’t seem necessary to me.
Joe: Let it be. Hitters need to stop swinging at everything that comes up to the plate; be selective, put the ball in play, take walks and make pitchers pitch. When batters shave strikeout numbers below 100 instead of over 100, then runs will happen more often. More men on base means more chances for batters to put the ball in play and score more often. Seems simple enough to me.
Steve: If it aint broke…don’t fix it. I have no problem with the strikezone. Players are going to adjust to such a change, and you still have the human element with the umpires making the right calls. I feel that no matter what they make the strikezone, the umpires are still going to have their “own” strikezone. This change would mean nothing to the game.
3) If someone gave you a choice of a one-week all expenses paid trip to spring training … where would you choose to spend that week? The Cactus League or the Grapefruit League? Why?
Archie: For me, of course, it would be the Grapefruit league. A few reasons. First Atlanta Braves. Second coastal fishing when the game is done or prior to. Third Coastal fresh Seafood. Fourth Bass fishing at Lake Apopka (got to watch for gators) and the Harris Chain fishing lakes in the area.
Earl: Grapefruit League. Well, probably because I got a few places I can stay in Florida and wouldn’t need to stay in a hotel. I could pocket that money and probably get a better rental car. Always thinking ahead, I am. Anyway, I’m a Mets fan and a Blue Jays fan and both of them are based out of Florida. So, yeah, I’d rather check out the Grapefruit League.
Steve: Well, this is something I never have really thought of. I guess I would typically go anywhere in Florida. But this year, I would love to go down to the Cactus League and see what the Cubs are doing. I would love to see Kris Bryant, and, how he can fair against MLB pitching. I have stated before that I have high hopes for the Cubs this season, so I would like to get a sneak peak.
4) MLB is introducing pace-of-play rule changes for the 2015 season in an effort to speed up the game. One of the rules is that hitters must keep at least one foot in the batter’s box during at-bats. The batter’s box rule remains in place unless an established exception occurs. Those exceptions include swinging at a pitch, foul balls, foul tips, if the hitter is brushed back by a pitch, time granted by the umpire and wild pitches. Players who violate the rules will receive a warning, with “flagrant violators” subject to a series of fines up to $500. Sources have revealed that the intention is not to impose penalties but rather to help change the habits of current players in an effort to speed up the game.
What is your opinion of this rule?
Archie: Not worth a shit! I can stand with one foot in the batter’s box and adjust helmet, blow my nose, pick at my ass, adjust my crotch, adjust my gloves, etc, etc, etc and I am still within the rule. a $500 fine coming at a crucial point in the game that I am really thinking about the next pitch and want to go through all my options before stepping back in is totally miniscule.
If, players pockets get hit up a little, you can see some of those annoying habits fade away.
Joe: To properly make this stick… or be enforceable… the umps would need to call a strike every time a hitter violates the rule. That’s not happening. So, I think this is just a journey down the path of the absurd.
But, fining someone for stepping out of the box? That is a little excessive. Simply put, if a batter is not ready, let the pitcher throw the ball. That will change the way batters approach. Don’t allow for batters to call time outs unless there is an issue like something in their eye, or, something that could be distracting. Let them play ball.
5) From 2010-13, Joey Votto led the NL in OBP every single season. However, since his 2010 MVP year when he had career highs in HRs and RBIs (37 and 113 respectively) those so-called middle of the order power numbers have declined. Some folks say if the Cincy Reds are to be a contender in 2015 then Votto needs to swing more and be the middle of the order player that is paid a lot of money to be… that is slug HRs and drive in runs,… instead of getting on base and taking walks and scoring runs. Votto thinks the discussion… aka criticism… is silly.
What’s your take on the discussion regarding Votto’s approach to doing his job and his worth to the Reds?
Archie: I guess I am a “money ball” type guy because I agree with Votto. I had rather have 8 high OBP players than 8 swinging for the fences type of players. The homerun is high reward but it carries with it high risk at failure as well. Don’t believe me? Ask Dan Uggla. I can give you 10:1 players that failed miserably compared to the 1 that is successful. Ask the Reds’ fans this, I will trade you good old Melvin Upton who hit 12 homeruns last year for Votto. Deal?
Earl: Got to agree with Votto. It is silly. He doesn’t need to be a power hitter to be successful for the Reds. He just need to keep up his hitting, bringing in runs, and stay healthy. To run the risk of changing his game, just to satisfy some critics would be stupid.
Joe: Votto is a career .310/.417/.533 hitter. Beside leading the NL in OBP from 2010-13, he led the NL in walks, scored over 100 runs every year he played in at least 150 games; averaged 37 doubles, and, had a batting average over .300. What’s not to like? Kind of Mickey Mantle like numbers without the 30+ HRs every year, if, you want my opinion.
He’s right the discussion is kinda silly.
Steve: Not only does he need to swing more. He needs to stay healthy in order for the Reds to compete. It is no doubt that Votto has seemingly lost a step. He just needs to get it together. Maybe the time off he had nursing his injuries is what he needed to get back to the Votto of old. I would still want him on my team.
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