I'm excited. Tomorrow's Opening Day.
This will be the 48th Opening Day that I have experienced. Like most Opening Days, it will be unlike any other.
It's a little easier to pick out the differences this year compared with previous Opening Days. MLB is tinkering again. They sure like to do that.
I'll go through each of the changes with a not-so quick thumbs up or thumbs down. You've read about these plenty elsewhere but I got to weigh in!
1. Pitch clock: Love it. The length of games for the past two decades or more and the defense of the outright dawdling of players on the field has turned me off and I can't believe anyone is saying "but that's the way the game is played/love it or leave it." They either weren't around or don't remember when games took under 3 hours to play every damn day. I feel like I'm alone on this sometimes. It took the legendary baseball writer Thomas Boswell to come out of retirement to write a column, on what baseball used to be and what it can be now with a pitch clock, for me to find someone who spoke sense. "Yes! Finally, someone who remembers," I said. His best anecdote: Game 7 of the 1960 World Series, Bill Mazeroski's Home Run Game, was a back-and-forth 10-9 game with 10 runs scored in the final two innings and nine pitchers used. Total game time: 2 hours, 36 minutes. I am looking forward to games lasting reasonable times now. And they better not expand the length between innings for commercials to compensate. 👍
2. Larger bases and limited pick-off moves: I approve. Anything that promotes stolen bases is fine with me. I grew up when Lou Brock, Dave Lopes and Joe Morgan were doing their thing on the bases. Also, Omar Moreno, Cesar Cedeno and Willie Wilson. Then Rickey Henderson, Tim Raines, Vince Coleman and Lonnie Smith. I can name so many others, Mickey Rivers, Ron LeFlore, Frank Taveras, Bump Wills, Miguel Dilone, Willie Randolph, Gene Richards. In 1980, if you did not steal at least 50 bases, you didn't finish in the top 10 in MLB that year. Games were exciting because of the stolen base. 👍
3. Banning the shift: I'm not a fan of outright bans. Shifts have been around in baseball for 100 years. However, I do want to see runs scored that involve singles and doubles again, so eliminating extreme shifts is fine with me.👍
4. Continuing with adding the runner on second in extra innings: Garbage. I know this appears to contradict me being in favor of shorter games, but games should run to their natural conclusion, that's an inherent aspect of baseball that is at the core of its charm. Fourteen-inning games don't come around that much, that's why baseball fans get excited over them. MLB had added this rule during the pandemic and now they're taking advantage of its establishment to continue to implement it against the best wishes of the fans, because its teams don't know how to manage pitching staffs and players, who don't know what a traditional doubleheader is anymore, aren't conditioned to playing extended games. I will continue to root for this rule to backfire spectacularly. 👎
5. The new balanced schedule: Why? I was a little taken aback by this when I reviewed the Dodgers' schedule a couple days ago. I knew it was coming but I wasn't quite aware that the Dodgers, and every other team, would play EVERYBODY this year. So, now I will somehow have to get fired up for the Dodgers' games against the Royals and the Mariners and the White Sox and the Rays and the Rangers. That's a lot of ho-hum games there guys. The Dodgers play the Tigers Sept. 19-21. That's the middle of a pennant race! I wasn't a fan of the Dodgers playing the Giants 24 times, but a schedule with more games spread out against NL teams would be more interesting to me.👎
OK, that's enough. Obviously baseball isn't like it was during the first 15-20 years I followed it. It's still baseball. There are still traditions and there is still rooting for your team to win the World Series. So there is still this post:
The last time the ASTROS won the World Series, cards looked like this:
The last time the BRAVES won the World Series, cards looked like this:
The last time the DODGERS won the World Series, cards looked like this:
The last time the NATIONALS won the World Series, cards looked like this:
The last time the RED SOX won the World Series, cards looked like this:
The last time the CUBS won the World Series, cards looked like this:
The last time the ROYALS won the World Series, cards looked like this:
The last time the GIANTS won the World Series, cards looked like this:
The last time the CARDINALS won the World Series, cards looked like this:
The last time the YANKEES won the World Series, cards looked like this:
The last time the PHILLIES won the World Series, cards looked like this:
The last time the WHITE SOX won the World Series, cards looked like this:
The last time the MARLINS won the World Series, cards looked like this:
The last time the ANGELS won the World Series, cards looked like this:
The last time the DIAMONDBACKS won the World Series, cards looked liked this:
The last time the BLUE JAYS won the World Series, cards looked like this:
The last time the TWINS won the World Series, cards looked like this:
The last time the REDS won the World Series, cards looked like this:
The last time the ATHLETICS won the World Series, cards looked like this:
The last time the METS won the World Series, cards looked like this:
The last time the TIGERS won the World Series, cards looked like this:
The last time the ORIOLES won the World Series, cards looked like this:
The last time the PIRATES won the World Series, cards looked like this:
The last time the GUARDIANS won the World Series, cards looked like this:
The last time the BREWERS, MARINERS, PADRES, RANGERS, RAYS, ROCKIES won the World Series, cards looked like this:
Happy Opening Day, everyone. (And I mean everyone).
Get ready for some weirdness.
I’d like for MLB to find a way where a game doesn’t end with a walk off pitch clock violation. I’d also be OK with the ‘Manfred’ man rule starting in the twelve inning instead of the tenth. The only other interesting thing will be to see if MLB tries to sneak in an extra commercial or two between innings to make up for lost revenue.
I’ll be at the Rays Opening Day game tomorrow and watch the hilarity of the pitch clock ensue for the first time in a game that counts. I hope they can overcome all of Manfreds money making schemes and make the playoffs this year and hopefully get a card image on your post next year, and I wish your Dodgers all of the best luck in the world in sticking it to the Giants and Padre$ this year.
Extra Innings - 100% against putting the guy on 2nd. It screws up offense stats.
WHAT THEY SHOULD DO IS ELIMINATE 2 FIELDERS IN EXTRA INNINGS. IT WOULD CAUSE PLAYERS TRYING TO PUT THE BALL IN PLAY AND RUNNING THE BASES. IT WOULD BE EXICTING.
I'll have to think about John's suggestion above. It's kind of like the NHL regular season overtime--fewer players, more offense. Maybe remove 1 fielder for the 10th inning (or maybe better to start in the 12th or so) and then remove more as it gets deeper. Hmmmm. But I'm with NO that I *like* really long games, so maybe not. But maybe better than the current rule.
My thumbs match yours in all your rules categories.
Looking forward to the clock on the pitchers and batters. So tired of watching batters step out, adjust gloves, take practice swings etc. Tired of pitchers walking around, staring at the catcher’s glove, shaking off sign after sign. I remember watching a lot of Royals games in the 70’s and early 80’s that were 2 hours or less.
I could probably be convinced for the extra runner AFTER 12 innings.
I love stolen bases, but they need to tweak the instant replay. If your foot hits the bases and jumps a fraction of an inch off for a split second you should still be safe.
Hate the idea of the “balanced” schedule. Hopefully after a year, or two, it will be changed.
Agree with you on all the new rules here. Didn't like banning the shifts at first, but I've come around on it. The extra-inning "ghost runners" continues to be my least favorite aspect of the current game.
As to the rule changes, I would like to tweak the pitch clock by 10 seconds and turn it off if the pitch could end the game. I hate the pick-off limit, but love the more stealing bases and the ghost runner on second is just weird. Love banning the shift and really am not a fan of the balanced schedule. I always liked the World Series being teams that haven't faced each other during the year.
Find your 2023 Topps Corey Seager card for next year when you post the last time the Rangers won a World Series!
2. I don't really care about this one. It seems like pitchers will probably just stop throwing over to 1st entirely, but it never seemed like that was very effective in the first place. The bigger bases probably makes up for players losing a lot of outs on the basepaths due to recent replay challenges.
3. Terrible. If you can't "hit 'em where they ain't" then you probably don't belong in the game.
4. This is the worst thing that Rob Manfred has done in a long list of worst things done by any MLB commissioner. Ghost runners are for neighborhood kids who don't have enough friends to field a whole team.
5. I love this. The novelty of interleague play wore off when the '90s ended. If we can't go back to the pre-interleague days (we're stuck with the DH, apparently), then the balanced schedule makes the most sense.
The pitch clock is confusing, not just for me but the players. Could take some getting used to, so I'll reserve judgment for now. "Pizza box" bases might increase stolen base stats but the teams/players have to *want* to run. This 'three true outcomes' crap is getting old.
OTOH if Whit Merrifield or Trea Turner suddenly have 75+ steals entering September, the statheads are going to lose their minds.