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hose
05-11-2003, 11:02 AM
I seen this article written by one of the toughest competitors that ever wore a White Sox uniform and found it interesting.

http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news?slug=jm-strikezone&prov=yhoo&type=lgns

Tragg
05-11-2003, 11:10 AM
Makes sense to me. However, I think that the umps have widened the zone a bit - read Tom Glavine - (although it's narrowing again). I agree, though, bring back the letter high strike (weren't they supposed to have done that a couple of years ago?).

1951Campbell
05-11-2003, 11:54 AM
Black Jack is half right.

The other thing that has ruined power pitching is the 15-year-old or so trend of pitch counts and 4 or 5 reliever games. I'm only 28, but I remember when 10 complete games was no big deal for a pitcher, even if he was a second or third starter. Now, "power" is not something that is thought of as entirely good--managers figure these guys are going to "blow their arms out" if they go out and pitch deep into the 8th and 9th every start.

Black Jack said that every other aspect of atheticism in baseball has improved--he's pretty much right. But I refuse to believe that in 30,000 years or so of human evolution, it is only in the last 15 that man has lost the ability to throw 134 pitches, rest three days, and then throw 148. If Luis Tiant and Ron Guidry could do it 25 years ago, why can't folks do it today? I blame the managers.

Hopefully the tide will turn and we won't have to sit through 4 and 5 reliever games in the near future.

kermittheefrog
05-11-2003, 01:54 PM
Originally posted by 1951Campbell
Black Jack said that every other aspect of atheticism in baseball has improved--he's pretty much right. But I refuse to believe that in 30,000 years or so of human evolution, it is only in the last 15 that man has lost the ability to throw 134 pitches, rest three days, and then throw 148. If Luis Tiant and Ron Guidry could do it 25 years ago, why can't folks do it today? I blame the managers.

Okay here's one of the reasons pitch counts are necessary. Back in the good old days pitchers threw less pitches per at bats. There were much less strikeouts, less walks and less runs scored. All of those things drive up pitch counts for obvious reasons. Since the game was so different pitchers could routinely finish a game in 100-120 pitches which isn't a dangerous amount for an arm.

Pitchers throw less innings and less complete games because they use more pitchers per batter than ever before. Luis Tiant and Ron Guidry rarely had to throw 130-140 pitches because the game was played differently.

kermittheefrog
05-11-2003, 01:59 PM
More directly related to the article:

Bill James thinks Fisk is correct about pitchers throwing harder in the past. His reasoning is that the increase of stolen bases beginning in the 80's caused pitchers to quicken their moves to the plate and sacrifice power. More emphasis on smaller leg kicks and quick deliveries have taken away power.

I think Black Jack has a good point as well. I can't really say whether the umps used to call the strike zone differently but I know walks are at an all time high in the modern game of baseball. More batters looking to take a walk rather than just put a pitch in play makes it more necessary to have great control.

Chisoxfn
05-11-2003, 02:06 PM
Originally posted by kermittheefrog
Okay here's one of the reasons pitch counts are necessary. Back in the good old days pitchers threw less pitches per at bats. There were much less strikeouts, less walks and less runs scored. All of those things drive up pitch counts for obvious reasons. Since the game was so different pitchers could routinely finish a game in 100-120 pitches which isn't a dangerous amount for an arm.

Pitchers throw less innings and less complete games because they use more pitchers per batter than ever before. Luis Tiant and Ron Guidry rarely had to throw 130-140 pitches because the game was played differently.

Also pitchers weren't paid the money they are now (Nor were position players) and when you have such a high investment there you want to do your best to ensure they have a long career so your not paying for them to be on the DL.

kermittheefrog
05-11-2003, 02:13 PM
Originally posted by Chisoxfn
Also pitchers weren't paid the money they are now (Nor were position players) and when you have such a high investment there you want to do your best to ensure they have a long career so your not paying for them to be on the DL.

Thats another great point, teams do have more invested in players than ever before. It only makes sense to be cautious with your investments.

1951Campbell
05-11-2003, 03:29 PM
Okay, two points:

I honestly don't know if pitchers are throwing more picthes per batter now as opposed to 25 years ago. If they are, fine, maybe the 5 2/3 outings are excusable. But if they aren't, then it's not. And that doesn't change the annoying habit of 4 or 5 relievers--25 years ago, I would think the two-inning closer was much more common than it is today. Today is the era of the bullpen lefty who pitches to one guy a game, in the late innings, and sits down until the next night.

As for the investment angle, I saw when I lived in Boston 1997-2001 with Pedro. "Oh, Pedro's tired, and we have to protect our long term investment." But the Red Sox did that by (1) taking Pedro out after about 5 innings during blowouts, thus overworking the pen, and (2) letting Pedro shut it down for 3 or 4 starts every late summer, when the Red Sox were usually in a close race with the Yankees. Why save him for next year if right now is so important? I almost had to laugh when Pedro came in that Cleveland game in relief--I mean, I know the playoffs are important, but what about next year?

Dadawg_77
05-12-2003, 09:18 AM
Baseball Prospectus had an interview with Jim Evans, former MLB Umpire. Here is some of what he had to say about the strike zone....

Essentially, on the playing field, the strike zone evolved into a slightly lower limit at the top and a slightly more generous zone on the outside. This became the acceptable definition of the zone for a practical reason. The teams (both players and managers) encouraged it. The rationale was that most pro players would devastate a pitcher who works high in the rulebook zone. Consequently, neither pitchers nor managers of either team wanted to see batters conditioned to swing at the high pitch; thus, the umpires were encouraged to call it a ball. On the other hand, the pitchers' most effective location was around the knee and on the edge or just off the plate. And, by making a minor foot or arm adjustment, a batter could still get the sweet spot of the bat on the ball.