I’ve been pulling game data from Baseball Reference, enabling me to compare game length data year-to-year–in this case as of May 31. My method of pulling this data is fairly slow and labor intensive, however, so I’ve only got it back to 2010 so far.
I’ve written previously that today’s longer game lengths are not indicative of a problem, but rather that the game is being played better than in the past. I said that MLB’s pace-of-play rules wouldn’t make a significant difference in overall game length.
Here we are, two months into the season. Time to look at some data. Read the rest of this entry »
I was finishing a project last night and couldn’t do one of my favorite things: go to Nats Park and watch the umpires practice their craft.
Let’s get one thing straight: Harper was not thrown out for arguing balls and strikes; when he was thrown out, he wasn’t saying a thing about umpire Marvin Hudson’s awful strike one call. Here’s a timeline of what happened. Quotes are my best guess based on my limited lipreading skills, but I’m pretty sure of most of it.
It all happened in 28 seconds. Read the rest of this entry »
April 28, 2015
Here and here I’ve put forward a few thoughts on MLB pace of play and the relative impotence of this year’s rule changes to make much of a difference. Today I learned that Baseball Reference has compiled a page with some important pace of play data.
Most interesting to me here is the time/9IP metric, which normalizes data to neutralize an abnormal prevalence of games that go more or less than a full nine innings. I hadn’t thought to do this, and though it doesn’t matter much (historically 3-6 minutes on a per-game basis), better analysis is better analysis.
Interestingly, the page doesn’t get into per-pitch analysis. It does list plate appearances per game and pitches per plate appearance, but doesn’t take the obvious next steps and list pitches/game or seconds/pitch.
A quick look at the data (which has more games than my prior analysis) shows this year to be about in line with 2012. Still slower than the 1998-2011 period, but faster than 1988-1997, in the asking-to-be-improved pitches/game metric.
Last night I wrote about baseball’s non-existent pace of play “problem.” My basic argument is that the increase in average duration of baseball games over the last 50 years is mostly due to fundamental changes in how the game is played, and not so much because the game’s natural gaps have gotten longer because of extended commercial breaks or more intense nether-region scratching or something.
I noted that while games last almost 6% longer than they did in the late-1980s/early-1990s, they include almost 8% more pitches, and that the pace of play, when measured in seconds per pitch, is faster today than it was then. I noted that sec/pitch, while much better than hours/game, is still fairly rudimentary. I have started looking into parsing the time data more, but I probably won’t have the time needed to really get into it for a while. So here’s my survey of the important data that’s out there. Read the rest of this entry »
Update: Charts use 2015 data through June 2.
A lot is being made of MLB’s new rules that are intended to solve the “problem” that games take too long. But there’s nothing MLB can do to significantly shorten the average game duration, and we all need to understand why.
It’s in the data. Read the rest of this entry »
Washington Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg struggled during his first two starts of 2015, giving up 19 hits in 10 2/3 innings, including 4 hits on curveballs. Lots of folks noticed that Strasburg’s curveball appeared lifeless. The Washington Post’s Neil Greenberg wrote a Fancy Stats column on it on April 16, complete with a chart showing that Strasburg’s curveballs haven’t been close to the knee-bucklers we’ve seen in the past. Read the rest of this entry »