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JSngry

2019-2020 MLB Hot Stove Thread

350 posts in this topic

Baseball, in its infinite wisdom :wacko:, is thinking of a new playoff format that must have been designed in Romper Room:

MLB weighing major changes to postseason, including growing number of teams to 14

“MLB is considering a move in which each league would have three division winners and four wild-card teams making the postseason starting in 2022, sources said. The best team in the league would receive a bye into the division series. The two remaining division winners and the wild-card team with the best record of the four would each host all games of a best-of-three series in the opening round.“

After the regular season ends,

“The division winner with the second-best record would select its wild-card opponent from the three wild-card winners not hosting a series.

The division winner with the worst record would then choose its opponent from the remaining two wild-card teams.

The final matchup would pit the wild-card winner with the best record against the wild-card team not yet chosen.

All of the selections, sources said, would be unveiled live on television the Sunday night of the final regular-season games.”

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Idiotic.

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Mark my words, with climate change and MLB adding more and more playoff games, there's going to be a "blizzard" before a World Series game before I die. The next thing you know, they'll start having the World Series at a neutral warm weather location like the Super Bowl does.

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57 minutes ago, Dan Gould said:

Idiotic.

Yep.

I love how professional sports leagues are always looking for ways to speedup the games while simultaneously looking for ways to stretch the seasons. 

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25 minutes ago, bresna said:

Mark my words, with climate change and MLB adding more and more playoff games, there's going to be a "blizzard" before a World Series game before I die.

And it will be in July.

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1 hour ago, Dan Gould said:

Idiotic.

I’m hoping against hope it’s just a trial balloon. 

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3 hours ago, Brad said:

Baseball, in its infinite wisdom :wacko:, is thinking of a new playoff format that must have been designed in Romper Room:

MLB weighing major changes to postseason, including growing number of teams to 14

“MLB is considering a move in which each league would have three division winners and four wild-card teams making the postseason starting in 2022, sources said. The best team in the league would receive a bye into the division series. The two remaining division winners and the wild-card team with the best record of the four would each host all games of a best-of-three series in the opening round.“

After the regular season ends,

“The division winner with the second-best record would select its wild-card opponent from the three wild-card winners not hosting a series.

The division winner with the worst record would then choose its opponent from the remaining two wild-card teams.

The final matchup would pit the wild-card winner with the best record against the wild-card team not yet chosen.

All of the selections, sources said, would be unveiled live on television the Sunday night of the final regular-season games.”

Like most here, I've been a huge baseball fan all my life, but in the past couple of years, the way MLB has gone about its business, the hold the present game has on me is becoming very tenuous, to say the least. This present "idea being floated around" will kill the World Series, as it won't be close to the two best teams, but a tournament of survival. For me, if this happens... I'm out. My interest in the present game will end, I'll still read about the history of the game I love, but actually paying money for the present product, investing time and emotion in what's going on now, I'm done.

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Geez. Just leave the game alone. 

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Washington Post story about straightforward countermeasures taken by Nationals: (1) contact former Astros like Tony Sipp to ask whether sign stealing is still an issue, and (2) develop several sign systems for each starter (writing them down on pitcher's cap and catcher's wristband), and use on every pitch. 

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On 2/11/2020 at 8:42 AM, Brad said:

Baseball, in its infinite wisdom :wacko:, is thinking of a new playoff format that must have been designed in Romper Room:

MLB weighing major changes to postseason, including growing number of teams to 14

“MLB is considering a move in which each league would have three division winners and four wild-card teams making the postseason starting in 2022, sources said. The best team in the league would receive a bye into the division series. The two remaining division winners and the wild-card team with the best record of the four would each host all games of a best-of-three series in the opening round.“

After the regular season ends,

“The division winner with the second-best record would select its wild-card opponent from the three wild-card winners not hosting a series.

The division winner with the worst record would then choose its opponent from the remaining two wild-card teams.

The final matchup would pit the wild-card winner with the best record against the wild-card team not yet chosen.

All of the selections, sources said, would be unveiled live on television the Sunday night of the final regular-season games.”

The more I think about it the more I actually like this system. 

I'd get behind it on one condition: Every team that gets to "pick" its opponent has to cut a pro-wrestling style promo on their opponent.

Rule #1 is that only the defending champion can use a Flair-esque "To BE the man, you've got to BEAT the man! WOOOH!"

I can just see Aaron Judge saying "Whatcha gonna do Tampa Bay, when these 24 inch pythons run wild on you?"

Or maybe his GM ... "If you SMEELLLLLLLLL what the CASH is cookin'!"

 

:g

 

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1 hour ago, Dan Gould said:

The more I think about it the more I actually like this system. 

I'd get behind it on one condition: Every team that gets to "pick" its opponent has to cut a pro-wrestling style promo on their opponent.

Rule #1 is that only the defending champion can use a Flair-esque "To BE the man, you've got to BEAT the man! WOOOH!"

I can just see Aaron Judge saying "Whatcha gonna do Tampa Bay, when these 24 inch pythons run wild on you?"

Or maybe his GM ... "If you SMEELLLLLLLLL what the CASH is cookin'!"

 

:g

 

I'd like it even better if they put one player from each team in a pit with a feral hog. Last one left alive wins, and if it's the feral hog, neither team goes to the playoffs.

American Carnage, FTW!!!

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From the little I’ve heard, it sounds like the Astros press conference was a disaster.  

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15 minutes ago, Brad said:

From the little I’ve heard, it sounds like the Astros press conference was a disaster.  

I'm reading similar reports.  Also that Crane, just like Hinch, gave a non-answer to the buzzer question, which is pretty damning.  Astros cheating and skulduggery aside, it's good to see players at camp, though.  Opening Day just six weeks away!

Edited by ghost of miles

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I'm not reading anything to indicate a "disaster" as much as I am that everybody said exactly what you'd expect them to say, which is essentially "we leveraged the same tools that everybody else has at their disposal, only in a way that was both super effective and outside the currently-allowed guidelines." :g

A choice example:

Asked whether the Astros cheated when they used video to steal signs in 2017, Crane replied: "We broke the rules. You can phrase that any way you want."

That's some funny shit!

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Prosecutor to defendant: “Did you murder that man?”

Defendant: “He stopped breathing. You can phrase it however you want.”

Using the same “tools at everyone’s disposal, just outside of the currently-allowed guidelines” is akin to saying, “So what, guy took a gun and shot somebody. Btw that dude has great aim! Really knows how to use a pistol to gun folks down.”

Granted, Houston didn’t commit murder. They just sullied the integrity of the game in a collective manner not seen since the Black Sox scandal. Nobody else around MLB is laughing. 

Astros ripped for pathetic press conference

Edited by ghost of miles

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I'm not in MLB, and I am definitely laughing my ass off at the whole thing.

"Stealing signs has always been a part of the game, but...."

"But" my ass!!!! I guess it was a wink-wink kind of ok, but now it's not? Why?

That's a stupid argument, not so much an argument as it is a clueless whine. Either stealing signs is wrong, period, or else it's not.

Look, you're the one who always thinks (correctly, imo) that sports should not avoid "social issues". Well let's look at the biggest "social issue" of our time. No, not "cheating" (which is only defined in terms of rules that can be changed at any time by anybody who gets the power), and for DAMN sure let's not put a "Trump" spin on it (talk about the lowest hanging of fruits).

Let's look instead at what digital technology and the resulting capability/capacity for seemingly endless data collection and analytics thereof is doing to the fabric of everybody's life. That's how the Astros cheated. Not with paying people off to throw a game, or hiring hit-men or some thug shit like that. No - they Facebooked this shit, simple as that. And MLB is so not ready to deal with the implications of this, that oh yeah, data and analytics are REALLY COOL when we use it to program damn near every element of the game, from scouting to salary structure to in-game strategies, but UH-OH, who would have EVER thought that it could be used to cheat, to hack the code of the pitching (talk about being a good gamer, LOL!!!)?

Well, the Astros did, and they were right.

And the Nationals, god bless 'em, were smart enough to figure out how to beat the cheat. Because data and analytics is all about logging trialing indicators. The Nationals figured that out. The Nationals were smart.

The Yankees, otoh, weren't. Poor Yankees! :g

 

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Shortly after being appointed as the new Secretary of State in 1929, Henry L. Stimson shut down the Cipher Bureau (US cryptanalytic service). Stimson thought that spying on diplomatic messages was unethical, famously commenting: "Gentlemen do not read each others' mail."

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1 hour ago, JSngry said:

I'm not in MLB, and I am definitely laughing my ass off at the whole thing.

"Stealing signs has always been a part of the game, but...."

"But" my ass!!!! I guess it was a wink-wink kind of ok, but now it's not? Why?

That's a stupid argument, not so much an argument as it is a clueless whine. Either stealing signs is wrong, period, or else it's not.

Look, you're the one who always thinks (correctly, imo) that sports should not avoid "social issues". Well let's look at the biggest "social issue" of our time. No, not "cheating" (which is only defined in terms of rules that can be changed at any time by anybody who gets the power), and for DAMN sure let's not put a "Trump" spin on it (talk about the lowest hanging of fruits).

Let's look instead at what digital technology and the resulting capability/capacity for seemingly endless data collection and analytics thereof is doing to the fabric of everybody's life. That's how the Astros cheated. Not with paying people off to throw a game, or hiring hit-men or some thug shit like that. No - they Facebooked this shit, simple as that. And MLB is so not ready to deal with the implications of this, that oh yeah, data and analytics are REALLY COOL when we use it to program damn near every element of the game, from scouting to salary structure to in-game strategies, but UH-OH, who would have EVER thought that it could be used to cheat, to hack the code of the pitching (talk about being a good gamer, LOL!!!)?

Well, the Astros did, and they were right.

And the Nationals, god bless 'em, were smart enough to figure out how to beat the cheat. Because data and analytics is all about logging trialing indicators. The Nationals figured that out. The Nationals were smart.

The Yankees, otoh, weren't. Poor Yankees! :g

 

To paraphrase a certain former Astros executive, "I'm so f*^&%ing glad the Nats won the World Series!  I'm so f*$%ing glad the Nats won the World Series!"  :g  (The Trump spin from one of my late-2019 posts, btw, referred to the way Houston initially responded to the Brandon Taubman story.  And that was *straight* out of the DT playbook.. but several weeks before the cheating scandal broke.  Anyway, I completely stand by that association.  Beyond ideology, beyond politics, the effect of DT's toxicity is clearly evident in the wider cultural realm, and his tone was *very* present in the way the Astros handled that mess.)  So yeah, God bless the Washington Nationals for taking down the bad guys, and goddam the said bad guys.  This article provides some interesting background:  Astros' cheating was an open secret inside baseball

To quote Nats reliever Sean Doolittle--a member of the victorious team, so no sour grapes to be found here--from just a few days ago:

“This is really frustrating,” Nationals closer Sean Doolittle tweeted last week. “A month after MLB’s report and all we have now is more evidence and more questions. . . . The integrity of the game is at stake and players and fans deserve some answers.

“It feels like there’s still no closure and everything has been thrown into question — past outcomes are being second guessed and even future games will be cast in doubt. There can be no redemption arc after an institutionalized scandal like this until there’s some accountability.”

No laughing matter.

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Jim, I don't see how what the Astros did is directly related to "what digital technology and the resulting capability/capacity for seemingly endless data collection and analytics thereof is doing to the fabric of everybody's life. That's how the Astros cheated. Not with paying people off to throw a game, or hiring hit-men or some thug shit like that. No - they Facebooked this shit, simple as that. "

 

What the Astros did was simply a more efficient version of having a guy hidden in the scoreboard with binoculars or a telescope who can read the catcher's signs and relay them to  the bench and/or to the batter by discretely moving stuff around on the scoreboard. Digital technology does make such things more efficient/immediate, but the kind of cheating I just mentioned goes way back in baseball -- certainly to the New York  Giants in 1951-- and is not an inherently digital-age phenomenon, any more than binoculars, telescopes, trash can lids, and buzzers are. 

 

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43 minutes ago, Larry Kart said:

What the Astros did was simply a more efficient version of having a guy hidden in the scoreboard with binoculars or a telescope who can read the catcher's signs and relay them to  the bench and/or to the batter by discretely moving stuff around on the scoreboard. Digital technology does make such things more efficient/immediate, but the kind of cheating I just mentioned goes way back in baseball -- certainly to the New York  Giants in 1951-- and is not an inherently digital-age phenomenon, any more than binoculars, telescopes, trash can lids, and buzzers are. 

It's not just "a more efficient version". It's a whole new way to do it. They used a spreadsheet and an algorithm. They took reducing chance to a whole new level, they reduced the chance in reducing the chance.

Of course the impetus underneath this is base, human greed pure and simple, and it goes back a least just a little further than "baseball". But geez, anybody who lives in the world of data and analytics, especially younger people who are immersed in the gaming/hacking world where "cheating" the "system" is pretty much the reason for being...nobody should be surprised that this happened in the sports world, other than it took so damn long for it to get done.

At last, MLB finds a way to appeal to a younger audience, and what do they do with it? Look at ways to incorporate it into the game? No, they toss it out! The game is doomed to a slow death of analog obsolescence :g

46 minutes ago, ghost of miles said:

Strip The Title:  Astros' "Apology" Press Conference Was An Utter Joke

Manfred won't do it, but at this point I'd be highly in favor of MLB vacating the 2017 World Series title.  They can't really award it to the Dodgers--there's a hollow victory if ever there was one--but wipe it off the record books, take the banner down.  

Look dude, I'm in the back yard of SMU. Death penalty those motherfuckers. Cancel their season.

And then wait for them to do it again.

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Unless I'm mistaken, the primary way  -- indeed, the without-which-nothing way -- the Astros reduced the chance to a whole new level was by having a guy in the clubhouse watch the TV feed and relay what he saw there (i.e. the catcher's signs) to the batter as immediately as possible via trash can bangs or a buzzer. How can a spreadsheet or algorithm give you that info?

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45 minutes ago, ghost of miles said:

To paraphrase a certain former Astros executive, "I'm so f*^&%ing glad the Nats won the World Series!  I'm so f*$%ing glad the Nats won the World Series!"  :g  (The Trump spin from one of my late-2019 posts, btw, referred to the way Houston initially responded to the Brandon Taubman story.  And that was *straight* out of the DT playbook.. but several weeks before the cheating scandal broke.  Anyway, I completely stand by that association.  Beyond ideology, beyond politics, the effect of DT's toxicity is clearly evident in the wider cultural realm, and his tone was *very* present in the way the Astros handled that mess.)  So yeah, God bless the Washington Nationals for taking down the bad guys, and goddam the said bad guys.  This article provides some interesting background:  Astros' cheating was an open secret inside baseball

To quote Nats reliever Sean Doolittle--a member of the victorious team, so no sour grapes to be found here--from just a few days ago:

“This is really frustrating,” Nationals closer Sean Doolittle tweeted last week. “A month after MLB’s report and all we have now is more evidence and more questions. . . . The integrity of the game is at stake and players and fans deserve some answers.

“It feels like there’s still no closure and everything has been thrown into question — past outcomes are being second guessed and even future games will be cast in doubt. There can be no redemption arc after an institutionalized scandal like this until there’s some accountability.”

No laughing matter.

Trump is a trailing indicator, not a leading indicator. Thinking otherwise is a huge waste of time and energy, physical and mental. Save your time and energy for getting in front of shit.

So...it's an "open secret", and nobody steps up to blow the whistle. That's kinda lame. But very all-American, pre-Trump. Don't upset the applecart.

Even worse, it was an open secret, and nobody but the Nationals had the skill set and the motivation to actually figure out how to counter it? Talk about out of touch...The nationals should be proud as fuck about getting that done, not whining about having to do it...a 21st Century solution to a 21st Century problem deserves infinitely more validation than a whiny 19th Century response.

I'm supposed to NOT laugh at a "game" that has long ago sold it's soul to spreadsheets and algorithms not being able to cope with an extended application of the same damn things into the realm of actual rule-breaking? Sorry, I laugh extra hard every time somebody acts like oh my, they CHEATED and then turns around and hedges with well, stealing signals has always been a part of the game. If that's a "real opinion" then all I can say is that it's probably not the "cheating" that bothers you, it's the technology of it. And it should be, because you are being "cheated" with this same technological paradigm damn near every waking moment of your life (only a slight exaggeration)

Tell you what - when the game bans managers managing the game with a butload full of spreadsheets and such on their lap, when the game stops talking about using technology to call balls and strikes in the name of more reliable outcomes (yes, robo-umps, like electronic voting machines, what could POSSIBLY go wrong?), when the game pretty much decides that they'll not allow their brand to leverage all the social media that their is out their because of sincere concerns over data-harvesting, then I will think about not laughing.

Until then, anybody who's actually surprised that this happened is a chump/ Some most of them are loveavble chumps, but geezus folks - what world are you living in?

TOTALLY a laughing matter!

1 hour ago, Larry Kart said:

Shortly after being appointed as the new Secretary of State in 1929, Henry L. Stimson shut down the Cipher Bureau (US cryptanalytic service). Stimson thought that spying on diplomatic messages was unethical, famously commenting: "Gentlemen do not read each others' mail."

Well, no, "gentlemen" don't.

So yes, appearances (or as we say today, "optics") matter.

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I just threw in that Stimson quote for laughs, as a message from distant era -- and that message was obviously opposed at the time by the cryptoanalysts and their bosses. Thanks be or we might have lost WWII.

Now what if a pitcher is, as they say, "tipping' his pitches, making certain motions/gestures on the mound that tell an alert observer whether he's going to throw a fastball or a  breaking ball. Is it cheating to apply that knowledge if one has it? I would says no, because 1) thatr knowledge has been acquired by means of the "human baseball continuum" (i.e. by careful human observation of what anyone with a sufficient background in the game could detect, and 2) because it's incumbent on the pitcher  to not make those detectable pre-pitch  motions/gestures.

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22 minutes ago, Larry Kart said:

Now what if a pitcher is, as they say, "tipping' his pitches, making certain motions/gestures on the mound that tell an alert observer whether he's going to throw a fastball or a  breaking ball. Is it cheating to apply that knowledge if one has it? I would says no, because 1) thatr knowledge has been acquired by means of the "human baseball continuum" (i.e. by careful human observation of what anyone with a sufficient background in the game could detect, and 2) because it's incumbent on the pitcher  to not make those detectable pre-pitch  motions/gestures.

Well, there you have it:

Point 1) the dude collecting the data and formulating the algorithm obviously did have "careful human observation of what anyone with a sufficient background in the game could detect". Not only did he have that, he had shrewd crazymad analytical skills about what to do with what he observed.

Point 2) The Nationals, to their eternal (if not readily self-acknowledged) credit did exactly that.

I still say that this cheating by the Astros is the logical next step in Databall. Of course it's "wrong", but I'm not so sure that it shouldn't be taken as a sign that that cat is out of the bag and the next team to do it will be a lot sophisticated about how they do it (I mean, trash cans? How oil-fieldy. Gauche!). But just think about the implications to a game that is now damn near totally data-driven in every preparatory regard. You can use an algorithm to predict pitches. You can't unlearn that type of thing.

 It's a perfect example of the old adage "Be careful what you ask for, you might get it".

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