Pirates team President Frank Coonelly sat down for his monthly web chat earlier today, and was asked by a reader how it felt to run “the losingest team in baseball.” His response:
Given that we have many young readers of this chat, I will keep my
answer G-rated: It stinks. It’s embarrassing, painful and incredibly
aggravating. I never expected us to sit with just 44 wins on Sept. 1,
2010. We have more talent than that, and I expect us to play much better
during this final month.
Nothin’ personal against Coonelly, but I am going to guess that you could count the number of “young readers” surfing over to a Frank Coonelly live chat on one hand and still have enough fingers left over to pick your nose and pound out the opening drum riff to “Wipe Out” by the Surfaris on the desk at the same time.
Well, maybe I’m wrong. I mean, I still remember the days of my youth, when my brother and I used to camp outside of Jim Campbell’s house in Grosse Pointe, hoping to catch a glimpse of him — maybe snag an autograph — and, perchance, to hear him hold forth on what the future held for the Tigers.
Those executives are why we all fell in love with the game, I imagine.
According to STATS, INC., the average game in 2015 was 2 hours, 56 minutes. That’s six minutes faster than games in 2014.
The gains came in the first half, when games averaged 2:53. Second half games averaged three hours even. One can probably thank the expanded rosters in September for that, as games then see many more pitching changes. Of course, it’s likely that second half games were faster in 2015 than 2014 as well given the rules changes.
Those changes: agreement to enforce the rule requiring a hitter to keep at least one foot in the batter’s box and the installation of clocks timing pitching changes and between-inning breaks in ever ballpark.
It remains to be seen if MLB stays satisfied with that modest improvement or if chooses to go the way Triple-A and Double-A leagues did. They installed 20-second pitch clocks and started penalizing violators with balls and strikes. Triple-A’s two leagues, the International and Pacific Leagues, saw game-time decreases by 13 and 16 minutes, respectively.
I’m so old I remember when general managers used to run baseball operations departments. Now they’re basically assistants.
The latest example: the Oakland Athletics have promoted Billy Beane to vice president of baseball operations and have named David Forst general manager. Forst has been with the A’s for 16 years and has been Beane’s assistant for 12 years, so it’s not exactly a situation in which Forst will be making the final calls. The official move came today, though the move has been in the works for some time, it seems.
Someone with a lot of good front office access is going to write a good story this winter about the title inflation going on in Major League Baseball over the past year. And it’s gonna be great when one of his or her sources breaks the pattern of saying “well, baseball transactions are so much more complex these days . . . ” and admits “hey, if Theo gets a fancy title and La Russa gets a fancy title I WANT A FANCY TITLE TOO.”
Not that it’s much of a secret as it is.