The Best: When I did this a couple of years ago I decided that the classic 70s and 80s uniforms were tops just because so much good baseball was played in them. I’ve changed my mind on this. While a team having its glory years in a given uniform is a plus in its column, it’s not enough to carry the day. Not that the design is bad. Actually, just before the peak of the Big Red Machine, the Reds wore that same basic design in a button down. Small difference, sure, but taking it out of the realm of the pullover makes all the difference, so I’d give those the edge. The current uniforms look a lot like that, but I’d take away the red piping along the buttons and some of the fancy font work to give it that clean look that the early 70s models had.
Worst: 1936 was something of a disaster, as were the vests, though the Reds probably did that look better than any other team that did it (vests are always a negative). There should be a special place reserved in uniform hell for a team with a color in its very name that forgets to use that color prominently, and to the exclusion of all other non-white and non-gray options. Such as when the Reds experimented with black and blue.
Assessment: The Reds have always looked sharp. Cincinnati is a conservative town. Keep it neat and professional like they usually do, and everything will be just fine.
I was curious about which MLB teams changed their fortunes the most this season compared to last year, so I crunched the numbers.
First, here are the biggest win total improvements from 2014 to 2015:
+10 Blue Jays
The top five teams on the biggest-improvement list all had managers in their first season on the job, led by Joe Maddon joining the Cubs after tons of success with the Rays. Also worth noting: Of the nine teams with the biggest win total improvement, eight made the playoffs. Only the Twins improved to double-digit games and still failed to make the playoffs.
Now, here are the biggest win total declines from 2014 to 2015:
Not surprisingly, a whole lot of those teams have changed managers, general managers, or both. And a couple more may still do so before the offseason gets underway. Oakland retained manager Bob Melvin despite an MLB-high 20-win dropoff and just promoted Billy Beane from general manager to vice president of baseball operations.
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.