You can’t say “Buck Foston” in New Brunswick, New Jersey

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Well, you can say it. You just can’t name your New York-centric sports bar that apparently:

A New Brunswick businessman has filed suit in federal court, charging New Brunswick Mayor James Cahill is holding up approval of his liquor license for a new high end sports bar because he doesn’t like the bar’s proposed name — Buck Foston’s.

I have no problem with the bar’s name, but if that’s what passes for “high end” in New Jersey, I’d hate to hear the names of the more blue collar drinking establishments.

For what it’s worth, the Mayor says the name has nothin’ to do with it. Rather, it’s all about a tax problem. Which is probably more common in the New Jersey bar business than random strange non-obscenity obscenity is.

No one pounds the zone anymore

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“Work fast and throw strikes” has long been the top conventional wisdom for those preaching pitching success. The “work fast” part of that has increasingly gone by the wayside, however, as pitchers take more and more time to throw pitches in an effort to max out their effort and, thus, their velocity with each pitch.

Now, as Ben Lindbergh of The Ringer reports, the “throw strikes” part of it is going out of style too:

Pitchers are throwing fewer pitches inside the strike zone than ever previously recorded . . . A decade ago, more than half of all pitches ended up in the strike zone. Today, that rate has fallen below 47 percent.

There are a couple of reasons for this. Most notable among them, Lindbergh says, being pitchers’ increasing reliance on curves, sliders and splitters as primary pitches, with said pitches not being in the zone by design. Lindbergh doesn’t mention it, but I’d guess that an increased emphasis on catchers’ framing plays a role too, with teams increasingly selecting for catchers who can turn balls that are actually out of the zone into strikes. If you have one of those beasts, why bother throwing something directly over the plate?

There is an unintended downside to all of this: a lack of action. As Lindbergh notes — and as you’ve not doubt noticed while watching games — there are more walks and strikeouts, there is more weak contact from guys chasing bad pitches and, as a result, games and at bats are going longer.

As always, such insights are interesting. As is so often the case these days, however, such insights serve as an unpleasant reminder of why the on-field product is so unsatisfying in so many ways in recent years.