The Mets have new (old) uniforms

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The Mets are celebrating their 50th anniversary season in 2012. Once you ignore the fact that it’s actually their 51st season you’ll actually enjoy it, I’m sure.

Anyway, in honor of the occasion, the Mets have done something that a ton of Mets fans — and many non-Mets fans, myself included — have wanted them to do for years: taken the black out of their uniforms.  At least out of their white, pinstriped and road gray uniforms, all of which will look like this now:

source:

Pretty spiffy.  Note the lack of the black outlines around the letters. Note that the undershirts and caps are the proper blue.  Damn that team looks sharp when it sticks with its main colors and doesn’t mess around, doesn’t it?

Now to be clear: they’ll still rock the black jersey as a road alternate, but according Paul Lukas, that’ll be phased out by 2013 and then it will just be the nice classic look and that solid white which, while not exactly classic, looks just fine.

Good move Mets.

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.