Pete Rose’s new TLC reality show starts in January

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I wrote back in July about Pete Rose getting his own reality show on TLC and now Jon Weisman of Variety has the details for what will be called “Hits and Mrs.”

You know, because Pete Rose is the all-time leader in hits and his four-decades younger fiance Kiana Kim will apparently be a big part of the show.

It’ll be six episodes–I’d normally say “the first season will be six episodes” but there’s zero chance of a second season happening, right?–and the debut is January 14.

I forced myself to watch “Survivor” this season because Jeff Kent was a cast member and I felt it was worthwhile to provide weekly recaps on this baseball blog, but a man has his limits. I promise to write about the show’s cancellation, though.

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.