Cooperstown

So, how’s the Hall of Fame voting going so far?

104 Comments

Every year my friend Repoz over at Baseball Think Factory keeps track of the Hall of Fame balloting via his “HOF Ballot Collecting Gizmo!”  It’s a nice snapshot of what voters who have made their ballots public thus far are doing. At the moment, with 14.4% of the vote in (based on last year’s number of votes) here’s the tally, in percentages:

100 – Maddux
98.8 – Glavine
87.8 – F. Thomas
82.9 – Biggio
———————————
74.4 – Piazza
64.6 – Bagwell
62.2 – Jack (The Jack) Morris
56.1 – Raines
46.3 – Bonds
45.1 – Clemens
41.5 – Schilling
34.1 – Mussina
23.2 – L. Smith
23.2 – Trammell
18.3 – E. Martinez
15.9 – McGriff
12.2 – Kent
11.0 – L. Walker
11.0 – McGwire
7.3 – R. Palmeiro
7.3 – S. Sosa
———————————
3.7 – Mattingly
1.2 – P. Rose (Write-In)

Worth noting that, because these votes come mostly from active baseball writers with online presences, Repoz’s tracker has tended to overrepresent totals for more SABR-friendly candidates, for lack of a better term. The non-baseball writers who still, inexplicably, have a Hall of Fame vote, and those who don’t feel it reasonable to share their voting with the public tend to skew a tad less enlightened. Again, for lack of a better term. Practically speaking, this means that you can expect an uptick for Jack Morris and a downtick for guys like Tim Raines and, of course, the PED-associated players.

But it’s fun anyway.

Rob Manfred on robot umps: “In general, I would be a keep-the-human-element-in-the-game guy.”

KANSAS CITY, MO - APRIL 5:  Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred talks with media prior to a game between the New York Mets and Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium on April 5, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
Ed Zurga/Getty Images
15 Comments

Craig covered the bulk of Rob Manfred’s quotes from earlier. The commissioner was asked about robot umpires and he’s not a fan. Via Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports:

Manfred was wrong to blame the player’s union’s “lack of cooperation” on proposed rule changes, but he’s right about robot umps and the strike zone. The obvious point is that robot umps cannot yet call balls and strikes with greater accuracy than umpires. Those strike zone Twitter accounts, such as this, are sometimes hilariously wrong. Even the strike zone graphics used on television are incorrect and unfortunate percentage of the time.

The first issue to consider about robot umps is taking jobs away from people. There are 99 umps and more in the minors. If robot umpiring was adopted in collegiate baseball, as well as the independent leagues, that’s even more umpires out of work. Is it worth it for an extra one or two percent improvement in accuracy?

Personally, the fallibility of the umpires adds more intrigue to baseball games. There’s strategy involved, as each umpire has tendencies which teams can strategize against. For instance, an umpire with a more generous-than-average strike zone on the outer portion of the plate might entice a pitcher to pepper that area with more sliders than he would otherwise throw. Hitters, knowing an umpire with a smaller strike zone is behind the dish, may take more pitches in an attempt to draw a walk. Or, knowing that information, a hitter may swing for the fences on a 3-0 pitch knowing the pitcher has to throw in a very specific area to guarantee a strike call or else give up a walk.

The umpires make their mistakes in random fashion, so it adds a chaotic, unpredictable element to the game as well. It feels bad when one of those calls goes against your team, but fans often forget the myriad calls that previously went in their teams’ favor. The mistakes will mostly even out in the end.

I haven’t had the opportunity to say this often, but Rob Manfred is right in this instance.

Report: MLB approves new rule allowing a dugout signal for an intentional walk

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 29:  MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred laughs during a ceremony naming the 2016 winners of the Mariano Rivera American League Reliever of the Year Award and the Trevor Hoffman National League Reliever of the Year Award before Game Four of the 2016 World Series between the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians at Wrigley Field on October 29, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images
25 Comments

ESPN’s Howard Bryant is reporting that Major League Baseball has approved a rule allowing for a dugout signal for an intentional walk. In other words, baseball is allowing automatic intentional walks. Bryant adds that this rule will be effective for the 2017 season.

MLB has been trying, particularly this month, to improve the pace of play. Getting rid of the formality of throwing four pitches wide of the strike zone will save a minute or two for each intentional walk. There were 932 of them across 2,428 games last season, an average of one intentional walk every 2.6 games. It’s not the biggest improvement, but it’s something at least.

Earlier, Commissioner Rob Manfred was upset with the players’ union’s “lack of cooperation.” Perhaps his public criticism was the catalyst for getting this rule passed.

Unfortunately, getting rid of the intentional walk formality will eradicate the chance of seeing any more moments like this: