Buster Olney spoke with a team executive who cited long games and a rash of injuries as two problems that can be solved with one radical move: shortening games to seven innings:
“I think they ought to change the games to seven innings,” he said.
Seven innings? You mean, in each game? Seven innings instead of nine?
“Seven innings,” he said again, and he went on to explain that if baseball adopted this, it could represent tonic for all the problems he sees.
Seven innings instead of nine would mean the games would finish closer to two-and-a-half hours than three hours or longer. That would be a better fit for the common attention span in 2014.
A younger audience might be more attracted to a shorter, more intense product, he said.
1. Why do people who think baseball games are too long and need to be shortened in order to hold viewers’ attention spans never mention that most NFL broadcasts last around three and a half hours?
2. Why would cutting games to seven innings necessarily limit injuries? Most recent studies have failed to find a link between innings’ pitched and arm injuries. Indeed, almost all of the Tommy John surgeries this year popped up in spring training after side sessions or one or two innings pitched. We really know next to nothing about preventing pitching injuries so cutting the length of games may have zero payoff in this regard.
3. The biggest argument against seven-inning games? Beer sales cut off in the seventh inning. Cut them off in the fifth now? That, my friends, is a hill I WILL die upon.
4. Is it crazy to think that the executive advocating for seven inning games really has a crappy back end of the bullpen, and he’s merely projecting his problems on the rest of baseball? That’s my theory anyway.
Nine innings. That’s the game. Ain’t gonna change. Shouldn’t change even if anyone took this seriously.
Blue Jays closer Roberto Osuna recently revealed that he has been dealing with an anxiety issue, Rob Longley of the Toronto Star reports. Osuna specified that the issue is completely off the field, not on the field. He is not sure when he’ll be able to return to pitch again.
Osuna had been feeling “a little bit anxious, a little bit weird” and said, “I feel like I’m lost a little bit right now.” Despite the anxiety, Osuna volunteered to pitch during Friday’s loss to the Royals, but the Blue Jays smartly chose not to put him into the game.
Osuna said, “I wish I knew how to get out of here and how to get out of this. We’re working on it. We’re trying to find ways to see what can make me feel better. But to be honest I just don’t know.”
It must have been tough for Osuna to make his issue public, as there is still a stigma around dealing with mental issues. Given the prominent position he holds in the Jays’ bullpen, fans become even less empathetic about taking time off to deal with it as well. Hopefully, Osuna is able to use the time off to get the help he needs. And hopefully his going public helps motivate other people dealing with mental issues to seek help for themselves.
The 22-year-old recently became the youngest player in major league history to reach 75 career saves. This season, Osuna is carrying a 2.48 ERA with 19 saves and a 37/3 K/BB ratio in 39 innings.
ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reported on Sunday that the Brewers claimed catcher Stephen Vogt off waivers from the Athletics. Vogt was designated for assignment by the Athletics on Thursday.
Vogt, 32, was an All-Star in each of the last two seasons, but struggled this year. He hit .217/.287/.357 with four home runs and 20 RBI in 174 plate appearances.
With the Brewers, Vogt will likely split time behind the plate with Manny Pina. Meanwhlie, the Athletics’ catching situation will be handled by Josh Phegley and Bruce Maxwell.