Mariano Rivera is close to the all-time saves record

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The point to this David Waldstein article in the New York Times is that Mariano Rivera’s imminent surpassing of Trevor Hoffman on the all-time saves list is getting surprisingly little hype.  Given that, until I read this David Waldstein article in the New York Times I wasn’t aware that Mariano Rivera was about to surpass Trevor Hoffman, I tend to think he has a point.

So: Mariano Rivera has 599 saves. Hoffman finished with 601.  You have to figure that Mo will be a lock for it in the last couple weeks of the season. Which will be fitting because there’s no sense in muddying up the conversation about who the best closer of all time is by having the guy who actually is (Rivera) not have the record in the stat a lot of people think is important in that regard. Even if it isn’t really important.

Which makes me wonder about the reason for the lack of hype. Part of me wants it to be because everyone knows that saves is a dumb stat and that Rivera’s legacy in no way requires that record to be complete.  But I think too many people do value saves, so that’s probably not what’s happening.

I think that Rivera is just showing — again — how true greatness and dominance can get actually get boring after a while, causing us to lose sight of it.  I mean, it would be one thing if there was a dramatic arc to Rivera’s career. But really there isn’t. It’s been greatness since he began, followed by greatness, and continuing on through greatness, basically unabated. Sure, you have a season of him as a mediocre starter for spice. A high-profile blown save a decade ago.  But really that’s not enough to break the chain.

Rivera’s doing something awesome and historic?  Again?  Well, OK, wake me when it’s time for dinner.

Pitch clock cut minor league games by 25 minutes to 2:38

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NEW YORK — Use of pitch clocks cut the average time of minor league games by 25 minutes this year, a reduction Major League Baseball hopes is replicated when the devices are installed in the big leagues next season.

The average time of minor league games dropped to 2 hours, 38 minutes in the season that ended Wednesday, according to the commissioner’s office. That was down from 3:03 during the 2021 season.

Clocks at Triple-A were set at 14 seconds with no runners on base and 19 with runners. At lower levels, the clocks were at 18 seconds with runners.

Big league nine-inning games are averaging 3:04 this season.

MLB announced on Sept. 9 that clocks will be introduced in the major leagues next year at 15 seconds with no runners and 20 seconds with runners, a decision opposed by the players’ association.

Pitchers are penalized a ball for violating the clock. In the minors, violations decreased from an average of 1.73 per game in the second week to 0.41 in week 24.

There will be a limit of two pickoff attempts or stepoffs per plate appearance, a rule that also was part of the minor league experiment this season. A third pickoff throw that is not successful would result in a balk.

Stolen bases increased to an average of 2.81 per game from 2.23 in the minors this year and the success rate rose to 78% from 68%.

Many offensive measurements were relatively stable: runs per team per game increased to 5.13 from 5.11 and batting average to .249 from .247.

Plate appearances resulting in home runs dropped to 2.7% from 2.8%, strikeouts declined to 24.4% from 25.4% and walks rose to 10.5% from 10.2%. Hit batters remained at 1.6%.