Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Baseball with no balks is a great idea

Where's he going to throw?
Here's a quote from an SI piece by Matt Dollinger about some of the more interesting topics at last weekend's Sloan Sports Analytics Conference at MIT:

"Bill James, the godfather to sports analytics, was asked on the Moneyball reunion panel how he would fix baseball. His response? 'Get rid of balks.' His rationale: It's the equivalent of not having fast breaks in the NBA. Imagine if after every possession the defense was able to set up and gather itself on the other end. In baseball, you can't just throw the ball and try to catch a batter off guard--you've got to wait. At a minimum, getting rid of balks would speed the game up and likely lead to a more entertaining product."

I love this idea.  In addition to speeding up the game, it would also open it up to some wild plays.  Not just pitchers attempting to fool batters, but also crazy throws to first base, fake throws to first, fake pitches then throws to first, fake throws to first then pitches, etc.  It'd be a be a bit nuts, and a lot of fun to watch.

We'd probably need some sort of pitcher "shot clock" as well though so they don't just stand there pretending to throw all day.

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