June 22, 2004

Baseball Has Been Good to Us

Unf or Ogged or Bob or Fontana Labs or Somebody, I forget whom, asks:

Unfogged: The Mitch Williams Dilemma: Maybe someone more familiar than I with the infinite nuance of baseball can explain: Just how would the people proposing that intentional walks be banned police intentional, but not obvious, walks?

It's easy. A 4-0 count walk becomes a two-base walk, not a one-base walk. That should do it.

Posted by DeLong at June 22, 2004 10:05 PM | TrackBack | | Other weblogs commenting on this post
Comments

Me! It was me! Though truly, we are an indistinguishable heap of bloggers...

As for your answer, it seems to me like pure lunacy, but I'll wait for baseball's learned to make the case.

Posted by: ogged on June 22, 2004 10:17 PM

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ogged, don't worry, you're right: it's pure lunacy. Ye gods, isn't the lively ball enough? Leave pitching decisions in the hands of managers, pitchers, and catchers: don't be messing with the balance for something this trivial.

The fact is, pitchers do lose control and miss 4 straight pitches, or attempt to pitch finely and live with failing, and to turn that into a double...lunacy.

I belive we have finally found a topic on which we can ignore the prof.

Posted by: howard on June 22, 2004 10:33 PM

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The real answer is even simpler: there is no need to change the rules.

Posted by: wcw on June 22, 2004 10:34 PM

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Sacrilege I say! The DH rule is bad enough. I just can't abide that new-fangled AL "baseball".

There was a great article in the SF Chron about Glenda Jackson attending a game at Pac Bell Park. (http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2003/09/29/DD44046.DTL) According the article, she was somewhat offended by the idea of an intentional walk.

Posted by: Larry B on June 22, 2004 10:44 PM

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Intentionnaly walking Bonds is the rational thing to do, about time they figured that one out. If they want him to get good pitches, they should rule out his crowding of the plate, along with his silly oversized elbow pad, as they should. Blame lies on the umpires, not the rules.

Posted by: Mou on June 22, 2004 11:04 PM

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Anyone who doesn't have the patience to watch an intentional walk should probably be at a basketball game.

What's ruining baseball isn't the intentional walk -- it's the Yankees.

Posted by: Carl on June 22, 2004 11:11 PM

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I say 4 balls = 1 walk. If the defensive team wants to put a runner on base, let them. BTW, I am a Giants fan and if the they want to put Barry on first, he don't need no extra base. It only proves they are chicken, and there are plenty of rubber chickens to go around.

Posted by: ehavoc on June 22, 2004 11:43 PM

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An occasional pitching tactic is to start the at-bat with the appearance of an intentional walk.

The catcher holds out his hand and stands up. Right before the pitch he jumps back down into his croutch and the pitch is thrown over the plate.

I recall that this has happened to Bonds at least once.

If a 4-0 count = 2 bases rule were implemented we would merely see similar tactics used to produce 4-1 counts.

Posted by: talboito on June 23, 2004 12:12 AM

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There is a long history of tinkering with game...although if we were to do so today, it would probably be in the defense's favor (raise the mound an inch). I understand why the intentional walk offends some sensibilities, but it is better to look at it for what it is - a supreme honor. Bonds is really the only player I can think of whose skill makes this a good decision. Every time you see a no-one on intentional walk you should be reminded of Barry's greatness.

Posted by: theCoach on June 23, 2004 03:04 AM

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I do have a recommended change for the game, and it relates to the umpires, if anyone is interested, I believe it has some economic overtones:
Blend modern technology will calling strikes. Before anyone gets to worked up, I am not advocating a machine calling strikes and balls on the field. However, I think a machine could verify strikes and balls using the strict rules and perhaps a technician (lining up the knees and letters). We could get a count of how accurately umpires are calling strikes and balls (and clearer rules). Those that finish in the top are given all star and play off games.
This provides an incentive for umpires to call pitches evenly and accurately, and some accountability when they do not (although I am not sure this information would be good to have for the fans after the game is played, but that is another issue). So, no real changes on the field, just trying to provide an incentive for a unified strike zone.

Posted by: theCoach on June 23, 2004 03:16 AM

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Like Carl says. Try basketball if the intentional walk is too excruciating. Baseball provides many opportunities to discuss it's structure. Between pitches, between innings, between foul balls, between ads, between pitcher-catcher conferences, between pitcher changes,...There's no game like it.

Posted by: calmo on June 23, 2004 03:56 AM

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Actually, it could well be the case that managers often are making a mistake when they intentionally walk Bonds, especially in early innings.

Bill James did an experiment where he compared walking Babe Ruth every time up to letting him hit, and found that a team that has the Babe walk each time would score many more runs.

Of course, this general rule almost certainly does not apply to the pitch to Barry/walk Barry decision in late innings with runners on base. But I have seen managers intentionally walk him early in the game, and pitchers pitch around him when there are no runners on base. This is likely a bad tactic.

Posted by: Richard Green on June 23, 2004 04:57 AM

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Leave it alone. What's wrong with intentional walks?

If the objection is that fans want to see Bonds hit, you might as well require pitchers to lob the ball to him gently.

Posted by: Bernard Yomtov on June 23, 2004 05:23 AM

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Heresy!!! Sounds like the AL trying to monkey with the game again!

Posted by: repoman on June 23, 2004 06:03 AM

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There was just a piece in the NYT (maybe originally in the BosGlobe?) by a guy who ran the numbers on Bonds (over the last 4-5 yrs, I think), and showed, for instance, that leadoff walks to Barry almost double the likelihood of a run scoring that inning. I'm often skeptical of the certainty of sabermetrics, but this seems like a slam-dunk example of good usage, with relatively few variables. I think you have to start with the odds, compiled from statistics, and then modify with your gut (is your pitcher "on", who's behind Barry, etc.)

Posted by: JRoth on June 23, 2004 06:05 AM

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Intentional walks are fine. Changing the rule is a bad solution to a non-existent problem. So what if Bonds can't get his stats? Baseball is still a team game; the object is one team having more points than the opposing team, not catering to superstar egos and their hero-worshipping fans.

More practically, would not sanctioning intentional walks create an incentive for "intentional-but-unintentionally-appearing" HBPs? Naw, bad, bad idea.

Now if we could only get rid of the damned DH...

Posted by: Batavicus on June 23, 2004 06:14 AM

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Ok, the big difference in pitching from say, 1960's- to-the 1990's and year 2004 is a simple choice of smarter pitchers, and better coaching.
In the 1960's- you had great power pitchers: Koufax, Gibson, Seaver, McDowell, Drysdale, Marichal, I'm talking real heat. I'm atlking pitchers who would bean you for digging in!
These pitchers challenged the hitters. "Here is my fastball; see if you can hit it"
(There are only a small handful of these today and they are mainly "closers", except for Schilling, when he was younger, and a few others.
In the past 35 years, the pitching coaches from high school on up are preaching: "fool the hitter". The advent of the change-up and its perfection has changed the game, keeping hitters off-balance is a big part of major-league pitching. (watch that Dodger closer, whatshisname?)
So, with Bonds, who is a rare player who has "transcended" the game, like Michael Jordon did in basketball, there is a great respect. Remember when he was about to crack McGuires record several years ago- NO ONE WOULD PITCH TO HIM. He was pitched around, intentional walk much worse than he is, say, today. Only a real man would pitch to him. This is a sign of his greatness, it is with great reverence that managers decide to walk him, either by pitching around him,like they did to Mike Schmidt all the time, or intentional walk.
Last month, the gave Bonds an intentional walk with no one on base. That is ludicrous, even in a one-run game. But it is a great fear pitchers and managers have, that is effect Bonds has on game, so what? sow buttons. Koufax, Marichal, Seaver would never pitch around him because they had as much pride as Bonds has. (there are a great variety of trick itches today than in 1960's" split-finger fastball et cetera. These are pussy pitchers that have made it through the minors in an age when in the 1960s; they would be mired in the minors until they decided to change their line of work. It is a sign of smart pitching and lack of Nolan Ryan mentality out there. (Even Ryan had a great curveball no one talks about, and he used it wisely to set-up his fastball. Bonds will soon be out of game in a few years, and then the scribes will have something else to talk about tweaking.

Posted by: Dave S. on June 23, 2004 06:48 AM

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Bonds's stats are considerably padded by the intentional walks in at least two areas: batting average (since walks don't count as at-bats) and on-base percentage.

I definitely agree with those who argue that it's irrational to put Bonds on -- especially when there are no outs. The chance that a runner who reaches base with no outs will score are exponentially higher than the odds for a runner who reaches base with even just one out.

But what's really irrational to me is that Brian Sabean, the Giants' GM, hasn't over the past few years gone out and gotten a solid hitter to protect Bonds in the lineup. Who is Sabean trying to fool with Edgardo Alfonzo? If Bonds had a hitter the caliber of, say, Magglio Ordonez behind him, the incentive to put Bonds on straight away pretty much evaporates.

Posted by: kanest on June 23, 2004 07:34 AM

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It has also been suggested (maybe at Baseball Prospectus) that Bonds swing at the first intentional-walk pitch, thus enticing the pitchman with an 0-1 count. And I feel like Bill James or someone suggested not pitching out the intentional walk, just declaring it and getting on with things.

Joining this comment thread is irresistable. It's like when you go over to Yglesias or Drum and there's one post that says "Earth: Ruined by 2006?" with 17 comments, and the one above it, about the Lakers, has 95.

Posted by: Chris Marcil on June 23, 2004 08:00 AM

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Piling on I'm afraid...

Another drawback of the 2-base proposal is that it would make a 2-0 count even juicier than it already is, from the batter's point of view. We'd see a lot fewer 2-0 breaking balls, since two bases is such a large risk.

LT

Posted by: Larry on June 23, 2004 08:30 AM

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As an Orioles fan, I'd like to offer that a 4-0 walk isn't always intentional (& for us, all too frequent). I think this rule might discriminate against the wild -- a violation of the rights of O's members & fans under Equal Protection.

Posted by: Spencer on June 23, 2004 08:33 AM

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talboito, you send me down memory lane to the '72 world series, when the a's were playing the big red machine. bench was up with 2 out (don't recall the on-base situation), 3-2 count, and dick williams went out to the mound and had a lengthy conversation with pitcher and catcher. The catcher then signalled for an intentional ball 4, bench relaxed...and the catcher suddenly squatted down, the pitcher threw a strike right down the middle, and bench was out!

Chris, my recollection is that james suggested that a pitcher go to his mouth 4 times as a means of getting a quick intentional walk.

kanest, sabean has has jeff kent having his finest season behind bonds, and still he was walked. there's plenty of players who will tell you that the idea of a strong hitter protecting you is a bunch of hooey; at the end of the day, the pitcher still has to deal with you....

Posted by: howard on June 23, 2004 08:40 AM

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To jump back in:

I just sent a related email to King Kaufman, over at Salon, who did a historical comparison on Bonds' walks & IWs. I have to disagree with howard's closing point, because I just don't think you would ever, under any game circumstance, see a no-out, bases-empty intentional walk to Bonds if, say, Griffey or A-Rod were batting behind him. Take those away, and suddenyl Bonds is being walked often, but not so often that non-partisans would be offended.

Posted by: JRoth on June 23, 2004 08:57 AM

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Wouldn't a 4-0 double create an incentive for a bean ball?

Posted by: Kelly on June 23, 2004 09:20 AM

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Dave S: In the past 35 years, the pitching coaches from high school on up are preaching: "fool the hitter".

Blame aluminum bats. A ball hit off the narrow end of an aluminum bat is still a good swing. A ball hit off the narrow end of a wooden bat is not. Prior to aluminum bats the batter couldn't crowd the plate to get the outside ball because an inside pitch would be virtually unhittable. So the pitching strategy was mostly "inside-outside". As Drysdale said: "I'll give you one half the plate ... I just won't tell you which half."

Now you can crowd the plate and still get a good hit on an inside pitch, at least until you get to pro ball. So pitchers have adapted.

Posted by: Dem on June 23, 2004 09:26 AM

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Usually, I would agree with Carl about the Yankees. This morning, however, the next best two records belong to the Cubs and Red Sox. The Yankees are then the only thing standing between us and the cataclysm predicted in -- was it Daniel?

Posted by: MarkC on June 23, 2004 09:40 AM

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I'm against changing the rule, but if changed it must be, here is how. Warning: it is mildly complicated. Once per game, a team may invoke a "no-walk" rule for a particular at bat, but only if that hitter has already walked or been hit by a pitch at lease once in that game. Under the no-walk rule, what would otherwise be a walk is a balk, advancing all runners one base, and the ball/strike account is reset to zero. Repeat. If the bases are (or become) empty, then in lieu of a balk each four-ball sequence raises the stakes for the next time through the count by one base. If the batter gets enough four-ball counts, he gets four bases, the functional equivalent of a home run. Result: once per game, in a crucial at bat, a team that has walked Barry Bonds (or equivalent) already will be deprived of a plausible option of walking him, without disrupting the game otherwise.

Posted by: Ken D on June 23, 2004 10:00 AM

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"It has also been suggested (maybe at Baseball Prospectus) that Bonds swing at the first intentional-walk pitch, thus enticing the pitchman with an 0-1 count."

If it's sensible to pitch to Bonds with an 0-1 count then it can't be a good idea for Bonds to take a deliberate strike. There's no such thing as a strategy that helps both sides.

Posted by: Bernard Yomtov on June 23, 2004 10:46 AM

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I think Dave S.' version of pitching history is a little wrong. Those pitchers you mentioned all started playing the game prior to 1963 when the height of the pitching mound was reduced by one-third to remove a perceived pitching advantage. Small wonder that they were taught a different style of pitching than those who came after the mound reduction.

It also seems that only 2 of the top 10 career strikeout leaders were at their heyday in the 60s. Nolan Ryan, Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, Kerry Wood, Josh Beckett and many other modern fastballers all have as much or more velocity than the great pitchers of the 60s, yet batters are able to keep up with them just fine.

And we shouldn't forget that many people feel that Koufax's best, and most useful, pitch was his curveball. Koufax didn't win by challenging hitters with his fastball. He won by keeping them off balance with his curveball. Virtually every other modern famous fastballer has been the same. Even Bob Feller, noted for his fastball, had a wicked curve and slider that he used to keep batters off balance.

Pitchers try to fool the hitter because almost every starter in the major leagues can hit a 100mph fastball out of the park. It is Randy Johnson's slider or Pedro Martinez's changeup that give them the breathing room to slip that fastball by the hitters today.

Posted by: Justus on June 23, 2004 10:57 AM

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JRoth, as the legion of baseball nerds (with whom i'm a fellow traveller) will tell you, the issue of how much "protection" the hitter behind you provides is a very contentious one, and people come down on both sides of it. Personally, i'm on the side of those who say it's a very minor factor (although, of course, at the margin - it's the bottom of the 9th and you have a 1-run lead and bonds is leading off with junior griffey and jim thome to follow - it certainly is), and we're backed up (as bill james has noted many times) by a long list of hitters and managers who think this way.

Anyhow, overall stats (rounded off) tell us that you score 50% of the innings in which the leadoff guy gets on and 15% of the innings in which the leadoff guy makes an out, so walking bonds to lead off an inning is bad strategy in my book no matter who hits behind him.

As a side note, perhaps you remember one of the most electric moments of the 2002 playoffs, when whoever it was who was facing the giants intentionally walked bonds late in a tight, close game (don't have the time to look the fine details up) because, after all, it was only benito santiago on deck, and santiago hit the ball a country mile? One of the greatest crowd noises i've ever heard....

Posted by: howard on June 23, 2004 11:00 AM

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I believe Don Drysdale had a work around for this rule. He once got the count to 3-0 on someone, so Walter Alston signaled that he should go ahead and walk the batter. So Drysdale rared back and hit the guy in the back with the next pitch.

Posted by: David on June 23, 2004 11:24 AM

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To all SanFran fans out there:

I sympathize with your being tired of seeing Barry Bonds walked at a record pace. It should be noted, however, that if the Giants were to acquire a real hitter to bat behind him (something that Giants haven't had since Jeff Kent), he'd be walked far, far less.

Posted by: Brad Reed on June 23, 2004 12:18 PM

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Although this is a problem that's may not be worth solving via a rule change, Bill James had an interesting suggestion to allow a manager to decline a walk, intentional or otherwise. If walked again, the batter would get two bases (I don't think it extended beyond that, but it wasn't clear).

This addresses the issue while preserving the strategy of the game, and indeed, enhances it a bit to exchange a no-brainer decision with at least one difficult decision (whether to accept a walk, or whether to walk again if it means 2 bases).

As far as the pacing of the game goes, James also has written extensively on that, and the big problem isn't walks, but that 1) the batter can call time-out at any time and 2) with a runner on, pitchers have an unlimited number of throws to first base (this is when a game *really* bogs down).

Posted by: fling93 on June 23, 2004 12:22 PM

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Ok, Justus, I forgot about the mound heighth change, and also, the strike zone was different. It was a different mind-set of pitching mentality; they were paid less and performance really mattered to keep a job

But I disagree with point that many major league hitters can hit a 100 mph fastball out of park as if they were switching on a light switch. Many have problems with a 95 mph pitch. They have to be sitting on it and guessing somewhat, that is why they get crossed up with a good change-up.

I watch these closers, like Phillies' closer Billy Wagner, Wood and Randy Johnson, and when they are on with their fastball- it seems the entire lineup of opponents do not get around on them. Occasionally, it seems someone takes Randy Johnson deep, Or Wagner gives up a occasional homer and it may be the same player 2 x in 2 different series, so there are only a select few that can consistently be a great fastball hitter. It seems when Schilling was on in 1993 world series vs. Toronto; he was untouchable as he won 1-0, with his fastball. They knew it was coming, and they could not get around. A different pitcher named Johnson whom played with Baltimore in 2000, I went down to see Phillies play Orioles, the Phils could not get around on his 95 mph fastball, at height 6 foot 7, this pitcher was blowing fastball by good fastball hitters, like Abreau, the entire game.
But I agree with you about most of your points. It is a different game today. I wonder what Bonds would do with the 1960's era pitching?

Posted by: Dave S on June 23, 2004 12:29 PM

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Oh, and 3) number of pitching changes.

Posted by: fling93 on June 23, 2004 12:31 PM

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how come nobody has mentioned ted williams?

Posted by: old ari on June 23, 2004 01:41 PM

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Soccer (futbol) would be a lot more fun if they got rid of that stupid offside rule.

Posted by: Zizka on June 23, 2004 01:41 PM

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Zizka: Nah, it wouldn't: It'd turn into a long ball game with four shambling seven-foot head-the-balls in the box. (i.e. not unlike basketball)

Comic, yes. Fun, no.

Posted by: nick on June 23, 2004 03:31 PM

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Correct me if I'm wrong but is not the essence of baseball the pitcher-batter duel? And does not the intentional walk then subvert the essence of the game while cheating the fans out of the showdown between major league's top talent that they payed for and came to see? The intentional walk is an act of cowardice that is just plain wrong.

Posted by: Sacrelicious on June 23, 2004 03:58 PM

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"It has also been suggested (maybe at Baseball Prospectus) that Bonds swing at the first intentional-walk pitch, thus enticing the pitchman with an 0-1 count."

If it's sensible to pitch to Bonds with an 0-1 count then it can't be a good idea for Bonds to take a deliberate strike. There's no such thing as a strategy that helps both sides.

But neither Bonds nor the pitcher will know for sure who's in better shape after the intentional strike. Consider a poker analogy: Bonds is raising the ante because he thinks he has a strong hand, and the pitcher can call (pitch for a strikeout) or he can fold (walk him).

Joining this comment thread is irresistable.

No kidding. I don't even follow baseball.

Posted by: Hamilton Lovecraft on June 23, 2004 04:47 PM

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Such silliness. Giving two bases for a 4-0 walk would be like giving Shaq an automatically successful free throw every time he's fouled.

When the rule only exists because of one player, what happens when that player leaves the game, as Bonds will do in a few years?

Posted by: Erik on June 23, 2004 05:47 PM

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This might've been mentioned up-thread so forgive the repeat. At issue here is whether the game should do something to legislate against the intentional walk since Barry Bonds is on pace for, what, a hundred? The hidden issue is this: does it make sense to walk Barry Bonds whenever he comes to the plate?

Bill James studied this very question in his baseball abstract. I don't know if he was referring to Bonds but his test model lineup was interesting. Basically, eight of the weakest hitters in the history of the game, by position, in a line-up with Babe Ruth at his best. When Ruth comes to bat, do you walk him every time?

James concluded the answer is an emphatic no. For preventing runs, you are far better off pitching to the guy and taking your chances. It's in his Historical Abstract if you're interested.

My own opinion as a Dodger fan is that Bonds is the greatest hitter I've eve--seen by far--BUT we are much better off pitching to him, particularly in the early innings. Yes, the walk can be great strategy but do you all notice how often Bonds scores 2 runs a game, even when he doesn't jack one out?

He doesn't make the choice easy but were it up to me, I'd pitch to Barry more often than not.

Posted by: cc on June 23, 2004 06:09 PM

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I am not sure stats really help you much here with regard as to walk Barry or not. Certainly telling your pitcher to not walk Bonds at any cost would be a bad idea. Deciding to pitch to Bonds demands that you make a decision about just how close to the strike zone you are willing to chance. I think the obvious strategy with Bonds is to pitch to him, but to give him only stuff that is marginally in the zone. Go for corners, if you hit 'em, great, if not, Barry gets another walk. If it is 3-0 just do not send something right over the plate.

Posted by: theCoach on June 23, 2004 07:15 PM

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Another suggestion to deal with intentional walks (which I think was also made by Bill James): a hitter is always allowed to decline a walk, if he wants. If he does this, he keeps on batting, with the balls reset to 0; he keeps his strikes.

Posted by: gorlim on June 23, 2004 08:28 PM

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Changing the intentional walk rule in any manner makes no sense. It diminishes strategy, one of the beauties of the game, and it would reduce the chance of the off chance that something will go wrong. During intential walks, I've seen pitchers fake out hitters and throw strike three; I've seen pitchers throw the ball away; and I've seen pitchers balk. All of those are rare, but the mere possibility argues that changing the rule is ridiculous.

Posted by: Howard Owens on June 23, 2004 08:46 PM

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"It diminishes strategy, one of the beauties of the game, and it would reduce the chance of the off chance that something will go wrong. During intential walks, I've seen pitchers fake out hitters"

None of this would go away with Bill James's suggested change that myself and gorlim mentioned of allowing the hitter (manager) to decline a walk, intentional or not (and if walked a 2nd time after this, the batter would be awarded 2nd base).

As I explained, it actually increases strategy since a lot of intentional walks are no-brainers, but then the decision to decline and/or the decision to walk again (when it would now mean 2 bases) would be a lot more difficult. And the off chance that something could go wrong would still be there.

Posted by: fling93 on June 24, 2004 12:00 PM

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Umm, am I dense or would it be simple to avoid intentional walks by mandating that the catcher not set up standing up nor outside the batter's box lines? The pitcher can still throw it high and have the catcher stand up mid-pitch, but it makes the move much riskier, as the ball could easily get away, (we might also change the passed ball rule for situations with no-one on, and give the batter two bases for a passed ball that looks to the ump like the result of an attempted intentional walk) and the hitter can sit on a high fastball in case the pitch comes in low.

Call me crazy, but people you don't wanna pitch to are prolly gonna be able to hit a pretty high fastball well, especially if they know it's coming. So unless your catcher is really sharp, you might as well pitch for the corners. The batter is much more likely to hit a high hard one out than a tailing breaking ball at the knees.

Course I don't understand why you'd want to change this rule in any case. Allowing a team to concede a base seems perfectly fine to me. I could understand the worry if it was becoming prevalent throughout the league, but it isn't, and it doesn't seem like it will any time soon.

People complaining that Bonds doesn't get enough good pitches? Please. Jordan played through triple teams his last 4 championships. Gretzky was clutched and grabbed throughout his career. Walter Payton racked up yards even though everyone knew that when he was on the field, he was getting the ball. That's what makes them great, and same with Bonds.

Posted by: epist on June 25, 2004 02:55 AM

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Doing away with the intentional walk simply continues a trend, long evident, of favoring the hitters. Many of these changes, including the one being also reduce the strategy of the game.

Posted by: bncthor on June 26, 2004 12:08 PM

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Doing away with the intentional walk simply continues a trend, long evident, of favoring the hitters. Many of these changes, including the one being also reduce the strategy of the game.

Posted by: bncthor on June 26, 2004 12:08 PM

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Doing away with the intentional walk simply continues a trend, long evident, of favoring the hitters. Many of these changes, including the one being also reduce the strategy of the game.

Posted by: bncthor on June 26, 2004 12:09 PM

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Doing away with the intentional walk simply continues a trend, long evident, of favoring the hitters. Many of these changes, including the one being also reduce the strategy of the game.

Posted by: bncthor on June 26, 2004 12:10 PM

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Sorry for the duplicate posts.

I am new at this.

Posted by: bncthor on June 26, 2004 12:12 PM

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Prof. DeLong's method still doesn't solve the problem because now intentional walk will be a bit harder, but is just as intentional as before. Instead of 4 balls thrown, now it requires 5 balls thrown, with just 1 being a strike. So the pitcher throws his best stuff for one pitch (instead of three pitches needed for a K). Incrementally better, but not an elegant solution from the respected economist.

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