The November 19, 2012, monthly roundtable of the Bob Broeg St. Louis SABR Chapter drew 21 people to the usual location, the Original Crusoe’s Restaurant in South St. Louis.
The membership engaged in a lively discussion of a research topic, “Speeding Up the Game,” presented by members Mark Antonacci and Jim Rygelski. The presenters emphasized that they didn’t want to damage the integrity of the game but felt that modern baseball was lacking a pace and that it needed to add elements that would bring more of a sense of anticipation to each pitch. They emphasized that there was no optimum length of time for a game and that a three-hour-plus game could be most exciting. Some of their proposals included: a) reminding umpires that they had the authority to not grant time to batters when the pitcher had started his delivery and that by the rules umpires could also do more to keep batters in the box. The presenters also felt that ballplayers themselves should self-regulate their own actions so as not to unnecessarily delay the game. They called for experiments in exhibition games with the following b) limiting the number of times per inning that a pitcher can throw to a base, the number of pitching changes in an inning, and the number of warm-ups a new pitcher can make. c) going to three balls instead of four for a walk while keeping the number of strikes at three; d) lengthening the pitching distance to 65 feet; e) expanding the strike zone to the 1950-1962 and 1969 to late 1980s regulations of armpits to the top of the knees. The membership seemed supportive of trying some of the proposals and added granting an intentional walk without requiring the pitcher to make four pitches.
The membership also favorably reacted to the new Baseball Research Journal, which they recently received in the mail. Many thought this issue was one of the best in recent years. They particularly liked the articles on Braves Field, the Elysian Fields of Brooklyn, and the 29-inning minor league marathon. One member said he liked that the articles were aimed more at the human rather than the statistical side of the game.
The membership discussed whether the Cardinals should enter the free-agent off-season market, showing concern that the Redbirds not get entangled in any expensive long-range yet unproductive contracts.
Chapter vice president Brian Flaspohler compiled stats of the recent playoff predictions by Bob Broeg members before the playoffs began. No one picked San Francisco to win the World Series. Jim Leefers was judged best playoff prognosticator, receiving 11 points. He was given the nod over three others because he predicted the Giants to make the playoffs.
Handouts from members noted that the oldest living former Cardinals player, Freddy Schmidt, died Nov. 17 at age 96. A right-handed pitcher, he toiled for the Cardinals in 1944 and 1946-47 after serving in Army in 1945. The oldest living former Cardinal is now Bill Endicott, an outfielder whose career encompassed 20 regular-season games for the Cardinals in 1946. Stan Musial, the Hall of Famer who had the longest career in a Cardinals’ uniform, was to turn 92 on November 21, 2012.
Chapter president Norm Richards won the monthly trivia quiz compiled by Bob Tiemann with a 14 score of a possible 19. This month’s quiz was on the 1962 season.
The next Bob Broeg Chapter monthly roundtable will be Tuesday, December 18, also at Crusoe’s.
— Jim Rygelski