Larry Dierker Chapter meeting recap – 3/18/2019

Thirty-four SABR members and friends attended the Larry Dierker Chapter meeting on Monday, March 18, 2019, at the Spaghetti Western on Shepard Drive in Houston.

The meeting started off with Tal Smith giving us a rundown on the rule changes going into effect this year.

  • Mound visits without a pitching change reduced from 6 to 5
  • Reduce half-inning time from 2:25 to 2:00 minutes for nationally televised games and from 2:05 to 2:00 for all other games
  • All-Star Game fan voting will be conducted in two rounds. During the “Primary Round,” each club will nominate one player per eligible position (three outfielders), who will be voted on by fans. In late June or early July, an “Election Day” will be held in which the top three vote-getters at each position in each League during the Primary Round (including the top nine outfielders) will be voted on by fans during a prescribed time period to determine the All-Star Game starters. Further details on the new fan voting format will be announced in April.
  • Both clubs will start the 10th inning of the All-Star Game, and each subsequent inning, with a runner on second base (re-entry substitutions allowed for runners).
  • Single trade deadline of July 31
  • 2020 roster change to 26 players, September expanded roster to only 28
  • In 2020, pitchers must face a minimum of 3 batters or the end of the inning.

Experimental changes for the Atlantic League, where the Sugar Land Skeeters play:

  • NO mound visits without a pitching change
  • Relief pitcher must face minimum of 3 batters unless inning ends
  • Increase base size from 15” to 18”
  • To address the shift, 2 players must be on left and right side of infield
  • Radar system called Trac Ball to help with balls and strike calls
  • In the season’s second half, the mound will be moved back 2 feet

There was quite a lot of discussion about these changes and the effect they might have on the game.

Bill Brown reminded us of a change that Justin Verlander is in support of: getting rid of the need for signs by using some form of headphones.

Bob McCann shared a presentation with us of his version of fantasy baseball. It was very interesting. It’s more of an old-school way of drafting and playing.

Mike McCroskey shared some interesting trivia about a veteran baseball player named Carl Scheib. He was the youngest American League player at age 16. He was a right-handed pitcher for the Philadelphia A’s and St. Louis Cardinals from 1943-54 and was one of the best-hitting pitchers of his time.  Click here to read his SABR biography:

Mike then shared a Ted Williams video, from the PBS “American Masters” series. It was very informative, not so much a baseball video but a chronology of his life.

The meeting ended without trivia this time as we went late.

47 members have now entered the 2019 Astros Win Contest and should anyone else want to enter, they need to do ASAP. Please contact Bob Dorrill at to give your predictions.

Our next monthly meeting will be held at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, April 15, also at the Spaghetti Western.

— Karen Walker