Longer MLB Games Equal “More” Foul Balls?: That’s Not Really the Whole Truth Due to Foul Ball Rates
As those who read my blog know, I have the most complete data on historical foul ball rates in Major League Baseball that is publicly available to all (I don’t charge people for information that should be free). A few people have attempted to use the data to prove that foul ball rates are increasing at an alarming speed. They are using the data erroneously. The NUMBER of fouls per game is increasing. The PERCENTAGE rate is not. It’s actually decreased to the point of being consistently around the rate it was nearly 30 years ago.
The following outlines how the percentage rates for fouls has remained reasonably constant over the years. What’s changed? The length of the game. The length gives the impression, a false one at that, that rates are increasing.
Logically we all know that numbers and percentages are very different. Games since 1988 when I have the most complete data through the 2015 season show there is a steady increase in the number of fouls per 9 innings. But the issue isn’t that more fouls are being hit. Those who argue there are more balls are right, but also wrong.
In fact, the increase isn’t a true increase at all. Games are longer now. Largely due to pitching changes and commercial breaks.
We have longer games but, as it turns out, the rates for foul balls has stayed relatively constant since 1988. When we figure in the number of foul balls at a rate in relation to minutes played, we see foul ball rates have stayed nearly the exact same.
This lends more evidence to the argument that fouls aren’t occurring more often. They occur at the same rate. Thus, shortening games back to 2:45 will only mean fewer foul balls, but at a similar rate as now.
Find the rest of the article at FoulBallz.com.
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