Changes Are A’comin’

Yesterday, MLB announced a slew of rule changes to be implemented for the upcoming 2019 season and the 2020 season.  For 2019, the changes include shortening the breaks between innings, reducing mound visits, modifying the trade deadline, and updates around the All Star Game.  2020 changes include changes to the active roster, the minimum number of batters a pitcher must face, and increasing the time pitchers must spend either on the injured list or in the minor leagues when optioned.

The breaks between innings will be reduced from 2:05 to 2:00 for local games, and from 2:25 to 2:00 for national games.  This should remove between one and a half minutes to 7 and a half minutes of dead time from every game, shortening game times across the league.  Of course, the fine print says that these changes are “subject to discussions with broadcast partners”, which means, nationally, FOX, ESPN, and TBS need to be aligned with losing over 7 minutes of their commercial inventory.  Which, frankly, seems unlikely.

The number of mound visits is being reduced from 6, which was first introduced last season, to 5.  Since the limit of 6 affected exactly zero teams in 2018, this doesn’t seem to be much of a change and shouldn’t have much, if any, impact.

The trade deadline is staying put on July 31st, but trade waivers, the archaic system by which trades enacted after the trade deadline, will be eliminated.  Players may continue to be placed and claimed on outright waivers after July 31st, but players may not be traded after that date.  This means buyers and sellers will need to make a final call on their season a month earlier than they do now.  There is also some thought that this will help with the service time manipulation of young phenoms, as injured and ineffective players will no longer be able to be replaced from the outside over the final two months of the season.

Voting for the All Star Game is being changed, with fan voting conducted in two rounds.  Each team will nominate one player per position (three outfielders), who will be voted on by fans during the first, “Primary Round”.  In late June or early July, the top three vote-getters at each position during the Primary Round will be voted on by fans to determine the All Star Game starters, in what is currently being called “Election Day”.  Final details on the new fan voting format will be announced sometime in April.  Bonus payments will be given to the top three vote-getters at each position per league during the Primary Round (top six for outfielders).  Additionally, the prize money awarded to players on the winning All Star team will be increased.  None of this really should have any effect on the game itself, unless the new bonuses and increased prize money is substantial enough to make the players take winning the exhibition more seriously.

The big change is that, in the case of extra innings at the All Star Game, both teams will start the 10th inning, and each subsequent inning, with a runner on second base, with re-entry substitutions allowed for the runners.  This follows changes made in hockey and college football, where, when a game “ends” in a tie, you change the rules of the game to determine a winner.  I’m not a fan of this type of change, as it fundamentally changes how the game is played.  If it stays in the realm of exhibition games, where the goal is more to finish the game without anyone getting hurt, I can live with that.  I would hate to ever see this implemented during regular season, or post-season, play.

The final change for 2019 is an increase in prize money for the Home Run Derby, up to $2.5 million with the winner receiving $1 million.  Maybe this reduces the number of players turning down the derby?  As someone who doesn’t care about the derby, this does nothing to move my needle.

The changes due to take effect for the 2020 season include the following: Continue reading →

Another Mix Tape Monday – Volume 7

20 years ago, during my sophomore year of high school, I put together the first of what would become a nearly 20 volume collection of mix tapes, containing my favorite songs that I had gathered either from the radio, a cassette tape, or (eventually) CD.  We last looked back at all 20 volumes three years ago to see which of my “favorite” songs still resonated in today’s digital world.  Today, we revisit those mix tapes and see how, or if, things have changed in the past 3 years.

Volume 7 covers the fall of 1992 and the end of the first semester of my freshman year of college.  We are treated to the last gasps of hair metal and pop, with a little dance, alternative and hip-hop thrown in for good measure.

Side A

Guns N’ Roses – November Rain

The longest song ever to crack to top 10 on the Billboard charts, peaking at #3, the opus, which checks in at 3 seconds shy of 9 minutes, picked up 7 new plays in the last 3 years.

iTunes Stats
2012 2015 2019
3 plays 5 plays 12 plays, most recently on 11/14/2018 

Def Leppard – Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad

The 86th biggest hit of 1992 picked up a mere 2 listens since 2015 and only 4 since 2012.

iTunes Stats
2012 2015 2019
4 plays 6 plays 8 plays, most recently on 12/5/2018 

Toad The Wet Sprocket – All I Want

Topping out at #15 on the Billboard charts, the first hit from Toad the Wet Sprocket only picked up 4 new listens over the past 3 years.

iTunes Stats
2012 2015 2019
10 plays 17 plays 21 plays, most recently on 12/9/2018 

Tesla – Signs

The live track, which I once owned on CD before trading it in for LL Cool J’s Mama Said Knock You Out, gained a mere 4 new listens, with the last one coming only 2 weeks after I bought the band’s namesake car.

iTunes Stats
2012 2015 2019
4 plays 5 plays 9 plays, most recently on 7/13/2017 

Soup Dragons – Divine Thing

The alternative dance single that became a moderate hit in the US gained 9 additional listens.

iTunes Stats
2012 2015 2019
9 plays 14 plays 20 plays, most recently on 9/23/2018

Ugly Kid Joe – Neighbor

Ugly Kid Joe, who debuted much too late for their 80s hairband style, saw a five-fold increase in the amount of plays this first single from their first full length album.

iTunes Stats
2012 2015 2019
1 plays 2 plays 10 plays, most recently on 11/12/2018 

The Heights – How Do You Talk To An Angel

The theme song from the short-lived FOX show The Heights, nominated for the 1993 Outstanding Individual Achievement in Music and Lyrics Emmy, picked up 6 new plays.

iTunes Stats
2012 2015 2019
4 plays 8 plays 14 plays, most recently on 7/14/2018 

Side B

Continue reading →

FOX Upfronts

For the second straight year, FOX has shifted their game plan, abandoning their single camera comedies and, instead, moving closer ideologically with its sister news network.  The end result is a fall schedule with only one show that interests me, and even that 9 unwatched episodes from this season still sitting on my DVR.

Monday has two returning shows, The Resident and 9-1-1, which didn’t pull me in last year.  The Gifted, based on Marvel’s X-Men characters, moves to Tuesdays, followed by a revamped Lethal Weapon.  Wednesday’s lineup remains consistent, with Empire followed by Star.

Thursdays get turned over to the NFL, as the much-reviled game moves over from CBS.  Friday has the revival of Tim Allen’s Last Man Standing and The Cool Kids, about a group of friends in a retirement community, followed by Hell’s Kitchen.  Sunday’s animated block remains mostly the same, with a new comedy, REL, closing off the night.

The second season of The Orville will return to Thursday after the NFL season.  Gotham will also appear at some point for its final season.  Also on tap for mid-season are The Passage, a post-apocalyptic thriller starring Mark-Paul Gosselar, Proven Innocent, a legal drama from Danny Strong, and the return of Cosmos.

Gone and mostly forgotten are Brooklyn Nine-Nine (which was saved by NBC), The ExorcistGhostedKicking & ScreamingThe Last Man On EarthLA To VegasLuciferThe MickNew Girl, Superhuman, Wayward Pines, and The X-Files.

NBC Upfronts

NBC announced their new fall schedule yesterday and very few changes are afoot, with only 3 new shows making the cut. The week gets off to a familiar start with The Voice returning for another round on Mondays, followed by Manifest, a new drama about a missing plane that returns 5 years in the future. Tuesday leads off with more of The Voice, followed by This Is Us and New Amsterdam, a new medical drama that stars some old favorites.

Wednesday is turned over to Dick Wolf, with his 3 Chicago series running back to back to back.  Comedy still reigns supreme on Thursday, with Superstore, The Good Place, and Will & Grace joined by I Feel Bad, from executive producer Amy Poehler.  Law & Order: SVU moves to Thursday for its 20th season.  Blindspot remains on Fridays, where it will continue to lead off the night.

The Blacklist returns at mid-season, debuting on Fridays after Blindspot.  Also returning are A.P. Bio, Good Girls, and, after a pick-up from Fox, Brooklyn Nine-Nine.  Four new shows also wait for spots on the air, including Abby’s, starring Natalie Morales as a woman who runs a bar in her backyard, The Enemy Within, a spy thriller starring Jennifer Carpenter, The Inbetween, which sounds fairly ludicrous, and The Village, about the inhabitants of a Brooklyn building.  Similar to last year, the fate of Timeless is still up in the air.

Cancelled shows include The Brave, The Carmichael Show, and Great News.

2017 New Fall Season – Fridays

old-tv-set1Our final look at the new fall season gives us Friday’s amazing slate of shows.

7:00

Blindspot – A 2 year time jump gives the third year show a soft reboot as it moves to the deadzone of Friday nights.

Once Upon A Time – For some unknown reason, the show returns for its 7th season minus 6 cast members.

8:00

Hawaii Five-0 – An eighth season of the show that doesn’t really impress, but doesn’t really disappoint, loses Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park from the main cast.

Jane The Virgin – The telenovela returns for its fourth season with a surprising move to Friday nights.

The Exorcist – FOX’s reboot of the movie franchise was surprisingly entertaining in its first season.  We shall see if they can keep it up for another year.

Marvel’s Inhumans – With the rights to the X-Men tied up by FOX, Marvel has tried to make the Inhumans their new go-to team, both in the comics and now on television.  Early reviews show that this will not be a winning formula.

9:00

Blue Bloods – The first family of the NYPD returns for an eighth season.

2017 New Fall Season – Mondays

old-tv-set1We continue our annual look at the new fall season with Monday night’s offerings, which features some returning favorites and a few new shows with some potential.

7:00

The Big Bang Theory – Once again, The Big Bang Theory moves back to Mondays until late October to accommodate the NFL.  With Sheldon’s proposal to Amy at the end of last season, this year looks to be shaking things up a bit.

Supergirl – With her boyfriend banished from Earth, Supergirl decides to focus on being a hero and push aside her “human” side.

8:00

The Gifted – FOX brings a new entry in the superhero fold, this time in the world of the X-Men.

9:00 Continue reading →

Post Mortem – 24: Legacy

FOX put a lot of eggs in the revival basket last fall, bringing back new editions of both Prison Break and 24.  While Prison Break brought back all of the familiar faces, 24: Legacy brought a new cast together for a trip through the familiar formula of moles in CTU causing trouble.  Unfortunately, sometimes you can’t go home again, and the 13 episode season turned out to be… honestly, I’m not sure.  I’ve only made it through 2 episodes, with the remaining 11 still sitting on the DVR waiting to be watched.

With Kiefer Sutherland still working on Designated Survivor, it seems unlikely that the 24 people want to see will be back any time soon.  Given that, it’s probably for the best that this pale imitator was shut down after one season.