There were some controversies yesterday.
Marcus Stroman had some umpiring troubles. I’ll admit, I’m not a fan of quick pitches, I think it should be a gentleman’s game, don’t throw until the batter is set and ready, in part because you are throwing a rock at 90+mph, the batter needs to be ready to get out of the way.
In this case, it looked like the batter, in each of the two cases, was all set to hit. To me, it looked like Marcus was just playing with the timing of his delivery. Just like his hesitations, he was just going a little faster, to upset the batter’s timing.
It was very strange....well take a look:
Yeah, it was a little quick, but the batter was set. I’m ok with it.
It got a little weird from there. The umpire awarded the batter first base. I’m not sure where you find that in the rule book, likely under ‘umpire embarrassed himself, let’s give the batter first’ (hey I umpired ball, I was all for the ‘make up a rule’ when you aren’t sure what what the ruling should be). As the ball is on the way in, it appears that the ump calls time, I guess at the request of the hitter, but it is too late to call time.
This happened again, later in the game, with the batter even more ready for the pitch.
I’d really love to hear an explanation from the umpire. If you toss out a manager for arguing, when no one seems to understand the ruling (the Angels’ broadcasters were sure the batter would be sent back to plate, from first, after the umpires discussed it), shouldn’t we get an explanation?
After getting a double play to end the game, Marcus let off some steam. He didn’t quite go full Grilli, but he let his enjoyment be known. I’m an old white guy, I’m supposed to hate that stuff, but I don’t. It’s a game, players of a game should have fun (which is why I don’t understand Settlers of Catan, but I digress). As long as Marcus doesn’t walk up to one of the Angels and laugh in his face, I’m good with it. I mean, if the Angels don’t like it, play better.
We haven’t won enough this year, celebrate all the good moments.
But, some old guy in a clown suit, didn’t like it (if you didn’t hear Zaun, and you want to (why?), NESN has it). Marcus had the prefect answer, basically consider the source:
I don’t understand Zaun, beyond the whole ‘I’m an old white guy, everyone should do things the way I did’ thing. If he hates that sort of thing, Grilli’s done the same roughly 30 times, since joining the team, why not call him out? Is it ageism? Or something worse?
There is nothing like the ranting of out of touch white guys to make good tv. Don Cherry makes a fortune doing just that. I get it, us white guys are used to being the judge and jury on everything, and the world is changing around us. It is scary, I guess.
It’s too bad this silliness gets in the way of talking about how great Stroman performed yesterday. He was terrific, and we need some terrific.
And, in Baltimore, fun things happened yesterday too.
A few days ago, Manny Machado over-slid second and his spikes hit the back of Dustin Pedroia ’s leg. Dustin had to leave the game. It was a bad slide, I don’t like guys sliding over the bag. But, go back 2 years and it is a slide that no one would think twice about.
Red Sox pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez threw 3 pitches way inside, about knee level and missed Machado all three times. I’m kind of ok with that sort of message sending. You aren’t trying to end a guy’s career that way.
Then, one inning later, Red Sox pitcher Matt Barnes threw behind Machado’s head.
I don’t understand how some pitchers still think this is ok. You would think that every team would have told all their pitchers that there is no excuse for throwing at a head. Drive the point home so clearly that no one even considers the idea ever again. I know Stroman did much the same, a couple of years ago, and Mark Buehrle talked to him afterwards, saying ‘no no no this isn’t the way we do things’.
What I don’t understand is how a pitcher can make it to the majors without having heard this before. Heard it loud and clear, so that the idea is never even considered.
If the response to an unwritten rule is to do something that might kill another player, it’s an unjustified response. Which means baseball can figure out something better. The tradition isn’t working. The old-school mentality of “hit him in the keister, where it won’t hurt” tries to straddle a line, and it works most of the time, but the risk isn’t worth the reward.
ESPN has some video of Dustin and Manny discussing the issue. Manny saying it’s nuts to throw at a head and Dustin saying ‘I agree, they should hit you the first time up’. Oh, that Pedroia is one classy guy.
There was some great defense yesterday: