Wednesday, September 30, 2015
MAKE BASEBALL GREAT AGAIN
A USA TODAY Sports study of 67 bench-clearing incidents in Major League Baseball over the past five seasons found the main antagonists hailed from different ethnic backgrounds in 87% of the cases.
Just more than half of them - 34 - pitted white Americans against foreign-born Latinos. Another four featured white Americans and U.S.-born Latinos….
“Why can a pitcher show you his emotions and you can’t show yours to him? Those are baseball rules from a different time,’’ Gomez told USA TODAY Sports in Spanish. “It gets to the point where, when you’re by yourself, you think, ‘What did I do? I didn’t do anything inappropriate.’ It’s a bit frustrating, because all I’ve ever done is play the game with passion, with desire, with love, giving it my all, and a lot of people take it the wrong way.’’
Count San Diego Padres pitcher Bud Norris among them. In a conversation about what’s proper on-field behavior and what’s not, Norris mentioned Gomez as a particularly egregious violator of the rules. While praising Gomez’s ability, Norris said some of his actions are disrespectful.
When the told the large majority of the benches-clearing incidents involved players of different backgrounds, Norris nodded knowingly.
“I think it’s a culture shock,’’ Norris said. “This is America’s game. This is America’s pastime, and over the last 10-15 years we’ve seen a very big world influence in this game, which we as a union and as players appreciate. We’re opening this game to everyone that can play. However, if you’re going to come into our country and make our American dollars, you need to respect a game that has been here for over a hundred years, and I think sometimes that can be misconstrued. There are some players that have antics, that have done things over the years that we don’t necessarily agree with.
“I understand you want to say it’s a cultural thing or an upbringing thing. But by the time you get to the big leagues, you better have a pretty good understanding of what this league is and how long it’s been around.’’
Tuesday, May 05, 2015
MLB can also look at the National Hockey League, which has a rule that’s always enforced regardless of intent. The NHL gives a player a two-minute delay of game penalty if he shoots the puck over the glass out of his own end. It’s irrelevant if the delay of game occurred because the player was trying to stave off an offensive rush, or if he just ran into some bad luck.
MLB can follow the same process, though it would be far more controversial: automatic ejections of any pitcher who hits a batter above the waist. Doing so removes umpires’ inability to measure intent from the equation. Hit a batter above the waist, hit the showers early, no exceptions. Ask Giancarlo Stanton’s jaw if it mattered that Mike Fiers wasn’t aiming at his head—the injury is the same. An ejection isn’t the same as a suspension—the team would only be without its pitcher for the duration of the game in which the hit-by-pitch occurred. A subsequent suspension would still be under the purview of the league office; it would still determine intent when assessing whether a longer punishment was necessary.
To be sure, this would have a profound impact on the game. Many pitchers rely on pitching inside—sometimes high and inside—to remain effective. Were automatic ejections the rule, offense would increase, as batters would no longer need to fear the inside pitch. Yet that might prove a blessing in disguise, as the new MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has stated that he’s looking for ways to increase offense in the sport. Severely penalizing dangerous pitching will improve offense while at the same time mitigating the risk of a gruesome or fatal injury. The sport has survived profound changes to offense over the last two decades; a player’s career may not survive a fastball profoundly changing the structure of his skull.
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