Thursday, April 27, 2017
Here is the problem with baseball imposing harsher discipline for pitchers who throw at hitters’ heads:
The players do not want stronger penalties and the clubs are not inclined to press the issue, sources said…
The union, meanwhile, is sensitive to excessive punishment for pitchers who might have acted at the behest of a management representative such as a coach or manager, and suspicious of anyone who claims to know intent.
“Balls do get away from pitchers and banging a guy 20 games for that is pretty onerous – until someone comes up with a way of reading the pitcher’s mind to determine intent,” the union official said.
Monday, April 10, 2017
Olney thinks MLB should do something before players get stuck together on a play at the plate:
The folks in uniform, as well as the reporters, could be rescued from this ridiculous dance if Major League Baseball and the players’ association would quickly rewrite the foreign-substance rule. The needed changes would relieve the players of the inevitable and silly accusations of cheating, something that Molina is wading through right now, by providing a cover of legitimacy to a common practice. And this possibility has been discussed by baseball officials who recognize the inconsistency.
The truth is that in every single game—every single game—you can see pitchers break baseball’s existing rule against the use of foreign substances. A lot of pitchers—dozens and dozens and dozens, across both leagues—shave the forearms of their gloved hands and cover that spot with glistening sunscreen or some mix of pine tar. When the pitchers receive a new baseball, or receive a return throw from the catcher, they will quickly wrap their pitching hand around that forearm, to cover their hand in sunscreen to help with their grip.
Can you use sunscreen for night games? What about the darker-skinned players?
Friday, February 10, 2017
Chicago Eagle, February 10, 1917:
[Tacoma infielder] Fred McMullin came in from third on the dead run and slid for the plate. McMullin knew he didn’t touch it, but he was afraid to slide back as the catcher had the ball in his hand.
“He wasn’t safe, was he?” demanded Cadman, who was catching for Seattle. The umpire shook his head. At this, Cadman, holding the ball in his hand, dashed over to the Tacoma bench to tag McMullin. Fred waited until he all but reached his end of the bench, and then slid over to the other end.
Cadman followed him, and as he did so slipped on some mud and fell to his knees. McMullin leaped up from his seat, sprinted to the plate, and touched it.
The umpire called him safe.
What happens if neither the runner nor catcher realize home plate wasn’t touched? Does the ump refuse to continue play until the players figure out what happened?
Monday, February 06, 2017
The [Pendleton] East Oregonian, February 6, 1917:
[Braves owner] Percy Haughton started it when he declared the offensive side of baseball needed some changes, and then outlined a few. Now they’re all doing it.
One of the most recent suggestions along these lines is that a pitcher not be allowed to pitch his first two balls to the batter in the curve fashion. Each of the first two heaves should be straight and above board, it is contended.
Every time I think I’ve seen the dumbest possible rule change to goose offense, I see something dumber. I’m with [former Red Sox manager] Bill Carrigan, quoted in the Ottumwa Courier:
You don’t hear many managers or umpires recommending that this or that rule be changed, do you?...Fans like the game as it is today. When they start complaining it will be time to consider what changes should be made.
At least somebody was being sensible.
Tuesday, January 31, 2017
Pittsburgh Gazette Times, January 31, 1917:
President John K. Tener of the National League said today that he will submit to the joint rules committee which meets [in New York] next month a recommendation to increase the width of the home plate from 17 to 18 inches and send a batsman to first base on three balls instead of four. Such a change in rules he declared, would bring about the desired increase in batting.
A four-ball walk is sacred in 2017, but was less than 30 years old when Tener designed this proposal. I’m happy they didn’t go through with it, but it wouldn’t have seemed too insane to the people back then.
Thursday, December 15, 2016
Philadelphia Evening Ledger, December 15, 1916:
When the National League magnates agreed yesterday that something should be done to improve the batting and base-running, they took a step in the right direction…
It’s hard to see, however, how the magnates can rectify present conditions. One magnate suggests that a batsman be given a base on three balls instead of four, while another asks a recall of the present foul-strike rule. He contends that if a rule were made whereby a batter was penalized only for his first foul his chances for hitting safely would be greatly increased.
People would melt down these days - myself included - if someone formally proposed a three-ball walk.
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