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Sunday, September 02, 2018

Phillies reliever Austin Davis has cheat sheet confiscated by Joe West

Veteran umpire Joe West confiscated a card from Phillies reliever Austin Davis in the eighth inning of Philadelphia’s 7-1 loss to the Chicago Cubs on Saturday night.

Davis and Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said he was using the card merely for information on the Cubs hitters. West said that was illegal under Rule 6.02(c)(7), which states that the pitcher shall not have on his person, or in his possession, any foreign substance.

You don’t see this every day…..

Posada Posse Posted: September 02, 2018 at 08:07 AM | 104 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cheating, joe west, phillies

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   1. The Duke Posted: September 02, 2018 at 10:14 AM (#5737601)
"Austin Davis is pulling the card of his pocket on the mound using it as a reference how to attack the hitters,'' Kapler said. "I think it's actually a really good thing for baseball. I don't really quite understand this one.''

This has to be the definition of sabrmetrics sucking the joy out of the game.
   2. McCoy Posted: September 02, 2018 at 10:18 AM (#5737602)
That would be the definition in a dictionary? I would think they would want to be more concise.
   3. bobm Posted: September 02, 2018 at 10:20 AM (#5737603)
West said that was illegal under Rule 6.02(c)(7), which states that the pitcher shall not have on his person, or in his possession, any foreign substance.


Are gloves, clothing, jewelry, etc. foreign substances?
   4. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: September 02, 2018 at 10:36 AM (#5737606)
I'm of two minds on this. I think that pitchers shouldn't be allowed to bring reading material to the mound. Between the pitcher & catcher they should be able to remember all of this stuff, and get signals from the dugout if they can't. OTOH, Joe West is beind Joe West, i.e., making #### up and being an ass. If some other umpire had done the same thing and cited his umpirely prerogative then I would not have had this second reaction.
   5. BDC Posted: September 02, 2018 at 10:38 AM (#5737608)
Yep, this is a new one.

If a quarterback can have the playbook strapped to his forearm, why not a pitcher?

OTOH, how the heck many batters could the Cubs use, even in a September game? Davis ended up facing nine of them, and none was a rank newcomer (though I suppose since Davis is a rookie, they're all new to him). Don't they have pitcher/catcher meetings before the game anymore? It may be hard for me to remember the batting weaknesses of the Cubs' lineup, but I'm not getting paid a six-figure salary to do so. (Coke to Fernigal here.)

It would make more sense to give the batters cheat sheets. "This is Philadelphia, they carry nine relievers, six of them they brought up since we saw them last, no point in going through everybody, here's your cheat sheet" :)
   6. Nasty Nate Posted: September 02, 2018 at 10:40 AM (#5737609)
I saw a catcher recently with one attached to his forearm. I don't know how common that is.
   7. Brian C Posted: September 02, 2018 at 10:42 AM (#5737610)
Yeah, this sure reeks of West saying, "I don't like it, so I need to find a justification to take it." Has the "foreign substance" rule ever been applied to anything that wasn't meant to doctor the ball?

But still, MLB probably ought to codify this one way or the other. I don't think I really have a preference either way, though. Pitching especially is so execution-dependent that I highly doubt the cards make the slightest bit of difference.
   8. bobm Posted: September 02, 2018 at 10:49 AM (#5737611)
All kidding aside, if West really cared to understand the rule book, he would not have deemed this a foreign substance. It was not a fluid or coating or tool meant to alter or be applied to the ball, nor was it attached to his hands, fingers, or wrists.

"3.01 The Ball [...] No player shall intentionally discolor or damage the ball by rubbing it with soil, rosin, paraffin, licorice, sand-paper, emery-paper or other foreign substance."

"3.02 The Bat [...]
(b) Cupped Bats. An indentation in the end of the bat up to 1¼ inches in depth is permitted and may be no wider than two inches and no less than one inch in diameter. The indentation must be curved with no foreign substance added.
(c) The bat handle, for not more than 18 inches from its end, may be covered or treated with any material or substance to improve the grip. Any such material or substance that extends past the 18 inch limitation shall cause the bat to be removed from the game.

[...]

Rule 3.02(c) [Comment]: If pine tar extends past the 18-inch limitation, then the umpire, on his own initiative or if alerted by the opposing team, shall order the batter to use a different bat. The batter may use the bat later in the game only if the excess substance is removed. [...]"

"6.02(c)(4) [the pitcher shall not] apply a foreign substance of any kind to the ball"

"Rule 6.02(c)(7) Comment: The pitcher may not attach anything to either hand, any finger or either wrist (e.g., Band-Aid, tape, Super Glue, bracelet, etc.). The umpire shall determine if such attachment is indeed a foreign substance for the purpose of Rule 6.02(c)(7), but in no case may the pitcher be allowed to pitch with such attachment to his hand, finger or wrist."

"6.03 Batter Illegal Action
(a) A batter is out for illegal action when: [...] (5) He uses or attempts to use a bat that, in the umpire’s judgment, has been altered or tampered with in such a way to improve the distance factor or cause an unusual reaction on the baseball. This includes bats that are filled, flat-surfaced, nailed, hollowed, grooved or covered with a substance such as paraffin, wax, etc."

Emphasis added.
   9. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: September 02, 2018 at 10:57 AM (#5737613)
I don’t like the players bringing that kind of stuff on the field. If they can’t remember and/or the coaching staff can’t direct them, that’s just too damned bad. Use the information, shift to your heart’s content, but leave some room for error.
   10. SoSH U at work Posted: September 02, 2018 at 11:02 AM (#5737615)
Good for West, even though he was almost certainly wrong on the merits.

I agree with bobm that the sheet isn't covered by the rulebook. But that's more a question of lack of foresight, I suspect. Sadly, we've seen that the sport itself isn't going to act on anything unless forced to, and perhaps even not then.

But given the existing pace of play concerns that the majority of us have, it's a no-brainer that baseball needs to nip this in the bud. We don't need pitchers/hitters/baserunners checking their arms for the proper play before every pitch. And if it takes an activist ump, even one who's unquestionably an #######, forcing the issue, so be it.
   11. Benji Gil Gamesh VII - The Opt-Out Awakens Posted: September 02, 2018 at 11:10 AM (#5737617)
I don’t like the players bringing that kind of stuff on the field. If they can’t remember and/or the coaching staff can’t direct them, that’s just too damned bad. Use the information, shift to your heart’s content, but leave some room for error.
This.
We don't need pitchers/hitters/baserunners checking their arms for the proper play before every pitch. And if it takes an activist ump, even one who's unquestionably an #######, forcing the issue, so be it.
And also this.

I don't think there is any way to call this "cheating" under existing rules, but MLB should use this incident to get out front and prohibit it now.
   12. Jay Seaver Posted: September 02, 2018 at 11:19 AM (#5737618)
But given the existing pace of play concerns that the majority of us have, it's a no-brainer that baseball needs to nip this in the bud. We don't need pitchers/hitters/baserunners checking their arms for the proper play before every pitch.


Pace of play seems like a weird reason to be against this - is it really going to slow things down to have someone glance at their card rather than have a bunch of signs sent from the dugout to the first-base coach to the hitter, or is that going to speed things up?

Also, "before every pitch" seems like a bit of a strawman; given the size of these cards, they're pretty light in terms of information. A pitcher might glance at them before each hitter, but pitch-by-pitch cases seem unlikely. That's gonna take players and coaches wearing smartwatches.
   13. bobm Posted: September 02, 2018 at 11:26 AM (#5737620)
Who should not be allowed to use these cards? Pitchers, hitters, catchers? Why?

How about outfielders?

During television broadcasts, you may catch glimpses of Phillies’ outfielders reaching into their back pockets and taking looks at note cards. On those cards are positioning notes for every hitter on the opposing team.

When Hechavarria came to the plate in the eighth inning Friday night against right-hander Luis Garcia, Herrera pulled the card from his pocket and found Hechavarria’s name under the right-handed pitcher category. The guideline said L-17, as in move 17 steps to the left from the normal position. For other hitters, it might say R-8/+2. That would be move right eight steps and in two.

This is all another example of how the once old-school Phillies have gone completely new school.

Sam Fuld, the former major league outfielder who is in his first year as the team’s coordinator of player information, first used the cards as a player with Tampa Bay. Hours before each game, Fuld and other members of the coaching staff go over data of opposing hitters’ tendencies and print out laminated cards for the outfielders to carry in their pockets.

“Sometimes we’ll even round the edges,” Fuld joked. “We don’t want anyone getting cut.”

The cards offer a quicker way to position a player than having a coach wave from the dugout. If an adjustment is needed on the fly, assistant pitching coach Chris Young, who also works on positioning outfielders, will rise to the top step of the dugout and do that. Fuld, a liaison between the analytics department and the players, is not permitted in the dugout during games, though he is in uniform for batting practice and works as an outfield coach.


Link

Or infielders?

After each Minnesota batter was retired the group consisting of third baseman Rafael Devers, shortstop Xander Bogaerts, second baseman Eduardo Nunez and first baseman Hanley Ramirez immediately all took off their hats and looked straight down into the red headwear. After a few seconds, the group -- seemingly in unison -- put the caps back on, only to execute the process again after the second out.

"It's about winning," said Ramirez when asked about the process.

The Red Sox hope so.

In reality, what it is really about is a new way of doing things. The Red Sox' infielders are taking a page out of the playbook of teams like the Astros and Dodgers, carrying cue cards (or cheat sheets, take your pick) telling them where to shift to during different situations. (The outfielders are not partaking.)

Hitter. Pitcher. Righty. Lefty. Outs. All of the variances are incorporated for the infielders to digest after each out, residing on a small, laminated card that fits nicely atop of the players' heads.

It is all part of the evolution of positioning players, with the Red Sox' offering a level of defensive analytics this season that they simply didn't utilize a year ago. Using the cards is just an avenue to filtering the information to the people who actually need it the most, the players.

"Before we look at the batter. We look at the pitcher. Now we look into our hat," Nunez said. "It's different."


Link
   14. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: September 02, 2018 at 11:28 AM (#5737621)
I suspect smart watches or wireless communication is in the offing but I really don’t like that either. It’s one of many things I dislike in the NFL.Make a call and if there is miscommunication, too bad.
   15. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 02, 2018 at 11:34 AM (#5737624)

If a quarterback can have the playbook strapped to his forearm, why not a pitcher?


I hate that. I also hate the radio communication between the coaches and the QB.

The QB should have to call the plays. That's integral to the role. The game is worse for eliminating that.

Same thing in baseball. The P and C should have to figure this out on their own. No cheat sheets. No signals from the bench.
   16. SoSH U at work Posted: September 02, 2018 at 11:38 AM (#5737625)
12. If you give pitchers any excuse to take more time, they’ll use it. And to the extent that hitters are taking signs from the third base coach, this isn’t the same information.

13. No one.
   17. Benji Gil Gamesh VII - The Opt-Out Awakens Posted: September 02, 2018 at 11:40 AM (#5737626)
If a quarterback can have the playbook strapped to his forearm, why not a pitcher?
Because baseball is better than football, and most things that make baseball more like football are therefore bad.
   18. bobm Posted: September 02, 2018 at 11:42 AM (#5737628)
   19. Benji Gil Gamesh VII - The Opt-Out Awakens Posted: September 02, 2018 at 11:46 AM (#5737629)
@18, I'd prefer that if it is considered that important, make them study and remember it once they are between the lines.
   20. bobm Posted: September 02, 2018 at 11:57 AM (#5737632)
Rays' catchers to sport info-loaded wristbands
By Bill Chastain | March 20th, 2018

TAMPA, Fla. -- Rays catchers will wear large wristbands packed with detailed information this season. The plan is for the wristbands to contain critical data on Rays pitchers that will act as reminders while calling the game.

When asked about the wristbands, Rays manager Kevin Cash -- a former Major League catcher -- first allowed that "there's a lot of pride that catchers take in their game-calling abilities."

"And we're not looking to take that away from our two guys [Wilson Ramos and Jesus Sucre]," Cash said. "We feel they both do a good job of retaining information before a series. But nice little quick reminders don't hurt anybody, as much as we're going to be utilizing that bullpen day, right-left, going back and forth.

"I think it's going to be beneficial to have what our pitchers' best strengths are when they're attacking hitters. A quick little reminder for them to look at. You've seen a lot of teams go to it. I'm kind of disappointed that we haven't got there. But I'm happy we're there now."

Although the information will serve to augment the catcher's information, Cash doesn't think game-calling will change too much.

"The whole goal of game-calling is getting the most out of the pitcher," he said. "Putting what he's capable of doing ahead of maybe the hitter's weakness."

The information will pertain to any number of things, ranging from how to pitch to a certain hitter to what a certain pitcher is throwing.

"I never tried this kind of thing before," Sucre said. "I believe it's going to help us a lot with the new rule, six visits to the mound


Link

USA Today: Rays' catchers using wristbands amid rotation experiment

March 21, 2018
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. (AP) — Major League Baseball made game-calling more difficult for catchers this winter when it changed the rules governing mound visits. For backstops with the Tampa Bay Rays, things got even trickier when the club announced plans for a four-man rotation to open the season.

Pitching coach Kyle Snyder had an idea to help, and catchers Wilson Ramos and Jesus Sucre were eager to hop on board — quarterback-style wristbands loaded with information designed to help with pitch calling.

The Rays are joining the Indians, Mets and some others as teams arming their catchers with data-filled forearm sleeves. Tampa Bay hasn't decided precisely what will be on the wristbands, though it will mostly include information on signs and strategies for attacking opposing hitters. The cards will have a flap to make sure opponents and cameras can't catch what's been written down.

"If you have all that on the wristband, it's going to be a lot easier for you," Sucre said.

Catchers like David Ross, Evan Gattis and Yasmani Grandal have used the wristbands to manage information in baseball's big data era, but Rays manager and former catcher Kevin Cash downplayed the effect of that information on pitch calling.

The Rays' wristbands are primarily a response to a rule change limiting mound visits to six per game, a shift that makes the already complicated task of relaying pitch calls all the more challenging. Catchers can be barred from going to the mound if a team has exhausted its allotment, and they're not thrilled with the change — Martin Maldonado (Angels) and Willson Contreras (Cubs) have said they'd rather pay fines than limit their visits.

Teams use intricate sets of signs to disguise pitch selection when a potentially nosey baserunner is on second base, and not every pitcher employs the same systems. The Rays used 30 pitchers last season, and each of them had at least two sets of signs for use with runners on base. There's some overlap, but it's still a lot for catchers to memorize — a major impetus for all the mound visits.

"I know there's a lot of pride that catchers take in their game-calling abilities," said Cash. "We're not looking to take that away from our two guys because we feel they both do a good job retaining information before a series. But nice little quick reminders don't hurt anybody."

Cash thinks the most drastic change for catchers is in the number of pitchers

Tampa Bay could use even more pitchers this year thanks to a strategy shift with starting pitchers. The team plans to use a four-man rotation while relying on the bullpen to cover games that would have gone to a fifth starter. That means the Rays will intentionally use six or seven pitchers in some games.

"It's kind of hard to go inning to inning to inning with a different guy," Sucre said. "You have to work hard."

As more teams try to limit the number of times starting pitchers face an opposing order, such games could become more common around the majors. Plus with last year's shift to a 10-day disabled list, there's more shuttling of arms between Triple-A and the majors, broadening the pool of pitchers that catchers will work with over the course of a season. Teams used a record 755 pitchers last season, compared to 666 in 2007 and 534 in 1997.

"There's just more bodies you're thinking about," Cash said, adding "I think it's going to be beneficial to have what our pitchers' best strengths are when attacking hitters. Quick little reminder for him to look at."


Link
   21. BDC Posted: September 02, 2018 at 12:00 PM (#5737633)
But, to continue thinking aloud about parallels to the NFL: the quarterback's playbook does not slow the pace of play, because pace of play is enforced extrinsically, by the play clock. That's really the only way to enforce a quicker pace in baseball: for umpires to move the game along.

I think that the fielders' cards that bobm talks about, which I did not know of before, are awesome, and I think they should definitely be allowed. If there's a rationale for restricting pitcher-and-catcher use of them, it might be that their roles make it more incumbent on them to study the situation beforehand (as Gilgamesh notes) – that, and the already-existing system of signs and targets that allow pretty good communication already.

I guess, to partly answer my own rhetorical question above, there really is less familiarity among batterymates than there used to be. You take a catcher who just got picked up off the AAAA army of surplus labor, put him on a team with an effective pitching staff of 15-18 guys shuttling up and down from the minors, and you expect him to know how to call a game against any of 29 random and constantly-shifting opponent rosters (plus the usual permutations of count, score, inning, handedness, defensive alignment) … and then multiply that by the pitchers and catchers on a given club speaking 2 or 3 different native languages … it isn't as easy as Yogi Berra knowing his five starters and the eight regulars on each of seven opponents anymore. As long as they move the game along, I think the more information the better.
   22. SoSH U at work Posted: September 02, 2018 at 12:01 PM (#5737634)
Bobm:

Do you actually believe this is a good thing, or are you just pointing out that it’s going on?
   23. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 02, 2018 at 12:04 PM (#5737635)
To me, all these cards and cheat sheets reduce the importance of baseball smarts, and intelligence in general, among players. I don't want that.

I want the game to reward the guys who understand the game, and can process and retain the coaching they get. The gam should reward mental excellence as well as physical.
   24. Tom Nawrocki Posted: September 02, 2018 at 12:05 PM (#5737636)
Look at how simple that Royals positioning card is. Against RHP, everyone on the Angels is played exactly the same, except Pujols, presumably because he sucks. It's more complicated against LHP, but there are basically three scenarios, and they never move more than a single step.

It shouldn't be tough for fielders to memorize this type of information. The article mentions that Alex Gordon never carries his card, because he memorized it already.
   25. bobm Posted: September 02, 2018 at 12:18 PM (#5737640)
[22] - I'm just showing the prevalence of these cards, but I am not adamant one way or the other, given the present rules. (I also note that these organizations are among the more forward thinkers.)

Yankees catchers

Phillies, Dodgers, Cubs catchers

Astros catcher cards

Rockies catcher cards

Indians, Mets catcher cards

David Ross
   26. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: September 02, 2018 at 12:19 PM (#5737643)
If a quarterback can have the playbook strapped to his forearm, why not a pitcher?

I hate that. I also hate the radio communication between the coaches and the QB.

Paul Brown came up with that latter idea about 60 years ago. Before that he used a pair of rotating guards who would bring in the next play from the bench.

Personally I'd rather just see quarterbacks call all the plays themselves, but it ain't gonna happen.
   27. BobT Posted: September 02, 2018 at 12:27 PM (#5737646)
Before Game 2 of the 1988 World Series, Orel Hershiser prepared a small card with scouting information on the A's batters. He showed it to the home plate umpire. Everybody was fine.

Except for the A's hitters.
   28. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: September 02, 2018 at 12:27 PM (#5737647)
If you give pitchers any excuse to take more time, they’ll use it.

But if they'd actually enforce the time allowed between pitches, it wouldn't matter. If the pitchers want to study their cards instead of scratching their crotch an extra time or two, what of it?

Here's another thought: If a pitcher made an obvious point of looking at the card before each pitch, how would the batter know that he wasn't just deking him?
   29. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 02, 2018 at 12:28 PM (#5737650)
If you give pitchers any excuse to take more time, they’ll use it. And to the extent that hitters are taking signs from the third base coach, this isn’t the same information.

Maybe in theory. In reality, at least what happened last night, the pitcher looked at his card quickly when the infielders were throwing the ball around. Then Joe West stopped the game, walked over to get the card and look at it, then took it away. Then kapler came out and argued for 3 minutes.

But everyone got reminded who was in charge and the fans got to see Joe umpire.
   30. bobm Posted: September 02, 2018 at 12:31 PM (#5737653)
Mariners' outfielders cards

As I talk with [Dee] Gordon, [Mariners outfield coach Chris] Prieto approaches us and hands Gordon what has become a common piece of information in a major-league clubhouse: a printed sheet of color-coded density charts detailing opponents’ batted-ball tendencies and recommended positioning for each opposing hitter.

“I don’t know where to stand unless he tells me,” Gordon says.

Gordon does not have to memorize positional assignments, though: Prieto says smaller cards will be issued for their outfielders that they can stick in their back pocket for reference during games.

“We’ll have cards. They’ll be able to carry cards in their back pocket and look to see,” Prieto says. “I anticipate that I won’t have to move them a lot.”
   31. Baldrick Posted: September 02, 2018 at 12:33 PM (#5737654)
If they just enforce actual pace of play requirements, I don't care if pitchers have cheat sheets. If you can look at your sheet and be ready to throw the next pitch in your allotted time, that's fine with me.

We don't live in that world, of course. But that's a system I'd be fine with.
   32. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: September 02, 2018 at 12:33 PM (#5737655)
28 - In the 2006 World Cup Germany and Argentina had a penalty shootout for the right to advance the semi-final. The goalkeeper for Germany Jens Lehmann referred to a sheet of paper in his sock before each penalty kick and dived the right way on all of them (the keeper often goes in the wrong direction since it’s basically a guessing game).

For the decisive kick Argentinian Esteban Cambiasso stepped up and Lehmann pulled out his little sheet. In this case Lehmann studied it for even longer, clearly reading notes then saved the penalty kick to win the game.

Cambiasso’s name was the one Argentinian name that Lehmann didn’t have on his cheat sheet. He just used it to get into Cambiasso’s head.
   33. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: September 02, 2018 at 12:35 PM (#5737656)
My issue with the cards isn’t pace of play, I think that’s a non-issue (at least so far), I just prefer as snapper said to reward the smarter players.
   34. , Posted: September 02, 2018 at 12:36 PM (#5737657)
I'd prohibit cheat sheets. I'd also prohibit any signs from the defense's bench to the offense. I don't know how I'd prohibit it, but I would.

If the pitcher and catcher are too dumb to remember the strategy, too bad.
   35. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: September 02, 2018 at 12:43 PM (#5737658)
I guess, to partly answer my own rhetorical question above, there really is less familiarity among batterymates than there used to be. You take a catcher who just got picked up off the AAAA army of surplus labor, put him on a team with an effective pitching staff of 15-18 guys shuttling up and down from the minors, and you expect him to know how to call a game against any of 29 random and constantly-shifting opponent rosters (plus the usual permutations of count, score, inning, handedness, defensive alignment) …
This is, I think, a great argument for banning cheat sheets. Banning cheat sheets imposes a tiny penalty on teams that churn through their relief corps. You want to have five guys constantly travelling on the Altoona shuttle? Fine, better hope your catcher's a quick study.
   36. bobm Posted: September 02, 2018 at 12:45 PM (#5737660)
More on Dodgers' outfielder cards from the 2017 WS:

You know analytics have arrived when laminating becomes a required skill for coaches. Before each World Series game Dodgers first base and outfield coach George Lombard would print sheets of paper with positioning charts for his outfielders, cut them out, then run them through a laminator. Each card tells each outfielder where to play opposing hitters, a system Los Angeles used during the regular season, but in the postseason took a step further by tailoring them for each Dodger pitcher. Each time the team would change pitchers mid-inning, a ball boy would grab new cards from Lombard and run to the outfielders to distribute them


Link
   37. perros Posted: September 02, 2018 at 01:09 PM (#5737667)
Never got into watching chess.
   38. The Yankee Clapper Posted: September 02, 2018 at 01:11 PM (#5737668)
To me, all these cards and cheat sheets reduce the importance of baseball smarts, and intelligence in general, among players. I don't want that.

I'm, somewhat uncomfortably, in this camp. There's always been a penalty for players who miss signs, play out of proper position, or don't know the opposing team's hitters well enough to call/throw the appropriate pitch. It's somewhat arbitrary line-drawing, but I'm OK with taking the no foreign substance rule literally here, although it's probably better for MLB to tweak the rules to be more precise. Is Austin Davis the only Phillie pitcher using the cheat sheets? Does that make him smarter than the others, a little slower on the uptake, or the one with the least confidence in his catchers?
   39. Man o' Schwar Posted: September 02, 2018 at 01:18 PM (#5737671)
The solution here is to write your cheat sheet on liner notes to one of Joe's CDs. Then just tell him you're such a big fan, you need to check the lyrics for inspiration during the game.
   40. bobm Posted: September 02, 2018 at 01:23 PM (#5737672)
   41. bobm Posted: September 02, 2018 at 01:28 PM (#5737674)
Cishek carries inspiration with him to mound

By Jenifer Langosch | August 29th, 2015

SAN FRANCISCO -- Tucked into Cardinals reliever Steve Cishek's pocket every time he takes the mound is a square piece of laminated paper, the edges of which show the wear of time. That card has become as much a part of his in-game routine as his warmup pitches, with Cishek pausing before he faces his first batter to step off the mound to pull out the card and read the words.

On it is a handwritten Bible verse -- Colossians 3:23 -- that Cishek likes to recite as a reminder of how to carry himself on the mound. The New International Version of the Bible cites it as:

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters."

"I could recite it in my head, but pulling it out of my back pocket makes me slow down and take my time a little bit when I just want to go, go, go," Cishek said. "I can sit back and read some scripture to really set my mind and get after it with hitters."

It is a ritual that Cishek, who was traded to St. Louis just before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, has maintained since he debuted in the Majors with the Marlins in 2010. Before that, he carried a basketball card of a neighbor who passed away in high school. The card featured a motivational saying.

"I kept running out of cards because they got too sweaty," Cishek said. "That used to help me put things into perspective."

The unusual site of a pitcher pulling out a piece of paper on the mound has become a conversation starter for Cishek, who has been asked many times if he's carrying scouting report information around. But Cishek is used to explaining the unexpected. He often finds himself clarifying why he has the name "Manuel Domingos" stitched on his glove instead of his own. It is the name of his grandfather, who passed away in 2003.

"I know it's my glove, so I can put anything I want on there," said Cishek. "Plus, my grandmother loves it."
   42. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: September 02, 2018 at 01:37 PM (#5737676)
EDIT: I shouldn't have gone there.
   43. The Duke Posted: September 02, 2018 at 01:39 PM (#5737677)
Next thing you know people will bring their smartphones to the batters box and start taking pictures

   44. Lassus Posted: September 02, 2018 at 01:43 PM (#5737680)
I think the real question is, has anyone else been using these card? Maybe 19 or 20 examples would help. :-D
   45. Tin Angel Posted: September 02, 2018 at 02:02 PM (#5737686)
Why are we at a point where people need a notecard to remember things that for the past 100+ years people simply memorized?
   46. BDC Posted: September 02, 2018 at 02:04 PM (#5737688)
"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters."


"And remember, if you hang that breaking pitch again, the Lord is going to farm you out to Johnson City."
   47. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 02, 2018 at 02:06 PM (#5737689)
Mlb said today these cards are fine. Suck it Joe.
   48. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 02, 2018 at 02:08 PM (#5737690)
The headline for this thread should be ‘Bobm Infringes Cooyrights.’
   49. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 02, 2018 at 02:10 PM (#5737691)
I'd also prohibit any signs from the defense's bench to the offense.
I dunno, if the offense is dumb enough to obey signs from the defense’s bench, I think they deserve whatever they get.
   50. Howie Menckel Posted: September 02, 2018 at 02:28 PM (#5737693)
A famous poker player named Phil Ivey (from Jersey, because why wouldn't he be) back in 2012 won about $10M from a London casino and the same at an Atlantic City casino.

Ivey partnered with the one woman on Earth who could detect tiny, tiny imperfections in mini-baccarat card backs of one style of one card brand. because he is such a high roller and normally this is a game of luck (unlike poker or blackjack), the casinos were happy to treat him like a king. he got to demand that card brand, he got a private room, he brought along his lady friend, he insisted on having dealers who speak Mandarin Chinese (as she did).

the casinos also agreed not to change decks. the cards would shuffle, but the 'orientation' would not. so after each hand, the duo would ask that some cards be placed one way and others the other way. after one time through the deck, they could tell whether the first joint card was a "good one" or a "bad one." when bad, Ivey didn't bet so much. when good, he would bet the max (in AC, an astounding 50 grand per hand on two visits, then 100 grand per hand on the latter two visits), because he had a significant betting edge against the house.

Ivey and friend never touched the cards, and the casinos were dumb enough to agree to the changes that they requested.

judges in both countries struggled with this one. both agreed the duo didn't "cheat," per se. In NJ, the judge found that they did violate state laws on the fairness of a contest, basically. the case is STILL going, and probably headed next year to the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals.

since the NJ judge concluded that Ivey "marked" the cards without ever touching them, that seems vulnerable on appeal.
   51. perros Posted: September 02, 2018 at 02:34 PM (#5737697)
Mlb said today these cards are fine. Suck it Joe.


Suck it fans.
   52. bobm Posted: September 02, 2018 at 02:36 PM (#5737699)
Arizona Republic: Diamondbacks’ Zack Greinke uses cheat sheet for pinch-hitters vs. Padres

With two out in the fifth inning on Sunday, Zack Greinke reached into his back pocket to pull out what appeared to an index card, gave it a read, then went back to work against the San Diego Padres.

Greinke said later that what he was looking at were notes on the Padres’ bench players. He looked at it when Jose Pirela was announced as a pinch-hitter. Greinke struck him out on four pitches.

“I started getting pinch-hitter scouting reports set up so the pitching coach doesn’t have to come out every time there’s a pinch-hitter to tell you the scouting report,” Greinke said. “So it saves time.”

It’s not new, he said, though it is the first time he’s used it.

“It’s been almost all pinch-hitters for the past two months, but somehow this was the first time it actually happened,” Greinke said. “Usually, you kind of know when there’s going to be a pinch-hitter, but I didn’t spend a lot of time preparing for the pinch-hitter that inning, where a lot of times I will prepare for it, so we don’t have any need to look at it.”


   53. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 02, 2018 at 02:45 PM (#5737702)
Suck it fans.

Yeah. What could add more excitement to MLB than more reading!
   54. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: September 02, 2018 at 02:50 PM (#5737707)
But, to continue thinking aloud about parallels to the NFL: the quarterback's playbook does not slow the pace of play, because pace of play is enforced extrinsically, by the play clock. That's really the only way to enforce a quicker pace in baseball: for umpires to move the game along.


It seems your brain, perhaps in a fit of the visceral revulsion many baseball fans experience whenever the C-word comes up, short-circuited the natural end of that thought and replaced it with "for umpires to move the game along."

The actual (and correct) sentence your brain puked at and overruled before it reached your fingertips was: "That's really the only way to enforce a quicker pace in baseball: to use a clock."

Umpires are never going to try to force players to play faster, unless they're backed up by an actual clock. It amounts to extra work for no extra pay, from their perspective.
   55. The Yankee Clapper Posted: September 02, 2018 at 02:53 PM (#5737708)
It occurs to me that uniform numbers significantly aided pitchers & catchers, who no longer had to wonder "Who is this guy?" after they were introduced. Too late to go back, to be sure.
   56. SoSH U at work Posted: September 02, 2018 at 02:53 PM (#5737709)
Also, shorter workdays for the same pay.
   57. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 02, 2018 at 03:01 PM (#5737714)
"That's really the only way to enforce a quicker pace in baseball: to use a clock."

I'm there. 15 second between pitches with no one on base. 20 seconds with men on. Batter may not leave the box. If he does, any pitch the catcher can catch is deemed a strike.
   58. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: September 02, 2018 at 03:02 PM (#5737715)
Against RHP, everyone on the Angels is played exactly the same, except Pujols, presumably because he sucks.


You know, I read things like this and just nod along--hell, I've written things like this a few times by now--but once in a while my eyes pass over words like this, "except Pujols, because he sucks," and it just about knocks me over. Albert Pujols sucks??? How is this possible?

We are all aware that time gets us all. Yet it's still jarring to think that eventually--probably not for around 15 years yet, but it could be sooner--the BTF posters of the not-too-distant future will be writing things like "the problem is they keep batting Mike Trout third, and he sucks."
   59. perros Posted: September 02, 2018 at 03:06 PM (#5737717)
Umpires are never going to try to force players to play faster, unless they're backed up by an actual clock. It amounts to extra work for no extra pay, from their perspective.


If they try to speed play, they will be overruled. One of the drawbacks of 'let's replace the umpires" is slower play. Nobody works faster with the boss looking of their shoulder.

I'm a dyed in the wool traditionalist against too much tinkering with the game, but that horse long left the barn. Bring on a clock or whatever else it takes to ensure games are wrapped up in under 150 minutes. We're up to 185 and rising.
   60. bobm Posted: September 02, 2018 at 03:42 PM (#5737723)
Cubs manager Joe Maddon seemed to get a kick out of the situation.

"I think the scouting report may have been written on the back of an emery board," Maddon said, before pausing.

"I'm just kidding. ... I'm sure we'll get a ruling on this in the very near future. As long as you cannot alter the baseball -- I don't know if you rub it 35 times quickly, you might get a sheen on the ball -- but that's a first. That's an absolute first.


mlb.com: Pitcher's notes confiscated in 'an absolute first'
   61. manchestermets Posted: September 02, 2018 at 03:50 PM (#5737725)
To me, all these cards and cheat sheets reduce the importance of baseball smarts, and intelligence in general, among players. I don't want that.

I want the game to reward the guys who understand the game, and can process and retain the coaching they get. The gam should reward mental excellence as well as physical.


That's a perfectly valid thing to want, but the removal of cheat sheets isn't going to result in that - they'll just send the same information out using signs (or hell, even shout it - it's not as if it's sensitive like the catcher's signs to the pitcher). I don't really care whether they're allowed the cheat sheets or not, the bigger deal to me is an umpire just making up rules as he goes along. It's obvious what "foreign substances" means in that context, and this is just an umpire being a jerk.
   62. . Posted: September 02, 2018 at 03:53 PM (#5737726)
The cheat sheets are of course ridiculous and do not -- pace the defenders of this nonsense -- actually find any kind of parallel in football. The QB's wristband merely converts a simple numerical call from the sidelines into the longer actual call for the huddle. They do not tell him where to go, and they do not tell other players where to go. The actual cheat sheet equivalent would be a WR or TE or something having a sheet that tells him where to line up for every play. Of course such a thing would be ludicrous and they have to know where to go for each play by memory. If they're out of position, they risk a penalty or burning of a time out.

It's a bizarre state of affairs wherein people find dueling algorithms entertaining. It's barely even sport anymore. I disconcur with the conceit that a guy ripping a line drive up the middle against a major league caliber pitcher, only to find it converted into an out because a computer spit out the result that putting the fielder there was a "percentage play," is anything to applaud. It should instead be decried.
   63. bobm Posted: September 02, 2018 at 03:59 PM (#5737727)
A's Have Nothing on 2-0 Dodgers : Hershiser Keeps Oakland on String With 3-Hit, 6-0 Win; October 17, 1988|SAM McMANIS |LA Times Staff Writer

Hershiser said he felt more pressure not to let up in the face of good fortune.

"When something positive happens, like (the Game 1) win or my hitting, that puts the monkey on my back. I didn't want to leave here with a split and have it be my fault. I didn't want to blow a 5-0 lead, either. It's a burden I'm carrying."

That's not all Hershiser was carrying Sunday night.

In his back pocket was a laminated sheet of paper, about the size of a credit card, with all his information about A's hitters. Before the start of the game, Hershiser took Doug Harvey, the umpire crew chief, and plate umpire Durwood Merrill aside and told him what he had in his possession and not to panic if he referred to it occasionally.

"It was my cheat sheet, but I won't say what was on it," Hershiser said. "I referred to it 2 or 3 times."

Whatever information Hershiser gleaned from scouting reports must have helped, because the only A's hitter who could figure him out was Dave Parker, who accounted for all 3 hits.


mlb.com video
   64. . Posted: September 02, 2018 at 04:02 PM (#5737728)
I would actually go so far as to say that the players' union is doing its membership a disservice by not pushing back against things like the shift. It's going to cost a lot of very good hitters, especially left-handed hitters, a fair amount of money. They're never going to make it up in increased anonymous middle reliever salaries.
   65. . Posted: September 02, 2018 at 04:05 PM (#5737729)
Bob, you're smart enough to understand the difference and I'm pretty sure you do. Hershiser never saw the A's hitters and did it as something of a quirk in a World Series game. Big difference between that and everyone doing it, all the way down to a September Wednesday Marlins-Padres game, when Big Data has already given them all they need and more.
   66. . Posted: September 02, 2018 at 04:09 PM (#5737730)
A lot of players in golf have taken to carrying around books with the precise green contours. The tours are banning them starting next year, correctly concluding that reading the greens has always been, and should continue to be, a human endeavor -- not a matter of data crunching, machines, and algorithms.(*)

To think that golf, of all things (**), has more soul than baseball is quite the state of affairs.

(*) This in the wake of 2016's banning of the body-touching long putter, which several players, including major championship winners, had used.

(**) Golf!
   67. BDC Posted: September 02, 2018 at 04:11 PM (#5737731)
the only way to enforce a quicker pace in baseball: to use a clock


Clock's fine with me; I accept the amendment :)
   68. bobm Posted: September 02, 2018 at 04:14 PM (#5737733)
[65] It's just an interesting story, not evidence in support of anything.

Hershiser said he actually forgot to take home tapes of the Oakland hitters after the Kirk Gibson walkoff. Also, he showed it to the umpires ahead of time because his teammate Jay Howell had been suspended for cheating with pine tar on the mound earlier that postseason.
   69. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 02, 2018 at 05:43 PM (#5737764)
Suck it fans.

Huh?
   70. jmp Posted: September 02, 2018 at 07:00 PM (#5737782)
I first saw outfielders use notes in 2008. We discussed at brewerfan.net
here.

Pitchers is not something I would have expected.
   71. Howie Menckel Posted: September 02, 2018 at 07:14 PM (#5737786)
A lot of players in golf have taken to carrying around books with the precise green contours. The tours are banning them starting next year, correctly concluding that reading the greens has always been, and should continue to be, a human endeavor -- not a matter of data crunching, machines, and algorithms.(*)

the young American golfers - and there are tons of them - have a traveling entourage that includes a caddie, manager, swing coach, conditioning coach, etc.

after a round, they say "we" had a good game plan this week, or whatever.

Jordan Spieth is the most notable of them to sometimes scold his caddie for choosing the wrong club. Jack Nicklaus, nearing 80, was on a recent broadcast where he did NOT go all "get off my lawn." but he gently noted that he never once asked a caddie to tell him what club to hit. they might confer on various options, like going for the green in 2 on a par-5, the severity of the wind or the left rough, etc.

but by the time The Golden Bear was about to hit his shot, there was no "we." he took all the blame - and of course deserved all the credit.
   72. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: September 02, 2018 at 08:15 PM (#5737808)
Umpires are never going to try to force players to play faster, unless they're backed up by an actual clock. It amounts to extra work for no extra pay, from their perspective.
That... doesn’t make any sense. Umpires are not paid by the hour, so the quicker the game ends, the _less_ work they’re doing for the same pay.
   73. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: September 02, 2018 at 08:29 PM (#5737810)
#### you guys hate everything.
   74. , Posted: September 03, 2018 at 09:33 AM (#5737887)
#### you guys hate everything.

I don't hate it, I just don't like it. I don't think having the pitchers reading cheat sheets adds to the game in anyway. Whatever they can remember about strategy, fine. The same goes for OF positioning. Let the OFers make that determination.

I guess what I'm saying is: I like to see what players do and the less the managers and coaches have to do with the play by play, the better.
   75. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: September 03, 2018 at 10:36 AM (#5737895)
They use a clock in the minors. It's awesome. In the games I've seen it's never been an issue, because everyone has completely internalized it. The game moves. I went to the Norfolk-Durham game yesterday that featured 19 hits and 9 walks and a bunch of pitchers who were laboring badly. It ended in 2:56, and never stopped moving. The (2-0) Gwinnett v. Charlotte game yesterday ended in 1:58, which is an impossibility in MLB.

(The Bulls game also featured the AAA debut of a gangly left sidearmer named Travis Ott, who with runners on base goes into a stance that looks like a frog doing a squat in order to receive the sign from his catcher. He also has about four different pitching motions, three of which involve body parts flying off in some surprising directions.)
   76. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: September 03, 2018 at 10:40 AM (#5737896)
I don't hate it, I just don't like it. I don't think having the pitchers reading cheat sheets adds to the game in anyway. Whatever they can remember about strategy, fine. The same goes for OF positioning. Let the OFers make that determination.
A coach in the dugout waving his arms in a "move ten feet to the left, you moron!" gesture also works.
   77. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: September 03, 2018 at 10:57 AM (#5737899)
(The Bulls game also featured the AAA debut of a gangly left sidearmer named Travis Ott, who with runners on base goes into a stance that looks like a frog doing a squat in order to receive the sign from his catcher. He also has about four different pitching motions, three of which involve body parts flying off in some surprising directions.)

doesn't seem to be working all that well:

1 1/3 1H 3BB 3R ERA 20.25
   78. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: September 03, 2018 at 11:22 AM (#5737904)
Yeah, the arms-and-legs-flying-everywhere approach didn't lead to excellent control. He also has a minimal, quick pitch sort of motion that works a heck of a lot better. That said, he's a tall lefty who can touch 94, so his path to the majors is a lot clearer than most.

He also seems to have converted from starter to reliever in 2017/2018. I can imagine the Rays giving him the "your future is as a LOOGY" talk and working with him to develop a lot of deception into his delivery. EDIT: Video! Here he is in 2016, with a relatively minimal delivery. Here he is in 2017 with a variable delivery, including a super high leg kick. No shots of the frog stance, unfortunately.

He's eccentric. I hope he makes it and has a long career.
   79. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: September 03, 2018 at 11:35 AM (#5737907)
MLB has rather arbitrarily banned or allowed a lot of new-fangled strategy stratagems:

from the 1976 WS
After a protest by the Cincinnati Reds, the Yankees were prevented by Commissioner Bowie Kuhn from using walkie‐talkie information from a radio‐booth spotter to position their outfielders during today's 5.1 loss in the World Series opener.

But for tomorrow's game, the Yankees were granted permission to use two spotters in upper‐deck seats following a meeting involving Kuhn and officials from the Yankees and the Reds.


in this case, they banned it, then allowed it
   80. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: September 03, 2018 at 12:20 PM (#5737914)

A coach in the dugout waving his arms in a "move ten feet to the left, you moron!" gesture also works.
Yeah. I mean, I kind of understand this (but do not approve) for pitchers. But for outfield positioning? Even if there were that much to remember, it's not like communicating secret information like a pitch sequence. Just point.
   81. phredbird Posted: September 03, 2018 at 05:31 PM (#5738023)

at first when i saw this i thought, hey come on, joe west being a d1ck.

then i read some of the comments, and then i started agreeing with the posters who are saying it's not in the spirit of the game, and if the guys on the field can't remember and the coaches don't make clear signals, then too bad ...

... and before i knew it, i was in full get off my lawn.

i've decided i don't like the cards and charts.

the hairstyles and beards don't bother me. the tattoos don't bother me.

the new rules about minimizing contact don't bother me.

the TTO environment and too many pitching changes we are experiencing doesn't bother me.

the shift strategies don't bother me.

i am in more than general agreement with the basic tenets of sabermetrics and fully endorse the generation of new metrics that aid winning. that's what strategy is all about.

there are only a few things that bother me all out of proportion about today's game.

i don't care for the gold chains and other jewelry. i don't care for the bat flips, i just think they are silly and ballplayers should not be taking lessons in behavior from NFL players.

and my absolute biggest pet peeve is the long pants. i just can't stand for ballplayers to not look like ballplayers. i'm really glad that many of them are sporting the socks showing because it looks cool.

but i really really like major league baseball so i keep watching.

and joe west is still a d1ck.


ps i am not a crackpot
   82. Rennie's Tenet Posted: September 04, 2018 at 07:40 AM (#5738117)
"It occurs to me that uniform numbers significantly aided pitchers & catchers, who no longer had to wonder "Who is this guy?" after they were introduced."

Bill Veeck claimed that Satchel Paige thought Mantle was two different guys.

I don't think the discussion of all players is relevant to pitchers and catchers. It's too easy to have a second little piece of sand paper in your pocket.
   83. , Posted: September 04, 2018 at 08:15 AM (#5738126)
Co-sign most of 81. Also, when I gripe about most things in baseball, it isn't like I think it's a grave matter. I like some things more than other things but, overall, I still love watching the game.

Mostly I hate the pace not because of some intrinsic feeling but because it means I watch less baseball. If I have to be up early for work, I can't stay up super late watching games. So, I'd prefer them to end the game earlier.

It strikes me MLB would have an easier time having everyone see the entire playoff game if they were reliably 2.5 hours. They could start at 8pm Eastern and be over at 10:30. Folks on both coasts could watch it. With a 3.5 hour game time, that's a lot tougher.
   84. Joe Bivens, Slack Rumped Rutabaga Head Posted: September 04, 2018 at 09:23 AM (#5738137)
Who should not be allowed to use these cards? Pitchers, hitters, catchers? Why?

How about outfielders?


Back in my day, coaches got the attention of OF's and directed them to where they wanted them positioned for a particular hitter.

You can stay on my lawn but stop making so much noise.
   85. PreservedFish Posted: September 04, 2018 at 09:23 AM (#5738138)
I don't like this either - I agree it's against the spirit of the game, and also want to reward game intelligence - but I think the horse has long ago left the barn on this one, and I agree with those above that think banning these cards would likely result in an even longer and more cumbersome way of relaying this same exact information. If the teams want these guys playing something as precise as "17 paces" to one direction, then the dugout signaling would soon become a ridiculous laborious pantomime, as each OF in turn is relayed a complex series of big signals.

I think a reasonable rule would be to limit the way that information is presented. A laminated in card in the back pocket just looks dumb and potentially adds a few seconds - the wrist band thing that QBs use is comparatively unobtrusive.
   86. Rusty Priske Posted: September 04, 2018 at 10:10 AM (#5738158)
West was wrong. There is nothing wrong with this, unless checking it slows down the game.
   87. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: September 04, 2018 at 10:18 AM (#5738162)
Back in my day, coaches got the attention of OF's and directed them to where they wanted them positioned for a particular hitter.


So is there an aesthetic or strategic difference between the coach looking at a piece of paper then waving the outfielders into position, and the outfielder's themselves doing it?
   88. SoSH U at work Posted: September 04, 2018 at 10:31 AM (#5738166)
So is there an aesthetic or strategic difference between the coach looking at a piece of paper then waving the outfielders into position, and the outfielder's themselves doing it?


Strategic, no? Aesthetic, a little. Philophical, absolutely?

As snapper says, these cards remove baseball smarts from the player's toolbox. Rather than being able to separate yourself as an ballplayer by putting in the work (either before the game or during the eight times a contest you're sitting on the bench) to learn tendencies and what to expect to get an edge, a player will merely have to look at his damn wrist and follow more instructions from the front office above.
   89. manchestermets Posted: September 04, 2018 at 11:45 AM (#5738209)
So is there an aesthetic or strategic difference between the coach looking at a piece of paper then waving the outfielders into position, and the outfielder's themselves doing it?



Strategic, no? Aesthetic, a little. Philophical, absolutely?

As snapper says, these cards remove baseball smarts from the player's toolbox. Rather than being able to separate yourself as an ballplayer by putting in the work (either before the game or during the eight times a contest you're sitting on the bench) to learn tendencies and what to expect to get an edge, a player will merely have to look at his damn wrist and follow more instructions from the front office above.


But that simply isn't the case. There's no difference in "baseball smarts" between reading where to stand from a piece of paper, and having the coach tell you where to stand.
   90. SoSH U at work Posted: September 04, 2018 at 12:01 PM (#5738222)
But that simply isn't the case. There's no difference in "baseball smarts" between reading where to stand from a piece of paper, and having the coach tell you where to stand.


It's not just about defense.
   91. , Posted: September 04, 2018 at 12:07 PM (#5738228)
I'm less worried about OFers because, as has been pointed out, they can be directed by the coaches. Still, I'd "like" to ban that (I don't see how). I'd like the guys on the field to be the ones making decisions about where to play, what to throw, location to hit, etc.
   92. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: September 04, 2018 at 12:14 PM (#5738236)

I'd like the guys on the field to be the ones making decisions about where to play,
Even if you eliminated the cards and somehow banned coaches waving to the player to move over, the guys on the field wouldn't be the ones making the decisions; the coaches would tell the players in the dugout in the other half of the inning, and the players would just have to remember what the coaches said.
what to throw, location to hit, etc.
Do you also want to ban the manager calling for a bunt or hit and run?
   93. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: September 04, 2018 at 12:59 PM (#5738270)

I have no problem with the coaches directing players where to position and what to do. That's been part of the game for as long as I can remember. And for positioning especially, I don't see the need for or purpose of the cards, as there's no need to keep that information hidden from the opposing team.

My concern with cheat sheets for pitchers, catchers and hitters is that I could see them putting more and more information on those things until they actually become aesthetically obtrusive and the use of them becomes noticeably time consuming. It would be better to nip it in the bud now, or as others have suggested, use a pitch clock.

That... doesn’t make any sense. Umpires are not paid by the hour, so the quicker the game ends, the _less_ work they’re doing for the same pay.

This. But they should still have a clock to help the umps.
   94. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 04, 2018 at 01:04 PM (#5738273)
That... doesn’t make any sense. Umpires are not paid by the hour, so the quicker the game ends, the _less_ work they’re doing for the same pay.

This. But they should still have a clock to help the umps.
I think the original comment meant that having to enforce pace of play rules by keeping the batter in the box and sticking to the pitch clock would cause more friction with the players, and thus more work/hassle for the umps, even in less time. To which I of course say, too damn bad. Do your job.
   95. SoSH U at work Posted: September 04, 2018 at 01:54 PM (#5738308)
My concern with cheat sheets for pitchers, catchers and hitters is that I could see them putting more and more information on those things until they actually become aesthetically obtrusive and the use of them becomes noticeably time consuming. It would be better to nip it in the bud now, or as others have suggested, use a pitch clock.


That's kind of what I was thinking when I mentioned it above. It's not that the information now is further killing the pace. It's what lies ahead.

   96. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 04, 2018 at 02:31 PM (#5738334)
That's kind of what I was thinking when I mentioned it above. It's not that the information now is further killing the pace. It's what lies ahead.
This is a good point. I think, sadly, that we pretty much have to assume that anything along these lines will inevitably devolve into a tool for players and managers to waste time. Given that their expressly stated goal is often to "slow the game down," that's what anything that results in a pause becomes. We've seen it with mound visits, step-offs, etc. etc. If the use of notes is permitted, it will soon be abused. Need more time to warm up a reliever? Have the current pitcher 'study up' on the next batter before you waddle out there. Pitcher getting shaky after a walk to load the bases? Have him 'slow the game down' and 'reset himself' by 'doing some homework.'
   97. RoyalFlush Posted: September 04, 2018 at 02:47 PM (#5738351)
I disagree with the notion that the cards - especially for outfielders - remove "baseball smarts" from the players' skill set. The decision to shift or not - and where to shift - is based on what I would imagine is a large amount of statistical analysis. Players aren't learning or memorizing that - they are just learning or memorizing the output - which is just memorization. Not smarts.

And I always hated the "aesthetic" of the coach in the dugout positioning the outfielders. It seems to take much longer than looking at a card.

I guess, for pitchers/catchers, you could argue it removes some of the "QB" decision making. But, if you don't allow it, it's just going to take longer for all of the signs to come in from the dugout.
   98. Srul Itza Posted: September 04, 2018 at 02:48 PM (#5738353)
West was wrong.


Always the default position.
   99. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 04, 2018 at 03:33 PM (#5738377)
Always the default position.
Works for Kanye and Allen too.
   100. Morty Causa Posted: September 04, 2018 at 05:02 PM (#5738468)
No one should be able to go on the field but players, coaches, umps. Not even for pitching changes--especially for pitching changes. And no one should be able to call time to visit with the pitcher--not the catcher, shortstop or any player or coach. None of these silly arguments with the umps. (Of course there would be exceptions, like for injuries, but stopping the game should be rare.)

Those guys should know how to play the game. They should know what to do in any given situation. If they don't, they should learn. The manager can devise a system of signs and signals to communicate, but there should be no specially allotted time for this. Yeah, they would restrict his in-game input. Good. This would shorten the time of the games and quicken its pace. I think this along with making the batter stay in the batter's box and the pitcher stay on the rubber would also do wonders. A clock would help here.

Then if that's not enough, consider limiting the number of pitchers a team can carry.

A really big thing that would make the game faster and shorter would be to negate the home run some way. That would change how the game is played. But that ain't going to happen.
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