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Monday, January 14, 2013

Rules changes for next year include coaches, managers being able to bring interpreters to the mound

Jayson Stark reports on several potential rules changes that spun out of last week’s owners meetings. The most notable: coaches and managers will be able to bring an interpreter to the mound for meetings with players who don’t speak fluent English.

No word if Phillies pitchers will get their own English-to-1940s grifter interpreter for when Charlie Manuel comes out for pitching changes.  ”I don’t even know what ‘what’s the rumpus’ means,” said Cole Hamels, explaining his support for the rule.

Other proposed changes:

  - Teams will be permitted to have a seventh coach in uniform; the previous limit was six; and
  - The fake-to-third, throw-to-first pickoff move would now be considered a balk.

Thanks to Carl.

Repoz Posted: January 14, 2013 at 06:22 PM | 47 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: rules

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   1. Nasty Nate Posted: January 14, 2013 at 06:47 PM (#4347036)
More double-steals on the horizon?
   2. DL from MN Posted: January 14, 2013 at 06:53 PM (#4347039)
Can you run toward third and throw to first?
   3. Greg Pope thinks the Cubs are reeking havoc Posted: January 14, 2013 at 07:00 PM (#4347043)
The fake-to-third, throw-to-first pickoff move would now be considered a balk.


Long overdue if you ask me, but is Spring Training enough time to make pitchers forget this move? Especially the vets who may have been doing this for 15 years. If it was me, I'd implement it in a phased approach. For 2013 I'd make it the same as calling time. Play is dead, but the runners don't advance. Then 2014 you start calling it a balk.
   4. zenbitz Posted: January 14, 2013 at 07:07 PM (#4347047)
If the interpreter visits the mound twice do they have to take out the pitcher? Or just switch languagues? #DonnieBaseball
   5. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: January 14, 2013 at 07:13 PM (#4347048)
- Teams will be permitted to have a seventh coach in uniform; the previous limit was six;

I was just thinking, "You know what would totally make baseball a better sport and more fun to watch? More coaches!"
   6. jobu Posted: January 14, 2013 at 07:18 PM (#4347051)
The fake-to-third, throw-to-first pickoff move would now be considered a balk.

This is great news. I don't think it will take long for pitchers to pick up on it. The first few guys who balk in a run should take care of that.
   7. valuearbitrageur Posted: January 14, 2013 at 07:23 PM (#4347055)
coaches and managers will be able to bring an interpreter to the mound for meetings with players who don’t speak fluent English


What an awful rule change, I guess the owners thought games weren't long enough already, proposal probably includes options for longer commercial breaks.
   8. Willie Mayspedester Posted: January 14, 2013 at 07:32 PM (#4347059)
I'm guessing the 7th coach is the translator.
   9. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: January 14, 2013 at 07:35 PM (#4347060)
- The fake-to-third, throw-to-first pickoff move would now be considered a balk.


Can you spin pivot and not throw to second, or is baseball just selectively choosing which elements governing holding runners this idea is applicable toward. I think this is a stupid, pointless rule change, gaining nothing and losing the potential for a boneheaded player getting picked off (which should never be outlawed).


   10. Pat Rapper's Delight Posted: January 14, 2013 at 07:35 PM (#4347061)
players who don't speak fluent English.

Can't speak the language? Don't come to Murica looking for work!
   11. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: January 14, 2013 at 07:46 PM (#4347063)
I'm guessing the 7th coach is the translator.


I'm virtually certain the seventh coach in Atlanta will be the second hitting coach. I think the mound visit thing is just about going out of the dugout, not on field personnel. Bobby Cox always carried Chino Cadahia as a bench coach for the "talkin' to the Hispanics" job. Cadahia couldn't go to the mound with Cox, of course.
   12. Walt Davis Posted: January 14, 2013 at 07:48 PM (#4347064)
I thought they made the balk rule change last year.

The fake to third move is clearly an attempt to deceive the runner at first so a balk within the strict interpretation of the spirit of the rule.* The non-throw to second is an attempt to annoy the runner at second. Now, if there are runners on 2nd and 3rd, pitcher spins to second, doesn't throw, runner on third wanders away and gets picked off -- is that now a balk?

*A softball ump -- an extremely annoying one -- once threatened to award a base the next time our SS faked a throw back to first on a single (runner rounding the bag), claiming it was an attempt to deceive the runner. I have no idea if that is a rule in softball (avoid injuries from guys sliding back in when they don't have to?) but since I was annoyed that our SS faked a throw back on every single single even when the guy was 2 feet off the bag I wasn't gonna argue.
   13. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: January 14, 2013 at 07:56 PM (#4347068)
The fake to third move is clearly an attempt to deceive the runner at first so a balk within the strict interpretation of the spirit of the rule.* The non-throw to second is an attempt to annoy the runner at second. Now, if there are runners on 2nd and 3rd, pitcher spins to second, doesn't throw, runner on third wanders away and gets picked off -- is that now a balk?


Teams do a lot of things in an attempt to deceive the runner (including the annoying spin to second). Most of them aren't balks. I don't see why this one maneuver, alone, requires selective rewriting of the rules.

Now, if there are runners on 2nd and 3rd, pitcher spins to second, doesn't throw, runner on third wanders away and gets picked off -- is that now a balk?


One shouldn't need the second part to constitute a balk under this change. The throw to first is not a balk, the pitcher is off the rubber at the time and free to throw to any base. It's the fake to third part that has to be considered the balk - which is why the fake to second should also be outlawed, if the league was interested in consistent application of the rules. Though, the league probably isn't, since this was such an ill-thought out decision in the first place.
   14. McCoy Posted: January 14, 2013 at 07:58 PM (#4347071)
If some pitcher can't remember that the fake throw to third is now a balk they deserve the run to score on them.
   15. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: January 14, 2013 at 08:03 PM (#4347073)
I would rather that if a pitcher was set and steps off the rubber that they have to throw the ball to runner-occupied base. Make the rule simple; the more plays that have an element of risk the better.
   16. Bob T Posted: January 14, 2013 at 08:40 PM (#4347087)
North American players have been able to use translators on the mound in Japan for decades. The Japanese tend not to expect foreigners to speak their language.

Most Japanese students learn English, but written English is emphasized. The Japanese are incredibly self-conscious about speaking a foreign language in public.

One of the more fun things to see in Japan is a gaijin manager arguing with the umpire using his translator. In general, managers in Japan argue a lot. And loudly. And demonstratively. And almost never get ejected. So you can see a manager run out of the dugout to scream in an umpire's face with a translator running out to keep up to selectively edit the argument.
   17. esseff Posted: January 14, 2013 at 09:03 PM (#4347100)
coaches and managers will be able to bring an interpreter to the mound for meetings with players who don’t speak fluent English.


I suppose that by that standard Dizzy Dean would have been eligible. Who would be a modern equivalent?
   18. Posada Posse Posted: January 14, 2013 at 09:28 PM (#4347107)
One of the more fun things to see in Japan is a gaijin manager arguing with the umpire using his translator. In general, managers in Japan argue a lot. And loudly. And demonstratively. And almost never get ejected. So you can see a manager run out of the dugout to scream in an umpire's face with a translator running out to keep up to selectively edit the argument.


One of the funniest arguments I've seen in baseball was at the WBC in 2006, when the legendary Sadaharu Oh, managing the Japan team, blew a gasket when Bob Davidson missed a call. Oh wasn't ejected, however, and you got the impression that the poor translator took some creative liberties in the translation to avoid getting Oh ejected.
   19. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: January 14, 2013 at 11:47 PM (#4347192)
Teams do a lot of things in an attempt to deceive the runner

Gene Michael says hello
   20. Everybody Loves Tyrus Raymond Posted: January 14, 2013 at 11:51 PM (#4347195)
Make it a balk to try more than two pickoff attempts per runner per base and then you'll really have something.
   21. Nasty Nate Posted: January 15, 2013 at 12:03 AM (#4347207)
Make it a balk to try more than two pickoff attempts per runner per base and then you'll really have something.


In effect, that would give them a balk after 2, not after the third.
   22. bobm Posted: January 15, 2013 at 12:13 AM (#4347217)
[18] Is this amateur video it? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6cZZbdDh4zs
   23. Barnaby Jones Posted: January 15, 2013 at 01:31 AM (#4347269)
Andy Pettite's "not-really-stepping-toward-the-base" move is plainly an attempt to deceive the runner. I think he should be made illegal.
   24. Cabbage Posted: January 15, 2013 at 01:38 AM (#4347274)
- The fake-to-third, throw-to-first pickoff move would now be considered a balk.


Glory to God in the highest, on earth peace, goodwill toward men.
   25. jdennis Posted: January 15, 2013 at 01:50 AM (#4347280)
if i was a coach i would only have a hitting and pitching coach. maybe one more, bench coach i guess. the size of these staffs is getting out of hand. it's that way in other sports too. i feel like it makes coaching less meritocratic. all these guys now have assistant coach on their resume and they didn't really earn it.
   26. Everybody Loves Tyrus Raymond Posted: January 15, 2013 at 01:50 AM (#4347281)
In effect, that would give them a balk after 2, not after the third.


Yep.
   27. bobm Posted: January 15, 2013 at 02:30 AM (#4347292)
No word if Phillies pitchers will get their own English-to-1940s grifter interpreter for when Charlie Manuel comes out for pitching changes. 


How about an English-to-1920s wise guy interpreter for mound visits when Jack Keefe pitches?
   28. flournoy Posted: January 15, 2013 at 03:06 AM (#4347296)
if i was a coach i would only have a hitting and pitching coach. maybe one more, bench coach i guess.


Your team would look pretty stupid without first and third base coaches. Bullpen coach is not without merits, either.
   29. depletion Posted: January 15, 2013 at 09:39 AM (#4347332)
7 coaches? What is this? Football? I would sign up Wladimir Klitchko as my 7th coach, just for the biannual bench clearing brawl. Kind of like having an enforcer in hockey.
   30. willcarrolldoesnotsuk Posted: January 15, 2013 at 10:04 AM (#4347344)
I'm guessing the 7th coach is the translator.
I seriously doubt that. Some teams won't need a translator; others will need one; still others might need several (Spanish, Japanese, Korean, for example). I'd bet that MLB won't require teams to use up uniformed coaching slots on translators; rather, they will dress like team trainers dress.

Of course, it's possible that there will be some seventh coaches who will effectively function as translators as part of their job, just like there are some first-through-sixth that do, but I'd bet they'd be actual baseball people who happen to speak a second language. The pure translators, though, won't be coaches.
   31. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: January 15, 2013 at 10:16 AM (#4347346)
How about an English-to-1920s wise guy interpreter for mound visits when Jack Keefe pitches?


Now you're on the trolly!
   32. JJ1986 Posted: January 15, 2013 at 10:57 AM (#4347361)
Bunches of teams are hiring second hitting coaches. Before long, I'll bet the 7th coach for all teams is one.
   33. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: January 15, 2013 at 11:05 AM (#4347368)
How long until some team has trouble in the clubhouse because the 2 hitting coaches don't agree with each other? Unless it's already happened.
   34. Jay Seaver Posted: January 15, 2013 at 11:17 AM (#4347379)
Oh, sure, MLB does this now... The year after Johnny Pesky dies!
   35. Rennie's Tenet Posted: January 15, 2013 at 11:20 AM (#4347386)
I think the 7th should be a coach coach, to help the coaching staff stay at peak performance.

7 coaches? What is this? Football? I would sign up Wladimir Klitchko as my 7th coach, just for the biannual bench clearing brawl. Kind of like having an enforcer in hockey.


My plan for reducing hockey fights was to keep reducing the rosters until they got small anough that teams couldn't afford to have enforcers. I think that if baseball went to fifty man rosters, teams would have some enormous starting pitchers whose main job would be to throw at people.
   36. OsunaSakata Posted: January 15, 2013 at 11:36 AM (#4347399)
What's the smallest unit in the military? Is that a fire team headed by a corporal or private first class commanding five soldiers? So it seems to me the pyramid should be the manager over 5 coaches over 25 players.

This 7th coach seems to be an assistant hitting coach. Harold Reynolds was railing against the position, especially if a struggling player is getting contradictory advice from the two hitting coaches. Richard Justice was saying it was to personally explain the video and scouting report to each hitter. Someone who knows how things work needs to explain why this position needs to be filled by a coach, as opposed to someone with more technical and communications skills. Also, why does this person needs to be in uniform in the dugout? If a player needs to be reminded what to do, couldn't they have this assistant coach back on a laptop in the locker room? I'd like to know more about this.
   37. Willie Mayspedester Posted: January 15, 2013 at 02:43 PM (#4347597)
I'm guessing the 7th coach is the translator.
I seriously doubt that.


I just meant that there was a new coaching opportunity to get on the field of play so they needed another guy in uniform. The real winner here is the uniform company who gets to make provide the uniforms for an extra 30 coaches. Plus the merchandising opportunities for young aspiring translators who now have a jersey to buy for their favorite team translator. Maybe Jose Canseco can come back with the A's now and tell Cespedes how to play better defense in the OF.
   38. Rants Mulliniks Posted: January 15, 2013 at 03:06 PM (#4347627)
The Japanese tend not to expect foreigners to speak their language.


This made me chuckle, and reminded me of an episode of Ice Road Truckers (the one set in the Andes) in which one of the drivers was pissed off about a road being blocked, so he jumps out of the truck and starts screaming and swearing at people to get out of his way because "I'm an American".......
   39. Nasty Nate Posted: January 15, 2013 at 03:33 PM (#4347649)
How long until some team has trouble in the clubhouse because the 2 hitting coaches don't agree with each other? Unless it's already happened.


The Red Sox this past season had 2 pitching coaches and it caused trouble in the clubhouse.
   40. cmd600 Posted: January 15, 2013 at 03:50 PM (#4347669)
Make it a balk to try more than two pickoff attempts per runner per base and then you'll really have something.


Of course, say a runner is taking a big lead, and the pitcher makes two legitimate attempts to pick him off, now you've given the runner carte blanche.
   41. Walt Davis Posted: January 15, 2013 at 04:59 PM (#4347746)
It's the fake to third part that has to be considered the balk - which is why the fake to second should also be outlawed, if the league was interested in consistent application of the rules.

I couldn't care less one way or the other really -- I think the fake to third throw to first thing works maybe once a season -- but I would think the difference is that you never see a legit pickoff attempt at 3B. I suspect I could count the number of genuine pitcher pickoff attempts I've seen in 40 years of watching on one hand if it weren't for the fact that I can't recall a single one.

Balk rules are already different at 1B and other bases. At 1B, the 1Bman has to be "on" the bag to receive a throw, he can't come darting in. But that's not the case at second or third. You can't really "force" the pitcher to throw on the move to second just because the SS is late to the bag.
   42. Nasty Nate Posted: January 15, 2013 at 05:19 PM (#4347756)
At 1B, the 1Bman has to be "on" the bag to receive a throw, he can't come darting in.


I've never heard of this rule. What exactly does it say?
   43. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: January 15, 2013 at 05:44 PM (#4347790)
Aren't all moves an attempt to deceive the runner? Lefties looking home and stepping at a 42% angle towards first when they're supposed to do 45% or higher?

Gimme a break.
   44. SoSH U at work Posted: January 15, 2013 at 05:44 PM (#4347791)
Balk rules are already different at 1B and other bases. At 1B, the 1Bman has to be "on" the bag to receive a throw, he can't come darting in. But that's not the case at second or third. You can't really "force" the pitcher to throw on the move to second just because the SS is late to the bag.


Yes, they are. But they're not any different at second than they are at third. I'm not sure why the need to change this one aspect of the rule. Moreover, what is being changed?

Are you not allowed to fake to third at all, regardless of other base situation, or is this only in effect if there's a runner on third? Is the fake the balk, or is it situation-specific?

And if the fake is the balk, are you not allowed to fake to third, but still able to do so to second? If so, what is the reasoning behind this distinction?

Or, are all fake throws banned? But is the pivot and hold allowed? Again, what's the basis for the distinction? And if all fakes (with or without throws) are banned, this is a major development in how pitchers will operate with men on base. It's not a minor inconvenience.

Or, can you still fake the throw to third, but just not turn around and throw (or fake throw) to first? If that's the case, how long must you wait? What if the runner takes off for second, what do you do? Can you throw him out then?

I'm sure this is all written out. What I'm not sure about is that sound reasoning was used to support this decision. And if the reason is because it's "deceiving the runner," then why is the defense allowed to deceive the runner in a dozen other way? (And lest my feelings be unclear, deceiving the runner is a glorious thing that should be celebrated, not outlawed)

And you may not care, but I sure as hell do.
   45. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: January 15, 2013 at 06:35 PM (#4347828)
What I'm not sure about is that sound reasoning was used to support this decision.


Regardless of what has been said I think the reasoning behind this move is the time and the pace of games. I'm with you, people who get caught by it deserve what they get but it works so rarely compared with how often it is attempted that it really just becomes an exercise in "get on with it".
   46. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: January 15, 2013 at 07:18 PM (#4347844)
You're probably right that was the reasoning, but I don't see how that's going to have any meaningful effect. Pitchers will still have to hold the runners. Take this away, and you'll have more step offs, which take about the same amount of time, and more throws over, which take significantly more time.
   47. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: January 15, 2013 at 09:03 PM (#4347886)
No word if Phillies pitchers will get their own English-to-1940s grifter interpreter for when Charlie Manuel comes out for pitching changes

Or if the translator has to be able to speak the native language of the pitcher.

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