There may be some new rules for the 2019 MLB season.
Rosenthal went over the proposed rules on MLB Network
The big takeaways are that pitchers would have to face a minimum of three hitters per appearance, eliminating the seemingly endless pitching changes that can drag on the pace of a game. This seems to be a direct response to the pitch clock, the thing MLB commissioner Robert Manfred is putting forward to address to so-called pace of play issues. I’m not a fan of the pitch clock — Dr. Mike Sonne wrote in 2017 why he believes they increase injuries for pitchers. And because I like science, I tend to agree with him.
I think Sonne should get someone to say “fatigue units” like 50 Cent says, “G-Unit” and market it that way. Go on the road with it, Doctor!
There is a difference between working quickly and having an artificial stimulus to make a pitcher work faster than usual. Mark Buehrle, for instance, worked quickly because he discovered that there were a lot of benefits to working that way. One benefit includes keeping your outfielders awake so when a hitter manages to make loud contact with your softly tossed, maddeningly deceptive offerings, the outfielder can go make it an out. Sometimes it keeps you perfect.
The three batter minimum proposal is a solution to improve pace of play that emphasizes players in a way the pitch clock doesn’t. It puts a value on guys that have experience working full innings and getting the job done. There is a strategy to that and that strategy comes out of experience. I wrote once that hell is a relief pitcher who can’t throw strikes. That is a much bigger issue for the pace of play than a pitcher like David Price, a notoriously slow worker. Price takes a while, but the pitches generally get to where he is throwing them. A countdown is not going to help a pitcher with no command, which is the true suck on momentum in a game.
The other big thing the MLBPA brought back is a classic- the universal DH. Again, this has a pretty clear benefit for the players- more jobs for guys who have great or at least useful bats, but are less useful with the glove.
NL owners argued against it because they didn’t fancy having to pay a player for half a skill set, especially when the price was $16 million (what David Ortiz made in 2016.) However, I would argue that David Ortiz more than earned whatever salary he got for his role as he delivered the first World Series in 86 years for the Red Sox, and then had major roles in two more. Papi was a beast for them.
NL purists like to talk about how pitchers hitting is “real baseball” but the DH idea is a very old one. According to Wikipedia, Connie Mack was talking about it in 1906 and he wasn’t even the first. I’ve also always found it ridiculous when the NL is described as being more strategic because of all the lineup changes in a game. The double switch really gets some people hot.
And then there is this:
There is an intermission every half inning. It’s how it’s designed. Also, people really think baseball needs more breaks?
I’m an American League girl. I think teams should have as many great bats in their lineup as possible. I think watching the pitchers hit or try to bunt is painful — though I don’t mind moments like this, obviously:
Pitchers should spend the offensive innings pacing, fretting and regretting. And eating sunflower seeds. Getting fresh pinch. Peeing. There is much more strategy in a pitcher trying to not put 2015 Josh Donaldson on base. You don’t want to walk him with José Bautista smelling blood on deck and Edwin Encarnación in the hole, but Donaldson would be ready to punish for any or all mistakes. (That team was the best drug. There are complete games on Youtube. This is a good one. )
The timing of this announcement is an interesting one. There was some discussion on Twitter about the strangeness of announcing rule change proposals less than two weeks before pitchers and catchers report. It points to a massive showdown between the MLB and the MLBPA.
And there are certainly issues, including big-name free agents unsigned this close to spring training. The news cycle has ended up here:
It has come to this.
There is no real pro, by the way. One of the “pros” is a possible splurge by a team more willing to take a risk. But then Harper is back on the market in a year, in the same boat and another year older. Imagine, another year of hot takes. How fun would that be? So fun.
Hank Aaron’s Voice
Henry Aaron turned 85 yesterday.
I like how Vin Scully goes into little story about the fatness of Babe Ruth.
Looking through old interviews, I realized that in addition to being arguably the greatest baseball player of all time, Mr. Aaron has an absolutely gorgeous voice.
It’s a voice that should read me stories. There is a humility and a warmth to him.
Click on the picture to buy this book. The paperback version. Trust me.
So we in your ass like you was Richard Gere and we was gerbils- I am deceased, Mr. Kweli.
I finally watched Hip Hop Evolution on Netflix, a documentary series hosted by Canadian MC Shad. I’m late on it, but I talked to him about it a little on Facebook (we share mutual friends) and had a discussion about how physical music used to be. Hip hop was essentially born out of DJs touching their records — often funk, but also soul and classic rock —and finding the drum breaks, and then developing ways to loop the drum breaks because people liked to dance to them. The physical aspect of it is really apparent. The series is amazing and it won a Peabody.
Shad’s made some great music of late, a different sound.
He once called my blog “rad”. I want to make t-shirts.