Just a quick note because this amused me.
What you see here is the brand-new line score introduced by Major League Baseball this season. See that column right in the middle labeled “C”? That’s what’s new and “exciting” in baseball this year.
MLB introduced two major changes to the rules this year, one designed to protect catchers from being trampled by runners trying to score, the other allowing managers to challenge umpires’ calls.
No, the “C” column does not record injured catchers. It shows whether the managers have used the challenges.
That’s right. MLB is so excited about the manager’s new ability–something football coaches have had for years–that they’re going to remind everyone about it all game long.
I’ll eventually have some thoughts about replay, but I didn’t want to wait on this little snippet.
Full post tomorrow, with something for 90% of the blog’s readers.
I don’t like the new “Challenge” option. Some of my friends would respond that I’m unlikely to like anything that changes the game, and they might be right; I don’t like the new rule protecting the catcher, either, and when they put a hard hat on the pitcher (which, I predict, they will do in a year or two), I won’t like that, either.
But, I particularly do not like the challenge option, and I’ll tell you why (you’re welcome): it eliminates one of the great traditions of the game- the bad call that you just have to live with, because, well, because the Ump made the call, and that’s all there is to it- unless you’re the Manager, in which case, you have the obligation to storm out of the dugout and get in the Umpire’s face, questioning, first, his vision and ability to judge this situation, and then moving along to his heritage and intelligence level and so on, until he throws you out of the game. Great theater, and for decades a Manager’s dedication and loyalty to “his guys” has been indicated by his ability and willingness to get out there and blow his top. I know of no case in which an Umpire was motivated to reverse his decision because his family of origin and the dimensions of his reproductive organs were spoken of disparagingly, at high volume, with the crowd roaring in support, or derision. It wasn’t about getting the decision reversed, of course. It was about demonstrating that the Manager (and, by extension, his team) was a stand up guy, who wasn’t going to take a bad call (even, sometimes, if it wasn’t really a bad call) without a tussle.
Now? Feh. Now, the Manager raises a pinky and says, “Excuse me. I’d like that judged, please”, and the Umpire says, “Of course. We’ll do that right away. It’s certainly possible that we’ve made a mistake, and let’s all just put our minds at rest, why don’t we”. Christ in a crinoline tutu, it’s enough to make you weep.
The right call was what the Umpire said. You live with it. Now? Now, we’ve lost another piece of what makes the game interesting, in the name of accuracy. That was never the point. To hell with it.
I said I would be writing something on replay, and I will in a couple of weeks (a slight delay seems only appropriate). If you want a hint about my feelings, I invite you to meditate on the end of “The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennant”.