The Cardinals are complaining about slick balls again

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chris carpenter headshot cardinals.jpgLast October John Smoltz and the Cardinals complained mightily about the balls being used in Great American Ballpark. The beef: that the Reds don’t properly rub them down with Lena Blackburne Baseball Rubbing Mud to remove the gloss as God and Major League Baseball rule 3.01(c) intends.

They’re at it again, with Chris Carpenter saying after yesterday’s game that the baseballs
were not prepared properly. Carpenter: “(Either) they make an adjustment or look into it, (or) ultimately,
somebody’s going to get hurt. Something’s going to get
away, or whatever, and end up getting somebody in the head. I hope that
doesn’t happen.”

This is the power of suggestion at work. Last fall Carpenter’s manager and the future Hall-of-Famer made a big stink over it. He knows for weeks if not months ahead of time that he’ll make his season debut in Cincinnati. I think he just psyched himself out over it.

And to be sure: the rule linked above says that it’s the umpires — not the home team who supplies the balls — who has final sign-off on whether they’re acceptable for game play.  The umpires for yesterday’s game thought the balls were OK. The Reds’ pitchers had to use the same balls and they didn’t complain. Unless Carpenter thinks they’re all in on the conspiracy too, I’m chalking this up to self-inflicted delusion.

Report: MLB likely to unilaterally implement pace of play changes

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ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that talks between Major League Baseball and the MLB Players’ Association concerning pace of play changes have stalled, which makes it more likely that commissioner Rob Manfred unilaterally implements the changes he seeks. Those changes include a pitch clock and a restriction on catcher mound visits.

Manfred said, “My preferred path is a negotiated agreement with the players. But if we can’t get an agreement, we are going to have rule changes in 2018, one way or the other.”

The players have made several suggestions aimed at reducing the length of games, such as amending replay review rules, strictly monitoring down time between innings, and bringing back bullpen carts.

It is believed that MLB is proposing a pitch clock of 20 seconds. If a pitcher takes too long between pitches, he will have a ball added to the count. If the hitter takes too long, then he will have a strike added to the count.