David Ortiz: "People is horrible"

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Thumbnail image for David Ortiz strikeout.jpgThe Boston Globe’s Amalie Benjamin has a feature on David Ortiz and how he’s been dealing with his early season struggles and the criticism that comes with it.  The short answer? Not well.  Really, if you want to see the dictionary definition of a guy who can’t handle the critics, this is it. Among the highlights:

  • “That’s why I came to be, going from being an angel to being [a jerk]. It
    wasn’t because of me. It was because people change you.”
  • “People take the happiness away from you because they worry about making
    some extra dirty money. That’s how I call it. When you criticize a
    person like me about my game, you’re just trying to make some dirty
    money.”
  • “So if you’re telling me that just because of the fact that I’m not
    hitting at the time, you’ve got to bury me like that?'”
  • “Everything kind of switched from one day to another, boom, and then you
    see the real faces. Then you see what people are going to be like when
    you fail.”
  • “when you turn on the TV, living in Boston, all you hear is people just
    saying bad things about you like you are a killer, like you just killed
    somebody. Like you got no chance in hell to be back. That [stuff] just
    crushes, that [stuff] just hits you, that [stuff] just buries.”
  • “I know how to fight back,” Ortiz said. “That’s the thing. I’m a nice
    guy. I don’t like to see people struggling. I don’t like to be horrible
    to people. I don’t like to be mean to people. But on the other hand,
    people make you be like that. People is horrible.”

The most interesting bit is where he goes on about ESPN’s Buster Olney, with Ortiz calling him out for saying that he could no longer handle the inside fastball.  Ortiz’s beef: he never gets inside fastballs, so Olney is full of it.  I don’t have the Pitch f/x-fu to figure out who’s right about that, but I suppose someone is checking that out as we speak.

However that turns out, there’s no question that Ortiz is being overly-sensitive here. He has been among the most beloved players in all of baseball the entire time he’s been in Boston. He got off easier on the PEDs stuff than any player ever has.  The criticism he’s gotten — that his production doesn’t match his contract, and that Boston might need to go in a different direction — has been relatively recent and has been no harsher than anything any player in that position has ever received. Indeed, in a lot of ways much easier, inasmuch as it’s almost always tinged with an empathy and a reminder about how much he has meant to the franchise.  I mean really, if he thinks that what he’s gotten has been bad as far as the Boston media is concerned, he hasn’t been paying attention to the Boston media very long.

More generally speaking, I think it’s pretty apparent that David Ortiz never learned
the most important thing about celebrity, which is not to believe
everything people say about you when you’re high or when you’re
low.

Big Papi was quite comfy when people had
nothing but nice things to say about him, which has been the case for
almost his entire career. Now that he’s seeing the other side of that, he can’t take it.  Which is pretty sad.

Rob Manfred on robot umps: “In general, I would be a keep-the-human-element-in-the-game guy.”

KANSAS CITY, MO - APRIL 5:  Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred talks with media prior to a game between the New York Mets and Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium on April 5, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
Ed Zurga/Getty Images
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Craig covered the bulk of Rob Manfred’s quotes from earlier. The commissioner was asked about robot umpires and he’s not a fan. Via Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports:

Manfred was wrong to blame the player’s union’s “lack of cooperation” on proposed rule changes, but he’s right about robot umps and the strike zone. The obvious point is that robot umps cannot yet call balls and strikes with greater accuracy than umpires. Those strike zone Twitter accounts, such as this, are sometimes hilariously wrong. Even the strike zone graphics used on television are incorrect and unfortunate percentage of the time.

The first issue to consider about robot umps is taking jobs away from people. There are 99 umps and more in the minors. If robot umpiring was adopted in collegiate baseball, as well as the independent leagues, that’s even more umpires out of work. Is it worth it for an extra one or two percent improvement in accuracy?

Personally, the fallibility of the umpires adds more intrigue to baseball games. There’s strategy involved, as each umpire has tendencies which teams can strategize against. For instance, an umpire with a more generous-than-average strike zone on the outer portion of the plate might entice a pitcher to pepper that area with more sliders than he would otherwise throw. Hitters, knowing an umpire with a smaller strike zone is behind the dish, may take more pitches in an attempt to draw a walk. Or, knowing that information, a hitter may swing for the fences on a 3-0 pitch knowing the pitcher has to throw in a very specific area to guarantee a strike call or else give up a walk.

The umpires make their mistakes in random fashion, so it adds a chaotic, unpredictable element to the game as well. It feels bad when one of those calls goes against your team, but fans often forget the myriad calls that previously went in their teams’ favor. The mistakes will mostly even out in the end.

I haven’t had the opportunity to say this often, but Rob Manfred is right in this instance.

Report: MLB approves new rule allowing a dugout signal for an intentional walk

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 29:  MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred laughs during a ceremony naming the 2016 winners of the Mariano Rivera American League Reliever of the Year Award and the Trevor Hoffman National League Reliever of the Year Award before Game Four of the 2016 World Series between the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians at Wrigley Field on October 29, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images
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ESPN’s Howard Bryant is reporting that Major League Baseball has approved a rule allowing for a dugout signal for an intentional walk. In other words, baseball is allowing automatic intentional walks. Bryant adds that this rule will be effective for the 2017 season.

MLB has been trying, particularly this month, to improve the pace of play. Getting rid of the formality of throwing four pitches wide of the strike zone will save a minute or two for each intentional walk. There were 932 of them across 2,428 games last season, an average of one intentional walk every 2.6 games. It’s not the biggest improvement, but it’s something at least.

Earlier, Commissioner Rob Manfred was upset with the players’ union’s “lack of cooperation.” Perhaps his public criticism was the catalyst for getting this rule passed.

Unfortunately, getting rid of the intentional walk formality will eradicate the chance of seeing any more moments like this: