Bobby Valentine continues to slam the Marlins

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I swear, this will be the last time I post on Bobby Valentine. At least for a long time. That is, at least if nothing interesting happens.  Screw it, we’re launching BobbyValentine Talk next Monday. I’m pulling the trigger on this bad boy!

Anyway, Bobby V. was on Sirius XM’s Mad Dog Russo show today and he offered some more interesting commentary on his odyssey with the Marlins:

“You know, I mean, I was reading in the
paper I wasn’t a candidate,
you know?  And I don’t really like that stuff.  You know, we did have
conversations and then the next thing I know their leaks have people
writing
things that I’m no longer a candidate and they’re going in another
direction.  Well, you know, if that’s the case tell me.  I’m a big
boy.  It’s real easy.”

The most obvious explanation to that is that Valentine was only Jeff Loria’s candidate and that the front office bucked under Loria’s diktat and leaked that stuff to the papers to undermine Valentine’s candidacy and maybe to even tease out the very negative reaction from Valentine displayed in the above quote.

The alternative: the Marlins really are a bunch of sociopaths who all agreed to cut bait on Valentine at once and decided to simply not tell him.  I can’t decide which is worse for the Marlins long term: a house divided or a house united in idiocy.  At least the former has them thinking half-right.

Valentine also added something else, when asked about his interaction with the Orioles, that suggests that just maybe he won’t be managing anywhere in the big leagues any time soon:

“To tell you the truth, the in-season
stuff where you have all the
rules and regulations that are set forth – rightfully so, I guess – by
the
commissioner that you have to interview so many different types of
people from
in and outside your organization before you’re allowed to hire a person
you
want to, it’s a pretty tough process.  I don’t know that it’s tough. 
It doesn’t seem like it’s the way most industries do it.”

So he either doesn’t like how Major League Baseball wants its clubs to approach managerial hires or else he only wants to be a part of a process in which he’s the only candidate. I guess it could be a combination of those things.
Either way, it makes him a rather difficult candidate for almost any team to woo, does it not?

Major League Baseball limits mound visits, puts off pitch clock until 2019

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Major League Baseball just announced its much awaited pace-of-play initiative for 2018. The big news: no pitch clock, with Rob Manfred deciding, in the words of the league’s press release “to defer the implementation of a pitch timer and a between-batter timer in 2018 in order to provide players with an opportunity to speed up the game without the use of those timers.”

But that doesn’t mean there won’t be changes. In rules changes which were reached with the cooperation of the Players’ Union, teams will now be limited to six non-pitching change mound visits per team per game, and one extra visit if the game goes into extra innings. Also, a new rule is being introduced that is designed to reduce the time required for inning breaks and pitching changes.

The mound visit rule is NOT limited to coach or manager mound visits. It also includes position players, including catchers, visiting the mound to confer about signals and the like. It will not count the normal conversations which take place between plays, such as when a pitcher says something to a fielder as they throw the ball around the horn. It likewise does not include things like a first baseman coming to the mound to clean his spikes off with the pitcher’s gear on the back of the mound. Mound visits to check on injuries will not count either.

While six visits may seem like a lot, it really isn’t once you realize that a pitching coach may go out two or three times in a close game and that a catcher, especially in close games, may come out to talk about signs and things seemingly countless times. Heck, they could re-name this the Jorge Posada or Gary Sanchez rule.

There will be one big exception to the rule, which relates to catchers and pitchers truly being crossed up on signals after they have exhausted mound visits. It reads thusly:

3) Cross-Up in Signs. In the event a team has exhausted its allotment of mound visits in a game (or extra inning) and the home plate umpire determines that the catcher and pitcher did not have a shared understanding of the location or type of pitch that had been signaled by the catcher (otherwise referred to as a “cross-up”), the home plate umpire may, upon request of the catcher, allow the catcher to make a brief mound visit. Any mound visit resulting from a cross-up prior to a team exhausting its allotted number of visits shall count against a team’s total number of allotted mound visits.

This makes sense as a matter of safety, if nothing else, as you don’t want a catcher truly not knowing where a pitch is going. It’s also notable as one of the few rules changes in recent years that actually adds in an umpire’s judgment rather than takes a judgment call away from an umpire. It’ll be worth watching, however, to see how easy a touch umpires are about this. Again: if we have a tense September game between Boston and New York and everyone has used up their mound visits, I wonder if the umps will truly enforce the rule.

The big problem here is that there is nothing in the new rule which talks about the penalty for trying to make a seventh mound visit. To that end:

This is gonna lead, at some point, to a pretty big argument. Should be amazing.

As for innings breaks, There will be a timer that counts down from 2:05 for breaks in locally televised regular season games, from 2:25 for breaks in nationally televised regular season games, and from 2:55 for postseason games. The timer shall start on the last out of an inning for an inning break. 

There are set things the players must be doing at certain points on the clock. To wit:

  • When there are 25 seconds left, the umpire will signal to the pitcher to complete his last warm-up pitch;
  • When there are 20 seconds left, the batter will be announced and must leave on-deck circle, his walk-up music shall begin, and the pitcher shall complete last warm-up pitch;
  • When the clock gets to zero, the pitcher must begin his motion for his first pitch of the inning.

There will be “special circumstance” exceptions, such as when other random things are happening on the field that prevents this, such as in-between inning events going too long or something, and an umpire can determine that a pitcher or batter needs more time for safety purposes.

Enforcement of the clock will be handled by umpires directing players to comply. Players who consistently or flagrantly violate the time limits will be subject to progressive discipline by the league. Put differently, no one is issuing automatic balls or strikes here. It’ll be handled by fines.