UPDATE: David Huff’s agent Jim McDowell informed Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com that his client will not be starting on Sunday. And, apparently, the tweet is to blame.
“If word got out about Huff possibly throwing a spot start on Sunday, it was not David’s doing. He did not post anything on Twitter about any of this, in fact his own account was terminated over a month ago. And if stuff gets out and circulates over the internet or Twitter, or whatever, well, welcome to 2010.
“Dave will be pitching for AAA Columbus tomorrow, apparently because this was such a big deal. He’ll continue to focus on making the necessary improvements and adjustments that will bring him back to the big leagues for what will be a long, successful career.”
Though Huff and his agent are denying it, an account belonging to @DHuff11 said otherwise on Friday. Regardless, that his innocent actions may have cost him a start on Sunday is patently absurd.
Friday, 7:30 PM: Triple-A Columbus hurler David Huff found out Friday that he was being recalled by the Indians to make a start on Sunday. Obviously excited about the news, he did what the typical 25-year-old with a twitter account would do:
DHuff11 Just got called up for a spot start Sunday against the Detriot Tigers at 1 pm EST. See you there!!
And he might have gotten away with it, too, except Indians reporter Anthony Castrovince picked it up and retweeted it, letting everyone know something the Indians weren’t ready to announce.
As a result, Huff’s status for Sunday is up in the air and his twitter account has been deleted. Indians pitching coach Tim Belcher told Castrovance the callup “may or may not happen” now.
Hopefully, the Indians will go easy on Huff. He wasn’t trying to break a story. He didn’t have a million people following him. He got some good news, and he wanted to let his friends and family know he had gotten a return ticket to the majors, even if it was for just a day. It wasn’t an offense that should cost him the callup.
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.
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: