For a guy who is supposedly Joe Torre’s heir apparent, Don Mattingly hasn’t exactly distinguished himself the couple of times he’s had the chance to manage. You’ll recall that the Dodgers batted out of order the last time Mattingly was in charge. He blundered again last night.
Both Joe Torre and bench coach Bob Schaefer were ejected following a series of plunkings, and that put Donnie Baseball at the helm. Mattingly came out to talk to his closer Jonathan Broxton. After the chat, he left the mound to walk back to the dugout but then turned around to say something more, treading on the mound a second time. Bruce Bochy realized this was, technically speaking, a second mound visit, and it required that Broxton be removed from the game. You can see it all go down here, complete with Vin Scully voice-over.
That meant the recently ineffective George Sherrill had to come in. Sherill promptly gave up a two-run double to Andres Torres, which
made it 6-5 Giants. They ended up taking it 7-5.
Is the two-visit rule a dumb rule? Maybe when it’s applied in the case of a simple about-face like Mattingly did (the rationale for the rule is clearly to speed the game along, and Mattingly’s second “visit” lasted mere seconds). But it’s not something guys get caught up on very often. Bochy certainly knew the rule. According to the game story the Dodgers players did too, because they were telling Mattingly to stop before he stepped foot back on the mound. It’s really something Mattingly should have known.
Maybe this has no bearing whatsoever on what kind of a manager Don Mattingly will be some day, but when you don’t have a track record of managing to fall back on, this kind of stuff is going to stick out in everyone’s mind when it comes time to make the decision of who replaces Joe Torre.
Every year the playoff schedule is announced, every year people complain. And it’s understandable why they do. After six months of games starting at around 7pm — bam! — the playoffs come and you’re either staying up late or tuning in early to watch your local nine.
Of course, the reason for this is that Major League Baseball has two fundamental problems to deal with when the playoffs come around (a) the country is big; and (b) baseball is local and two-thirds and more of the fans don’t have a local team to root for in the playoffs. As such, baseball has to make a schedule that somehow deals with teams — like the Mets and Dodgers — who have big time differences between their home fan bases while trying to rope in as many national viewers as possible.
This means compromises and weirdness like, say, the first couple of Mets-Dodgers games starting after 9pm Eastern time on Friday and Saturday. Or the Texas Rangers starting a game at what, back home in Texas, will be 11:45AM. Which, admittedly, aren’t great start times, but do we expect Dodgers fans in L.A. to fight Friday rush hour traffic and be home in time to watch a game featuring the local team any earlier than 6pm? Seems like a tall order.
Anyway, the early round schedule was just released and you can see it below. If you are so inclined you can find all manner of inconveniences here. Sure, if you don’t have a job — or if being online and watching baseball all day is your job — Friday’s back-to-back-to-back-to-back playoff games are pretty sweet. But otherwise, just plan accordingly and do the best you can.
And remember: no one gives a rip about these schedule issues about ten minutes after the games start:
Major League Baseball just released the umpire assignments for the Wild Card Game and the Division Series. As always, the basis for these assignments is a proprietary, scientific calculation undertaken by Major League Baseball, mixing in (a) skill; (b) seniority; and (c) trolling of baseball bloggers who, unlike 99% of the rest of the world actually know the names and track records of various umpires and who are easily riled.
Which is to say that, while we have no Joe West in the early playoff rounds this year — too obvious, perhaps? — we do get an Angel Hernandez.
Here are the assignments. The asterisks represent the crew chief of each unit. Guys with little up arrows next to their names are regular season crew chiefs in their own right. Print this out and keep it near your television so you know who to yell about before the broadcasters tell you who to yell at: