The Mattingly mound visit: MLB says the umps were wrong; umps disagree

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I’ll admit that I was rather confused about the Don Mattingly mound visit thing the other night.  After my initial post yesterday I was mostly persuaded by others that even if the umpires were following the letter of the rule regarding Mattingly making two mound visits, they weren’t following the spirit of the rule because Donnie Baseball wasn’t trying to either waste time or play games with matchups or whatever reason managers aren’t allowed to make two visits before changing the pitcher.

But it seems I wasn’t even right that the umpires were following the letter of the rule. Major League Baseball said otherwise yesterday:

Because Mattingly disobeyed the umpire’s warning, the rule calls for
Mattingly to be ejected and for Jonathan Broxton to face the next
batter, then be removed. MLB has told the umpires this interpretation
was the correct one.

Instead, the umpires ruled that Broxton had to be removed immediately.
Mattingly brought in George Sherrill, who didn’t have a chance to warm
up in the bullpen.

To be fair to the umps, it was a highly unusual situation regarding a less-than-crystal-clear rule and they had Bruce Bochy yelling at them about it all while they tried to work through it.  Even if they were ultimately wrong about it I’m willing to cut some slack under the “everyone’s human” rule.

Not that this clears anything up:

Crew chief Tim McClelland did not agree with MLB’s interpretation.

“I am not of the opinion [that’s the way the rule should have been
applied],” McClelland said. “The league is of that opinion. It’s a
difference of opinion in a situation that’s not covered.”

I think it’s safe to say that if, more than a day later, the umps, the league and parties involved still can’t agree on what should have happened, we’re dealing with a rule that desperately needs an overhaul.

Zack Greinke named the Dbacks’ Opening Day starter

SCOTTSDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 21:  Pitcher Zack Greinke #21 of the Arizona Diamondbacks poses for a portrait during photo day at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick on February 21, 2017 in Scottsdale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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Not a surprise, but a news item on a slow news day is a news item on a slow news day: Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo has named Zack Greinke as the club’s Opening Day starter.

Greinke’s first season with the Diamondbacks is not exactly what the club hoped for when he signed a six-year, $206.5 million deal in December of 2015. He dealt with oblique and shoulder issues while struggling to a 4.37 ERA over 26 starts. Greinke hasn’t pitched yet this spring, but will make his spring debut on Friday. He and the club are obviously hoping for a quiet March and a strong beginning to the season.

Either for its own sake or to increase the trade value of a player who was acquired by the previous front office regime.

“La Vida Baseball,” celebrating Latino baseball, launches

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A new website has launched. It’s called “La Vida Baseball,” and it’s all about celebrating the past, present and future of Latino baseball from a Latino perspective.

The site, produced in partnership with the Hall of Fame, has four general areas of focus:

  • Who’s Now: Focusing on current Latino players;
  • Who’s Next: Focusing on top prospects here, in the Caribbean and in Central and South America;
  • Our Life: Off-the-Field stuff, including player’s lives, lifestyles and hobbies; and
  • Our Legends: Focusing on Latino baseball history, Hall of Famers and overlooked players.

As the site has just launched there aren’t yet a ton of stories up there, but there is one about Roberto Clemente, another about Felix Hernandez and some other stuff.

The site is much-needed. Baseball reporters for American outlets are overwhelmingly white, non-Spanish speakers. Reporters, who, generally, gravitate to the players who are the most like they are. Which is understandable on some level. When you’re writing stories about people you need to be able to communicate with them and relate to them on more than a mere perfunctory level. As such, no matter how good the intentions of baseball media, we tend to see the clubhouse and the culture of baseball from a distinctly American perspective. And we tend to paint Latino players with a broad, broad brush.

La Vida Baseball will, hopefully, remedy all of that and will, hopefully, give us a fresh and insightful depiction Latino players and their culture.