It's a Dirtbag world

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It got lost a bit in all the playoff excitement the last couple of days, but I spotted an interesting story in the Long Beach Press-Telegram, which pointed out the amazing baseball pipeline at Long Beach State.

According to the story, Long Beach State had 17 players compete in the major leagues this season, more than any other school.

What is also impressive is the quality of Dirtbags — err, players — on the list, as the group includes All-Stars Jered Weaver, Troy Tulowitzki and Evan Longoria.

Interestingly, according to Baseball-reference, Long Beach State has had only 33 players play in the big leagues overall, so the impressive run is a recent phenomenon.

The honor for most big leaguers in MLB history goes to the University of Texas with 100 (Roger Clemens, Huston Street, etc), followed by Arizona State (98, Barry Bonds, Reggie Jackson, Dustin Pedroia), and Stanford (82, Mike Mussina, Bob Boone).

But for now, it’s a Long Beach world.

It isn’t a stretch to say the parade won’t stop any time soon, either. Third baseman Adam Heether, outfielder Shane Peterson, shortstop Devon Lohman, and pitchers Jarad Hughes, Nick Vincent, Andrew Liebel, Bryan Shaw, Adam Wilk, Charlie Ruiz and Jake Thompson are all performing well enough in the minors to warrant an eventual shot at the majors.

Hail, Dirtbags!

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Martin Maldonado and Willson Contreras say they’re willing to pay fines rather than follow new mound visit rule

Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images
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On Monday, Major League Baseball announced some changes aimed at improving the game’s pace of play, something that has been a pet cause for commissioner Rob Manfred. Among the changes was a limit on mound visits whether from managers and coaches, the catcher, or other defenders. Each team will have six non-pitching change mound visits per game and one additional visit each inning in extra innings. Craig wrote more in depth on the changes here if you happened to miss it.

Angels catcher Martin Maldonado says he is going to do what’s necessary to stay on the same page with his pitchers. Via Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register, Maldonado said, “If the game is on the line, I’m going to go out there. If we’re at six [visits], and it’s going to be the seventh, I’m going to go out there, even if I have to pay a fine. I’m there for the pitchers.”

Cubs catcher Willson Contreras said as much on Tuesday. Per Josh Frydman of WGN News, Contreras said, “What about if you have a tight game and you have to go out there? They can’t say anything about that, that’s my team and we just care about wins. If they’re going to fine me about number seven mound visit, I’ll pay the price.”

Exhibition games haven’t even started yet, but two notable backstops — the lesser-known Maldonado won a Gold Glove last year — are clearly not happy with the rule change. As Craig alluded to in his article yesterday, arguments between catchers and umpires (and, subsequently, managers and umpires) are probably going to become more frequent, which would likely end up nullifying any pace of play improvements.

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Update (4:43 PM ET): In response to this, Manfred said that if a catcher or coach made a seventh mound visit, there would have to be a pitching change (via Fletcher). However, chief baseball officer Joe Torre said (via SB Nation’s Eric Stephen) that the seventh visit cannot trigger a pitching change. The umpire would simply have to prevent the seventh mound visit.