A year ago, Johan Santana was accused of rape. The police investigated, found the accuser’s statements “to be inconsistent with that of other witnesses” and declined to file charges. Back in August, Santana’s accuser filed a civil suit in Florida. Santana is now asking that it be dismissed. Why? Because the accuser filed it anonymously, using a Jane Doe, rather than using her real name.
Those of you who have filed high profile trials involving rape or sexual abuse may be wondering why Santana would be asking this, given how common it is for alleged victims to be given anonymity. But that’s mostly in criminal cases, where the victims are merely witnesses, not parties to the suit. In civil suits, such as this one, the accuser is a party seeking money damages. In such cases, the presumption of our legal system is that it is open to the public, and that anonymity is only granted a party if his or her interest in maintaining their privacy outweighs the public interests invoked by an open legal system.
While this is a matter that continues to be litigated, the burden to remain anonymous in a civil lawsuit is pretty high, and it’s not at all uncommon for courts to require that a Jane Doe plaintiff either sue under her own name or else drop the suit, even in sexual assault and rape cases.
And yeah, I realize this has little to do with baseball, but there are a handful of legal issues in the world that still hold my interest, and this is one of them, so you get my ramblings on it. Wait around a while and I’m sure someone’s option will be picked up.
“Work fast and throw strikes” has long been the top conventional wisdom for those preaching pitching success. The “work fast” part of that has increasingly gone by the wayside, however, as pitchers take more and more time to throw pitches in an effort to max out their effort and, thus, their velocity with each pitch.
Now, as Ben Lindbergh of The Ringer reports, the “throw strikes” part of it is going out of style too:
Pitchers are throwing fewer pitches inside the strike zone than ever previously recorded . . . A decade ago, more than half of all pitches ended up in the strike zone. Today, that rate has fallen below 47 percent.
There are a couple of reasons for this. Most notable among them, Lindbergh says, being pitchers’ increasing reliance on curves, sliders and splitters as primary pitches, with said pitches not being in the zone by design. Lindbergh doesn’t mention it, but I’d guess that an increased emphasis on catchers’ framing plays a role too, with teams increasingly selecting for catchers who can turn balls that are actually out of the zone into strikes. If you have one of those beasts, why bother throwing something directly over the plate?
There is an unintended downside to all of this: a lack of action. As Lindbergh notes — and as you’ve not doubt noticed while watching games — there are more walks and strikeouts, there is more weak contact from guys chasing bad pitches and, as a result, games and at bats are going longer.
As always, such insights are interesting. As is so often the case these days, however, such insights serve as an unpleasant reminder of why the on-field product is so unsatisfying in so many ways in recent years.