Say what you want about Jeff Pearlman’s take on steroids in baseball, but at least he’s consistent. He was on Mike Silva’s NYBD podcast last night, and doubled down on his accusations:
For the record, Pearlman reiterated his position on Jeff Bagwell saying he was “so certain he used steroids from being around that team, era, and researching his Clemens book.” He would go on to tell me that if Bagwell didn’t use then the “world is flat.”When I asked him if Craig Biggio falls into the same category as Bagwell because he played for Houston, a team that he said earlier in the show was hotbed for PED use, he said yes.
At this point Pearlman is so far out on an accusatory limb that the notion of holding back for fear of a lawsuit or something is silly. As such — and given how important he and so many others view the issue of steroids to baseball and the Hall of Fame — is he not obligated to actually report on it? To pass along the information he gleaned from his research for his Clemens book which he says implicates Bagwell and Biggio?
This isn’t a rhetorical question. There’s so much irresponsible speculation floating around. Pearlman clearly believes that it’s not a point of speculation: it’s fact. And Pearlman may be right about this stuff. Doesn’t he do baseball journalism a service by settling the matter? If I was a Sports Illustrated editor I’d be calling him ten times a day, imploring him to write the story.
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:
Earlier, Craig covered Rob Manfred’s comments in which he accused the Major League Baseball Players’ Association of “a lack of cooperation” concerning some proposed rule changes. The union would need to agree to any such changes, which have included automatic intentional walks, limiting mound visits, pitch clocks, and swapping batting practice times for home and visiting teams.
Manfred went on to say that MLB will impose those rule changes unilaterally next year as allowed in the latest collective bargaining agreement.
Tony Clark, the executive director of the MLBPA, responded to Manfred’s comment. Via Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports:
“Unless your definition of ‘cooperation’ is blanket approval, I don’t agree that we’ve failed to cooperate with the Commissioner’s office on these issues.”
“Two years ago we negotiated pace of play protocols that had an immediate and positive impact. Last year we took a step backward in some ways, and this off season we’ve been in regular contact with MLB and with our members to get a better handle on why that happened.”
“I would be surprised if those discussions with MLB don’t continue, notwithstanding today’s comments about implementation. As I’ve said, fundamental changes to the game are going to be an uphill battle, but the lines of communication should remain open.”
“My understanding is that MLB wants to continue with the replay changes (2min limit) and the no-pitch intentional walks and the pace of Game warning/fine adjustments.”
Clark’s response isn’t anything too shocking. Manfred’s accusation was pretty baseless, but it’s behavior to be expected of a commissioner who comes down on the side of the owners over the players almost always.