Ozzie Guillen isn’t the only member of the White Sox’s coaching staff on edge these days, as pitching coach Don Cooper angrily hung up during a radio interview this morning when he was asked why the team hasn’t called up Dayan Viciedo from Triple-A.
Cooper is paid to do the weekly phone interview, but the Chicago Tribune describes how things got ugly:
I have no clue about that. I’m a coach,” Cooper fumed during his session on “The Mully & Hanley Show” on WSCR-AM 670. “Do I feel like something [needs to be done]? Yeah, we have to score some runs. That’s what’s got to be done. And if we do, we have a chance to win. And if we don’t, we won’t.
Nice try, asking me to bring up [bleeping] Viciedo. I not in charge of making moves, I’m in charge of coaching. When host Brian Hanley told Cooper that he wasn’t trying to put him on the spot, Cooper hung up.
Cooper’s tantrum follows Guillen’s postgame freakout last night and speculation that the White Sox may try to put Adam Dunn on the disabled list with a questionable knee injury in order to get him out of the lineup and call up Viciedo.
Chicago is in third place at 47-51 and Minnesota is in fourth place at 46-51, yet the White Sox appear to be coming apart at the seams and the Twins are doing everything they can not to start printing playoff tickets.
Craig covered the bulk of Rob Manfred’s quotes from earlier. The commissioner was asked about robot umpires and he’s not a fan. Via Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports:
Manfred was wrong to blame the player’s union’s “lack of cooperation” on proposed rule changes, but he’s right about robot umps and the strike zone. The obvious point is that robot umps cannot yet call balls and strikes with greater accuracy than umpires. Those strike zone Twitter accounts, such as this, are sometimes hilariously wrong. Even the strike zone graphics used on television are incorrect and unfortunate percentage of the time.
The first issue to consider about robot umps is taking jobs away from people. There are 99 umps and more in the minors. If robot umpiring was adopted in collegiate baseball, as well as the independent leagues, that’s even more umpires out of work. Is it worth it for an extra one or two percent improvement in accuracy?
Personally, the fallibility of the umpires adds more intrigue to baseball games. There’s strategy involved, as each umpire has tendencies which teams can strategize against. For instance, an umpire with a more generous-than-average strike zone on the outer portion of the plate might entice a pitcher to pepper that area with more sliders than he would otherwise throw. Hitters, knowing an umpire with a smaller strike zone is behind the dish, may take more pitches in an attempt to draw a walk. Or, knowing that information, a hitter may swing for the fences on a 3-0 pitch knowing the pitcher has to throw in a very specific area to guarantee a strike call or else give up a walk.
The umpires make their mistakes in random fashion, so it adds a chaotic, unpredictable element to the game as well. It feels bad when one of those calls goes against your team, but fans often forget the myriad calls that previously went in their teams’ favor. The mistakes will mostly even out in the end.
I haven’t had the opportunity to say this often, but Rob Manfred is right in this instance.
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: