Gwen Knapp has a troubling story in the Chronicle today. A Giants fan named Billy Chamberlain who has been a fixture outside of the team’s clubhouse for five years has vanished.
Chamberlain — who was intermittently homeless but who had occasionally crashed with a stadium security guard — would talk to Giants players, Bruce Bochy and some of the writers who covered the team. The team would often take up modest collections for him so he could get south to where he reportedly had some family or friends.
He stopped showing up at the end of July and no one is sure of his whereabouts now. He’s been on government assistance for some time and took medication for behavioral and/or mental issues, but the exact nature of his disability isn’t known.
A photo of the man can be seen with Knapp’s story. I suppose there’s a chance someone reading could know him or have seen him. But barring that, I see this story as a reminder that there are an awful lot of people who fill up a small part of our day. We usually take them for granted but are affected when we notice their absence.
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.
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.