St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Chris Carpenter celebrates after getting Texas Rangers' Mike Napoli to fly out and end the 6th inning of Game 5 of MLB's World Series baseball championship in Arlington

Chris Carpenter seems to have forgotten one of those unwritten rules he cares so much about

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Last night, after giving up a homer to Adrian Beltre, Chris Carpenter retired Mike Napoli on a long fly out to end the sixth inning.  After the fly ball, Carpenter appeared to yell multiple expletives at Napoli. Expletives that begin with the letter F and which seem to say “Good sir, you may have thought you were going to do something productive there, but you did not. Thus (a) you should go have intercourse with yourself; and (b) you are a portion of excrement.”

Or maybe he didn’t. Maybe he was just yelling “Motte” but everyone misheard him.  Either way, Big Legaue Stew has video of it with someone filling in the words that seem to fit Carpenter’s words, but be VERY forewarned: it’s loud and profane. It’s funny too, but that’s beside the point.

All of which makes me wonder about Chris Carpenter. About how he justifies his own behavior in light of the fact that he once famously called out a player for yelling at himself. That took place in 2010 when Carlos Lee popped out in a key situation and, angry at his failure, appeared to chastise himself for it.  The theory behind Carpenter’s anger at that: you don’t disrespect the pitcher by implying that the failure was your own as opposed to you being dominated by said pitcher. Yeah, I know, that sounds crazy, but at the time, Carpenter’s manager Tony La Russa said that Carpenter was totally in the right:

Pence hits the ball out of the ballpark. Carp didn’t make a good pitch. Carp doesn’t say a word. He doesn’t say anything to the guy that hit it. It’s his mistake. Well, routinely now, hitters pop up a pitch they think they should deal with and they start making noises, and that really is disrespectful to the pitcher. Most of the pitchers just turn around and ignore it. Carp doesn’t. I think Carp’s right, and I think Carp’s in the right. Respect should go both ways.

“If he gets you out, he gets you out. Zip it and go back to the plate. If he gives it up, you zip it and let the guy go around the bases–or single, double, whatever it was. Most pitchers let the guy
jabber. I don’t think Carlos Lee is anything special as far as a guy who disrespects, but it’s so common now. Carp will let you know.”

Respect should go both ways. Hitters should shut up no matter what, even if they’re not talking to the pitcher at all, but the pitcher can call the hitter a “piece of sh**” and give him the old “eff you” when he pops up.

Man, I’m glad we have Chris Carpenter around to keep us straight on all of these unwritten rules. They’re so complicated!

Rob Manfred on robot umps: “In general, I would be a keep-the-human-element-in-the-game guy.”

KANSAS CITY, MO - APRIL 5:  Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred talks with media prior to a game between the New York Mets and Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium on April 5, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
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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.

Report: MLB approves new rule allowing a dugout signal for an intentional walk

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 29:  MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred laughs during a ceremony naming the 2016 winners of the Mariano Rivera American League Reliever of the Year Award and the Trevor Hoffman National League Reliever of the Year Award before Game Four of the 2016 World Series between the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians at Wrigley Field on October 29, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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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: