DWI policy, maple bats, new helmets all part of the new collective bargaining agreement

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More health and safety stuff from the new collective bargaining agreement.  First, let’s call this new part the “2011 DUI-fest Memorial Contract Provision”:

The parties agreed on a program of mandatory evaluation by a trained professional for Players who are suspected of an alcohol use problem (including Players who are arrested for DWI or other crimes involving alcohol), and for players who are arrested for crimes involving the use of force or violence.

No fines or suspensions or anything yet, but as we talked about when all of those dudes were getting arrested on suspicion of DUI this past year, it’s not as easy to do that as you might think. Ask Derek Lowe, who was arrested, tarred, feathered and … then had all charges dropped against him.

Next up: maple bats:

The parties agreed that no new players will be permitted to use a low density maple bat during the term of the agreement.

So, if you use one now, you’re cool. You’ve been grandfathered into things and you can impale someone completely within your rights as a union member.  New people, nope.  Finally, head safety:

By 2013, all Major League players will wear a new batting helmet developed by Rawlings that protects against pitches thrown at 100 miles per hour. The new version of the helmet is  significantly less “bulky” than prior versions of the more protective helmet.

We remember David Wright and Francisco Cervelli wearing these things. Glad to hear they’re less bulky, but really, if pink-painted pumpkin rinds were proved to protect against concussions, everyone should be on board with it.

Battle of the Aces: Max Scherzer takes on Clayton Kershaw tonight

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I hope you don’t have any plans tonight at around 10PM Eastern time, because that’s when we get a pitching matchup for the ages as Max Scherzer will take on Clayton Kershaw at Dodger Stadium. When they meet tonight it will be the first time two pitchers with three or more Cy Young Awards have matched up since 2006. That year, and in 2005 and 2000, Roger Clemens faced Greg Maddux. In 2001 Clemens faced Pedro Martinez.

Kershaw won his hardware in 2011, 2013 and 2014, with an MVP award in 2014 to boot. Scherzer collected trophies in 2013, 2016 and 2017. Each has started the 2018 season in Cy Young form. Kershaw is 1-2, but that record is due to poor run support. He has a 1.73 ERA and has struck out 31 batters and has walked only three in 26 innings. Scherzer is 3-1 with a 1.33 ERA and a whopping 38 strikeouts to only 4 walks in 27 innings.

This will be the third time that Kershaw and Scherzer faced each other if you include the playoffs. The first meeting was a decade ago when both were rookies. They most recently faced off in Game 1 of the 2016 NLDS, way back when Scherzer only had one Cy Young Award to his credit. Kershaw beat Scherzer in that playoff game and the Dodgers beat Scherzer’s teams in the two regular season matchups, with neither guy setting the world on fire. As so often happens in baseball, the hype hasn’t been matched by reality.

Still, there’s always a chance it will. And even if, in the end, this turns into a slugfest, the first couple of innings should at least give us some hope of something good. I’ll be watching.