Over the weekend when C.J. Wilson posted Mike Napoli’s phone number to his 100,000-plus Twitter followers I just assumed it was a prank–albeit a pretty extreme one–but today Napoli made it very clear that he didn’t think it was funny. At all:
I don’t even know why he did it. You don’t do that. I am not taking it as a prank. You know, I haven’t even talked to him since the end of last season. We don’t have that type of relationship.
They’re former teammates and batterymates, but if Napoli and Wilson aren’t even friends and haven’t spoken in five months it’s awfully hard to see what Wilson did as anything but mean-spirited at best.
It all started when Napoli said he looked forward to hitting homers off Wilson, but those are not exactly fighting words. Wilson eventually deleted the tweet, but obviously the damage was done by then and calling it a “prank” after the fact seems like a stretch.
Or as Napoli put it: “I just think it was uncalled for.”
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.