Fans at the Giants home opener Friday against the Pirates got a special treat, as Bryan Stow appeared on the center-field screen prior to the game and his 13-year-old son threw out the first pitch.
As the entire Giants team stood atop the mound Friday, Stow appeared on the center-field screen with his mother, Ann. He told Tyler, “Good luck, son,” before the pitch was delivered. The Giants went on to beat the Pirates 5-0 as Matt Cain tossed his third career one-hitter.
Stow fell into a coma after being beaten at Dodger Stadium following a Giants game nearly a year ago. His condition has improved to the point at which he’s able to talk and eat by himself. He currently shares an apartment at a rehab facility with two other patients while getting full-time assistance. He continues to suffer from short-term memory loss, but he’s made terrific progress from injuries that left him near death.
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.