Bud Selig always says nice things when a team is sold. Remember when Frank McCourt bought the Dodgers? Selig had this to say then:
A day after News Corp. reached an agreement in principle to sell the Dodgers to Boston real estate magnate Frank McCourt for $430 million, MLB commissioner Bud Selig expressed confidence the deal would be completed despite questions about whether McCourt had sufficient financial backing.
“I’m not concerned,” Selig said Saturday about the proposed sale … “I don’t think Allen & Co., Stan Shuman or Fox would have gone this far if they felt there were economic problems that couldn’t be surmounted.”
Yeah, well, everyone is entitled to be wrong sometimes. The key is not letting that get you down and moving forward with confidence and optimism. Which is what Selig did today when the new owners of the Dodgers took control:
“After a long and difficult road, the sale of the Dodgers is now complete, and I am pleased that the club can have the fresh start it deserves under new ownership. I congratulate Mark Walter, Magic Johnson, Stan Kasten and all of their partners, and I look forward to working with them. In addition, I want to personally thank all Dodger fans for their patience and loyalty during this trying period. I have said many times that we owed it to them to ensure that the club was being operated properly and would be guided appropriately in the future. It is my great hope and firm expectation that today’s change in ownership marks the start of a new era for the Los Angeles Dodgers and that this historic franchise will once again make the city of Los Angeles proud.
“Despite going through bankruptcy court, this process required the same due diligence and analysis that any other sale would demand. Through all the challenges of this highly unique situation, our requirements were met. Ultimately, the sale produced a record figure in all of sports, illustrating the strength of our industry.
“The 2012 season is off to a remarkable start. As we welcome the new stewards of the Dodgers, I am grateful that the unbecoming events of recent years are behind us and the focus can be squarely on the field, where the Dodgers currently hold the best record in the National League.”
Here’s hoping we’re not revisiting this again in 2020.
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.
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: