Terry Collins

Terry Collins makes the unwritten rules even more complicated than they already were

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Here’s an interesting philosophical question: if you get into one of those unwritten rules, Old School situations in which the other guy’s big star gets drilled and, you can expect, your big guy is going to get hit in retaliation, are you obligated to make your big guy bat and take that lump?

Terry Collins was faced with that situation last night.  After Rickie Weeks hit a home run, Mets pitcher D.J. Carrasco drilled Ryan Braun with the next pitch. It certainly seemed intentional, and given that the ump immediately ejected Carrasco, he thought so too, Carrasco’s “it got away from me” post-game schitck notwithstanding.

But, as the Old School rules dictate, the score is not settled until someone gets hit in retaliation (never mind that either the homer or the ejection could be thought of as balancing out the scales; this is Sparta after all). It seems more likely that if the Brewers’ superstar got drilled, the Mets’ star would be hit in return. And David Wright was due up soon.

Except Collins didn’t let it happen. He pulled Wright for a pinch hitter, and explained his reasoning to the press after the game:

“You want to know why I took him out of the game?” Collins said later, his voice sharp and loud. “He wasn’t getting hurt … I’ve got news for you: In this game there are unwritten rules and one of the unwritten rules is, ‘You hit my guy — I’m hitting your guy.’ They were not hitting my guy tonight.”

Wright was visibly angry in the dugout when Collins yanked him. Collins later said that Wright said “if someone’s going to get hit, it’s going to be me.” Which I suppose is standup leadership of some twisted kind. Indeed, I’m reminded of Major Heyward allowing himself to be burned by the Huron Indians so Hawkeye and his pals can go free in “Last of the Mohicans.” Oh, Major Heyward, your bravery and sacrifice was ever so noble!

Anyway, the question I have is whether, in not allowing the unwritten rules play themselves out, Terry Collins, in fact, broke the unwritten rules. You double-cross once – where’s it all end? An interesting ethical question. Oh, and doesn’t this mean that Wright is now certain to get hit the next time the Mets and Brewers play? Was anything accomplished?

Gosh baseball is 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)
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)
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: