Charlie Manuel is not particularly interested in hearing you second guess him

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The Phillies had a rough day yesterday. So you can understand that Charlie Manuel was not particularly interested in answering questions about his crappy bullpen. Specifically the bullpen that gave up the 1-0 lead when Antonio Bastardo walked two dudes and gave up a three-run bomb to Carlos Pena.

Someone asked Manuel why Bastardo came in the game in the eighth inning. Manuel explained that Hamels had already thrown 111 pitches, it was hot, it was the eighth inning and how the fates and Ruben Amaro had aligned the world in such a way that Bastardo is the Phillies’ eighth inning guy.  Then he said

“You guys ought to sit in the dugout with me during the game and give me all the scenarios because I don’t think we know them,” Manuel said sarcastically. “We don’t know how to manage a game. Really, you guys ought to sit down there with us or tweet or something and float the information down there to me because I’m not smart enough to get it.”

I’d love to see a Twitter-sourced baseball game in which the manager does whatever his tweeps tell him to do. Maybe some of the matchups would work out better. And maybe Manuel would know who’s having a bad day at work, who can’t get some pop song out of their head, who’s watching that week’s “Mad Men” and what everybody’s beer status was.

Javier Baez: “This is a game. It’s not as serious as a lot of people take it.”

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Infielder Javier Baez is back in camp with the Cubs after helping Puerto Rico to a second-place finish in the 2017 World Baseball Classic. He was the focal point of what was, to many, the most memorable play of the entire tournament: Baez pointed at catcher Yadier Molina, who was attempting to throw out a would-be base-stealer, before applying the tag for the final out of the eighth inning.

While Baez didn’t receive much criticism for his theatrics, aside from an insignificant handful of spoilsports, he is one of the players who most exemplifies the emotional, celebratory culture that foreign players bring to Major League Baseball. U.S. (and Tigers) second baseman Ian Kinsler is on the other side of that spectrum, as he said prior to the WBC final that he hopes kids mimic the solemn way U.S. players play the game rather than the emotional, passionate way players from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic play the game.

Baez isn’t about to apologize for the way he and his teammates play the game. Via CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney, Baez said, “We do a great job playing and having fun out there. That’s what it’s all about. This is a game. It’s not as serious as a lot of people take it. but, you know, everybody’s got their style and their talent. I have a lot of fun.”

He continued, “It’s their choice to look at how we play, how excited we get. To us, it’s really huge what we did, even though we didn’t win. All of Puerto Rico got really together. We were going through a hard time over there and everything got fixed up for at least three weeks. Hopefully, they keep it like that.”

Mike Trout proposes change to spring training umpiring

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Angels outfielder Mike Trout came up with an idea that would allow less experienced umpires an opportunity to call some major league spring training action. As ESPN’s Buster Olney reports, Trout thinks the veteran umpires should only call five or six innings as they get back into regular season shape. The rest of the innings could be called by minor league umpires.

According to Olney, baseball officials loved Trout’s idea when they heard about it last week. One official said, “It makes a lot of sense for a lot of different reasons.” Another said, “That’s Trout — he’s always paying attention to stuff beyond what he’s doing.”

Of course, I have to agree that the suggestion is a great one. As Olney notes, the turnover rate for umpires every year is relatively low, so younger, less-experienced umpires have few opportunities to get a feel for what it’s like calling major league action. Even beyond the actual interpretation of the rules, interacting with big league personalities would also be helpful for minor league umpires.