Check out this screen capture from the YES Network’s broadcast of last night’s Indians-Yankees game:
See the big fella holding his hand up? He’s got the ball that Indians third baseman Jack Hannahan fouled into the stands in the seventh inning. It came to him after bouncing out of left fielder DeWayne Wise’s glove and rolled down the front row. Wise is about ten feet to the right there. You can see all of that play out in the video here. Third base umpire Mike DiMuro, however, missed it:
He’s out, DiMuro said, despite the fact that Wise didn’t have the ball and despite the fact that DiMuro was right on top of the play. He never asked to see the ball. He just assumed Wise had it. Heck, Wise didn’t even really try to deke the ump or anything and looked just as surprised as anyone when the out was called, and said as much after the game.
Replay now. Or, short of that, umpires actually making sure the outfielder has the ball before calling an out.
According to STATS, INC., the average game in 2015 was 2 hours, 56 minutes. That’s six minutes faster than games in 2014.
The gains came in the first half, when games averaged 2:53. Second half games averaged three hours even. One can probably thank the expanded rosters in September for that, as games then see many more pitching changes. Of course, it’s likely that second half games were faster in 2015 than 2014 as well given the rules changes.
Those changes: agreement to enforce the rule requiring a hitter to keep at least one foot in the batter’s box and the installation of clocks timing pitching changes and between-inning breaks in ever ballpark.
It remains to be seen if MLB stays satisfied with that modest improvement or if chooses to go the way Triple-A and Double-A leagues did. They installed 20-second pitch clocks and started penalizing violators with balls and strikes. Triple-A’s two leagues, the International and Pacific Leagues, saw game-time decreases by 13 and 16 minutes, respectively.
I’m so old I remember when general managers used to run baseball operations departments. Now they’re basically assistants.
The latest example: the Oakland Athletics have promoted Billy Beane to vice president of baseball operations and have named David Forst general manager. Forst has been with the A’s for 16 years and has been Beane’s assistant for 12 years, so it’s not exactly a situation in which Forst will be making the final calls. The official move came today, though the move has been in the works for some time, it seems.
Someone with a lot of good front office access is going to write a good story this winter about the title inflation going on in Major League Baseball over the past year. And it’s gonna be great when one of his or her sources breaks the pattern of saying “well, baseball transactions are so much more complex these days . . . ” and admits “hey, if Theo gets a fancy title and La Russa gets a fancy title I WANT A FANCY TITLE TOO.”
Not that it’s much of a secret as it is.