Division Series - New York Yankees v Baltimore Orioles - Game Two

It doesn’t matter now, but Ichiro shoulda been called out last night

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It was fun as anything to watch, and because the Orioles won the game it ended up not mattering, but we can all agree that Ichiro should have been called out on that crazy Matrix/parkour play from the first inning last night, right?

In case you were under a rock last night:

Rule 7.08 of the official rules of Major League Baseball states:

Any runner is out when—
(a) (1) He runs more than three feet away from his base path to avoid being tagged
unless his action is to avoid interference with a fielder fielding a batted ball. A
runner’s base path is established when the tag attempt occurs and is a straight
line from the runner to the base he is attempting to reach safely . . .

At the outset, note that it does not say THE base  path. It says HIS base path.  This doesn’t change the analysis because he was still way beyond that, but it is worth noting that the white line between home and third is not relevant here. A batter’s base path has to do with the angle he’s taking toward home. Like, say, if he had rounded third big and was heading straight home on an angle from the grass just foul of the line.  The idea is that he can’t deviate more than three feet from that line — the line on which he is running — not the chalk line.

But really, it doesn’t matter. Because by the time Ichiro started his juking and jiving, he was in the back of the catcher’s box behind the plate. Which is EIGHT FEET from the plate. There are fat cat fans with seats closer to the plate than Ichiro was last night.

Why wasn’t he called out? Probably because no one is ever called out on those sorts of plays. Same reason why catchers are never called for interference when they block the plate even if they don’t have the ball yet despite the rules saying they can’t do that.  It’s just never been done. Ask Greg Maddux, who was an expert at getting calls far away from the plate even when he wasn’t pitching.

Again, no biggie because it ended up not mattering, but it certainly seems that Ichiro shoulda been called out.

Yordano Ventura’s remaining contract hinges on the results of his toxicology report

DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 24: Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals pitches against the Detroit Tigers during the first inning at Comerica Park on September 24, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
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Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports provides an interesting window into how teams handle a player’s contract after he has died in an accident. It was reported on Sunday that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura died in a car accident in the Dominican Republic. He had three guaranteed years at a combined $19.25 million as well as two $12 million club options with a $1 million buyout each for the 2020-21 seasons.

What happens to that money? Well, that depends on the results of a toxicology report, Rosenthal explains. If it is revealed that Ventura was driving under the influence, payment to his estate can be nullified. The Royals may still choose to pay his estate some money as a gesture of good will, but they would be under no obligation to do so. However, if Ventura’s death was accidental and not caused by his driving under the influence, then his contract remains fully guaranteed and the Royals would have to pay it towards his estate. The Royals would be reimbursed by insurance for an as yet unknown portion of that contract.

The results of the toxicology report won’t be known for another three weeks, according to Royals GM Dayton Moore. Dominican Republic authorities said that there was no alcohol found at the scene.

Ventura’s situation is different than that of Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, who died in a boating accident this past September. Fernandez was not under contract beyond 2016. He was also legally drunk and cocaine was found in his system after the accident. Still, it is unclear whether or not Fernandez was driving the boat. As a result, his estate will receive an accidental death payment of $1.05 million as well as $450,000 through the players’ standard benefits package, Rosenthal points out.

Spring training will be slightly shortened in 2018

SCOTTSDALE, AZ - MARCH 15:  General view of action between the Oakland Athletics and the San Francisco Giants during the spring training game at Scottsdale Stadium on March 15, 2014 in Scottsdale, Arizona. The A's defeated the Giants 8-1. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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The Associated Press is reporting that the spring training schedule will be shortened by two days starting in 2018. That change comes as part of the new collective bargaining agreement, which was agreed to last month.

Specifically, the voluntary reporting date for pitchers, catchers, and injured players has been changed to 43 days before the start of the regular season, down from 45. For the rest of the players, the reporting date is 38 days before the start of the regular season, down from 40.

The change goes hand-in-hand with allowing teams 187 days, rather than 183, to complete their 162-game regular season schedule.

While just about everyone seems to be in agreement that the spring training exhibition schedule is too long, team owners are likely very hesitant to shorten that part of the spring schedule because it would cost them money. So they’re just allowing players to arrive to camp a couple of days later.