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The Kansas City Royals made the NRA enemies list somehow

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Because it’s the winter and because the Super Bowl is in a couple of days, there is NO baseball news happening. Really, not even crappy players signing one-year contracts to avoid arbitration. We’re desperate here!

Thank God, then, for the NRA.  A few minutes ago I saw people tweeting about the “enemies list” they apparently keep. In the NRA’s parlance, a list of “National Organizations with Anti-Gun Policies.”  Which, sure, if you’re an advocacy group you understandably want to keep a list of people who oppose your agenda, so fair enough. But the list is pretty hilarious, mostly because it goes way beyond actual opposition groups who work to counter the NRA’s agenda and seems to include just about anyone who has ever had a thought about gun ownership that runs counter to the NRA.

Indeed, it has a list of “celebrities” — and since Louie Anderson is on it, that term is defined EXTREMELY loosely. Heck, it has two “Family Feud” hosts on there and doesn’t even include Richard Dawson or Ray Combs. And don’t give me that “because they’re dead!” baloney. Nora Ephron is on the list and she’s dead. Boyz II Men is on the list and they’ve been dead since the early 90s.

Anyway, if you scroll down the list long enough — and you really should — you get to this one:

Kansas City Royals
David Glass, CEO
P.O. Box 419969
Kansas City, MO 64141
Pro Baseball Team

Which, I don’t even know. The Royals haven’t been a threat to anything and haven’t stood for anything since at least the late 80s. But I guess their pitching staffs for the last 20 years have shown an institutional aversion to high caliber firepower, but that’s stretching it a bit. Really, I’m perplexed.  Worth noting while we’re at it that former MLBer Mike Torrez is on the list too. Guessing lots of bitter fans of the 1978 Red Sox are in the NRA.

But I’m not gonna worry about offending the NRA about this. Because if you scroll down even further you get here:

National Broadcasting Company
NBC Television Network
30 Rockefeller Plaza
New York, NY 10112

Anyway, it’s a fun read, and that’s the case no matter how you feel about gun ownership.  Indeed, if you’re pro gun-ownership this list should make you laugh even more. I mean, if you’re prepared to shoot an intruder in your own home, how threatened are you by Art Garfunkel?

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: