Pete Nice

Murray Chass gives Pete Nice the gas face, doesn’t understand how the law works

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Remember Prime Minister Pete Nice? I do, because I’m old, but you should too because 3rd Bass was pretty awesome. Well, Nice’s real name is Pete Nash, and his gig these days is baseball memorabilia. I’ve read some stuff about him operating in this world and, like a lot of memorabilia dudes, he sounds pretty shady. He’s been in trouble for fraud and has lost lawsuits and all kinds of things. It’s an icky world and he sounds quite of it.

Murray Chass, a blogger, takes on Nash today. As far as the inspiration goes — Nash being crooked and Nash not being cool to other people in the industry — Chass has a pretty good point. Of course like anything else he does, Chass stretches the point in order to try to make some other, totally stupid point:

Known in his rapper days as Prime Minister Pete Nice, Peter Nash is known today as the epitome of what is primarily wrong with the Internet and blogs … They give Nash a free hand to do and say what he wants about whom he wants with no way of being stopped. Nash has a Web site, “Hauls of Shame,” which he uses to defame people. The Internet gives him that opportunity. Anybody can use the Internet for whatever purpose he wants. You don’t need a license. Just pay a few bucks a month, put a name on the site and you’re off and writing.

This from the guy who uses his blog to level unsubstantiated accusations of steroid use against ballplayers all the time.

Hey Murray: guess what? The law still applies to blogs. If Pete Nash defames someone, he’s just as liable for it as a newspaper writer might be. Really. I mean, I know you may think that’s not the case because you’ve never been sued for the nonsense you’ve blogged about, but that’s just because no one pays attention to you, not because the law doesn’t apply to you.

But that aside, let me know when your “people who write about things on the Internet should be forced to get a license” campaign goes.

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: