Well, this certainly puts a new spin on the Dodgers-Dbacks rivalry, Swimming Pool-Gate and all of that. Anthony Jackson reports that maybe it was more than just fun and games going on at Chase Field on Thursday night:
. . . it has come to my attention that one of the Dodgers players who jumped in the pool — and I will do him the favor of leaving his name out of this for now — openly and loudly bragged after leaving the pool about having urinated in it … There also are indications that MULTIPLE Dodgers players urinated into the pool, but I can’t tell you that with any certainty. It’s just what I’ve heard.
This information has changed Jackson’s view of the little celebration from one in which it was fun and harmless to one in which it was sick and classless.
I can see that. I mean, I’m not all that interested in diving deep into the matter of whether or not someone peed in the pool, who it was, whether they are remorseful about it and all of the kind of handwringing that comes up about any weird, off-the-field matter of morals, ethics and taste, but I can see that.
For what it’s worth, I can muster some sharp thoughts about these matters for DUIs and PEDs and all manner of other things — I probably have a greater tolerance for it than most people — but I can’t go there for peeing in pools. I just can’t. At least not until we have a teary confession and an official statement from someone. Or maybe just some silly statements. If this spins silly, sure, I’ll be all over it, but I cant put on my serious/judgmental face for pee in a pool.
In other words: we’re gonna let this story mellow for a bit.
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.
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: