Things you can totally miss even if you do nothing but read crap about baseball all day, even in the winter: Major League Baseball has a new rule that limits batters’ walkup music to no more than 15 seconds.
I learn this by reading about Shane Victorino’s disappointment with the new rule over at WEEI. He has taken to using Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds,” in which the crowd booms in with “Every little things/gonna be alright!” Which comes way past the 15 second mark. Victorino thinks the rule is taking away from the fan experience and that it could impact batters’ rhythms and things.
I’ll admit: being at Game 6 of the World Series and listening to the crowd sing along with Shane and Bob was kind of cool. Maybe even chill-inducing. But (a) I imagine that effect wears off after more than a game, especially when the games aren’t last-game-of-the-World-Series intense; and (b) if everyone did that kind of stuff games would take even longer than they already do.
The lesson: go with punk rock, kids. Those songs are all short and sweet and will get things moving along while still pumping people up.
James Paxton of the Mariners is 3-0 with a 1.39 ERA, 39 strikeouts and only six walks in 32.1 innings of work over five starts. Last night he shut the Tigers down, tossing seven shutout innings, striking out nine and allowing only four hits. With Felix Hernandez looking less than king-like lately, Paxton is asserting himself as the new ace of the Seattle staff.
And now the tall Canadian native has a nickname to match his ace-like status:
“Pax was really outstanding and we certainly needed it,” manager Scott Servais said of the Canadian southpaw. “Big Maple is what he was nicknamed tonight and I kind of like that. He was awesome.”
“Big Maple” is a fantastic nickname. That’s the sort of nickname guys used to get back when nicknames were great. Before managers just put “y” at the end of dudes’ names and before the “First Initial-First Three Letters of The Last Name” convention took hold in the wake of A-Rod.
“Big Maple.” That makes me smile. I’m gonna be smiling all dang day because of that.
I mentioned this in the recaps this morning, but I think it deserves it’s own special place. Get what went down in the second inning of last night’s Rays-O’s game:
Ryan Flaherty was on first with Seth Smith up to bat. Smith hit a single to center. Flaherty, who was running with the pitch, was making for third base. All-world defender Kevin Kiermaier tried to gun him down but threw wildly to third, causing Flaherty to break for home.
Pitcher Alex Cobb had the play backed up, however! He got the ball near the dugout. Flaherty scampered back to third and Cobb tried to throw him out. The ball hit Flaherty’s helmet, richocheting into left field, allowing both Flaherty and Smith — who had stopped at first and then stopped at second, like a kid at tee ball or something — to come around and score.
I still think the Rays walking home the winning run on four pitches in the 11th inning was worse, but this looked worse.
Oh well: the Rays get the day off today and tomorrow, of course, is another day.