Craig Calcaterra

Joe Girardi

Joe Girardi would like Carlos Gomez to “play the game right”

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Great moments in Playing the Game the Right Way. During and after last night’s shellacking at the hands of the Astros, Yankees manager Joe Girardi and catcher John Ryan Murphy suggested that Carlos Gomez do just that after Gomez got mad at himself for popping up a pitch.

Girardi:

“I just told him, ‘Play the game the right way. They’re kicking our rear ends. Show a little professionalism to the pitcher. I know you missed a pitch and are frustrated by it, but I just think it’s a little too much.”

Murphy:

“I don’t think there’s any place for that, especially in a 9-0 game,” Murphy said. “He’s an energetic guy. Everybody knows that. We respect him as a baseball player, just, there’s a right way and a wrong way to play the game.”

Gomez being Gomez should not, at this point, be the cause of consternation. But heck, even if it wasn’t Gomez, I still don’t understand the rules about when it’s OK or not OK to be mad at themselves for not doing what they planned. Pitchers have, for years, yelled at the top of their lungs, gestured wildly, sunk to their knees, shouted into their gloves and any number of other things when they’ve given up a homer or failed to make the pitch they want. No one ever says boo to that.

But if a hitter gets mad at himself for not putting a good swing on a pitch, it’s a crisis of ethics. Madison Bumgarner and Chris Carpenter are famous for taking issue with hitters who are disappointed in themselves. The Yankees entire bench last night did too. It makes zero sense.

Play your own damn game. Let Carlos Gomez play his.

 

Jose Bautista is boycotting SportsNet because they won’t pay for Devon Travis’ suit

Jose Bautista
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Players boycott media outlets fairly often. Sometimes it’s because of perceived slights or the perception of bias. Jose Bautista’s boycott of SportsNet, however, is a tad different:

Jose Bautista has refused to do one-on-one interviews with Sportsnet for the past three months in protest of the broadcaster’s refusal to pay the cost of a designer suit purchased by rookie Devon Travis as part of a TV segment aired on Sportsnet on May 19.

It was one of those “let’s go shopping with the baseball player” features. Shots of Travis trying on clothes, coming out of the fitting room looking dapper, etc. Except Travis ended up paying for the suit himself and Bautista thinks the network should’ve paid for the suit. He says he will not talk to SportsNet — the Blue Jays’ broadcaster — until they pay up.

At first blush it seems sort of petty — Travis makes half a million dollars a year — but I think Bautista has a point here, I think. SportsNet is a media company that pays billions for sports rights. Travis was giving them programming for their profit-making activities. From the story it doesn’t sound as if Travis was buying the suit anyway and SportsNet said “hey, can we film you?” It sounds like an idea the network had for a segment. If a billion-dollar cable network films a segment like that, don’t they pay for wardrobe? Don’t those makeover shows — which this was a derivation of — pay for the duds?

The linked article talks to a media ethicist who thinks it’d be wrong for SportsNet to buy the suit in that it may appear as if they were paying for an interview or something. That seems rather myopic here. It’s an entertainment segment. Produced by the network which is a rights partner and is owned by the Blue Jays’ owner. Given how rights-holder politics go, I’m guessing Travis didn’t feel the same level of freedom to tell SportsNet to go pound sand over this segment as he would some local affiliate from Manitoba. You do these things for the club and so you don’t piss off ownership.

Pay for the suit, SportsNet.

The Phillies got mad at the Mets for a quick pitch last night

Dan Bellino, Larry Bowa, Hansel Robles, Darin Ruf
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Mentioned this in the recaps but it deserves its own post, if for no other reason than because watching Larry Bowa in vintage arguing form is so satisfying.

In the seventh, Mets reliever Hansel Robles quick-pitched Darin Ruf, who clearly wasn’t ready for the ball. Robles said after the game that the ump had pointed at him which means “go ahead.” You can’t see that in this replay as the ump is already in the crouch, but the ump does sorta try to stop the pitch with the hands-up “time out” motion. Not that he was too emphatic about it:

 

Quick pitches often get lumped in with the so-called “unwritten rules.” Even Mets manager Terry Collins thinks they are, it seems, as after the game he said “Until they make the (quick) pitch illegal, you can do it.” But the fact is, they are illegal. From Rule 8 of the MLB rules:

Rule 8.01(b) Comment: With no runners on base, the pitcher is not required to come to a complete stop when using the Set Position. If, however, in the umpire’s judgment, a pitcher delivers the ball in a deliberate effort to catch the batter off guard, this delivery shall be deemed a quick pitch, for which the penalty is a ball. See Rule 8.05(e) Comment.

. . .

Rule 8.05(e) Comment: A quick pitch is an illegal pitch. Umpires will judge a quick pitch as one delivered before the batter is reasonably set in the batter’s box. With runners on base the penalty is a balk; with no runners on base, it is a ball. The quick pitch is dangerous and should not be permitted.

Of course the rule is rarely enforced. I can’t ever remember seeing a ball or a balk called due to a quick pitch. And, as my Mets fan friends tell me this morning, Mets pitchers have been doing it a lot this year.

If it is becoming more common, baseball needs to enforce the rule. Because while, yes, they want the pace of the game sped up and for batters to quit farting around in the box, it’s not at all safe for pitchers to throw a 90 m.p.h.+ fastball in the direction of a guy who is not looking for it.