Let's stop the sainthood for Roy Halladay campaign

Leave a comment

The guys behind the most excellent Blue Jays blog Drunk Jays Fans love them some Roy Halladay, but they’ve had a bit too much of the post-trade Halladay-love.  After first acknowledging that Halladay was the best pitcher to ever wear the bird, they let loose:

What I don’t understand is the sentiment that seems to exist amongst
Jays fans that Halladay did us some sort of favour by pitching here.
Again, he was excellent, and that should be celebrated, but during his
entire time in Toronto he was paid very close to market value and given
every possible perk that he desired.

The fact that he signed
more than one extension to stay in Toronto doesn’t mean he was
sacrificing anything. He took those deals because it was the devil he
knew: the media he didn’t have to answer questions from, the players
who revered him and the comfort that comes from the familiar.

That doesn’t make him any less of a competitor, but it also doesn’t make him a saint.

I guess they didn’t see his thank you letter in the Sun . . .

Replay review over base-keeping needs to go

Elsa/Getty Images
2 Comments

The Red Sox are off and running in the first inning of Game 1 of the World Series against the Dodgers. Andrew Benintendi and J.D. Martinez each hit RBI singles off of Clayton Kershaw to give the Red Sox an early 2-0 lead.

Benintendi’s hit to right field ended with a replay review. Rather than throw to the cutoff man, right fielder Yasiel Puig fired home to try nabbing Mookie Betts, but his throw was poor. Catcher Austin Barnes caught the ball a few feet in front of and to the right of home plate, then whipped the ball to second base in an attempt to get Benintendi. Benintendi clearly beat the throw, but shortstop Manny Machado kept the tag applied. After Benintendi was ruled safe, the Dodgers challenged, arguing that Benintendi’s hand may have come off the second base bag for a microsecond while Machado’s glove was on him. The ruling on the field was upheld and the Red Sox continued to rally.

Replay review over base-keeping is not in the spirit of the rule and shouldn’t be permitted. Hopefully Major League Baseball considers changing the rule in the offseason. Besides the oftentimes uncontrollable minute infractions, these kinds of replay reviews slow the game down more than other types of reviews because they tend not to be as obvious as other situations.

Baseball has become so technical and rigid that it seems foolish to leave gray area in this regard. A runner is either off the base or he isn’t. However, the gradual result of enforcing these “runner’s hand came off the base for a fraction of a second” situations is runners running less aggressively and sliding less often so there’s no potential of them losing control of their body around the base. Base running, particularly the aggressive, sliding variety, is quietly one of the most fun aspects of the game. Policing the game to this degree, then, serves to make the game less fun and exciting.

Where does one draw the line then? To quote Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart, describing obscenity in Jacobellis v. Ohio, “I know it when I see it.” This is one area where I am comfortable giving the umpires freedom to enforce the rule at their discretion and making these situations impermissible for replay review.