Brandon Phillips doesn't back down; Cardinals still, presumably, "little bitches"

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Gotta admire a man for sticking to his guns.  Here’s Brandon Phillips a few minutes ago, the day after his “the Cardinals are little bitches” comments:

“I said what I said and the Cardinals can say what they said. They can
say all they want about what I said, I don’t care. I’ve said all I’ve
got to say. All I want to do is win, beat those guys and win.”

No “I was misquoted” or “that was taken out of context.”  He just owns it.  Good for him.

His teammates are basically letting it go too.  Bronson Arroyo describes it as “Brandon being Brandon,” and compares him to OchoCinco. Arroyo goes on to note that the whole “is this ammunition for the other guys” question isn’t easy to answer. After all, he says, if someone plunks Phillips over it, he’s liable to come around and score.

Dusty Baker and Walt Jocketty are also quoted and while neither of them seem all that happy about Phillips comments, their responses are more of the eyes rolling variety.  Which is probably the best response.  The only thing that makes this a bigger distraction than it already is is for the Reds to make it one.

Replay review over base-keeping needs to go

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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.