Bobby Valentine the “front runner” for the Brewers’ job

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There’s increasing heat to the Bobby Valentine-to-the-Brewers talk. On Saturday Bob Nightengale suggested that it was close to a done deal. Then yesterday Jon Heyman reported that Valentine was at the top of the Brewers’ list.  Heyman went furhter, saying that Joey Cora, Bob Melvin, and Ron Roenicke were second through fourth on the list. Which is kind of odd because I always thought that “the list” was more metaphorical. Maybe the Brewers actually have a numbered ranking system like the Harris poll or something.

We’ve been in “Valentine is the front runner” land multiple times in recent months only to have it not pan out. But given the increasing boldness and certainty to these reports, one has to think that the Brewers have decided on Valentine and are simply waiting for the World Series to end before making things official.

There will be a pitch clock for spring training

Associated Press
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Major League Baseball just announced that there will be a pitch clock for spring training. It will be a 20-second pitch clock, phased in like so:

  • In the first Spring Training games, the 20-second timer will operate without enforcement so as to make players and umpires familiar with the new system;
  • Early next week, umpires will issue reminders to pitchers and hitters who violate the rule, but no ball-strike penalties will be assessed. Between innings, umpires are expected to inform the club’s field staff (manager, pitching coach or hitting coach) of any violations; and
  • Later in Spring Training, and depending on the status of the negotiations with the Major League Baseball Players Association, umpires will be instructed to begin assessing ball-strike penalties for violations.

As is the case in the minors, the batter will have to be in the batter’s box and alert to the pitcher with at least five seconds remaining on the timer; and the pitcher needs only to begin his windup before the 20-second timer expires, as opposed to having thrown the pitch. The timer will not be used on the first pitch of any at-bat. Rather, it begins running prior to the second pitch once the pitcher receives the ball from the catcher.

The league has not decided if the pitch clock will be used in the regular season yet. It can do so unilaterally, without union approval, for one year if it chooses to since it first introduced the idea last year.

There will likely be a lot of complaining about this, but as someone who has been to several minor league games with the clock in place, it’s pretty seamless and not noticeable. Minor leaguers had few if any complaints about its implementation.