Manny Ramirez doesn’t feel the need to impress you

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Manny Ramirez was asked if his early season struggles were the result of him pressing in an effort to make a good impression. Manny hasn’t hit much these days, but he smacked that one out of the park:

“I don’t need to impress nobody. I’ve got almost 600 home runs.”

Truth.  Maybe not as to how Rays fans actually feel — they’d probably like to be a bit more impressed right now — but on the notion that Manny is not, by damn sight, the kind of guy who feels he needs to prove anything to anyone.  I mean, no one has yet found the Rosetta Stone for Manny Ramirez-motivation, but we can be pretty sure that it’s not about what other people think.

For what it’s worth, I’m one of those people who thinks/thought that Manny will/would have a big year in Tampa. Because, rather than the wacky lazy caricature he is considered by many, I think he has a twisted sort of inner motivation. How could he not given what he’s accomplished? Lots of guys with his raw talent have done way, way less.

One day, after he’s dead, someone is going to cut him open and find some alien/super hero DNA and realize that he was motivated by something akin to saving the Bottled City of Kandor or something.  Until then: mystery.

MLB to crack down on sign stealing

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We’ve had a couple of notable incidents of sign stealing in Major League Baseball over the past couple of years. Most famously, the Red Sox were found to be using Apple Watches of all things to relay signs spied via video feed. Sports Illustrated reported yesterday that there have been other less-publicized and unpublicized incidents as well, mostly with in-house TV cameras — as opposed to network TV cameras — stationed in the outfield and trained on catchers, for the specific purpose of stealing signs.

As such, SI reports, Major League Baseball is cracking down beginning this year. Within the next couple weeks an already-drafted and circulated rule will take effect which will (a) ban in-house outfield cameras from foul pole to foul pole; (b) will limit live broadcasts available to teams to the team’s replay official only, and the replay official will be watched by a league official to keep them from relaying signs to the team; and (c) other TV monitors that are available to the clubs will be on an eight-second delay to prevent real-time sign stealing. There will likewise be limits on TV monitors showing the game feed in certain places like tunnels and clubhouses.

Penalties for violation of the rules will include the forfeiting of draft picks and/or international spending money. General managers will have to sign a document in which they swear they know of know sign-stealing schemes.

As was the case when the Apple Watch incident came up, there will not be any new rules regarding old fashioned sign stealing by runners on second base or what have you, as that is viewed as part of the game. Only the technology-aided sign stealing that has become more prominent in recent years — but which has, of course, existed in other forms for a very, very long time — is subject to the crackdown.

While gamesmanship of one form or another has always been part of baseball, the current wave of sign-stealing is seen as a pace-of-play issue just as much as a fairness issue. Because of the actual sign-stealing — and because of paranoia that any opponent could be stealing signs — clubs have gone to far more elaborate and constantly changing sign protocols. This requires mound meetings and pitchers coming off the rubber in order to re-start the increasingly complex series of signs from dugout to catcher and from catcher to pitcher.

Now, presumably, with these new rules coming online, teams will figure out a new way to cheat. It’s baseball, after all. It’s in their DNA.