Jack McKeon used to lock Marlins’ clubhouse door to keep Josh Beckett out during games

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Josh Beckett is among the Red Sox pitchers who reportedly drank beer, ate fried chicken, and played video games in the clubhouse during games and former Marlins manager Jack McKeon recalls locking the clubhouse door to keep Beckett (and Brad Penny) in the dugout during the 2003 season.

Not only that, McKeon told Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post that he forced players to use bathroom passes–which he amusingly called “poo-poo cards and pee-pee cards”–if they wanted to go into the clubhouse mid-game.

Here’s more from McKeon:

In between innings they’d go to the clubhouse to get a drink or hang out. I said, “Hey, I got no rule against going up if you have to go to the bathroom or something, but get back.” A couple of times I looked down the bench to talk to somebody and they weren’t there. They were in the clubhouse. So I went up and got them out and said, “OK, boys that’s it. We’ll lock the door.”

Florida won the World Series that season and a 23-year-old Beckett was named World Series MVP.

McKeon told Capozzi that he also had to threaten to keep this season’s Marlins out of the clubhouse, but never actually locked the door:

You had a lot of pitchers who didn’t have anything to do. What I wanted them to do is teach them how to focus. If they wanted to be good they’re going to have to focus by watching the opposition and learning something instead of running up to the clubhouse and getting a drink and kibitzing and stuff like that.

Presumably by “getting a drink” he means something non-alcoholic, although at this point who knows.

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.