Jim Tracy on Ubaldo Jimenez: “It’s the most gutless act I have seen in 35 years of professional baseball”

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Jim Tracy didn’t mince words about the Ubaldo Jimenez-Troy Tulowitzki thing from yesterday:

“It’s the most gutless act I have seen in 35 years of professional baseball. I have lost all respect for him. To do something like that and walk down off the mound, and if there’s any suggestion whatsoever that the ball got away, I don’t want to hear any of that (expletive). He intentionally threw at him. He should be suspended. I am going to be very disappointed if he doesn’t get suspended. He deserves to be”

I don’t know about “gutless” — a lot of behavior people call cowardly actually takes a lot of dumbass and misguided bravado of a sort — but this is low rent.  But it’s not unprecedented or anything. Guys settle scores like this — including ones based on pissy little media wars — all the time.  I think the gold standard for this may be Jose Mesa drilling Omar Vizquel every single time he faced him for years following Vizquel slamming Mesa for blowing the 1997 World Series in his autobiography.

Anyway, even if I disapprove of Jimenez’s stunt — throwing at guys intentionally is the worst — I think the most gutless part of it was the standard “the ball got away from me” stuff after the game.  They all say that because it helps form the basis of their appeal after they get disciplined, but gosh, at least give a no comment here. Everyone knows what was going on.

MLB’s juiced baseball is juicing Triple-A home run totals too

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There has been considerable evidence amassed over the past year or two that the baseball used by Major League Baseball has a lower aerodynamic profile, leading to less drag, which leads directly to more home runs. If you doubted that at all, get a load of what is happening in Triple-A right now.

The minors have always had different balls than the majors. The MLB ball is made in Costa Rica at a Rawlings facility. The minor league balls are made in China. They use slightly different materials and, by all accounts, the minor league balls do not have the same sort of action and do not travel as far as the big league balls. Before the season, as Baseball America reported, Major League Baseball requested that Triple-A baseball switch to using MLB balls. The reason: uniformity and, one presumes, more accurate analysis of performance at the top level of the minor leagues.

The result, as Baseball America reports today, is a massive uptick in homers in the early going to the Triple-A season:

Last April, Triple-A hitters homered once every 47 plate appearances. As the weather warmed up, so did the home run rate. Over the course of the entire 2018 season, Triple-A hitters homered every 43 plate appearances. So far this year, they are homering every 32 plate appearances. Triple-A hitters are hitting home runs at a rate of 135 percent of last year’s rate.

Again, that’s in the coldest, least-homer friendly month of the season. It’s gonna just get worse. Or better, I guess, if you’re all about the long ball.

Which you had better be, because if they did something to deaden the balls and reduce homers, we’d have the same historically-high strikeout and walk rates but with no homers to provide offense to compensate. At least unless or until hitters changed their approach to become slap hitters or something, but that could take a good while. And may still not be effective given the advances in defense since the last time slap hitting was an important part of the game.

In the meantime, enjoy the dingers, Triple-A fans.