Ryan Howard responds to Nickelback-listening allegations

78 Comments

Last night in Atlanta during the Phillies-Braves game some fans held up a sign that said: “Ryan Howard listens to Nickelback.”

That’s not an allegation to be taken lightly, so Todd Zolecki of MLB.com followed up with the Phillies first baseman to give him an opportunity to clear the record.

Except … well, Howard didn’t:

Is it bad to listen to Nickelback? I mean, I’m not afraid to say that I diversify my musical portfolio. I didn’t know they could see or hear what … how do they know I listen to Nickelback? I listen to everything. I don’t know if there’s a specific song by Nickelback.

“I didn’t know they could see or hear what … how do they know I listen to Nickelback?” is a pretty spectacular quote. I wish there was video of Howard’s face while saying it.

From now on I think we should all agree to refer to Howard as “former MVP and current Nickelback fan Ryan Howard.” It’s only fair.

There will be a pitch clock for spring training

Associated Press
1 Comment

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.