Well, this is awesome. According to Bill Shakin of the Los Angeles Times, MLB has scheduled every game on the final day of the regular season to start at the same time. The idea with this new little wrinkle is to ramp up the drama leading into the playoffs:
“If a game impacts another game, they’re all occurring at the same time, so no team would be put into a lame-duck situation because their fate already had been decided by an earlier result,” said Tony Pettiti, MLB chief operating officer.
“If we do have games coming down to the wire, we want to make sure we maximize that day.”
All games on Sunday, October 4 will start at 3 p.m. ET.
In addition to all the drama, excitement, and nail-biting which will surely commence on that afternoon, it might also change how some teams approach things. The Pirates lost on the final day of the regular season last year, which clinched the NL Central for the Cardinals. The Cardinals had a later start and were able to scratch Adam Wainwright at the last minute and rest him for Game 1 of the NLDS against the Dodgers. Teams won’t have the luxury to wait on decisions like that anymore. You’re going to have to go for it.
It’s hard to see a negative with this idea. If anything, the hardest part will be trying to keep up with everything that might be going on. Of course, that will be a fun problem to have for baseball fans. Bring on the chaos.
José Bautista hasn’t appeared in the majors since 2018 but the 39-year-old isn’t done playing just yet. Last month, we learned via a report from ESPN’s Jeff Passan that Bautista is hoping to come back as a two-way player. He spent the winter working out as a pitcher.
Bautista had also been working with former Blue Jays teammate Marcus Stroman. Back in January, Stroman tweeted, “My bro @JoeyBats19 is nasty on the mound. We been working working. All jokes aside, this man can pitch in a big league bullpen. I’ll put my word on it!”
In March, Passan added some details about Bautista, writing, “I’ve seen video of Jose Bautista throwing a bullpen session. Couldn’t tell the velocity, but one source said he can run his fastball up to 94. His slider had legitimate tilt — threw a short one and a bigger bender. @STR0 said in January he could pitch in a big league bullpen.” Stroman retweeted it, adding, “Facts!”
Stroman reiterated his feelings on Tuesday. He tweeted, “Since y’all thought I wasn’t being serious when I said it the first time…my bro @JoeyBats19could EASILY pitch in a big league bullpen. Easily. Sinker, slider, and changeup are MLB ready!” Stroman attached a video of Bautista throwing a slider, in which one can hear Stroman calling the pitch “nasty.”
Stroman attached another video of Bautista throwing a glove-side sinker:
Replying to a fan, Stroman said Bautista’s body “is in better shape than 90-95% of the league.”
I am not a scout and won’t pretend to be one after watching two low-resolution videos. And Stroman’s hype is likely partially one friend attempting to uplift another. That being said, I’ve seen much worse from position players attempting to pitch. It’s a long shot, especially given his age, that Bautista will ever pitch in the majors, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see him get an opportunity to pitch in front of major league scouts.