On Saturday, Pirates outfielder Jose Tabata controversially broke up Max Scherzer’s perfect game with two outs in the ninth inning when he was hit by a two-strike slider. Some argued that Tabata intentionally leaned into the pitch. Others argued he should have at least made more of an effort to get out of the way of the pitch. Members of both groups suggested the Nationals should throw at Tabata in his first at-bat on Sunday.
Tabata took his place in the batter’s box in the second inning of Sunday afternoon’s series finale in Washington, D.C. against Gio Gonzalez, treated to a chorus of boos from the home crowd. Gonzalez’s first pitch to Tabata was a 91 MPH fastball over the middle of the plate.
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Gonzalez would have been in the wrong for throwing at Tabata. For one, that would simply make him a bad human being, as a batter’s career can end in an instant if he’s hit by a pitch in the wrong area. Moreover, Tabata did nothing wrong in getting hit on Saturday when he faced Scherzer. The logic that getting hit by a pitch to break up Scherzer’s perfect game is “bush league” — as many argued yesterday — is as silly as thinking that Yankees reliever Jose De Paula was bush league for not throwing a meatball to J.D. Martinez this afternoon when he came to the plate in the seventh inning with an opportunity to have a four-homer game. He flew out to right field instead. Should the Tigers have thrown at one of the Yankees? Or maybe Bryan Holaday — who hit directly behind Martinez — should have kicked a clump of dirt around home plate into Yankees catcher Brian McCann’s face?
Unwritten rules are dumb, you guys.
ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports that the Major League Baseball Players Association has submitted a proposal to the league concerning the 2020 season. The proposal includes a 114-game season with an end date on October 31, playoff expansion for two years, the right for players to opt out of the season, and a potential deferral of 2020 salaries if the postseason were to be canceled.
Passan clarifies that among the players who choose to opt out, only those that are considered “high risk” would still receive their salaries. The others would simply receive service time. The union also proposed that the players receive a non-refundable $100 million sum advance during what would essentially be Spring Training 2.
If the regular season were to begin in early July, as has often been mentioned as the target, that would give the league four months to cram in 114 games. There would have to be occasional double-headers, or the players would have to be okay with few off-days. Nothing has been mentioned about division realignment or a geographically-oriented schedule, but those could potentially ease some of the burden.
Last week, the owners made their proposal to the union, suggesting a “sliding scale” salary structure. The union did not like that suggestion. Players were very vocal about it, including on social media as Max Scherzer — one of eight players on the union’s executive subcommittee — made a public statement. The owners will soon respond to the union’s proposal. They almost certainly won’t be happy with many of the details, but the two sides can perhaps find a starting point and bridge the gap. As the calendar turns to June, time is running out for the two sides to hammer out an agreement on what a 2020 season will look like.