The Phillies got mad at the Mets for a quick pitch last night

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Mentioned this in the recaps but it deserves its own post, if for no other reason than because watching Larry Bowa in vintage arguing form is so satisfying.

In the seventh, Mets reliever Hansel Robles quick-pitched Darin Ruf, who clearly wasn’t ready for the ball. Robles said after the game that the ump had pointed at him which means “go ahead.” You can’t see that in this replay as the ump is already in the crouch, but the ump does sorta try to stop the pitch with the hands-up “time out” motion. Not that he was too emphatic about it:

 

Quick pitches often get lumped in with the so-called “unwritten rules.” Even Mets manager Terry Collins thinks they are, it seems, as after the game he said “Until they make the (quick) pitch illegal, you can do it.” But the fact is, they are illegal. From Rule 8 of the MLB rules:

Rule 8.01(b) Comment: With no runners on base, the pitcher is not required to come to a complete stop when using the Set Position. If, however, in the umpire’s judgment, a pitcher delivers the ball in a deliberate effort to catch the batter off guard, this delivery shall be deemed a quick pitch, for which the penalty is a ball. See Rule 8.05(e) Comment.

. . .

Rule 8.05(e) Comment: A quick pitch is an illegal pitch. Umpires will judge a quick pitch as one delivered before the batter is reasonably set in the batter’s box. With runners on base the penalty is a balk; with no runners on base, it is a ball. The quick pitch is dangerous and should not be permitted.

Of course the rule is rarely enforced. I can’t ever remember seeing a ball or a balk called due to a quick pitch. And, as my Mets fan friends tell me this morning, Mets pitchers have been doing it a lot this year.

If it is becoming more common, baseball needs to enforce the rule. Because while, yes, they want the pace of the game sped up and for batters to quit farting around in the box, it’s not at all safe for pitchers to throw a 90 m.p.h.+ fastball in the direction of a guy who is not looking for it.

Angels fire back at Rob Manfred’s comments re: Mike Trout

AP Photo/Ted S. Warren
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Angels outfielder Mike Trout‘s marketability has been a topic of conversation in recent days as the best players in baseball converged upon Washington, D.C. for the All-Star Game. We learned that, according to one firm that measures consumer appeal of personalities, Trout is as recognizable to the average American as Brooklyn Nets reserve forward Kenneth Faried, despite being far and away the best player in baseball and one of the greatest players ever to play the game.

Commissioner Rob Manfred also addressed Trout’s marketability, Gabe Lacques of USA TODAY Sports reported. Manfred said, “Mike has made decisions on what he wants to do, doesn’t want to do, how he wants to spend his free time or not spend his free time. I think we could help him make his brand very bug. But he has to make a decision to engage. It takes time and effort.”

The Angels fired back on Wednesday, releasing a statement that said:

On behalf of the Angels Organization and baseball fans everywhere, congratulations to Mike Trout on another outstanding All-Star Game performance.

Mike Trout is an exceptional ambassador for the game. Combined with his talent, his solid character creates a perfect role model for young people everywhere. Each year, Mike devotes a tremendous amount of his time and effort contributing to our Organization, and marketing Major League Baseball. He continually chooses to participate in the community, visiting hospitals, schools, and countless other charities. One of Mike’s traits that people admire most is his humility. His brand is built upon generously spending his time engaging with fans, both at home and on the road, while remaining a remarkable baseball player and teammate.

In addition, Mike spends quality time as a husband, son, brother, uncle, and friend. We applaud him for prioritizing his personal values over commercial self-promotion. That is rare in today’s society and stands out as much as his extraordinary talent.

It’s not on Trout to build a brand that appeals to MLB’s marketing department, so the Angels are right to back Trout’s decision to stay out of the limelight. The Angels’ motivation likely isn’t entirely selfless, however, as supporting him in this situation may make it more enticing for him to sign a contract extension before his current contract expires after the 2020 season.