Max Scherzer
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Max Scherzer doesn’t approve of pitch clocks

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Earlier this month, Major League Baseball announced that the league would be implementing 20-second pitch clocks for the duration of spring training. It’s an idea that’s been bandied about for the last several years and finally made its way to the minor leagues in 2015, with little to no disturbance of the pace of play.

Still, that doesn’t mean MLB players are excited by the idea. Last week, Dodgers’ ace Clayton Kershaw voiced his displeasure, telling reporters he intends to maintain his usual timing and routine on the mound without giving any thought to the 20-second constraint between pitches. Fellow Dodgers lefty Rich Hill echoed the sentiment. While he doesn’t expect to be significantly thrown off by the implementation of the clock, he called the measure “ridiculous” and segued into a rant about the increasing pressure to speed up the game.

Dodgers pitchers aren’t the only ones who have a bone to pick with the league. On Saturday, Nationals right-hander Max Scherzer said the clock would fundamentally alter the nature of baseball itself. Via ESPN:

“I know as players, that’s something that MLB is trying to negotiate,” said Scherzer, a newly elected member of the Major League Baseball Players Association’s executive board. “I don’t think there’s negotiation here. As players, it just shouldn’t be in the game. Having a pitch clock, if you have ball-strike implications, that’s messing with the fabric of the game. There’s no clock in baseball, and there’s no clock in baseball for a reason.”

As previously noted here, the pitch clock isn’t intended to shorten the overall length of games, but rather to trim any excess “dead time” between pitches — something that would be far more difficult to enforce without a ball-strike penalty for players who go over the allotted time to adjust their position in the batter’s box or start their windup. It also hasn’t been so obtrusive as to warrant significant complaints from minor leaguers, who have worked around the clock for three seasons now. Whether that holds true on a bigger stage remains to be seen.

The Players’ Weekend uniforms are terrible

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The Yankees and the Dodgers have a storied World Series history, having met in the Fall Classic 11 times. Part of what made those falls so classic was the livery worn by each club.

The Yankees’ uniforms have gone unchanged since 1936. The Dodgers, though changing cities in 1958, have had the same basic, classic look with only minor derivations for almost as long. You can’t even say the names of these teams without picturing pinstripes, those red Dodgers numbers, both teams’ clean road grays, the Yankees navy and the Dodgers’ Dodger blue.

They looked like a couple of expansion teams last night however, at least sartorially speaking.

As you probably know it’s Players’ Weekend this weekend, and teams all over the league wore either all black or all white with player-chosen nicknames on the back. We’ve had the nicknames for a couple of years now and that’s fine, but the black and white combo is new. It doesn’t look great, frankly. I riffed on that on Twitter yesterday a good bit. But beyond my mere distaste for the ensembles, they present a pretty problematic palette, too.

For one thing the guys in black blend in with the umpires. Quick, look at these infields and tell me who’s playing and who’s officiating:

The white batting helmets look especially bad:

But some guys — like Enrique Hernandez of the Dodgers, realized that pine tar makes the white helmets look super special:

There was also a general issue with the white-on-white uniforms in that it’s rather hard to read the names and the numbers on the backs of the jerseys. This was especially true during the Cubs-Nationals game in the afternoon sunlight. You’ll note this as a much bigger problem on Sunday. It’s all rather ironic, of course, that the players have been given the right to put fun, quirky nicknames on the backs of their jerseys but no one can really see them.

The SNY booth was reading many people’s minds last night, noting how much Mad Magazine “Spy vs. Spy” energy this is throwing off:

I’ll also note that if you’re flipping between games or looking at highlights on social media it’s super hard to even tell which team is which — and even what game’s highlights you’re seeing — just by looking which, you know, is sort of the point of having uniforms in the first place.

I’m glad the players have a weekend in which they’re allowed to wear what they want. I just wish they’d wear something better.