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.

Oakland Athletics reverse course, will continue to pay minor leaguers

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Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Oakland Athletics owner John Fisher has reversed course and will continue to pay minor leaguers. Fisher tells Slusser, “I concluded I made a mistake.” He said he is also setting up an assistance fund for furloughed employees.

The A’s decided in late May to stop paying paying minor leaguers as of June 1, which was the earliest date on which any club could do so after an MLB-wide agreement to pay minor leaguers through May 31 expired. In the event, the A’s were the only team to stop paying the $400/week stipends to players before the end of June. Some teams, notable the Royals and Twins, promised to keep the payments up through August 31, which is when the minor league season would’ve ended. The Washington Nationals decided to lop off $100 of the stipends last week but, after a day’s worth of blowback from the media and fans, reversed course themselves.