Yep. We’re still waiting for things to pick up ’round here.
There’s still time, but I’m now starting to think the minors may stick with its placeholder league names for 2021. I hope I’m wrong, but if our local teams are any indication, maybe they’re fine with leaving money on the table… at least until the asking prices go down.
Baseball America had an item yesterday about MLB putting its (jackbooted) foot down on the practice of leaning on official scorers to change their decisions. This may actually be a good thing, though a better thing might be for MiLB to hire/fire/manage official scorers like umpires. But I guess that would be more expensive than the typical arrangement.
Lastly, for those who may have missed it, the Atlantic League will be implementing two new rules – a 61½’ mound and the “double hook.”
What has surprised me the most is how almost everybody has talked about the mark of 60’6″ – never mind it was supposed to have been 60′ 0″ when the mound was moved back from 50′ in 1893 – as being somehow sacred, as if MLB hadn’t changed the height of the mound not once, not twice, but three times since then (1904, limit of 15″ no minimum; 1950, 15″ no more, no less; 1969, 10″ no more, no less).
If there’s one thing the past year has taught us, is that despite the so-called emphasis on STEM, “the ‘S’ and ‘E’ ain’t understood so good.” And MLB hiking up its skirt for gambling is a pretty clear admission that they know it’s the same for ‘M.’ Sorry if that suits any of you to a ‘T.’ (Doubtful here, but in the comments section of WaPo or MASN? Hoo boy – talk about Darwin’s waiting room…)
Pushing the mound back a foot is really not that big of a deal. Pitchers are already throwing anywhere from 62′ to 65′ depending on where the catcher sets up in the catcher’s box (something that shouldn’t shock anyone who’s been a coach). In fact, I’d rather see them try raising the mound back up. Or (*gasp*) calling the strike zone the way it’s written in the book. They are, after all, already experimenting with robot umpires.
Likewise, the “double hook,” which appears to have the effect of forcing managers to use their starting pitchers longer, can so easily be gamed it’s not funny. Want to use an opener? Just use yesterday’s starter as your DH and bat him 9th. Or use your long man and have him pitch once you want to lift the opener.
We saw for ourselves last summer that the DH has absolutely no effect on how managers make pitching changes. Not in today’s game. I strongly suspect that we’ll see the same in the Atlantic League or anywhere else Herr Manfred, et al wants to
use the players as guinea pigs test.