June 27, 2022 3:04 pm

MLB can’t stop ruining its own product with needless modifications

When I nod my head, you hit it.

I’m a dope. I spend more time worrying about what baseball’s doing to baseball than those who run The Game.

But a good laugh warms the chill.

Reader Pat Esposito sent a screen shot from the Mariners-Red Sox game, as televised Thursday by the MLB Network. After he’d stopped laughing, he felt the need to share a good joke.

The Red Sox had the bases loaded — Alex Verdugo on third, Trevor Story on second, Bobby Dalbec on first.

That’s when MLBN — from a high, wide shot — decided to graphically explain what it means to have the bases loaded. You know, just in case there wasn’t enough to impede the view or that a viewer, just arrived from the Isle of Duh, needed help.

Above Verdugo, MLBN posted a graphic, an arrow pointing down at him. It read, “Verdugo, R 3B,” apparently to explain that Verdugo was the “R” — runner on third. Or was R 3B his blood type?

So that’s where they keep third base!

Same for Story and Dalbec. Their name, that arrow pointed Cincinnati Bengals Jerseys  toward them, plus each given a graphic, “R 2B” and “R 1B.” Wait a second, let me check … Bingo!

Thus, writes Esposito, he was grateful to MLBN for explaining why those three were on the field, standing near or on those bases. Finally, he understands what’s meant by “bases loaded.”

MLB daily qualifies as the village idiot. And for all the things in immediate need of fixing, MLB repairs what already works. It’s like replacing a roadside “STOP” signs with audio commands.

Umps are now attached to field microphones to announce the obvious: stoppages for replay challenges then, too many minutes later, the adjudications of those challenges.

Hand signals that had clearly told the story were deemed primitive. Had this been open for debate? “All in favor of adding something costly, susceptible to malfunction and totally needless, raise your hands.”

Umpires speak during a replay review.
Umpires speak during a replay review.
USA TODAY Sports

The fully unintended application of MLB’s replay rule — a close call followed by a second guess — was again in bloom Wednesday on SNY.

A bunch of replays followed, the usual unnatural stuff — slow motion, freeze frames, a shot from a hidden camera in a potted plant. Gary Cohen, Ron Darling and Keith Hernandez agreed: off the knob. Cohen even suggested Buck Showalter knows the call “will be overturned.”

But after further delay, word was relayed from MLB’s Downtown Video Nerve Center & Home of Definite Maybes: “After review, the call stands.” SNY cut to the Cards’ dugout, San Francisco 49ers Jerseys where players were seen gesturing disbelief. “Wow, that’s a bad call,” Hernandez said.

And the Cards had lost their one allowed challenge in the first inning because they got it wrong, even if it appeared they were right.

So given two chances at “getting it right” — the rule’s stated intention as per egregiously bad calls — the forces of “Maybe” again triumphed over those of “Perhaps.”

Rob Manfred
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred
AP

But MLB is stuck in stupid. Now we await the artificial elimination of the strategic shift as caused by the slavish but unrealistic misapplication of home-run-or-bust analytics that have inspired the removal of fundamental, winning baseball played by multimillionaires.

MLB already has chosen to artificially put quick ends to extra inning games — once often memorable, even cherished for their tension and unforeseen occurrences — with automatic runners at second.

When Rob Manfred nods his head …

Yanks love to give up bases admiring almost-homers

Even if the Yankees win 110 games, they’ll enter the playoffs a highly vulnerable team if they continue to play Aaron Boone Baseball.

At least four times in recent games, the Yankees wound up a base short due to the youth league-forbidden failure to run to first base.

In one game, Josh Donaldson and DJ LeMahieu, prematurely surrendering to infield ground balls, jogged to first then headed for the dugout when they should have been on first due to first a bobbled ball, later to a bad throw.

This past week, first Aaron Judge, then Giancarlo Stanton chose similarly. For Stanton it was a recurring tale of doing the least he can do playing for a manager who consistently indulges the least from professionals at the sport’s highest level.

That Stanton, last season in a one-game playoff the Yankees lost in Boston, posed a double into a single high off the wall wasn’t going to bother or change him. Not at $29 million per.

Thursday in Baltimore, he did the same, posing to watch his shot smack off the wall, then only reaching first.

Giancarlo Stanton
Giancarlo Stanton has made it a habit of watching his hits instead of running to first base.
Getty Images

Did it matter that the Yankees lost to the O’s in the ninth? Judging from what we’ve seen from Stanton, not a bit. It’s obvious he cares only about hitting home runs — and that Boone is good with that.

Tuesday, Judge jogged to first while watching his blast slam off the left-field wall then roll back toward the infield. As per modern minimalism, the center fielder didn’t bother to back up. Judge, who drove in a run with the double, was then thrown out at third.

On YES, Carlos Beltran, who nearly managed the Mets, Chicago White Sox Jersey twice praised Judge’s “hustle.” Had he run the whole way he’d have been safe at third!

Of course, such lethargy is explained as batters having “thought” they cleared the fence, when it’s often a case of “hoping,” then a case of too late.

Yep, come the playoffs the Yankees will be vulnerable. Then again, the likelihood that their opponents play the same way is pretty good, too.

Hurry! Get PSLs ASAP!

The Jets, who “claimed” in advertising on TV and radio that their PSLs “are nearly sold out, so hurry!” have again placed single game tickets for sale, further discrediting Roger Goodell’s claim that PSLs are “good investments.”

Hey, for a few bucks you may get to sit near a sucker who spends hundreds per ticket plus thousands for PSLs!

Roger Goodell
Roger Goodell
Getty Images

The Jets’ original sale of PSLs was so loaded with bogus enticements that the final PSL contract included an easy-to-miss disclaimer: Any promises made by sales reps are to be disregarded in favor of what appears in this contract.

Goodell the Magician made those long Jets and Giants ticket waiting lists vanish in a flash.


As no-hitters have become ho-hum, the eight-inning one pitched by the Reds’ Hunter Greene and reliever Art Warren, Sunday in Pittsburgh, made for modern MLB farce as the Pirates won, 1-0 — without a hit, winning with three walks and a groundout in the eighth.

That reminded reader Herb Eichen of the old gag about the Mets: “How’d they do, today?” “They scored 14 runs!” “Did they win?”

In this case, writes Eichen, the question became “How’d the Reds do?” “They threw a no-hitter!” “Did they win?” “No.”


Pete Alonso just can’t get over himself, again demonstrating his excessive self-affection, this time smacking his chest like Tarzan after a game-ending homer Thursday. As Keith Hernandez often instructs, “You kids watching at home …”

Pete Alonso pounds his chest after hitting a walk-off home run against the Cardinals.
Pete Alonso pounds his chest after hitting a walk-off home run against the Cardinals.

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