Ten Stray Thoughts On A Friday

For many, Friday represents the end of a long work week that was filled with heavy doses of sludging and drudging. It’s my hope that at the end of every week during the baseball season, at that moment that only occurs on a Friday afternoon when it’s too far away from closing time to leave work early, but too late in the day to start anything new, you’ll join us here to check out some random observations and contribute your own opinions to my ten stray thoughts on a Friday.

So, without further ado:

Let’s Leave It To The Experts

The Rule IV Draft takes place Monday night, and between now and then you’re going to likely read a lot about it, and the players that will be selected. Some of what you read will actually be informed, but a good chunk of it will appear to be informed, but actually be the shadow cast by informed thoughts, or worse, the shadow of a shadow.

So, exert some caution and some critical thinking with what you’re reading and listening to over the next few days.

You know how during the off season, everyone wants to be Ken Rosenthal and break trades and signings? Well, for the next few days, everyone is going to want to be Keith Law and Kevin Goldstein and Jonathan Mayo. While organizations likely have an idea of the direction they’re going to take during the draft, they don’t know which players are going to end up selected. So, just be aware that not everyone claiming to be a voice of authority on a certain high school pitcher or a college shortstop is actually what the style of their writing or talking might seem.

A Forgotten Rule

Remember this catch from last weekend?

Many people wondered if the same type of catch would count as an out at the Major League level. I thought so, because we often see fielders make a catch in foul territory but have their momentum carry them into a dugout or into the stands or into a camera bay, and the out is still called.

Well, check out this:

If a fielder, after having made a legal catch, should fall into a stand or among spectators or into the dugout or any other out-of-play area while in possession of the ball after making a legal catch, or fall while in the dugout after making a legal catch, the ball is dead and each runner shall advance one base, without liability to be put out, from his last legally touched base at the time the fielder fell into, or in, such out-of-play area.

That’s Rule 7.04 of Major League Baseball’s Official Rules.

Can anyone remember this rule ever being enacted?

Via The Book Blog.

Tim Timmy Tim Lincecum

Tim Lincecum has has a bad start to the season, but his last outing against the Arizona Diamondbacks gave us some hope that he’ll overcome his lack of early success. Maybe this will inspire him a little bit more.

Same Old Same Old

We’ve gone over the seemingly ridiculous claims of Jason Hammel, that Toronto Blue Jays batters were somehow informed that breaking pitches were coming. Of course, this latest accusation stems from an ESPN article that was written last year about a man in white who would sit in center field, steal signs from the catcher and alert batters as to what pitch was coming.

It seems far fetched, but while the man in white may be a newer tool, the trick has been played many times before.

From Jason Turbow’s The Baseball Codes:

Frankly, I think such actions would probably be more trouble than they’re worth. And while, someone could point to the success that Edwin Encarnacion has had at home this season in particular as circumstantial evidence that something might be fishy, it should be remembered that the ESPN article that originally made the case for the Blue Jays cheating used 201o home and away splits as their circumstantial evidence.

That year, Encarnacion had the following numbers:

  • Home: 160 PAs, 7 HRs, .297 wOBA.
  • Away: 172 PAs, 14 HRs, .376 wOBA.

Swag

I picked up a pair of new baseball cleats while in the United States. The same shoes in Canada would’ve cost about five to seven times as much.

In no way do I play in a league competitive enough to even come close to requiring such kicks, but $10 for a pair of red cleats that will extend the life of the $100 sneakers I would’ve worn is a purchase I make seven days a week and twice on Sunday.

Also, they look pretty snazzy, and match my pants:

Signing Injury Prone Players

Last week, the Toronto Blue Jays placed Dustin McGowan on the 60-day Disabled List, which has an element of irony to it, because 60 days before that the team was announcing that it had agreed to a three year contract worth $4.1 million with the pitcher.

Given the staggering amount of injuries that McGowan has suffered and the relative lack of success he’s had in his brief comeback attempts, I have had a hard time wrapping my head around the contract, but with his recent move up the DL chain, it reminded me of something that I had previously thought about for Grady Sizemore.

A multiple year contract with an average annual value below that of a one year deal takes off some of the pressure put on the player to return to action earlier than he should. Sizemore, of course, signed a one year deal with the Cleveland Indians this off season, and once again, injured himself early in the year. We now hear reports almost daily that he’s doing everything he can to come back.

For a player like Sizemore, that’s probably not a good thing. Instead of a one year, $5 million deal, I wonder if the Indians and Sizemore would’ve explored a two year contract worth $8 million or something to that effect that would have taken the pressure off of him returning early. After missing so much time due to injury, he could’ve gradually built his body up over time and come back when he was fully enabled, rather than rushing to make the opening day roster.

Maybe. Just maybe this is what the Blue Jays had in mind with the contract they gave to Dustin McGowan. However, it should be pointed out that by tendering him a contract, this is basically what the team has done for the last three years, and it hasn’t exactly worked out yet.

How To Make Hawk Harrelson A Good Guy

Put him in a confrontation with Bud Selig.

Earlier this week, notorious homer broadcaster of the Chicago White Sox, Hawk Harrelson did this:

He was, unsurprisingly, way off base, not just for his obvious bias, but as explained by Jeff Passan:

Because Wegner hadn’t given out a warning, Harrelson was truly offended that he would dare eject a pitcher who had thrown a baseball behind another person.

Just to make sure this wasn’t crazy rationale, I asked six executives whether Wegner made the right call in running Quintana. Each agreed: Of course he did. Quintana threw behind the guy. Hit him on the leg, the hip – hell, even the back. At least there would be some deniability. But when a pitcher throws behind a hitter, either he’s named Ricky Vaughn or his motivations are coming from a bad place.

Anyway, Wegner hadn’t given out a warning for both teams because it was the third inning, and umpires loathe giving out warnings in the third inning. Warnings change the dynamic and tenor of every game. Pitchers are afraid to throw inside because even an accidental hit-by-pitch could cause an ejection.

I’m not exactly an enormous fan of Harrelson’s. I’ve likened his antics before to that of a four year old seeking approval.

However, it seems unnecessary that he should be chastised for his actions by the one and only Bud Selig, which is apparently what happened yesterday. I can’t help but feel that the Commissioner’s Office’s involvement sets an ugly precedent for commentators who might criticize umpires, which they shouldn’t be handcuffed from doing.

Popular Players

Yesterday’s five most popular player profiles at Baseball Reference were:

  1. Albert Pujols
  2. Derek Jeter
  3. Paul Konerko
  4. Alex Rodriguez
  5. Barry Bonds

Over at FanGraphs, the last 24 hours has seen these player profiles visited the most:

  1. Victor Martinez
  2. Tim Lincecum
  3. Matt Cain
  4. Dexter Fowler
  5. Starlin Castro

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Max Scherzer’s Weird Eyes

As you’ve probably noticed by now, Detroit Tigers pitcher Max Scherzer’s right eye is blue and his left eye is brown. The condition is called heterochromia iridis or heterochromia of the eye, but is most often referred to as creepy. Last year, when the Tigers handed out Scherzer bobble heads to fans, they included the different pigmentation of his eyes as one of the features, which is about a gazillion times the detail that the typical bobble head giveaway receives.