The Rundown: MLB Announces Modifications, Pelicans Promos, Kang Should be Gone, Arrieta Extension Talks

Man, is there anything better than legalese? The answer, of course, is “Yes, darn near everything.” I get that rules need to be spelled out clearly in order to eliminate as much subjectivity as possible, but the wording of the modifications announced by MLB and the players union Thursday afternoon seems like overkill.

And if I’m being completely honest, some of these sound just plain dumb. Have a look and meet me on the other side.

The first new rule has been the most talked-about heretofore and I’m sure it’ll get the most pub in the early going of the season. But do we really need all this explanation? Gotta do something to justify all those billable hours, I guess.

Then you’ve got the replay time limits, the first of which I’m not really a fan of. Giving managers only 30 seconds to determine whether or not to call for a replay review seems a bit short and like it could lead to some rash decisions. Like, more rash than usual.

That naturally leads us into the “conditional two-minute guideline for Replay Officials to render a decision on a replay review.” At first blush, this looks like a good change. If I had a nickel for every time I had whined in the general direction of the TV while waiting for the officials in New York to make a call on a play that I’d seen clearly over the course of multiple angles and speeds, I’d have at least 45 cents. So a time limit seems cool.

But then you get the kicker: “…allowing various exceptions.”

What does that even mean? This is so maddeningly and intentionally vague that it completely negates the intent of the rest of the rule. There’s nothing about enforcement or what happens if 120 seconds pass and it’s still inconclusive. What I’ve said from the start is that you put a clock on it and if it’s too close to call, the play stands as called. Except that’s still fundamentally flawed.

Say what you will about its intrusion into the organic flow of the game, but the real problem with replay in baseball — and with all sports, for that matter — is the implicit trust being placed in the officials on the field. By that, I mean that it’s a mistake to use the original call as the source of truth, even if it’s only assumed. To overturn a call requires overwhelming evidence to the contrary, which makes no sense at all.

At is core, the use of replay is the admission and correction of human error. Why, then, are we allowing potential errors to factor into the determination of the call? Reviewing the questionable play independent from the call on the field would not only make more sense from an objectivity standpoint, it would naturally shave significant time from the process.

Moving on, they might as well have called the sixth modification the “Eff you, Carter Capps” rule.

Really no opinion on the last tweak, which is just about where base coaches can stand. I guess it’s cool or whatever, but I really only pay attention to base coaches when they’re being yelled at for either sending or not sending a guy. Maybe the league should have designated where fans need to sit when they piss and moan about base coaches.

Myrtle Beach Pelicans announce promotional schedule

To me, the best thing about minor league baseball is that the teams don’t take themselves too seriously and they’re always running promos to draw fans in. With their status as a Cubs affiliate and location in the heart of tourist country, you can guaran-damn-tee the Pelicans know a little something about promotion.

Check out the opening few paragraphs of their recent media release for a taste of what they’ve got in store this season:

On the heels of back‐to‐back championship seasons, the Myrtle Beach Pelicans are thrilled to announce their 2017 promotional line‐up. While the season promises the return of weekly specials such as Thirsty Thursdays and Local Appreciation Saturdays, several canʹt‐miss promotions include Cubs‐A‐Palooza, a Replica World Series Trophy Giveaway, and a talking Jason Heyward Bobblehead Giveaway. These promotions, along with numerous others assure that the upcoming season at TicketReturn.Com Field at Pelicans Ballpark will be a memorable experience for fans of all ages.

Cubs‐A‐Palooza, a salute to the Pelicans major league affiliate and their 2016 World Championship season, is undoubtedly a bright spot on the Birds promotional line‐up. The three‐day celebration will take place June 23‐25 at TicketReturn.Com Field. Day one of the event will feature an appearance by Baseball Hall of Famer Andre Dawson, a.k.a. ʺThe Hawkʺ (Chicago Cubs 1987‐1992), and a Taste of Chicago. Day two includes an appearance by Bill Buckner (Chicago Cubs 1977‐1983), a Replica World Series Trophy Giveaway, and post‐game fireworks. On the final day of event, Cubs‐A‐Palooza will transform into Cubstock, a Woodstock themed night with a Cubs twist. The night will feature a Joe Maddon inspired Groovy Bandana Giveaway and post‐game fireworks.

Another highlight of the promotional schedule is the Jason Heyward Talking Bobblehead Giveaway. On July 15, the team will pay tribute to the former Pelican and reigning ʹKing of Rain Delaysʹ, a title Heyward earned after reports surfaced regarding the pep talk he delivered to his teammates during the rain delay in Game 7 of the World Series.

Need more? They’ve also got “Craft Thursdays,” “Thirsty Thursdays,” and “Foodie Fridays,” to say nothing of the other one-off deals here and there. Single-game tickets go on sale March 9, so plan your vacation now and get down to the Grand Strand to see the Cubs of the future.

Kang avoids jail time, deserves long suspension

Jung Ho Kang received an eight-month sentence for his third DUI arrest in South Korea, but he’ll avoid jail time as long as he can avoid being a complete asshat for the next two years. And that’s not even considering the matter of an alleged sexual assault that took place in Chicago when the Pirates played the Cubs in July. That particular issue appears to be going nowhere.

MLB made a powerful statement when it comes to discipline for domestic violence and it needs to do the same with drunk driving. Kang’s been lucky in that he’s still alive and hasn’t left a trail of victims in his wake, but to enable — however tacitly — his chronic idiocy to continue would be an egregious misstep. Speaking of, I no longer feel bad about Chris Coghlan snapping this guy’s leg a couple years back.

Other news and notes

  • David Price had an inconclusive MRI after elbow soreness and is seeking second opinions from two renowned surgeons Friday
  • Dude, this catch of a flying bat…

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