Maybe it’s always been fake news but we just didn’t know it. I’m more inclined toward the George Orwell way of looking at it than the President Tweety, self serving method, but perhaps all of the people in charge of everything just aren’t very good at their jobs. Now, on the whole I am very grateful for the existence of MLB.com, which keeps us informed up to the minute with all things going on in the world of baseball that the commissioner’s office endorses. I found the site to be very useful in its early days as majorleaguebaseball.com because I could be at work doing my shipping and receiving gig and keep track of all the current games at the same time. However, over the years it has sort of degenerated into a big commercial venture that is constantly selling caps, shirts, tickets, and, well, bullshit.
For instance:a few days ago, they ran a feature about all of the big league players who hit the very first pitch they ever saw in the majors for a home run. This was especially interesting to me because I was pretty sure I knew one of them. Indeed I did and there was his name–Chuck Tanner! On April 12, 1955, Tanner, who is now more famous as the manager of the World Champion Pittsburgh Pirates of 1979, indeed hit the first pitch he saw for a homer. It was Opening Day in Milwaukee. Tanner was pinch hitting for Warren Spahn and he smacked it off Gerry Staley of the Cardinals and Milwaukee went on to win, 4-2. But wait. According to our MLB.con, I mean com, He was pinch hitting for the Milwaukee Brewers. Wrong! It was, of course, the Milwaukee, formerly Boston and before long Atlanta Braves that Tanner played for that day. Come on you guys! I’m not going to purchase a jersey with Gus Zernial‘s name on the back until you start getting things right!
Speaking of crocks of manure, this “pace of play” concocted controversy doesn’t smell very good. The commissioner says that he is willing to drop the absurd “pitch clock” scheme so long as the average time of game gets down under three hours or so. Simultaneously, the ridiculous idea of putting a runner on second base to start the inning if a game gets to the eleventh inning has once again emerged. The commish is way disingenuous with this malarkey. As readers of this space are tired of reading, the best way to speed up games is to limit the number of pitchers on the rosters so that managers no longer have countless opportunities to relieve their stress and hemorrhoids by trudging back and forth from the mound to bring on another hard throwing mediocre reliever. Besides, what’s the hurry? Play more day games. Almost everyone who has been priced out of buying tickets to the game can still afford the technology it takes to record the game and watch it when they feel like doing so. Not long ago, writers waxed poetic about the beauty of the game without a clock, pastoral this, green grass that, you know. Football has a clock but the so called Super Bowl still takes twelve hours to finish and none of the fools slurping lousy beer and horrid pizza gives a damn. Get real! If the competition from football which, absent greed, would never exist is what bothers the owners, maybe they could doll up baseball in other ways. Get John Madden or some such in the ESPN or FOX booth talking about “Smashmouth Baseball” and show lots of fight clips. Players could create stylish home plate dances every time they score a run. There could be scantily clad cheerleaders of both genders doing routines between innings. Get creative!
Almost one hundred per cent of the time, this reporter will side with labor in any labor-management disagreement. It’s a little more difficult when it involves millionaires versus billionaires but the general concept remains the same. However, I’m not so sure about the current accusations of collusion that player agents and Tony Clark are barking about. When players, and J.D. Martinez is a good example, get past the age of 30 and are not becoming so much as they have been, it’s probably not a good idea to add them to your team for lots of money and a long time. It does seem as though there are teams that don’t look like they care as much about winning as they do selling tickets. That has always been true, especially if you go back to the days of Clark Griffith, Charles Comiskey, and a lot of other guys who had ballparks named after them. Currently, Pittsburgh and San Francisco seem to fit that description. What Derek Jeter said about the Marlins makes sense, especially with hard economic times surely on the way. We’ll see.