Boston Red Sox

Boston Red Sox

Boston Red Sox

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 07: Max Scherzer #21 of the New York Mets reacts after giving up a three-run home run to Jurickson Profar #10 of the San Diego Padres during the fifth inning of Game One of the NL Wild Card Series at Citi Field on October 07, 2022 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

  • This is all obvious, but baseball just can’t get out of its own way. Ever. The health of the game has been in question for a long time now and fans have expressed their displeasure with obvious problems like pace of play. Finally – after years of waiting – baseball has implemented some rule changes that have prompted some hope. And in almost no time at all, the people in uniform are trying to extinguish it.

    In case you missed it, there were two instances last week that should leave you frustrated and shaking your head.

  • First, Max Scherzer

    NEW YORK, NEW YORK - AUGUST 22: Max Scherzer #21 of the New York Mets pitches during the first inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on August 22, 2022 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

    NEW YORK, NEW YORK – AUGUST 22: Max Scherzer #21 of the New York Mets pitches during the first inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on August 22, 2022 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

    A member of the players executive committee during the last CBA talks, Scherzer disliked the terms that were ultimately agreed to by his constituents, the players union. He advised them to vote against the proposal. Last week, in an attempt to expose the pitch clock, Scherzer began quick-pitching in a spring training start, forcing the home plate umpire to call a balk.

    After the game, Scherzer said he wanted to help identify the “limits” of the game’s new pace-of-play rules.

    Wasn’t that thoughtful of him?

    Dude, you know what? Pitch. Please, just pitch. Baseball hadn’t given anything to its fans in a long, long time, and the pitch clock is a gust of fresh air. So n ow you want to expose it? Somehow, somewhere along the way, baseball players started acting like the game was theirs to protect. It isn’t. It belongs to the fans first and foremost, but there are no enormous audiences and exorbitant salaries without them. The players have power because people like to watch them. The sooner players accept that the interest and wants of fans should be at the top of every list – and we’re not talking about the wants of every single fan at all times, so don’t get stupid – the better the game will be. For everyone.

  • Second, Alex Cora

    The Red Sox used this shift alignment over the weekend.

    The Red Sox used this shift alignment over the weekend.

     

    Let me say this clearly: I like Alex Cora. I’m glad the Red Sox brought him back two years ago. He’s a terrific baseball guy. But when the Red Sox unveiled this shift over the weekend again at Joey Gallo, I wanted to vomit.

    Along with the pitch clock, baseball banned infield shifts in 2023, meaning that all four infielders generally have to remain in their traditional positions. (Each team must have two infielders station on each side of second base with both feet on the infield dirt.) So what did the Red Sox do? They moved center fielder Adam Duvall into short right field and left fielder Masataka Yoshida from left field into center, effectively finding a loophole that again defeats the greater purpose. Was this move an attempt to be “creative,” as Cora had hinted at the start of camp? Sure. It’s even smart. But it also goes against the greater good, which is what baseball was trying to emphasize last offseason.

    Look, I get it. Managers and executives are paid to win. But I’d like to think that everyone in baseball first wants the game to be better. If you ask me, baseball should immediately amend the shift rule to prevent the shifting of outfielders. As the saying goes, put it in writing.

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