Bugs are underrated. They do things that don’t show up in the boxscores. They’re rarely admired for thought capacity, for foresight that exceeds, say, big, game-changing decisions by MLB. Unlike MLB, bugs know to bolt into corners to avoid being squished.
Though Homer Simpson reminded us that, “Trying is the first step toward failure,” here’s one more try to at least tame the Frankenstein monster created by the unsteady hands and minds at MLB.
Almost everyone who can think as well as a bug now recognizes that whatever energy is left in baseball has been sapped by lengthy and fully unintended replay reviews. Yet the self-affliction of this rule-too-far has been left untreated. So here’s the plan:
Each team is allowed one, and only one, replay challenge per game; doesn’t matter if it’s successful, only one.
That would force managers to be more judicious, awaiting the time when what’s perceived to be a significantly rotten call — curing of which was the rule’s only original intent — is made.
In some games, then, no replay challenges would be made, while close bang-bang calls at first and second — for which the rule is overwhelmingly applied — would return to on-field, right-there, one-opinion, we can-live-with-it, reasonable human status.
If it had been anticipated that microscopic, super slow-motion, freeze-framed inspections of calls at first were what would most commonly result from existing replay rules, there wouldn’t be a replay rule. There was no populist uprising to demand stoppages to reexamine calls that might have been off by half an inch.
Yet here we are, and here we remain, tethered to the ridiculous.
The proposed new-rule’s savings in time, the restoration of the applied better senses and the unrestricted continuation of games would be both considerable and welcomed.
Only in one other case would replay be used, and this by umpire mandate, not challenges: the determination of home runs, be it whether the ball was fair or foul, fan interference or if the ball cleared the wall or line indicating a home run.
Otherwise, one, and only one, replay challenge per game. Use it wisely.
But the folks at MLB are accomplished at fastening “Kick Me” signs to their shirts, fore and aft. Unless they feel they’ve reached the point of “Can’t Return,” which would be both absurd and a shame.
In that case, the bug that preemptively protects itself from being stomped on by heading for the nearest corner — snug as a bug in a rug — is smarter than those homo sapiens who make the rules.
Big-money sluggers continue ‘walk’ of shame
The compromises demanded of right-minded folks to remain sports fans are becoming insurmountable.
In 2017, when free agent in-waiting Manny Machado was with the Orioles, his desultory approach to the game — he couldn’t be bothered to run toward first — was so conspicuous that on YES, Michael Kay said, “He just doesn’t seem interested.”
The next season, killing free-agent time with the Dodgers, he further cemented that when three times in NLCS games he headed back to the dugout when he belonged on first — once failing to run on an infield error, twice by jogging into double plays. He didn’t care if it was the NLCS.
Machado explained that running to first “is not who I am.” Well, that explains it!
But this is an era of maximum payments to one- or two-trick minimalists in what used to be a a game that rewarded five-tool players. So, in exchange for $300 million, Machado signed with the Padres.
Sunday, in the top of the sixth, the Padres trailed the Mets, 2-1, runners on first and second, no outs. Machado hit a grounder to short. The double play was no-sweat easy as Machado was out at first by roughly eight feet.
“Machado doesn’t tend to run hard on ground balls to the infield,” Gary Cohen said over Ch.11, “That’s just a given.” Cohen didn’t mention that for $300 million, that’s “not who he is.”
The Yanks have had trouble scoring? You wouldn’t know it watching home-run or strikeout $325 million designated-hitter Giancarlo Stanton.
Tuesday in Buffalo, Yanks and Jays tied, Stanton hit one to deep right, then stood near home plate as the ball was caught against the wall. “Stanton thought he got it,” said Kay, issuing the common “he thought,” as if that’s a valid excuse for the inexcusable.
David Cone seconded Kay’s “he thought” as Stanton was seen in a replay finally summoning the grit to walk toward first.
No mention that if “he thought” had hit off the wall, Stanton likely would have reached first instead of second. Or maybe been thrown out at second.
With the Marlins in 2016 and in the midst of a playoffs push, Stanton was lost for over a month after an awkward slide toward second, having “thought” that the ball he hit would be caught.
Kay and Cone, Tuesday, had to know better, yet both pretended that we didn’t know better, the kind of insult compromised audiences must suffer.
Then again, MLB managers now insist on the least players can do, thus they — and we — should never get used to it or get out.
The despicable dishonesty of ESPN as a news entity continues. This week it took credit for its “sources” claiming that the Rangers have hired Gerard Gallant as their latest coach.
The last sentence in ESPN’s website report read, “The story was first reported by the New York Post.” ESPN, despite taking credit at the top, had nothing to do with this fresh news!
But ESPN would take credit for curing polio, then finish with, “The vaccination was first developed by Dr. Jonas Salk.”
Crude feud now ‘good’ for golf
And now to wreck golf.
So Nike-funded Brooks Koepka, in a hollow but now-standard rationalization, thinks his crude, childish feud with Bryson DeChambeau — one that has fueled loud-mouthed, attention-starved fools in PGA galleries — is “good for the game.”
Wait until some booze-filled, PGA-certified gambler — perhaps with a bundle on DeChambeau — screams during Koepka’s backswing on 18.
Of course, on TV, where all courses are in “immaculate condition” and blind pandering replaces candor, no one is heard to try to protect the sport as a sport as its condition deteriorates.
Those Jets’ radio ads pitching, Hurry! Hurry! ticket sales are back. So is the memory of long waiting lists for Jets’ tickets prior to PSLs and Roger Goodell’s bogus claim that they’re “good investments.” That Goodell has been given a media pass on that, among other things, is both unsettling and unsurprising.
Yanks and Mets telecasts are each now sponsored by three different sports gambling operations as well as casinos and the lottery. Gambling problem? Ya don’t say.
We’re moving close to a Doc Emrick-less Stanley Cup finals, the first since Gary Thorne called them in 2004 when ESPN had the rights.
Now we have to be concerned whether Aaron Judge’s legs can withstand playing center field. Mickey Mantle regularly played center in old Yankee Stadium, where center field was vast, on rotten knees.
Kevin Durant’s performance against the Bucks on Tuesday was sensational. It’s therefore an extra shame that his social incivility — needless vulgarities, mean-spirited mistreatment of fellow humans while he demands respect — makes him hard to root for.
So now, if you reach first base, you gesture your extraordinary achievement to your dugout. Look what I did! Hooray for me!