I am trying out a subscription to MLB.tv this month. Due to blackout restrictions, I can’t watch the Twins, but I am able to see every other game involving every other team. Since MLB seems to hate my money (seriously, every team except the one I want to see…), I probably won’t renew. It has been fun though. Some observations from the first few weeks of the 2014 season:
The Reds have become the must-watch team for me because of Billy Hamilton. I was trying to explain to my 7-year-old son why we keep watching the Reds. It came down to this: he changes the game. As David Roth puts it, he is an “injection of happy” in a game that has perhaps become a little too serious about itself.
He is also a perfect fit for the .gif age.
My favorite: Hamilton scoring on a popup just beyond the infield.
Unfortunately, he is not getting on base enough this season to show off his unique skill set. In reality, he probably isn’t getting on base enough to secure a major league roster spot for long. Here’s to hoping that the happy injection sticks around for a while.
I still hate the challenge system for instant replay, and really hate the visual of a manager “arguing” with an umpire while facing his own dugout. That said, having replay in place for a couple of weeks has made me rethink my overall stance on the use of replay in baseball.
The system in place has exposed the number of questionable calls that are made over the course of a game. If it takes some form of instant replay to get those calls right, then I am grudgingly for it.
There is no reason, however, that the inefficiencies and downright stupidities of the current system can’t be fixed. The first step is to get rid of the challenge system. It takes people watching at home roughly five seconds to determine whether a given play needs another look – why can’t a fifth umpire “review” every play and communicate to the field umpire on plays that need another look?
Major League Baseball, somewhat quietly, tinkered with the transfer rule during the offseason. It is not a secret anymore. There have been several games impacted by the new rule. Essentially, a catch is not a catch until the ball is transferred cleanly to the fielder’s throwing hand. A safe call could be made, under the current interpretation, if the fielder catches the ball, runs the length of the field with the ball in his glove, then drops it in the course of exchanging the ball to his other hand. This strikes me as one of those rule clarifications that was not well thought out. Hopefully a change will be made before the end of the season, or perhaps a manager will force the league’s hand…