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Game 2: Cubs @ Pirates

The Pirates on Wednesday announced a sponsorship deal with 84 Lumber -- which got me thinking about a different lumber company ...

The Pirates on Wednesday announced a sponsorship deal with 84 Lumber — which got me thinking about a different lumber company.

Full disclosure: I’m an instant replay skeptic. It slows the game, sows seeds of self-doubt with the umpires and cannot guarantee that “every call will be correct.” I also don’t like the manager challenge rule — if replay is so wonderful, why can’t a skipper challenge every play from the first pitch to the last?
One of the flaws in MLB’s new system was exposed late Tuesday night, in the Giants-Diamondbacks game. In the fourth inning, Giants manager Bruce Bochy challenged a safe call on a pickoff play at first base involving Arizona runner A.J. Pollock. The ruling was upheld and Bochy lost his challenge. Later in the inning, Pollock scored on a passed ball — it was a really close play, and replay indicated Pollock actually should’ve been called out. But Bochy had no ability to challenge, so the play stood … and the D’backs won by one run.
The lesson for managers is, during the first six innings when you can lose your challenge, never, ever, NEVER challenge any play that doesn’t A) involve a run scoring or B) ends an inning. The lesson for the rest of us is, MLB instant replay is gonna lead to more revisions, tweaks and delays than Obamacare — and that’s a lot.
>> The NL Central might end up as the most well-armed division in the majors this season. The Pirates, Cardinals and Brewers all won shutouts on Opening Day. The Cubs (vs. the Pirates) and Reds (vs. the Cards) were losers, but allowed only one run apiece. After Monday, the five NL Central teams had a combined 0.39 ERA. The bad news was, they also had a combined .183 team batting average.
>> Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago has an interesting piece on Andrew McCutchen, the Cubs and the cost of doing business in MLB. It includes this quote from Cubs GM Theo Epstein about how to navigate the free-agent market: “Ultimately we have to make smart decisions for our situation – the situation we’re in now, and then anticipating the situation we’re going to be in a few years (from now). We just take it all into account and try to chart the path that makes the most sense for us.”
>> The website contacted all 30 teams and asked how much it costs to display a marriage proposal on the stadium video scoreboard. At $39, the Pirates have the cheapest rate. The D’backs charge $250, but they’ll also give you a commemorative DVD. For $50, the Reds will have one of their mascots, Rosie Red, visit you in the stands to deliver your proposal on a printed sign. Give the Indians $400, and they’ll let you propose on the field on a fireworks night. The Royals, Angels, Mets, Blue Jays and Orioles are as romantic as a high-and-tight fastball; they don’t offer proposal deals. The best package is offered by the Marlins. For $250, the message will flash on the scoreboard, your and your betrothed will be shown on the video screen and Billy the Marlin will deliver a dozen roses to your seat.

Game 2: Cubs (0-1) @ Pirates (1-0), 7:05 p.m. PNC Park
Cubs: 1. Emilio Bonifacio 2b, 2. Luis Valbuena 3b, 3. Starlin Castro ss, 4. Anthony Rizzo 1b, 5. Nate Schierholtz rf, 6. Ryan Sweeney cf, 7. Wellington Castillo c, 8. Ryan Kalish, 9. Edwin Jackson rhp
Pirates: 1. Starling Marte lf, 2, Travis Snider rf, 3. Andrew McCutchen cf, 4. Pedro Alvarez 3b, 5. Russell Martin c, 6. Neil Walker 2b, 7. Travis Ishikawa 1b, 8. Jordy Mercer ss, 9. Charlie Morton rhp
– Rob Biertempfel



  1. Bizrow says:

    Any word on Taillon?

  2. Nate83 says:

    I do not believe it slows the game any more then that same manager coming out and yelling at the umpire for 2 minutes. I think there was only 4 challenges in 11 games on opening day. For that reason alone I personally would use it whenever I thought they got a call wrong. 18 of 22 managers on opening day took a post game shower without using their challenge.

    If they want to speed the game up they need to stop shrinking the strike zone and they need to have batters get back into the batters box and pitchers back on the mound quicker between pitches.

  3. Rob Biertempfel says:

    My point is, replay supporters say they want to get every call right. If so, then why the challenges? Why not replay every play — heck, every pitch? — of every game.
    But, under the current system … if each replay averages 2.5 minutes and the season averages four replays (challenges and ump discretion) per day, then we’ve added 27 hours over the course of the season to just waiting for a guy in a booth somewhere to watch some video while everyone stands around. At least when the manager comes out to scream and argue, we had something entertaining to watch.

  4. Leo Walter says:

    Was the political commentary really necessary Rob ? I do realize the editorial intent of the Trib ,but in a baseball blog ??? And,your real point isn’t very well thought out. If you can’t see that baseball needs to move into the 21 st century as all the other major sports have,I don’t know what to tell you.Every one understands that the game is floating in money,,,presently. But the age breakdown on the fan base doesn’t bode well for the future.

  5. Andrew says:

    I think the replay system is progress; I am not sure who is arguing that every call needs to be correct. And if they are, they fail to understand win expectancy charts, which it might behoove mangers to have a look at. Is it perfect, no, but the perfect should not be the enemy of the good.

    There are a few of things that could be done to speed up the game, enforce the existing pace rules, stop singing God Bless America, eliminate the seven inning stretch, and are commercial breaks necessary every half inning.

    Interesting read that CSN Chicago link, I was mild offended. I find it absurd to even attempt to complain about the economics of baseball when revenue is predominately driven by local market size, and those poor Cubs sit the third largest market and have a ballpark/historical site that fans attend regardless of the on field product.

  6. Matt Miller says:

    The umpires ought to be able to call for a replay whenever they feel it is justified… I can’t imagine it would be that often. The umpires in in the magic box in NY or wherever ought to be watching games in real time and if they notice something that merits a second look, they can hit the rewind button…and buzz the umps on the field if they need time.

    I don’t think this needs to be as complicated as they are making it… but I assume that the limits are imposed as they are specifically because, without them, it would have been impossible to get folks who believe that too much replay is a waste of time on board.

    …and I didn’t catch any political commentary….Obamacare has had tweaks and delays and still isnt perfect and has a lot of folks who fight about whether it is a good or a bad thing… its a good analogy to the replay issue, ha.

  7. Nate83 says:

    But that is lumping every replay supporter in the same group and why do I care about 27 hours when I literally am only watching 2% of the games played. We are talking less then a minute a game. I think I will still be able to get up and go to work in the morning.

    Umpires have come under a lot of scrutiny over the last few years. Even being accused of effecting the outcome of playoff games. I’m perfectly fine with the system they have set up. It may be changed in the future a little but for now it’s a good starting point.

  8. Arriba Wilver says:

    The NFL has limited challenges. If there was no limit, THEN you would have lots of delays. Why not. As others have said this is going to be a work in process. Probably will take more than this year. If you have a limited number, through 6 innings, you’re only going to challenge something you know you can win and/or is close, but potentially game changing. Makes sense to me, but there will definitely be kinks to iron out.

  9. Dan says:

    Puh-leeze, Rob. Arguing managers and umpires may be entertaining to watch but the call never changes in the end.

    As a purist I didn’t think I’d like replay…anything that would tend to slow the game down and take away from the human element is just plain evil to me. But I suppose you have to think about this from a Pirates’ fan POV – how many times do we get screwed over on close calls just because we have that big “P” on our hats? This can only help even the playing field. Just like it did in Game 1 of this series. How long before Selig catches on and squashes this?

    On a side note, umpires must HATE HATE HATE replay.

  10. Carlos Danger says:

    I hate to say this, but I agree with Bob Walk. If they think that Jackson plunked marte on purpose (I personally don’t think he did) wouldn’t it make more sense to wait until Jackson is up and then plunk him? I realize they want to send a quick message back, but I feel like pitchers would take less liberties if it is their arse on the line. Again that is assuming they see intent – I didn’t see any intent when Jackson hit marte at all.

  11. Carlos Danger says:

    I agree with Dan. It wasn’t entertaining. If they want to entertain, they should have some girls (similar to the ice crew from pens games) go out and rake the base paths during the brief break. No one would complain. If anything there may be arguments for more replay. God bless the ice crew.

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