In this year of one strange thing after another (murder hornets, really?), the MLB season has had its own shares of strangeness, oddity, and foibles. Some of us have been talking, and quite frankly, the season is boring. Which is upsetting because baseball is NOT boring. But, there’s definitely something missing this season. And, it’s not just because the Yankees are hurt and struggling, and in some cases, sucking wind. I’m a frustrated Yankees and baseball fan, so here are my MLB pet peeves.
Starting off the list of MLB pet peeves is the umpiring. Sure, there are plenty of great or very good umpires out there. No snickering, it’s true. But, some of the umps, oh, are they bad. And, two come immediately to mind. I bet you know who I mean.
That’s right, Joe West and Angel Hernandez. It’s hard to tell which one is worse, which one has the bigger ego, and which I dislike more.
Both are under the impression that fans pay to see them. West is the more openly vocal of the two. If you’re general manager of a car dealership, are you going to criticize two of your best salesmen because they don’t sell a car the way you like?
In baseball’s version of the above metaphor, that’s exactly what West has done. He has openly criticized the Yankees and Red Sox for taking too long to play. Do you see the fans of either team complaining? The teams themselves? The TV networks? It’s not baseball’s fault that West is probably hungry by the third inning.
West was fired once and never should have been brought back. He shouldn’t have been used this year either, in the middle of a pandemic, after he questioned the veracity of the number of deaths caused by COVID-19.
Hey Joe, shut up and do your job…and do it a helluva lot better.
Hernandez thinks he has never made a mistake and his penchant for calling balks is both obnoxious and overdone. He’s also crossed the line with his superiors. In July 2019, Hernandez was the acting crew chief in a game (between the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays) in which a 14-minute delay took place over confusion concerning the rules.
This past June it was reported that Hernandez had a phone interview with then MLB chief officer Joe Torre about what took place. When Hernandez’ time was up on the call, he, according to Torre, stayed on the phone and listened in on Torre’s conversation with fellow umpire Ed Hickox. As a result, Torre had Hernandez removed as acting crew chief.
Hernandez sued MLB in 2017, claiming racial discrimination prevented him from promotions. Perhaps instead it was instead because, as Pedro Martinez put it a couple of years ago, he’s the worst there is.
This nonsense comes up from time to time, but this MLB pet peeve hit home in August and involved San Diego’s young star Fernando Tatis Jr. First off, if they are unwritten rules, they are NOT rules. They are antiquated guidelines that go back to the times of wool uniforms and the double-pump windup.
As the majority of you know by now, Tatis had the nerve to swing at a 3-0 pitch with his team up by seven runs against the Texas Rangers. Instead of lauding his grand slam home run, veterans like Eric Hosmer schooled him on baseball’s right and wrong and the team embarrassed him by forcing him to make a public apology. It should have said, “Sorry your team sucks so bad. Next time, I’ll take a BP fastball for a strike and then hit the next pitch for a grand slam. – Much love, FTJ”.
To make matters worse, Rangers reliever Ian Gibaut threw behind the next batter, Manny Machado. No one could blame Machado if he charged the mound, but the Padres would have had to order another apology.
In today’s game, no lead is safe. Have you seen the quality of Major League relief pitching? That’s why relievers are a hot commodity at every trade deadline. The Padres actions were shameful. Even baseball lifers like Hall of Fame members Reggie Jackson and Johnny Bench backed Tatis. I say, “Swing away, Fernando!”
While watching the Atlanta Braves’ Ian Hamilton nearly no-hit the Yankees recently, I watched as, of course, no one dared to bunt. The idea is to win the game and you can’t win the game if you don’t get hits. But, don’t you dare lay a bunt down and make it harder for the opposing pitcher to no-hit you. Think of the shame that follows. Asinine. Get on base any way you can.
The New Rules
The next MLB pet peeve is a major one, because it affects the way games are played. Among the new rules put into place this season are the 3-batter minimum for relief pitchers and the placing of a runner on second base in extra innings.
The 3-batter minimum is a joke. It takes the specialization and good chunk of strategy out of the game. Every team has a left-hander in the pen ready in a big spot to face likes of a Christian Yelich, or Bryce Harper, or Yordan Alvarez. But, the southpaw’s manager doesn’t want the said left-hander to face the right-handers that follow in the lineup. Now, he has no choice if he wants to make that move. It’s a horrible rule that should be eliminated next season.
The placed-runner in extra innings was used throughout minor league baseball with some success last season. But, that was the minor leagues. This is the Major Leagues, where a win should be earned and not aided by putting a pitcher in an immediate hole. These rules need to go, like yesterday.
Stand Pat-Brian Cash
The final pet peeve – our GMs who do nothing during the trade deadline, even when their team needs parts due to injuries and ineffectiveness. This might be the biggest pet peeve of all.