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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Phone between dugout and bullpen: are gambling and social networking issues for MLB?

The curious and much over stated impact on game five of the MLB finals, aka, World Series, has two components: game strategy and MLB policy on communications during a game.


Regular season:
Marc Rzepczynski (L) 28 SO, 23 Innings; WS 4 SO, 1.66 Innings
Jason Motte (R) 63 SO, 68 Innings; WS 1 SO, 1.33 Innings

Why was Motte so much more likely to SO Napoli (R)?

Rzepczynski entered with two on, one out to face lefty Murphy who singled.  Then Naploi doubled.  But then there was another lefty batter: Moreland who sucks, which is why he's batting 9th. Rzepczynski SO Moreland.

For all the fuss about Napoli winning the previous game he was batting 8th.

Having Rzepczynski pitch to lefty, righty, lefty was not such a bad idea.  Too bad Tony La Russa didn't have it.

The pundits all seem to rush to the same conclusion and then repeat it even if it doesn't make the most sense.

Here is a coherent analysis that makes a case for Rzepczynski not pitching to Napoli:


Some of my perspective:

Napoli was 3 for 12 in WS before that double.

Game 1: 
Rzepczynski SO both batters faced: Gentry and German, both righties.

Game 2: 
Rzepczynski faced two, SO Torrealba (R), German grounded to 1B.
Game 2: Motte faced two, two hits, two runs, loss.

Game 5: 
Rzepczynski SO Moreland (L).  You know the rest

I'm not into nit picking in-game decisions, I just dislike when people pile on.  To say that a pitcher with more SO than innings should not pitch to the number 8 batter seems silly.  In WS 
Rzepczynski retired 6, 4 SO (3 righties), 0 BB, 2 H (left, right).

OK, now about MLB policy.


"only real restriction baseball placed on communication between the dugout and the bullpen was that it be conducted through a direct line with no outside-calling capabilities"

That would preclude ordering pizza but who knows how long that prohibition has been in effect.  If you enlarge the image the phone appears to have a dial pad.

"Over the decades, though, baseball teams have stuck mainly to the landline dugout phone."

This suggests using the public switched telephone network.

"Regular cellphones are banned from the dugout ...  telephones have been used in major league dugouts and bullpens since at least 1930"

"In addition to cellphones, laptop computers are also banned for dugout-bullpen communication, according to the baseball spokesman Pat Courtney. A pre-approved form of walkie-talkie can be used if a landline fails, Courtney said, provided the affected team alerts the umpiring crew."

It's still not clear to me what MLB teams use now.  I'm guessing that in 1930 they used a simple point to point line, which was live. i.e., no dial tone.  No charges from the phone company.

MLB forces managers and coaches to bring those big binders into the dugout, rather than  laptops, iPads, etc.

Part of it may be MLB does not want players and coaches with access to the Internet.  Otherwise they could just use smart phones.  NFL bans that in games.  One issue, especially for MLB with its history would be communicating with gamblers during a game.  That would be a HUGE scandal.

Gambling.  Devices that connect can be used to communicate with gamblers.  That's my guess.  Also, general purpose stupidity like tweeting moronic thoughts.

You could only let the manager have one but I think they're banned in dugouts because MLB does not want a Pete Rose memorial laptop.  Wasn't Pete supposedly on the phone during games that he managed for Cincinnati, possibly calling his bookies.  That's also probably why the phones are not supposed to reach anything other than the bullpen.

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