About Me

My photo

Nice guy.  Have some blogs.  Do baseball research.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Playing games with the ball: when is it cheating?

Battering the Batter

For too long, MLB has tolerated the 'tradition' of pitchers intentionally hitting the other team's players. That needs to change.

by ADAM FELDER  MAY 5, 2015

Yesterday a friend sent that to me in an e-mail message with the subject: The Atlantic Is Catching Up.  My reply: "Not with me.  I've been all over this for years.  Thanks.  I'll read it."

To demonstrate my bone fides I sent him a sample of my posts on this general topic:

Crime and punishment trivialized. Monday, April 27, 2015

Pitching inside: what is the target if not the batter? Friday, September 19, 2014

Major Baseball League: a new phrase is coined. Monday, June 11, 2012

Now when some jerk like Cole Hamels of the Philadelphia Phillies takes it upon himself to hit a rookie like Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals with a pitch he can accompany his cowardly act with a paraphrase of the line used for decades by players in the National Football League (NFL): "Welcome to the Major Baseball League".

Main stream media people apparently never cheat on anything: sex, money, reporting.  Reporting would include not engaging in plagiarism.  That must be why they are so inclined to call some people cheaters.  Some people much more than other people with no real correlation between the issue and the intensity of the cries of cheater.

For instance, Nelson Cruz hit the most home runs in 2014: 40.  In 2015 Cruz has the most home runs.  In 2013 Cruz was one of a dozen players suspended 50 games in the Biogenisis performance enhancing drug (PED) scandal.  To my knowledge, no substantial number of people ever booed Cruz since his return, which included Cruz finishing 2013 with Texas, playing for Baltimore in 2014 and then signing with Seattle for 2015.

Alex Rodriguez, on the other hand, is booed in all opposing ballparks, most notably in Boston.

Red Sox fans suck: boo Alex Rodriguez milestone. Saturday, May 2, 2015

Monday, August 19, 2013  Coward Ryan Dempster should be suspended 211 games for deliberately hitting Alex Rodriguez.

To their disgrace nearly all the Red Sox fans in Fenway Park cheered this vigilante act.  A pitcher deliberately hitting a batter is much worse than a batter using steroids.  And these Boston hypocrites ignore the fact that the best player on the two Boston championship teams this millennium was Manny Ramirez, the only Hall of Fame caliber player to serve suspensions for using banned performance enhancing drugs (PED).  Not to mention David Ortiz who is still a member of the Red Sox.  All of Boston should be ashamed.  Last night a representative sample of its population became the ugly mob.


Yesterday the big story was about the inflation of NFL balls.

The New York Times:

Tom Brady Probably Knew Footballs Were Doctored, N.F.L. Finds By JOHN BRANCH
Now the Pressure Is on Roger Goodell. Poor Commissioner. By MICHAEL POWELL
Tom Brady’s Legacy as One of the Best Takes a Hit By JULIET MACUR

To me this is much ado about nothing.  I root for the New York Giants even though they play in New Jersey.  The Giants are the NFL team of my youth, as the Yankees are the baseball team.  In case you are not an NFL fan I'll inform you that Tom Brady is the quarterback of the New England Patriots, so I have little rooting interest in Brady other than his coach, Bill Belichick, was an assistant coach on two Giants championship teams and I generally pull for Belichick.

In the summer of 2014 I read an article in The Times, which shocked me.  Each NFL team supplies its own footballs for each game, including the playoffs.  More shocking is that each team is allowed to scuff  up, moisten and otherwise get those balls into a condition that is most acceptable to its quarterback.  I've been an NFL fan since 1960 and I had no idea that was the case until 2014.  I thought: how Mickey Mouse is that?  Maybe that's why the so called scandal of whether New England used footballs that were under inflated in the 2014 playoff seemed so silly.

The big issue that almost everyone is missing is that each team changes and supplies it's own footballs for games.  The obvious reaction should not be to micro analyse whether the Patriots had been evil but to call for the NFL to immediately and completely take responsibility for the footballs used in games.

You know, like baseball.  Except, ...  A few weeks ago I heard Michael Kay say that the umpires no longer rub up each baseball before each game with that special mud that removes the slickness.  Several times over the decades I had seen TV programs in which an umpire demonstrated how it was done.  It seemed like a solemn ritual, almost quaint.

Kay stated that each home team has its clubhouse workers perform the tedious task supposedly once done only by the umpires.

What the heck?

Juiced: players, bats, balls, parks. Saturday, September 7, 2013

I received an interesting comment to a recent post.  The comment was published but I will highlight it here.

Friday, September 6, 2013
Juiced baseballs and the season home run record ... in Japan.

The New York Times: A scandal erupted earlier this season after the national Nippon Professional Baseball league admitted it had quietly juiced up the official ball for greater bounce off the bat. Players in Japan had unknowingly used the juiced ball in nearly 60 games, with home runs increasing by more than 40 percent from the previous year by the time the changes were revealed.

Robert Whiting said...

(Sadaharu) Oh hit his home runs with a compressed bat . Compressed bats generate much more distance than conventional bats. It was forbidden to use compressed bats in MLB. And they were banned in Japan after Oh's retirement.

There were plenty of juiced balls in Oh's era too. Teams were allowed to manufacture their own balls and many of them had jackrabbit in them. it wasn't until 2011 that the ball was standardized. The new ball proved dead which led to the new livelier this year.

So, yes, batters had an advantage this year but then so did they in Oh's time

Bob Whiting
Friday, September 6, 2013 at 11:14:00 PM EDT

Say what?  Until  2011 teams in Japan made their own baseballs to their own specifications?  What?

I won't belabor the other obvious fact, that we all know that there are pitchers in the Hall of Fame who broke the rules (cheated) by doing things to the ball to gain a competitive advantage.  Whitey Ford and Gaylord Perry are two and their cheating was well known while they were playing.

Part of what's interesting about this is that the same infraction is seen so differently in each sport.  In baseball, it's OK to mess with the ball.  In football, apparently it's not.  In football it's OK to use PED, in baseball it's not, at least it's not if you happen to hit home runs; for everything else, it's OK in baseball, too.
Photo of Tom Brady
Tom Brady should have no problem being elected to the football hall of fame.  Not because of the nature of his offense but because football does not include character as a criteria.  Of the six criteria for the baseball hall of fame, four involve the individual's character.

1 comment:

Kenneth Matinale said...


In 2006 Brady and then-Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning lobbied the NFL to allow teams to provide their own footballs during games, according to CBS Sports.