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OC Register: Angels manager Joe Maddon wants more emotion, less instant replay


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TEMPE, Ariz. — As Major League Baseball continues to experiment with different rules to move the game forward, Joe Maddon wants to move the game back.

The Angels manager even wouldn’t mind eliminating something that has become a fixture in the game for more than a decade: instant replay.

An automated strike zone is part of the rule changes that MLB will test in the minors this year. When Maddon was asked about that, he said he’s against changes that remove emotion from the game.

He went further to suggest that the current replay system, used on plays in the field and at the bases, could go.

“There’s a play on the bases, (call) time, go look,” Maddon said. “You just see members of each team just sitting there talking to one another. And then when the result comes, there’s nothing to argue about. I’ve thought about this a lot. … Of course you want the play to be right. I get that. But I mean, taking everything into consideration, I prefer emotion.”

If balls and strikes are no longer in the hands of the umpires, Maddon said it would eliminate one more avenue for emotion. Even though managers are currently prohibited from coming on to the field to argue balls and strikes, it’s nonetheless a part of the game.

“You know you’re gonna get kicked out, so that’s OK,” Maddon said. “It just might be a bad day. You want to get inside a little bit early. You possibly think that maybe the team might be motivated by this. We keep subtracting emotion. That’s my concern.”

Among the other changes that will occur in the minors, Maddon said the limits on pickoff throws were a bad idea.

“I don’t want to rip on something until I see it, but the one about the throws to first, that was just a little bit over the top,” Maddon said.

The limit of two step-offs or pick-off throws per plate appearance will be used in low-A. In other low-A leagues, there will an automated strike zone and a pitch clock.

In Double-A, all infielders will be forced to begin the play in the dirt, and in the second half of the season they may further mandate that two infielders need to be on each side of second.

In Triple-A, the bases will increase in size from 15 to 18 inches. That is to reduce collisions and also to increase base-stealing by slightly shortening the distance between bases.

Baseball has been trying to tweak the rules because the game lately has been dominated by strikeouts, walks and homers. Reducing shifts and increasing stolen bases could change the game, but Maddon thinks the simpler solution is one that is already set to happen in the majors this year: The baseball will be less lively.

“If the ball doesn’t travel as far, a lot of the things you’re looking for will just occur because the hitters will have to adjust, pitchers will adjust, defenses will adjust,” Maddon said. “Everything will adjust. Speed will become more prominent. All the things that you’re looking for.”

NOTES

Maddon should be announcing his Opening Day starter any day now. He said Friday morning that they have selected the pitcher, but they haven’t told him yet. …

The Angels had Jared Walsh in between Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon in the lineup Friday, after Shohei Ohtani hit between them a couple other times. Maddon has said his preference is to have Trout and Rendon hit back-to-back, regardless of whether that’s 2-3 or 3-4, but he’s using the spring to experiment. “Ohtani swings the bat the way he is right now, you project that into regular season that gives Mikey a lot of protection right there,” Maddon said. “So it’s not etched in stone by any means. It’s purely speculative right now. Just looking at as many things as we can.” …

Alex Claudio, who missed the start of camp because of a hip infection, is nearing his first appearance in a Cactus League game. Maddon said the lefty reliever threw live batting practice and was impressive. “Some of our varsity were hitting against him, and they didn’t like it,” he said. “It’s a very uncomfortable at-bat, so it sounds like he’s doing pretty well.” …

Reliever Jose Alberto Rivera still has not pitched in a Cactus League game. Maddon conceded that “it’s going to be difficult” for the Rule 5 pick to make the team, which means he would have to be placed on waivers and, if he’s unclaimed, offered back to the Houston Astros. Rivera arrived late to camp because of visa issues. …

The Angels are scheduled for their first nine-inning game of the spring Saturday. Maddon said they will play nine innings regularly for the rest of the spring, although they’re still not required to play nine every day.

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The idea of mandating the starting defensive positions really fires me up. Learn to put down a fucking bunt for christ sakes, and if the hitters aren't willing to do that move the goddamn fences back so that not every 5' 9" slick fielding middle infielder thinks he can swing for the fences on every pitch.

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5 hours ago, AngelsWin.com said:

Maddon should be announcing his Opening Day starter any day now. He said Friday morning that they have selected the pitcher, but they haven’t told him yet. …

I'm guessing it's Heaney. They gave it to him last season and I don't think they're going to "take it away" from him.

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7 hours ago, AngelsLakersFan said:

The idea of mandating the starting defensive positions really fires me up. Learn to put down a fucking bunt for christ sakes, and if the hitters aren't willing to do that move the goddamn fences back so that not every 5' 9" slick fielding middle infielder thinks he can swing for the fences on every pitch.

Easy There GIFs | Tenor

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To cut down on replays maybe they can take this from cricket: each team has three reviews, if the captain thinks the umpire made a mistake he has 15 seconds to call for a review. If the review shows the captain was correct and the umpire made an error, the decision is reversed to the correct decision shown by the replay and the captain keeps his review. If the captain was wrong and the umpire's original decision was correct the captain loses the review and the decision stands as given. If the captain burns through all three of the reviews and then the umpire makes a mistake later in the game, well, that's just tough titty for you sunshine, shouldn't have burned all the reviews, so the decision stands without the possibility of review. It's not a perfect system, but it does add a little extra drama and cuts down on spurious reviews and constant instant replays that slow down the game, whilst also giving the captains the opportunity to overturn the more obvious mistakes. 

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