Click here to check out at an article to be published in Wednesday morning’s York Dispatch newspaper about reactions from members of the York Revolution to the new pace of play rules. The article also provides some context as to what led to the new rules being voted upon by the league’s board of directors and the likelihood of most of the rules actually being modified or eliminated entirely. And it includes some good quotes from Revs’ manager Mark Mason, catcher Salvador Paniagua and a couple other players on why they’re opposed to some of the rules.
Below, in Q&A format, are a collection of the quotes not used in the article from conversations with Mason, outfielder Eric Patterson and starting pitcher Alain Quijano. They provide even more insight as to how the rules would hurt the game.
Also, in case you missed it, New York Mets’ relief pitcher and former Revs’ left-hander Scott Rice will soon under season-ending surgery to his throwing elbow. Click here to check out the blog post earlier Tuesday for all the details.
Revolution manager Mark Mason is opposed to most of the new pace of play rules. Bill Kalina file photo.
Revs’ manager Mark Mason:
Q: What has been the reaction from players thus far?
A: “I told the guys (the Revolution players) ‘I know you read this stuff online. Obviously Aug. 1 is a way off. There’s gonna be some adjustments.’ I don’t see…we were talking in Long Island and Sugar Land the bullpens are behind the outfield wall. So any foul ball down the line have to be retrieved by the position players. For me, Sugar Land and Long Island are the main two that aren’t set up for the bullpen in play. Any balls that go down the line the right-fielder or left-fielder have to run over and get the ball, flip it into the stands and go back to their position. The pitcher has to wait for that. If you get 15 or 16 foul balls you’re almost adding 10 or 15 minutes to the game. By the same token, you’ll have to pay someone (a ball boy or ball girl) $20 each. That’s $40 a night. That’s $2800 for 70 home games. So that’s probably not an option.” ….
Q: What about batters needing permission to step out of the batter’s box?
A: “The issue is a player getting out of the box to re-adjust. If you don’t swing the bat, worst case is one foot is out of the box. If runners are not on base and you don’t swing then obviously you stay in the box. It’s not so much getting out of the box it’s the amount of time it takes stepping out of the box. If you tell a guy more than once to not do it, then give him a strike. If the umpire is telling you to get going…if a guy swings and fouls a ball off and steps out to re-adjust his glove, then fine. But if it’s gonna be stand around and take three practice swings then say ‘Let’s go.’ I don’t have a problem with that.”
Q: What about warm-up pitches between innings going from eight to six?
A: “I think that’s stupid. That’s not happening.” “That’s not adding time to go the game. It’s really not. I really believe if a pitcher goes ‘Can I have three more?’ You give him three more.”
Q: I imagine anyway the in-between innings promotions would still be going on when the pitcher is done anyway….
A: “That to me is not the issue. The biggest issue is every hitter is full-count. It doesn’t matter, you watch a game it’s 2-0 now it’s 3-2. It’s 3-0 now it’s 3-2. And you have foul balls. So sometimes you have a nine or 10-pitch at-bat. And the courtesy runner thing is only going to slow the game down. Lets say Paniagua gets on base. Now we have to switch runners. Then how many times do you think the pitcher is gonna throw over to Valdez to try to pick-off Valdez. How many more pick-overs is that gonna be? You can take the other side on this, too. If you look at Southern Maryland, Skelton is the catcher and he might be their fastest guy on the team. So now you have to substitute a slower guy. To me, the integrity of the game stuff with courtesy runners and now without throwing pitches for intentional walks…” “The other thing, too, is if I’m giving a guy a day I want to give him a day off. If I have to make him courtesy runner that’s not a day off. And you can’t have pitchers come in and run and now you’re looking at injuries and these guys don’t know how to run. If you’re the catcher and you’re on deck and the third out is made, he still has to go back and get his gear on. With courtesy runners you have more pick-offs at first base.” “We’re going with 11 position players right now by design. With the courtesy runner rule, everybody is playing. Now you have injuries and wear and tear and more games in a row. For me, you got to let us manage the game. If I’m going to make three trips out there with my starter.”
Q: Are games too long?
A: “We played a three-and-a-half hour game yesterday (in Long Island) that was 3-2. Now a part of that was the foul balls we talked about. And the counts went 3-2, 3-2, 3-2.” “I think if players get on and off the field in a timely manner you can control the amount of time a guy gets in and out of the batter’s box. The umpires have to take control of that part. But you can’t tell a manager, ‘OK the catcher went out once, the pitching coach went out once and I went out once.’ That’s our three.”
OF Eric Patterson
Revs’ outfielder Eric Patterson:
Q: Thoughts on having to get the permission from the umpire to step out of the batter’s box?
A: “I don’t feel like that’s gonna be too big of a deal. I think a lot of it is common sense. You have guys who step out and take their time. If you use common sense like if you swing at a ball and step out and regroup, as far as that, that’s not gonna be a big deal.”
Q: Are these games in this league too long? Does it need to change?
A: “Granted they are long games but they’re too long. It’s baseball. It’s what you expect. We don’t have a shot clock. As a fan or a player you’re playing 27 outs both ways. That’s just the way it is. You’re talking about speeding up these games by 10 or 15 minutes, what’s the difference? What’s the difference between staying out there for 2 hours, 45 minutes and three hours? As fans going to the games you understand they’re long games. If you don’t wanna be there that long, go home. If you can find a way to take a three-hour game and make it two hours, I’m all for it. But if it’s for cutting it by 10 or 15 minutes, it’s not worth it.”
Q: Mase was saying everybody is taking pitches and fouling off balls and going full-count. Have you noticed that becoming the norm over your career?
A: “Maybe, maybe not. But the pitchers are better. They have better stuff. As a hitter you’re up there battling. If I get two strikes, do you want me to quit? A lot of it is common sense. You can’t change the integrity of the game, this might sound bad, but you can’t change the integrity to make the games quicker and make fans happier. You pay money to come to a baseball game you should expect to be there for 2 hours, 45 minutes or three hours. And extra-inning games what do you do about that? Just say ‘We’re not playing.’”
LHP Alain Quijano
Revs’ starting pitcher Alain Quijano:
Q: Thoughts on pace of play rules?
A: “As a team we’ve talked a lot about them. I’m not in a players association so I guess I can say whatever I want. I really think it’s a joke. If you want to speed up the game, that’s not the way to do it. Don’t change the credibility of the game just because you think it’s going to speed up the game. It might speed it up 10 minutes faster now or something. What happens if pitchers start giving up eight runs? That’s gonna take longer. What are they gonna do put a five-run rule in?”
Q: Warm-up pitches cut it down eight to six. I imagine if you ask the umpire after six pitches, ‘Hey, could I get a couple more pitches?’ He’s not going to have an issue, right?
A: “No way. Especially if you get your butt back out there after the inning is over because they’re still doing the on-field thing anyways.”
Q: Will taking those two warm-up pitches away make a big difference on you?
A: “Well, if we have to make the adjustment you make the adjustment. But is it fair to everybody? I don’t think so.”
Q: Between each pitch they’ve wanted 12 seconds. Do you have an internal time clock in your head?
A: “Yeah, it’s get ball, go. Every guy is different. Every game is different. That’s what makes baseball awesome. You never get the same thing twice and so why are they trying to make things…don’t take the credibility of this league being the best independent league and just start doing the courtesy runner stuff.”
Q: You’ve been in just about every independent league there is. Have you heard of any these kind of rules before in your career?
A: “No. The only thing that changes at the end of the season if you give away baseballs you get fined. That’s the only thing I’ve come across. This is, again, taking the credibility out of this league. Other leagues are gonna look at this and go ‘What are these guys doing?’ I’m being serious. They’re gonna laugh. Other catchers in other leagues are running. Why not in this league?”
Q: Eric Patterson was saying this might drive players away from coming to this league?
A: “Absolutely because why do I want someone telling me how much time do I need to take in between the pitch? Six pitches, what’s the difference? You know what I mean? The umpire should control the pace of the game. That’s it.”
Q: Do you think these games are too long?
A: “No. Not at all. I think it’s fine. Today what was it? Three hours? That’s normal, right? OK. They want to shorten the game. Widen the strike zone, then you’re taking away the hitter. You know what I mean? Come up with any way you want and it’s not gonna change. You’ll see.”