Tuesday, June 2, 2015


There is more to it than being right.

There is being right the right way.

And I have the feeling that, sometimes at least…

I’m not.


I am watching a roundtable discussion of experts on the Major League Baseball Channel – an announcer, two commentators, a couple of former ballplayers – debating the current issues of the day.  Not “Global Warming” and loosening sanctions on Iran – the current issues in baseball.  Though that was probably understood without clarification. 

While I am watching, I detect in myself a growing build-up of impatience and irritation.  Why?  Because – don’t laugh – I was not included in the conversation, believing sincerely that I should have been.  As in,

“In our discussion today concerning the current issues of the day in baseball, we have six certifiable experts, and Earl.”  In my bottomless narcissism, that expectation seemed to me to be eminently reasonable.

Plus, I unequivocally knew the answers to the questions under discussion, and the experts – I was going to sarcastically say “experts”, but they were actual experts – did not.

The first issue concerned Pete Rose – a magnificent ballplayer who was caught gambling on baseball and was banished from any further participation in the game for life, the banishment including Rose’s being denied consideration for induction into baseball’s eternally hallowed “Hall of Fame.”

Triggered by the appointment of a new Commissioner scheduled to reexamine Rose’s predicament, the question was:

“After twenty-five years of exile, should Pete Rose be reinstated into the baseball fraternity?”

The experts’ opinions – perhaps premeditatedly to ignite fireworks – reflected the predictable spectrum of possibilities:

– “Twenty-five years’ punishment is enough.  Allow the guy back in.”

– “From ‘Day One’, every player is admonished against betting on baseball and of the severe consequences if they do.  Rose’s lifetime excommunication should stand.”

– “The ‘Hall of Fame’ should reflect on-field performance only.  Why single out Pete Rose for permanent banishment when already enshrined ‘Hall of Famers’ behaved comparatively heinously, or worse?”

There were various other arguments, the expert panelists committing to one side or the other.
I’m sitting there watching, aggravated because I am certain I have the answer, and that nobody has mentioned it.  Though viewers are invited to participate on “Twitter”, I unequivocally demur, being ignored on enough communicational platforms as it is.  (See:  “Earl Pomerantz Submissions” – The Huffington Post­ – “Number of Visitors”:  0.)
Besides, there is a more demonstrably satisfying way to go.
I immediately jump into “Fantasy Mode.”  Suddenly, I am magically transported through the TV screen and onto the panel.  I wait seemingly endlessly for the expert panelists to run out of gas and, in a tired, quasi-exasperated tenor, I intone,
“For every player in the ‘Hall of Fame’, there is an official plaque, commemorating their accomplishments.  You let Pete Rose into the ‘Hall of Fame’ – because he’s earned it – and you inscribe on his plaque:
‘Pete Rose accumulated more hits than any player in the history of baseball.  It was also proven that, contrary to the clearly delineated regulations, Pete Rose gambled on baseball, and was permanently banished from the game.’
“Done.  Rose is immortalized, for visitors to Cooperstown to study and remember, as baseball’s most prodigious ‘Hit Machine’, and also as an indefensible miscreant.  That, gentlemen, is the answer.”
It is the answer.  I had it.  And the experts didn’t. 
The panel of experts then proceeded to another issue: 
“Will speeding up the game make baseball more popular?”
I shall summarize my imagined response – because I was not actually present – thusly: 
Adding elliptically that “People who do not like baseball will never like baseball, because it’s baseball.”  Adding further, to the disgust of the obligatorily optimistic panel of experts:
“In fact, with the now-popular implementation of ‘Specialty Relief Pitchers’ who are brought in to pitch to a single batter and are then replaced by another relief pitcher, the duration of the game will not become shorter; it will inevitably become longer.”
My non-expert opinions are, if not unassailable, meritorious of consideration.  Yet both I – and they – are unilaterally overlooked.  Not to mention, due to my supercilious intonation…
Met with detectable eye-rolling irritation.
In both my fantasies – and, more importantly, in reality – I need to focus on my temperamental “Delivery System.” 
(And consider the possibility that I am wrong.)


Frank said...

Not only should Pete Rose be let in the Hall of Fame but he is owed a huge apology from MLB for making him such a scapegoat because he had a gambling problem. MLB then swept steroid drug abuse under the table for as long as they could.

Billy Ray Monboquette said...

You and me both! It's not that I don't like you're solution to the Rose/HOF dilemma, but I've got another proposal. As soon as MLB rules Shoeless Joe eligible and he is voted into the Hall, then Rose will become eligible. Just to review, Joe and 7 of his teammates are accused of accepting a $5,000.00 bribe to throw the 1919 World Series. While 5K seems like a pittance, according to the inflation calculator, that 5K is worth $71,155. in 2015. According to the excellent movie, Eight Men Out, Jackson admits to taking the money, but not to throwing the Series. However, in interviews following his ban from baseball, Jackson stated that he refused the money not once, but twice during the series. His teammate, Lefty Williams reportedly tossed the money on the floor of Jackson's hotel room. Joe then attempted to tell team owner Charles Comiskey about the bribe, but he refused to meet with Joe. In later years, the other 7 players admitted that Jackson was never at a single meeting with the gamblers. In the Series, Joe had a record 12 hits, an average of .375, no fielding errors, and he threw one runner out at the plate. Although all 8 defendants were acquitted, the newly appointed commissioner banned all of them from ever playing again.

And we know Jackson's never going to be in the Hall.

Mark Buehrle goes tomorrow for the Jays. Get your stop watch ready. I know, I've already stated my opinion on the pitchers who take so much time between pitches. I'm also against the batter being allowed to step out of the box between pitches, most of whom are re-grouping their thoughts. They can do that in the batter's box. The current rule, I believe, requires the pitcher to make his delivery within 30 seconds of the umpire telling him he's on the clock. However, with runner(s) on base, there is no such requirement. Right now, I'm watching Estrada pitching for the Jays; bases loaded, 25 seconds between pitches is his norm. All the fielders have long since done their 'what if' preparations, so now, they're just trying to stay awake.

The plan to hurry-up the pitcher won't speed the game up much, but it will give it some flow and rhythm.

The worse I've seen this young season, was Baltimore's Miguel Gonzalez. Usually a fairly quick worker, he turns sloth-like when there are runners on and he's laboring. I forget who they were playing but by the 6th, it was clear he was really struggling. I wasn't counting time between pitches until, coincidentally, what turned out to be his last pitch, he took 56 seconds before throwing ball 4. Finally, Showalter had seen enough, too; and I'm sure his pitching coach is watching the stopwatch. Sure, that's an extreme and it involves a bit more posturing than just watching Miguel stand on the mound. But overall, it's pathetic and it's a killer to the fielders who have to stand there and watch him do nothing!

We have had the pitching specialists for a long time so we're not going to be adding any more time to the game's length by changing pitchers 5 or 6 times per game. My proposal: 20 seconds to deliver pitch, runners on or not, 20 seconds is plenty. Don't allow the batter to step out of the box after every pitch. They don't need to adjust their batting gloves after every pitch; and they surely don't need to step out and psyche themselves up. If they aren't psyched when get to the plate, having a little meeting with their id isn't going to help. Rhythm and flow. It's important in every undertaking. Even baseball!

And MLB.TV is one heck of an invention!