Day 21: New rule not too much on runners’ plate
In the past couple of games, I’ve seen some situations at home plate that tell me that no-collision rule will be easy to live with, and all the angst expressed over it has been much ado about nothing.
Tuesday in Lakeland and today in Dunedin, Pirates right fielders made strong throws to the plate with runners bearing down on Chris Stewart and Tony Sanchez.
In both instances, the runner simply lowered into a slide approaching the plate. Now, in a Spring Training game, they may not have been motivated anyway to pile drive the catcher. Still, it was a relatively simple maneuver to slide before there was any contact.
As is the case with most rules, there is a lot of fancy language with this new one detailing what can and can’t happen. But this one really comes down to one basic point: Runners cannot go through the catcher to get to home plate.
* * *
Remember the SNL skit in which Christopher Walken keeps saying, “We need more cow bells!” and a bearded Will Ferrell keeps complying?
Well, I keep thinking of that these days whenever a new Pirates reliever enters a game. Which, of course, happens often in exhibitions.
“We need more southpaws!”
And they keep coming: Brandon Mann, up from the Minor League camp, Joely Rodriguez and Daniel Schlereth combined to throw 3 1/3 shutout innings — allowing one hit — in today’s 6-4 victory over Toronto.
Pittsburgh lefty relievers have pitched a total of 19 innings in eight games and allowed four earned runs (1.89 ERA).
* * *
It may be the Tampa Bay football brand … still, the Bucs had a stylish ride to Dunedin.