Good for Willson Contreras.
Bluntly, the Cubs catcher said this week he will defy Major League Baseball’s new inane pace-of-play rules that limit managers, coaches and players to just six total, non-pitching change mound visits per game.
"I don't even care," Contreras said Tuesday. "If I have to go [out there] again and pay the price for my team I will."
Except, there really is no “price.”
Commissioner Rob Manfred and chief officer Joe Torre — the decorated former Yankees manager who you’d think would realize how asinine what I’m about to tell you — clarified this week that, after six visits, umpires will simply tell players, pitching coaches or managers they’ve exceeded the allotted visits.
No automatic ejection. No added ball to a count. No tangible penalty to dissuade anyone — Contreras, his manager Joe Maddon, anyone — from strolling to the mound a seventh, eighth or ninth time.
Baseball has to cater to its viewership, one that’s becoming less and less likely to stick around for a three-and-a-half hour game in the middle of July with no immediate bearing on pennant races. Games have to be sped up and more enticing to attract more folks than me, the die-hard ball fan with little else to do on a summer night but watch these games.
Doing it this way defeats the purpose. Catchers like Contreras will defy it. So will managers. With no penalty, why not?
Those stern talkings to from umpires won’t change much. It’ll likely result in arguments, which will lead to ejections, unnecessary delays in a game that can ill afford any.
Isn’t that what we’re trying to prevent?