MLB asking for violent behavior with rivalry promotion

What goes through peoples’ minds?

And from their minds to their hands, then on to a desk where it’s stamped “Approved,” then produced for TV until freshly delivered to us?

Why can’t sports events any longer be sports events? Why must they be sold as something else, a holy war or a clash of the rabid driven by both the smell and promise of blood?

Whatever happened to the tacit promise of watching a good game?

Last week, during their series in St. Louis, the Mets, over SNY, ran promos pitching tickets to their home series this weekend against the Phillies.

The narrator, speaking in a menacing tone, noted that New York and Philadelphia are close to each other — close enough to breed and sustain a mutual hatred that must be experienced in person to be totally appreciated and enjoyed. And if current standards of antisocial conduct persist at all ball games of all kinds, the bad blood, real or hopeful, is expected to be fueled by the paying customers.

The chosen action clips chosen for the promo were of on-field physical hassles through the years between Phils and Mets. Yeah! Come and get it! As the Mets’ original “pep song” beckoned, “Bring your kiddies, bring your wife!” If you dare.

So what if rec leagues throughout the country for the past dozen years have lost and continue to lose irreplaceable numbers of umpires and refs to the verbally and physically abusive kids and adults.

Mets and Phillies fans fight during a 2009 game.
Mets and Phillies fans fight during a 2009 game.
Anthony J. Causi

Exactly who was targeted in those promos? And why? Was that repetitive promo a come-on or a stay-away?

For those who can still recognize, distinguish and enjoy The Game from what it has become, Mets have been doing pretty well this season at playing good, running, winning, old-school, smart-school baseball. A breath of old fresh air. If not too late, that is what could return folks to baseball, that is what could attract kids.

Yet rotten guesswork artist Rob Manfred and MLB Network claim that on-field acts of excessively selfish, incendiary and counterproductive baseball are the best way to win the hearts of children. If they’re not yet socially desensitized, Manfred and MLB’s marketing strategists will help.

Benches clear during a game between the Mets and Nationals on April 8.
Benches clear during a game between the Mets and Nationals on April 8.
Corey Sipkin for the NY POST

How did kids become lifelong baseball fans before MLB and team marketing departments?

Heck, outfielders have to play new Met Mark Canha straightaway, no shift, because he may hit it anywhere, which provides a clue as to why, as of Friday, he was batting. 333 — even if the analytics sycophants have determined that batting averages are no longer relevant.

A career laggard, such as a Robinson Cano, despite repeated claims that “He’s good in the clubhouse,” has never looked more out of place on the field.

But come to Citi Field to watch the Phils and Mets in bloody combat. Will there also be a baseball game? Sure, but just as a prop in service to the don’t-miss-it, anticipated violence and demonstrable, illogical hatred. Hey, and don’t forget to throw your empties at Phils’ outfielders while taking a selfie! Yeah, bring it on!

A fight breaks out during the Mets-Cardinals game on April 27.
A fight breaks out during the Mets-Cardinals game on April 27.
USA TODAY Sports

Such desperately low sales devices, now applied to every sport by leagues, TV and advertisers to try to stoke “fans’” most intemperate instincts, in the Mets’ case appeared unnecessary, inciting and insulting to genuine, well-comported customers and fans.

Besides, if kids thirst for violence they have video games.

What goes through peoples’ minds?

MLB’s intentional walk rule does nothing to save time

Fun with box scores!: Now that all games include a DH, ostensibly to artificially provide more offense and less strategy to a moribund-by-modern-design game, it’s a kick to check boxscores every day to see how Rob Manfred’s latest simple- minded solution is making out.

After all, in an effort to reduce the time of games, Manfred introduced the automatic intentional base on balls, which, since its introduction in 2017, has probably saved MLB games a total of about, oh, five minutes per season.

Meanwhile, the “universal” DH has too often become just another place in the lineup for batters to strike out while trying to hit home runs into the shift.

In the Rangers-Athletics game last Sunday, while there were “just” 16 total strikeouts, the DH spot accounted for six of them.

Tuesday, Cleveland DH Franmil Reyes, struck out four times in his four at-bats, accounting for one-third of his team’s 12 Ks against four pitchers.

Franmil Reyes reacts after striking out.
Franmil Reyes reacts after striking out.
Getty Images

As of Friday, Reyes, primarily the Guardians’ DH, was batting .165 and led the majors in strikeouts with 31 in 69 at-bats. Reyes this season is being paid $4.5 million, all of it guaranteed. I’d like to apply for next season. I’d settle for $1.5 million, a savings of $3 million!

Thursday, though the Cardinals struck out just four times in an 8-3 win over Arizona, two of those strikeouts were by DH Dylan Carson. Also Thursday, Royals DH Salvador Perez went 0-for-5, striking out four times.

On the flip side, last week in the Dodgers’ 6-1 win at San Diego, the DHs totaled just one strikeout. Still, that game ran 3:25. Why? A different case of terminal analytics. For some reason, known only to someone feeding data into a laptop, 11 pitchers were used.

Yep, 6–1, 11 pitchers, 3:25 and not one automatic base on balls to speed play. That last one was the killer.

Though he likely knows it’s too late to apply common sense, reader John Busacca nonetheless has some for MLB to consider, a way to speed play by ending protracted replay rule delays:

“No freeze-frame or super slo-mo replays”. The rule was supposed to correct egregious calls. If, after two looks at a replay you still need more time and looks to decide, the ruling on the field stands. Same should be applied to football.”

Nah, too logical. Microscopic freeze-framed, super slow-motion replays are an excellent way to waste time by ignoring what couldn’t be determined by the natural in favor of the unnatural.

Plunking batters has implications

If you don’t think bat-flipping doesn’t lead to beanballs and brawls, start with the second base punch-out by Texas’ Rougned Odor’s of Toronto’s Juan Bautista in response to the latter’s excessive bat-flip in 2016, then work your way forward.

Rougned Odor (right) punches Jose Bautista (left).
Rougned Odor (right) punches Jose Bautista (left).
AP

There have been dozens of similarly inspired brawls and near brawls since.

Yet, pandering Rob Manfred endorses all-about-me bat-flipping and other acts of flamboyant self-aggrandization as a surefire means to attract kids to baseball. Why not hold “Brass Knuckles Night,” first 10,000 kids …


From reader and lifelong pal Lloyd Stone: “One day they’re going to join all these sports streaming services together for one fixed price and call it cable TV!”


As per the wishes of several readers, someone will please inform new Giants coach Brian Daboll that the team is called “Big Blue” for a reason. Unless, of course, Giants hooded sweatshirts now only come in black.

Brian Daboll
Brian Daboll
Corey Sipkin for the NY POST

Here’s a prop bet never offered by sportsbook operators: the odds of seeing those in sports gambling TV commercials because they just lost their bet angry. Or maybe such gamblers don’t exist. Everyone, especially young adult males, wins, and wins big!


Watching the NFL draft on ESPN is like stumbling into McDonald’s, blind drunk at midnight and trying to read the lighted, multi-colored overhead menus. Don’t ask how I know.

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