ted lilly crushes molinaIt’s pretty crazy to think that, one year ago today, the world ended. (Ed. – Ah, crap. Joke ruined because I got the date wrong. Thanks a lot, Mayans.)

  • Remember when Ted Lilly trucked Yadier Molina and we all applauded his manliness? Well, say goodbye to that era. Yesterday, MLB announced that its Rules Committee had voted to ban home plate collisions, and the players are expected to agree to that rule change in time for the 2014 season. Obviously injury concerns were the impetus here, and I have no real beef with the change. There is no formal language yet, but the gist is going to be that home will be treated like any other base: the catcher can’t completely obstruct the runner’s path to the base, and the runner can’t plow the catcher. We’ll see a lot more sliding, I’d think, and we’re probably going to see some on-field debates about whether the catcher was blocking the plate or not. And maybe the manager will challenge that! And have the call overturned! It’s a brave new world for baseball, folks.
  • When the Chicago Cubs opted out of their TV deal with WGN last month, the opt-out reportedly included a 30-day window in which WGN could agree to meet a certain increased price for its portion of the Cubs’ broadcast rights, and thus retain them. By my count, those 30 days have elapsed, and we never heard anything about WGN retaining the rights. So, I’m assuming that the Cubs have opened up the negotiations with other possible partners. Recall: only the 70ish games held by WGN are up for bidding, and the rest of the Cubs’ games are available after 2019. That means whomever is bidding on the rights to these games will probably get their portion only for the 2015 to 2019 seasons, because the Cubs are going to want the whole set of games to be available for bidding at that time.
  • Full quotes from Theo Epstein and Scott Boras here on their varying interpretations of The Plan. Boras also got into one of his pet gripes, the restricted signing bonuses for amateur players, implying that Kris Bryant should have received more money than Jose Abreu. (One piece he remains absolutely correct on is the broken qualifying offer system, which perversely rewards players for having been lucky enough to be traded during the season prior to their free agency.)
  • The most exciting moment at the Winter Meetings? Nope, it wasn’t the Charlie Morton extension – it was two agents coming to blows over a client. There are no details or names, but I’m going to assume Scott Boras was not involved.
  • Quietly, teams had an extra $300,000 to work with in their international signing pools over the past two years, thanks to an exemption for six signings up to $50,000 apiece. That exemption is going away. This change figures to hurt teams with smaller pools more than others, which means the “good” teams. Eventually, that might include the Cubs.
  • Jay continues to kill it at the BN Bears page, including a thoughtful analysis of the Cutler/McCown issue, and the problem of small sample sizes in football.
  • The Rule 5 Draft comes up later this morning, so be ready for the excitement! … of losing multiple players, probably.
  • Nate Dawg

    Pretty sure the world was supposed to end Dec. 21, 2012

    • cubbiesOHcubbies

      You are correct sir!!!!! That was in my Phil Hartman voice, by the way.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I thought it was 12-12-12.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        Ah, crap.

        • DarthHater

          Don’t take it too hard, Brett. It’s not like it’s the end of the world. ::rimshot::

  • CubFan Paul

    Jay Cutler is the best QB Chicago has had in my lifetime (3plus decades). Love him or it’ll be like the Grossman or Miller years.

  • Spriggs

    Did anyone else see the interview yesterday on MLB with the cardinals GM (they talked briefly about the new rule home plate rule)? The whole conversation pretty much defined arrogance.

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    Brett, it was reported that there had been a few offers tendered to some FA’s and then a report that an offer had been made for a lower level trade (assumption). Do you have any idea who that might be? I was thinking maybe Schierholtz. Seems if it were Castro it would be a major trade. And then again Barney comes to mind. Would appreciate any thoughts on that.

    • CubFan Paul

      It wasn’t a trade for one of ours, Theo said he had an offer out on someone else’s player, probably for prospects

  • Eric

    Gah. I hate these types of rules. It’s not like baseball is a contact sport. The one time there is contact, MLB has to go and ban it. Next thing you know, they’ll have players arrested for charging the mound. The War on Testosterone continues.

    • CubFan Paul

      Pass around the juice boxes and orange slices

      • Fishin Phil

        Good news is, we will get a “Participation Trophy” this year.

  • Spriggs

    If the Cubs lose Amaya – with 38 men on the 40 man roster, and one of those being Barney… I will be very depressed today.

    • Chad

      You mean the guy that is in A-ball and has to stick on a ML roster. I would be very surprised if it happens.

      • Spriggs

        Yes. I was afraid a crappy team might claim him. Whew.

  • Tom Delfs

    I won’t miss them in the least.

  • OlderStyle

    I’m fine with the rule. Can one imagine if you were Benito Santiago and Prince Fielder or David Ross (who can obviously throw down a nice home plate collision) were bearing down on you?

  • Tom Delfs

    And the world will end on February 22, 2014, when Ragnarok occurs. It has to be true, cuz I read it on the interwebz!

  • Die hard

    Bunch a sissies

  • Jay

    I’ve always wondered why it was ok for a catcher to block the plate in the first place. No other fielder at any other base is allowed to do it. So, as far as I was concerned, if the catcher got blown up at the plate it was his own fault.

  • bobk

    Pussification of sports is so sad. Can’t tackle high in football, cant tackle low either, can’t touch the quarterback, cant make contact near the sideline. Flags and fines. Now we take away the only actual physical contact in baseball. On a very rare occasion when the conditions are just right two men need to decide is it worth it to take a risk and collide at home plate. This is just sad. We are gonna have a generation of Bubble Boy’s if this keeps up.

    • Soda Popinski

      Can’t pass go. Can’t collect $200…

    • Rebuilding

      Or it could be that advances in understanding concussions are making people realize that having these guys walk around like vegetables at 60 for very little added to the game and just for your entertainment is stupid

    • DocPeterWimsey

      No, we’ll have a generation with a lot few concussions and a lot more IQ points. And hopefully this inane belief that hurting yourself (and damaging your mind) proves your “manliness” will be recognized as, to be blunt, idiocy.

      After all, it’s supposed to be Homo sapiens, not Homo bardus……

      • Jim L

        Beat me to the punch, Doc. Agree 100%.

      • Soda Popinski

        Doc, will you teach me things with your stats and your brains?

    • Jim L

      And less players suffering concussions and brain damage later in their lives, I think that’s a nice trade-off.

    • hansman

      Other things that REAL MEN! used to do:
      1. Line up in rows 10 yards apart and fire muskets at each other (dang advancements in battlefield techniques)
      2. Use a sharpened stick to bring down wooly mammoth (dang supermarkets)
      3. Chop wood to heat their home (dang natural gas)
      4. Smoke Marlboros (dang cancer)
      5. Drive a ’69 Chevelle SS with 97 pounds of Dapper Dan Hair Cream (even before 1969!)

  • hansman

    So what happens when the catcher blocks the plate and then gets slammed in to?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Runner is safe? Catcher ejected? No idea. Those are the fine points they’re going to have to figure out (and will almost certainly lead to in-game arguments – was he totally blocking the plate? just partially? did the runner have to hit him?).

      • cubmig

        Maybe that’s were the replay will come into play on the ump’s call of questionable collisions?

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Well, hopefully they’ll start clamping down on the Mike Scioscia’s who would block the plate before they have the ball.

      • hansman

        In that case, I would hope they would allow for flying drop kicks.

    • Spriggs

      Make more rules and learn about all the details later. Sounds familiar.

  • DarthHater

    “There are no details or names, but Iā€™m going to assume it was Scott Boras and Jay-Z.”


  • EJF174

    Looking to clear up the rule change… It is now illegal to block the plate? It is also illegal to hit the catcher? If the catcher decides to block the plate will the runner now be called safe regardless of the outcome of the play? What constitutes blocking the plate? Is a shin guard down in front of the plate considered “blocking”? Is it open season on a catcher who attempts to block the plate, or will both players be ejected?

    I don’t understand why a rule change was necessary. Blocking the plate carries consequences, catchers knew that. I wonder if they considered changing things to mirror the rules to protect middle infielders while turning a double play.

    I bet Ted Lilly’s wallet has “Bad Mother F*cker” branded on it. I miss that guy.

  • North Side Irish

    Ballpark History ā€@MLBcathedrals 3m
    Cubs HOF C Babby Hartnett signs a ball for Al Capone’s son during an ex. game with the Sox at Comiskey, 09SEP1931. pic.twitter.com/d5Kg9mDjmz

    Not really topical, but it’s pretty awesome…

    • DarthHater

      Nice to see that Alphonse and his boys wore coats and ties to the ballpark. True class. šŸ˜›

  • Disconsolate Mayan

    Cheer up. We all make mistakes.

  • bobk

    Risk vs. reward is part of sports. Every athlete at the professional level knows that. In fact many would prefer consussions over knee injuries. I’m not saying thats the best descision but that is their descision. Its not like we are endorsing long term health issues. Go CTE!? Come on now, we are not wishing harm on people.

    Seriously, how safe can we make sports without taking the fun out of it? No more HR walls cuz too many collisions? Should we cancel Nascar, XGames, Football, Rugby? Womens soccer has the highest occurance of concusions btw. We can play safety patrol until it gets absolutely rediculous.

    *Dont act like if your favorite team was down by one run in a crucial game of a playoff run or WS game you wouldn’t be on your toes hoping that guy at 3rd would beat the play at home and collide with the catcher if it was real close. Maybe midseason you wouldnt care but when the risk is worth the reward you would chastise that player for not giving there heart and soul. Its commendable to risk your body when appropriate. Same deal with a game winning drive in football. Do you risk it all for a first down or tip toe out of bounds?

    If the question is does this make you more manly? The simple answer is, yep. Sometimes it comes down to who wants it more. That is what sports is all about and it emulates life. That is why we enjoy it.