MLBits: Don't Play Too Much Fortnite or Your Teammates Might Smash Your TV ...

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MLBits: Don’t Play Too Much Fortnite or Your Teammates Might Smash Your TV …

Chicago Cubs

Did you catch the news earlier? MLB is apparently using the Nationals and Yankees (as far as we know) as test-cases for some new technology that would allow catchers and pitchers to relay pitch signs to each other using smart watches – an effort to eliminate the bad kind of sign-stealing.

As I wrote earlier, I have no issues with traditional sign-stealing, but as soon as teams start using technology and literal spies in the stands to steal signs in games of consequence, well, that’s a whole different animal. I doubt we’ll see this at the big league level anytime soon, but it’s pretty cool anyway.

Here’s some other news from around the league …

  • According to the rumors, Santana smashed a TV because his teammates were playing Fortnite *during* a game (or two), but Jake Arrieta later said that’s not entirely true. Indeed, he said that’s not something he would’ve allowed, and thus, the reporting on that isn’t quite right (it seems like they must’ve been playing just before game time). In any case, I’m just surprised it wasn’t Arrieta doing the smashing. All jokes aside, Arrieta was actually less harsh on the problem than I expected: “At a certain point, your focus needs to shift toward preparing for the game. And some people like to lock in on their phone and watch a show. I’m OK with that. I really don’t care if you want to play Fortnite up to a half-hour before the game. If that’s what locks you in, I don’t mind that. But during the game? That’s a different story.” I tend to agree with Arrieta here. Playing a video-game during the regular season – even if it’s almost over – just isn’t a great look for the fans who paid to watch those games.
  • Meanwhile, the Blue Jays are already taking steps to avoid that kind of problem:

  • Astros Manager A.J. Hinch was just suspended for a game and fined an undisclosed amount after arguing balls and strikes with home plate umpire Angel Hernandez (he also reportedly bumped Hernandez and C.B. Bucknor, which is a bit of a no-no, even if it’s on accident, as Willson Contreras can attest). After the game, Hinch called Hernandez unprofessional and arrogant.
  • In this post-game interview, Hinch reveals that he told Hernandez that they have technology to help him get better at calling balls and strikes (oh my, that’s funny) and then suggested that Hernandez’s first bad call of the next inning was retaliatory, sparking the fight:

  • In any case, getting kicked out of a Spring Training game is hilarious. For what it’s worth, Hinch never seemed to care about the impact of the call on the outcome of the game, but rather what it did to his pitcher, who was forced to throw more than he would’ve otherwise had to – possibly knocking him off a broader ramp-up plan.
  • By now you know that the Brewers are moving Mike Moustakas to second base this season to make room for Travis Shaw at third base. To the world, that seems like a particular risky move, given Moustakas’ expected poor defense there, but the Brewers have been at the forefront of modern defensive positioning for a while now, so it’s worth considering their decision. Aaron Gleeman did just that at Baseball Prospectus and seems to believe that it might not be a big deal, in part, because the Brewers shift so much their “second baseman” is rarely playing “second base.”
  • Sticking with the Brewers, Jimmy Nelson is getting back into the swing of things:

  • He may not be ready for Opening Day, but it does seem like he’ll help Milwaukee this year. How good he winds up being will go a LONG way towards defining the 2019 Brewers. Here’s to hoping he’s perfectly healthy and entirely terrible.
  • The Cardinals pitching staff is going through quite a lot at the moment:

  • They have SO MANY qualified arms, but they’re also dealing with some pretty significant injuries. On top of that, some of their better arms – Carlos Martinez, Alex Reyes, etc. – will probably contribute out of the bullpen to start the year, complicating the broader picture further.
  • Junk Ho Kang is officially back to starting for the Pittsburgh Pirates – that was a long journey (with three DUIs):

  • Not everything that gets tested out in The Atlantic League will make its way to MLB (that’s why it’s called testing), but among the many notable experiments, the league is moving the mound backwards for the second half of the year, according to J.J. Cooper at Baseball America. “I think the changes are designed to create more balls in play, more defensive action and more baserunning. Hopefully they will do that,” MLB Senior VP of League Economics and Operations Morgan Sword said. At Baseball Prospectus, Rob Arthur discusses the potential impacts of moving the mound back. Although slower fastballs is the obvious thing, a lot more will change than that: “it would change the whole game by boosting breaking balls and forcing hitters to swing on a more upward plane.” I’m willing to bet we don’t fully understand the implications of moving the mound (let alone raising/lowering it), so I’m all for experimentation.
  • A former MLB player opens up about concussions and his history/experiences dealing with it.
  • It’s always fun when other-sports cross-over with baseball. First, we saw Seattle QB Russell Wilson in the Yankees dugout, and now Baker Mayfield is taking BP with the Brewers:

  • That throw is reminiscent of his iconic toss from right-to-third 18 years ago (that video is in the post, too).
  • This is just so awesome and I want more of it:

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Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami covers the Chicago Cubs, Bears, and Bulls at Bleacher Nation. You can find him on Twitter @Michael_Cerami