MLB – Both sides of their mouth by Bob Ryan

So….the MLB is upset about coaches stealing signs of opposing coaches by using technology…”it’s changing the game” they say……really (did you sense the sarcastic tone)? First of all, how many signs are given these days….I can’t imagine that there are many “take” signs, steal signs, hit & run signs, bunt (what a lost art) signs….the only sign I sense that maybe given is HR SWING sign or…maybe its  tighten your batting glove sign…or step out sign…that aside….the MLB themselves have already changed baseball by using technology.  On almost appeals, managers perch on the top step while some guy uses technology back in the clubhouse to watch the replay, THEN signals the manager to appeal or not appeal……THAT has really changed the game….but we don’t’ hear about the game being changed… as it certainly has been… by the appeals.. instead it’s because… allegedly…signs are being stolen from a coach who’s biggest responsibility in these days seems…is to put out his hand as a HR batter circles the bases.  MLB’s concerns for use of technology seems outdated …it’s not going away….and is like trying to put Pandora back into her box.  It’s here….if they steal signs…so be it.  If the offense believes that their signs are being stolen… change the signs….IF you’re actually using signs…’s not rocket science.

….Along the “appeal Process” lines….I’ve proposed that if an appeal is incorrect….make the team that lost the appeal, lose an out…the 1st batter of next inning is out….that idea was supported by the announcers of the Brewers-Dodgers game in Friday nights game as they said….”go ahead, appeal that play….what do you have to lose?” on a play that was a “stretch”. The particular ruling supported the umpires call. The announcer then made a very poignant comment,”Appeals have changed…originally it was to correct clear mistakes….now it’s used frequently for the tiniest possibility that an umpire mistake MAY have occurred”.  Secondly, make the manager appeal immediately using their own eyes…like the umpires do…make the appeal immediate!!

….while we’re thinking of ways to help baseball improve….move these baseball games along faster…. Sometimes I think watching paint dry would be a quicker process. The games are TOO long. On my most recent trip to a Cardinal game…we left at 10:00pm and were a part of a huge contingent of fans doing the same thing…leaving. The sad part is that the game was only in the 7th inning…ugh. If the MLB is wondering why they’re losing fans….bring some speed into the game…..less appeals (hopefully none), shorten time between innings (run your ads on the screen during the inning like they do online), less pitching changes….must we see a minimum of 5 pitchers EVERY game, eliminate many batters stepping out to “tighten” their batting gloves after every pitch…or almost every pitch…I mean…how loose can it get when you don’t swing?… deepen the ballparks give us runners flying around the bases, isn’t a triple more exciting than just another home run? The dip in MLB attendance in 2018 was the lowest average since 2003….there are many more people in the USA since 2003…and the attendance is going down… you remember the astronauts, “Houston, we have a problem” remark…same here.

…btw…how do you eliminate the use of so many pitchers?….make the minimum requirement for a pitcher to face 3 batters not just 1 batter….or until the end of the inning…whichever comes first. So a new pitcher could start the new inning…also, make it 5 warmup pitches not 8 between innings and for new pitchers coming into the game.

MLB  Playoff Thoughts

….Boston and Houston clearly have the two best teams in the MLB to my eyes. Two very good teams but only one can advance out of the AL and Boston did win 108 games in the regular season(that’s winning 2 of every 3 games throughout the entire season)..while Houston won 103. That doesn’t guarantee that the Red Sox will win the Series. If the Series was 21 games long…..please don’t….I don’t want games until Thanksgiving…. the better team would win more often.

….Dodgers won the NLCS by beating the Brewers 5-1. The Dodgers really did overcome many obstacles in 2018. Falling behind 1-0 when Christian Yelich blasted Walker Buehler 8th pitch of the night into the bullpen in right center, the Dodgers scored 2 runs in the 2nd when Manny Machado bunted with 2 strikes for a base hit…it was followed by a Cody Bellinger HR into the 2nd deck in right field. Star Brewer reliever, Josh Hader silenced the LA bats for 3 innings. Once he was gone, the LA offense came back to life. Max Muncy & Justin Turner singled and Yasiel Puig hit  a 3-run dinger to make it 5-1…done..over…LA to the series….this is the same LA team that started the season 16-26…at one time was 9 games behind the league leader. LA had other issues…2x All-Star Corey Seager played only 26 games then had Tommy John surgery. Justin Turner didn’t really start hitting until August. Clayton Kershaw had back issues that caused him to miss starts in the rotation. Closer Kenly Jansen suffered through a recurrence of a heart problem. All teams have “issues”….but only 2 get to the World Series. Dodgers survived.

…on the other side…..The Milwaukee Brewers DID set the table properly for game 7 but it just didn’t work out. Milwaukee nursed 2 innings out of reliever Corbin Burnes in game 6 to save the premier relief pitcher Josh Hader and Joakim Soria for game 7…how many teams have given up on Soria?…can you imagine the Cards using the same pitcher in the 8th AND the 9th? Btw… preparing for their run, the Brew Crew brought in veterans … Jonathan Schoop, Mike Moustakas, Soria….for the tense stretch run. The Cards stayed “put” and yet claim to be making a genuine run for the playoffs??!! It didn’t work out in a trip to the Series for the Brewers this year but they must be considered to be a contender in the NL Central division title in 2019…along with the Cubs….ball is in the Cards court now.

…did anyone else notice the Oakland A’s won 97 games this year…and made the playoffs! They won only 75 games in 2017!! WOW…what an improvement! I chronicled their salary base about a month ago….it’s incredible….you have to tip your hat to Billy Bean….

NCAA Football Games of the Week…..

…..usually, I look for close, exciting NCAA games….but not this week….the huge Purdue 49-20 upset of Ohio State was stunning….I happened to begin watching this game early in the game. (I must admit I was flipping between 2 or 3 NCAA games continually…why watch commercials?… but Purdue-OSU got most of my attention) The Boilermakers destroyed the Buckeyes defense. This upset came from a team that hasn’t been in the AP top 25 since 2007! Purdue scored 35 points in the 2nd half as OSU had no answer…. Purdue made Ohio State one dimensional with their large lead—Buckeyes threw 72 passes. I must admit that I was “rooting” for Purdue….seeing Urban Meyer on the sidelines looking puzzled, upset and disappointed didn’t bother me at all. Ohio State is now OUT of the running for the Final Four sweepstakes in my eyes. Losing badly to a non-ranked team is not a hurdle that the committee can jump over …just because it’s Ohio State. Meanwhile, Purdue has dedicated their season To Tyler Trent, a student with terminal cancer. He’s formed a close bond with the team and he was “on hand” to watch the biggest win in years for Purdue. It’s a real special story!

….if you like offense…watch the Big 12 games….I turned on Oklahoma & TCU. Those teams went up and down the field like in was “touch” football in the back yard. OK won it 52-27. Every year the Big 12 features several offensive-minded teams….Oklahoma(6-1) & TCU are always in that collection of team. This year, it was the Sooners flying up and down the field. Kyler Murray (OU QB)  was 19 of 24 for 213 yards and two different backs EACH rushed for over 100 yards! Kennedy Brooks rushed for 168 yards in 18 carries and Trey Sermon 17 times for 100 yards. This matchup was a rematch of the BIG 12 conference championship last year. The momentum went back & forth until midway in the 3rd when TCU trailing 31-27 after booting a FG. From that point on…it was Boomer Sooner all the way

….Blues start

As I Mentioned 2 weeks ago….just get into the playoffs…don’t worry about being the top team. That being said…the Blues were playing badly in the first 5 games…they didn’t seem to be able to clear the puck….couldn’t seem to find the center-iceman…couldn’t score….looked slow….sitting the 35 year old Jay Bouwmeester as a healthy scratch seemed to send the message to the team. I’m sure it also sent one to Bouwmeester…35 years old…..16 seasons, 1161 hockey games in his career….the Blues were better…much better…without him than with him.

What High School sport?

In a sport hardly EVER mentioned….there was a truly outstanding performance by the Festus Cross Country team recently….for you sports fans that aren’t familiar with XC….the first 5 runners of your 7 runners in “big” meets that cross the finish line for a team have their spot in the finish added together…the lowest score wins.  Occasionally….but not often in a dual meet…one team will shut out the other…that means their runners finished 1-2-3-4-5 = 15 points. In the Jefferson County Conference meet recently. Festus won the conference meet including several schools with a meager 19 points! REALLY amazing…the Festus runners finished #1 Maxwell McDaniel  #3 Simon Ogle  #4 Alex Whitener; #5 Johah Krieg; #6 Garrett Rhine #7 Dominic Kayser and #8 Trenton Childress…WOW…7 of the first 8 places … the 2nd place team Herculaneum had 56 points! Congrats to the Festus XC program and these individual runners….in case you’re wondering….yes…I did run XC but nothing like these fact it was so long ago that the XC races in those days were just 2 miles…unlike the current 5K of today. Thank Goodness.

High School Football…

This was the final week (#9) of the regular season. Through a point system based on all 9 games, all the Missouri teams are seeded in an 8 team district.  The #8 team of each district plays #1 this Friday, #2 vs #7….generally, those are really, really mismatched games. Nothing positive in those games… suggestion is to have the #5 team play the #6 seed and #7 play #8 seed in games outside of the State Tournament.  That way, those teams will compete in a competitive game in their final game of the year. ….let’s be honest….#5 teams and below are NOT contenders for the STATE championship. I know it…you know it….the players and coaches know it.    Also, it would shorten the season by a week…which no longer has to be stretched out to Turkey Day weekend…just to play in the Dome. This idea would help both winning and non-winning teams.

HS FOOTBALL GAMES OF SHAME from this weekend in MO and nearby Illinois games…winning team scores 60+ points and losing team 7 or less points

Carlinville 66 Greenville 0; Blair Oaks 65 California 7; Sarcoxie 62 Ash Grove 6;  Pierce City 61 Pleasant Hope 0



  1. Jeff Bandle says:

    Good article coach. You are spot on with regards to baseball games going on too has gotten ridiculous. I remember going to a Cardinal/Dodgers game in 1979..I think that’s right. It was Pete Vukovich against either Don Sutton or Burt Hooten. The game took 90 hour and a half and the Redbirds won by 1 run..I think 1-0 or 2-1. That would be unheard of now. We were leaving Busch Stadium at 8:30..still early in the evening for the weekend. I also like your idea about the appeals. Give the coaches 2 for the game and if they use one and they are correct, give them 1 more, just like the NFL. Have a good week.

  2. I am right there with you with regard to the time of ballgames being way too long. I actually would like to eliminate replays and appeals all together. There are still times when the system gets it wrong, like the home run hit by Jose Altuve in the first inning against Boston. The ball was clearly over the wall and the fans are allowed to go after a ball as long as they don’t lean over into the field of play. MLB’s explanation was pitiful. Yes, the umps will blow it now and then, but they are mostly right and that could speed up the games by just doing away with the whole boring system. The next biggest time waster is the batters stepping out of the box after every pitch. The umps do not have to give them time out. Let the pitchers get the sign and bring it home. Batter would step out at his own risk. BK

  3. Excellent commentary on the appeal process in MLB. AH

  4. Nice job on MLB and High school football. We will play xxxxx on Friday. A waste of time. Why kill a team buy 50 with a chance of getting a key player injured.
    MLB…. They have too many pitchers. Nobody goes over 5 innings any more then you have a couple middle men then a closer or 2. That’s going to harder to change than high school football. MB

  5. Scott Brown says:

    As far as the number of pitches between innings, it is really irrelevant. It is simply the number of pitches that you would like to throw in the time allotted for TV Commercials.
    Here is one for you to take a look into and find the answer for all of us that read the Blog on a weekly basis. In what year did they decide to start changing the ball every time it hit the dirt? I was watching a replay of the ’72 World Series and there were picks in the dirt by the catcher and he just tossed it back to the pitcher, and in the book by Ron Luciano that he talks about the “magic ball” that was in play for almost 4 full innings and kept the game going at a remarkable clip. THAT could NEVER happen in today’s game.

  6. Dawn Ogle says:

    Thank you for the great commentary on Festus XC!

  7. love the idea on the hs football district play…that would make most of week 10 worthwhile instead of borin RJ

  8. Corey Bethany says:

    I agree with you about the 1st Round of hs playoffs. I recommend teams 1-6 makes the playoffs with #1 and #2 receiving 1st round byes. 3 vs 6 winner plays and 4 vs 5 winner plays 1. Also, there’s no more dome state finals. Everyone travel to Mizzou this year.

    Thank you for your commentary.

  9. Boss, absolutely right on length of baseball games. 10pm must be the magic time. Went to 3 games this year that folks left at 10pm. One game was tied going into the 8th inning at 10pm. Last 2 innings were played in front of 1/3 the original crowd. Yes to the instant appeal, no coaches checking replay.

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