The pitch clock in baseball has been an overwhelming success. Game times are down nearly 30 minutes over the first two weeks of play and pitch clock violation continue to decline. But the clock does come with its issues.
One of the more disappointing moments of the season involving the clock came in Los Angeles on Friday when Cody Bellinger came made his return to Dodger Stadium to face his old club for the first time since signing with the Cubs in the offseason. With how much Bellinger meant to the Dodgers and the fan base after six seasons of highlights and awards, it was pretty obvious that he’d get a hero’s welcome in his first at-bat of the ball game.
Bellinger not only got a standing ovation, he also received a pitch clock violation. This irked his agent greatly. And when your agent is Scott Boras, people are gonna hear what you have to say.
As reported in the LA Times, Boras called MLB deputy commissioner Dan Halem to ask why the league hasn’t taken something like this into consideration. It turns out, there is something in place.
“I called [Halem] and said, ‘Why do we not have provisions for this?’ And he goes, ‘We do.’ It’s umpire discretion, and normally the clubs notify the umpires beforehand if they have any kind of special things.
“[Dodgers manager Dave Roberts] was even screaming from the dugout, ‘Hey, give him some time!’ You have the opposing manager trying to make sure a [visiting] player is appropriately welcomed. I couldn’t believe it. I was like, ‘Why are you not doing that?’ Unreal.”Via Mike DiGiovanna, LA Times
After the game on Friday night, Bellinger said he was going to have a chat with home plate umpire Jim Wolf about the unnecessary (and honestly stupid) violation. But he conceded that “rules are rules.”
Here’s more from DiGiovanna.
As part of MLB’s pitch-clock provisions, teams can request a stoppage in play for ovations they are anticipating, like the reception Aaron Judge got in Yankee Stadium on opening day. But those requests must be made to and approved by the commissioner’s office, which notifies the crew chief for that game.
Apparently, no one from either club alerted MLB about the obvious special moment that would be coming up.