October 14, 2015

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle:

A place to discuss the sports stories that aren't making news, share links that aren't quite front-page material, and diagram plays on your hand. Remember to count to five Mississippi before commenting in anger.

posted by huddle to general at 06:00 AM - 45 comments

I've invented a new roster position in fantasy football, and I want to solicit opinions here. It's something I've been mulling over to possibly propose in a non-PPR league I play in. In this league we're always tinkering with the rules. The league has a current rule I wish all leagues followed: You can't pick up a player unless you start him that week.

Here's my rule idea.

The Friday Flex

Every team has an empty roster spot they only can fill on Friday or later with a WR/RB/TE. The player is automatically dropped after the last game of that weekend. These pickups are processed immediately, not subject to waivers.

The rationale is that it's fun to make a strategic pick of long-shot players based on matchups and see one do well. It also makes owners more engaged in the game even when they have a roster ful of players they like.

The downside is that every owner has to make that pick or there's an empty slot on the team. It requires a little more work. That's why I thought it should happen on Fridays. It's a day where you're not doing much to your team, but still in the work week. (When I wasn't self-employed I did my best fantasy football work on a company's time.)

There's no risk of parking a player as a Friday flex to keep him away from other teams. If he kicks ass that weekend, he'll be available for a waiver move the next week.

posted by rcade at 10:50 AM on October 14

I would have two issues with that, one major and one minor.

Major -- Is there any priority besides "first come first served"? Because I would hate to keep losing my picks (random though they would likely be) to someone who just woke up earlier. Minor -- It excludes participants in Thursday games.

Otherwise, if it's not a big 20-team league where you're picking fourth-string players with zero points on the year, it sounds fun.

(I also like that must-start-pickups rule.)

posted by Etrigan at 11:15 AM on October 14

Losing Thursday players seemed like a fair trade to put this roster move on Fridays.

If the Friday flex couldn't be picked until 1 p.m. Eastern, it would give everybody a shot.

Some of us in the league play another game on Thanksgiving I've been calling the Turkey Bowl. Six owners draft only players who are in games that day. You get 1 QB, 1 K, 1 Defense, 2 RB, 2 WR and 1 Flex. That's where I learned to appreciate having a random scrub scoring a TD, like when I had Robert Turbin on Seattle last year.

posted by rcade at 11:39 AM on October 14

The league has a current rule I wish all leagues followed: You can't pick up a player unless you start him that week.

I like this in theory, but as someone that just had to stash Blake Bortles in case Tyrod Taylor (who was my backup in the first place) doesn't play this Sunday, it kind of makes me uneasy.

I like the idea of the Friday Flex though, mainly because it gives people a reason to do some deep-roster research.

posted by Ufez Jones at 11:43 AM on October 14

In no way am I picking on Mike Reiss, the terrific Patriots beat reporter, but compare Sunday

with today: "New England Patriots starting left tackle Nate Solder will miss the remainder of the season with a torn right biceps." Solder immediately goes into the Pats Lineman Tough Guy Hall of Fame with Logan Mankins who played half a year on a torn ACL.

posted by yerfatma at 02:39 PM on October 14

C'mon, Rangers! Send Willy Stroman back to his career as a dead salesman.

posted by rcade at 04:09 PM on October 14

Just when you think you've seen it all in baseball. Apparently when the umpire calls time, it doesn't mean play is dead.

posted by tommytrump at 06:35 PM on October 14

Well, I hope someone scores some runs because that was a ridiculous call.

posted by tron7 at 06:40 PM on October 14

I don't like getting a run that way. But Odor was almost home and no throw was even being attempted by the time the ump called time. Given the rule, it would be a joke to send him back to third.

posted by rcade at 06:40 PM on October 14

Are you the same rcade from the Lions/Seahawks thread?

posted by tron7 at 06:54 PM on October 14

My position in that discussion: "Rules in sports should be enforced. If the rule is bad, get rid of it later." My position here: The rule should be enforced.

The umps took a timeout to ask New York if the rule was enforced correctly. They said it was. I don't see how anyone can argue the umps made a mistake on a rule.

The only argument that could've been persuasive is if the ump decided Choo interfered. But replay showed he didn't do anything that made the ball hit his bat. That was all on Martin.

The baseball gods already took that run away and more by robbing the Rangers of their ability to catch an infield throw.

posted by rcade at 07:05 PM on October 14

A message I just got from the MLB.Com app: "Umpires manual: If batter is standing in box and he or his bat is struck by catcher's throw to pitcher ... the ball is in play."

It was smart of Odor to take off and finish the run home. He's a crafty scent.

posted by rcade at 07:17 PM on October 14

I don't seem to have commented here since 2003 (and yet Sportsfilter remembered my login!), but I had to drop by to say that in over half a century of watching baseball that was the wildest inning I've ever seen. I admit, through gritted teeth, that the umps made the correct ruling, but I'm sure glad the Blue Jays won.

posted by languagehat at 08:27 PM on October 14

My family and I were driving somewhere and I had the radio tuned to the game during that inning. The ESPN radio guys were going nuts over what was happening after Bautista's homer, my wife was telling me a story from her day, and the kid was in the back seat making up a crazy story for her two dolls. It was a rather surreal moment and to top it all off, languagehat apparently has been using the same computer for at least 12 years now. May the wonders that make up our lives never cease.

posted by NoMich at 08:34 PM on October 14

Here's an interesting piece from fangraphs on that play. They bring up the point that without the new "batter must stay in the box between pitches" rule, Choo likely would've been some distance away and this wouldn't have happened.

(hi languagehat!)

posted by Ufez Jones at 08:51 PM on October 14

There are bat flips, and then there are BAT FLIPS:

I'm still trying to comprehend everything that just happened.

As a Toronto fan, it's been a LONG time since a local team has faced adversity like that and prevailed.

The Martin error was the right call. My dad was at the game and he said he never got a chance to see the replay, so he (and many others) were absolutely confused (and then livid) over what happened. When I explained what everyone at home saw, he agreed with the call (after the game).

He also had no idea why the benches cleared both times. I explained that Dyson was confused by Encarnacion attempting to tell the crowd to calm down (and not throw stuff) and thought he was pumping them up. The second time it was Dyson deliberately walking up to TULO and smacking his ass. I assumed that was to try and get TULO tossed from the game for retaliation.

posted by grum@work at 09:50 PM on October 14

Languagehat is the user who came in from the cold. I agree with you that it was one of the weirdest innings of postseason play ever. Stretching for comparisons, I'm thinking of the Bartman out and the time Pedro Martinez threw a bull-rushing Don Zimmer to the ground.

As a Rangers fan I am disappointed that they were beaten by fielding errors and losing their cool in the clutch. One weird run and suddenly they're as tight as Beltre's back.

I don't have a good reason to be angry at Toronto, but the object throwing pisses me off -- particularly after the home run when the fluke run didn't matter any more. I hope at least some of those fans were arrested and identified so we can drag them through the media as the scapegoat for the others.

In 19 years, the baby hit by the beer thrown by a fan will pitch the final inning for the Rangers to knock the Jays out of the ALCS. He will retire from the sport as a billionaire, buy the Jays and move them to Lubbock. So enjoy yourselves while you can, Canadians.

posted by rcade at 10:01 PM on October 14

It was smart of Odor to take off and finish the run home

Probably the smartest individual involved in the play. Appeared to be the only person involved who actually knew what the rule was, including the umpires.

Real careless play by Martin in a big situation. If fans wanted to throw anything it should have been at him. Still I would have hated to see that run decide the game.

posted by cixelsyd at 10:02 PM on October 14

The second time it was Dyson deliberately walking up to TULO and smacking his ass.

It was a pat. If he was angry at Tulo, why'd he look conciliatory the second Tulo said something to him? I have trouble believing a butt smack between base-bros can ever convey anger.

Dyson was mad at Bautista though, given his post-game comments.

posted by rcade at 10:09 PM on October 14

I got my wish:

You are now permitted to enjoy your triumph, Toronto.

posted by rcade at 11:01 PM on October 14

The best description I found for that entire 7th inning:

The baseball gods are on peyote and throwing flaming furniture off the roof, and there isn't a damned thing we can do about it.

posted by grum@work at 11:08 PM on October 14

Ah, I just read that quote from somewhere, but can't recall where... sbnation maybe? Yep, from this recap of all the zany hijinks just in one inning.

Didn't watch the game live, but just watched the craziness on mlb.com. I'm reminded why baseball is the best sport: weird, wild, wacky things can happen in any game.

posted by hincandenza at 11:51 PM on October 14

Dyson on the butt pat: "He told me not to touch him, and things escalated from there. It was just a nice gesture on my part. That's what I thought. He took it another way. Maybe I shouldn't have done it, but it wasn't anything to disgrace him."

posted by rcade at 08:32 AM on October 15

Maybe I shouldn't have done it, but it wasn't anything to disgrace him.

If he really meant it as a nice gesture, then I'm thinking he might be a bit socially unaware because he completely misread the situation the two teams were in and the emotional state of things.

He had triggered a previous bench clearing with his actions, so what did he think people were going to think if he decided to interact with the opposing players again?

posted by grum@work at 08:39 AM on October 15

Dyson was mad at Bautista though, given his post-game comments.

Bautista's response was great:

When asked if he had anything to say after being told of Dyson's comment:

"No."

posted by grum@work at 08:42 AM on October 15

There isn't a team in baseball that would see Jose Bautista's bat flip from the other dugout and not take offense. It'll be a regrettable accident next year when he takes a scorching fastball to the back as a welcome to Texas.

But Bautista's moment of glory -- and the Jays -- was so long in coming that I can understand where it came from. He's 34 and this is his first taste of the postseason.

In Korean baseball the epic flip is becoming a thing. The way some people are talking about Bautista's flip, they believe it adds some needed fun to the game.

I think if it becomes common and trickles down to lower levels, we'll all hate it pretty quickly.

posted by rcade at 08:50 AM on October 15

... what did he think people were going to think if he decided to interact with the opposing players again?

The Jays had zero reason to be mad at that point. When Tulo barked at Dyson and he shrugged his hands, that could've been the end of it. But it wasn't much of a bench-clearer. I don't think I saw any player on either side really trying to stoke it. There wasn't even any attempts to pick a dance partner.

Sometimes I feel like these multimillionaires don't have the heart for brawling any more.

Bautista's response was great ...

That was hilarious.

posted by rcade at 08:57 AM on October 15

Baseball Reaches a Flipping Point.

posted by rcade at 09:01 AM on October 15

It'll be a regrettable accident next year when he takes a scorching fastball to the back as a welcome to Texas.

Oh, for sure. I fully expect it and I'm sure he will as well.

And then he'll do what he does when anyone throws at him.

He'll hit the ball out of the ballpark the next chance he gets.

Example 1: O'Day, Darren
Example 2: Garcia, Jason

posted by grum@work at 09:07 AM on October 15

The way some people are talking about Bautista's flip, they believe it adds some needed fun to the game.

Even PTI has been talking about this for a year or two. The two sides are basically Brian McCanns versus Latin players. You don't want to be on the McCann side of history, do you? Maybe it's a decade-plus of Big Papi but I fail to see why a bat flip is so absolutely horrible.

posted by yerfatma at 10:39 AM on October 15

Lost in the hoopla of the 7th inning, was yet another SuPillarMan play from earlier in the game.

posted by grum@work at 11:03 AM on October 15

You don't want to be on the McCann side of history, do you?

I think epic bat flips will be fun when they start and quickly become tiresome as they spread, like how the antics of Jimmy Johnson's Miami team were entertaining until they weren't.

I don't think I'm a purist, but the flip is showboating. If it's spontaneous now and Bautista did it entirely in the moment, fine, but that won't be true for long. The ones that get attention on SportsCenter will be premeditated. It certainly won't be charming when kids try it in their games.

Now that pitchers get warned so quickly against retaliatory pitches, if batters act up what will pitchers do, since they can't throw a 98-mph etiquette enforcer? If collective baseball fandom loves the flip, are we charmed if Johnny Cueto whiffs Bautista with the bases loaded in a key moment and does a celebratory merengue?

posted by rcade at 01:04 PM on October 15

Lost in the hoopla of the 7th inning, was yet another SuPillarMan play from earlier in the game.

When I saw that I felt like it shouldn't be legal. Put some restrictor plates on him to be fair to the rest of the league.

posted by rcade at 01:06 PM on October 15

the flip is showboating

From one cultural perspective, maybe two depending on how it's viewed in Japan. But in South Korea and Latin America it's part of the game. No different from soccer styles in South America versus Northern Europe.

posted by yerfatma at 01:21 PM on October 15

Bat flipping is a thing in Japan, too, and has been for quite a long time.

posted by mikemacman at 01:27 PM on October 15

It's showboating here. I'd call it showboating in South Korea, too. Just accepted showboating.

When a football player does a sack dance or a Deion high step with a pick-6, these aren't flagged -- so they're accepted -- but are still what I'd call showboating.

Switching gears, there were around 30 ejections of object throwers last night in Toronto. The one who hit the baby has been identified as Albert Grummitt.

There should be a GPS-based app that fans can use to report violence and objectionable behavior in their section at a game. Something as easy as Waze that gives the stadium security real-time updates.

posted by rcade at 01:30 PM on October 15

there were around 30 ejections of object throwers last night in Toronto

I would think as a minimum the Blue Jays would ban the idiots that were ejected from attending future games. Tough to single out only 30 of the thousands

I'd advise against updating their Family Experience webpage with playoff photos.

posted by cixelsyd at 02:39 PM on October 15

The one who hit the baby has been identified as Albert Grummitt.

He technically didn't hit the baby with the can, but the spray from the beer did.

there were around 30 ejections of object throwers last night in Toronto

Take some joy that those that were tossed out of the game missed the greatest Toronto baseball moment of the past 22 years.

posted by grum@work at 03:30 PM on October 15

I'm guessing you don't want one of these shirts, rcade.

posted by grum@work at 03:32 PM on October 15

If collective baseball fandom loves the flip, are we charmed if Johnny Cueto whiffs Bautista with the bases loaded in a key moment and does a celebratory merengue?

Um...we already allow pitchers to do their own celebrations, and no one seems to lose their mind.

Of course, if a pitcher gets TOO celebratory, then the opposition might exact their revenge.

posted by grum@work at 03:38 PM on October 15

Not sure if this has been linked already, but this was an enjoyable piece of writing about whatever that was that happened yesterday.

"Maybe this is the tip-off that something crazy was bound to happen. A "well-played elimination game between the Rangers and Blue Jays?" In what bizarro universe are we living when that is the situation?

We are in a universe where the Cubs are are not only in the playoffs, but they're the ones WAITING to see who they get to play."

...

"Kevin Pillar sounds like the name Kevin Millar gave to the cops when they caught him drinking a beer at a house party when he was 17. "I'm Kevin Pillar.""

posted by Mr Bismarck at 04:17 PM on October 15

I just can't stop consuming media about the TOR/TEX series. This is my new fave video.

posted by grum@work at 07:41 PM on October 15

I did not watch the Jays-Rangers game last night -- Celtics pre-season and Bruins at Avalanche kept me busy -- and I'm sorry I missed it. My thoughts anyway, after reading the summaries in the sports pages.

On the missed call: The plate umpire got it wrong to start with, then must have realized that he might just have blown it. The important thing is that the umpires did get together and made it right. The elements that determined the outcome were whether or not the incorrect dead ball signal deterred any Toronto player from fielding the ball and being able to throw Odor out at the plate. Since I did not see the game, I have to say the signal had no bearing on the play. Odor did indeed continue running and crossed the plate, so that made awarding the run easy. Suppose Odor had pulled up at the dead ball signal. What might have happened? From all I have learned as an umpire, the run would have been awarded anyway, since it was an umpiring mistake that caused him to stop. The whole thing is one of those dreaded unwritten rules, but this one is for umpires. It is called the rule of equity, and basically calls for the umpires to place runners based on where they would have been had the umpire not erred.

On the bat throw: I would rather see this practice limited in some way. Yes, a player hitting a home run at such an important moment, or indeed at any time, should be able to show off to some extent. The problem with the prodigious bat throw is that once that bat is airborne, nobody really knows where it will wind up. Tossed toward the dugout? What if one of your team mates was running out of the dugout to congratulate you just as the bat descended on top of his head? Worse yet, what if the bat goes into the stands and clocks the 7-year-old in the third row? It's a dangerous practice, and needs to be put under control. In high school ball a bat throw for any reason will have you in the locker room.

posted by Howard_T at 08:56 PM on October 15

ESPN Brazil's call of the Bautista Home Run

posted by tommytrump at 04:20 PM on October 16

Toronto doesn't appear often in the postseason, but when they do you get a homer for the ages.

posted by rcade at 04:33 PM on October 16

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