Shorten games? Eliminate the eight relief warmups. (No, I’m not as crazy as you think . . . )

When you have Zach Britton warmed up already, does he really need eight warmup tosses on the mound?

When you have Zach Britton warmed up already, does he really need eight warmup tosses more on the mound?

Baseball government seeks ways to reduce the time of games. One of them, reportedly, is going to be tested in the minors, namely that extra innings will begin with each team coming to bat starting with a man on second, on the house. That should be rejected as utter foolishness, of course, but there are ways to shorten games without diluting them.

Swinging strike three for Charlie Hustler

Pete Rose, wearing a Reds cap, at a signing session in Las Vegas.

Pete Rose, wearing a Reds cap, at a signing session in Las Vegas.

Yes, I would rather be thinking aloud about such things as Jeff Samardzija’s slightly ridiculous contract. (Shades of Bud Black.) About whether John Lackey’s and (especially) Jason Heyward’s signings with the Cubs really do make them a 2016 World Series entrant. (Berra’s Law still applies, as the 2015 Nationals can tell you.) About how much financial flexibility Michael Cuddyer’s retirement leaves the Mets. (Some, but maybe not quite enough to think about re-signing Yoenis Cespedes.) Or Johnny Cueto signing with the Giants. Among other things.

Closing the (note)book on Rose at last?

Pete Rose, at Great American Ballpark, during ceremonies honouring the 1975-76 Big Red Machine World Series teams: Now he's had the notebook thrown at him.

Pete Rose, at Great American Ballpark, during ceremonies honouring the 1975-76 Big Red Machine World Series teams: Now he’s had the notebook thrown at him.

Really, now, only one thing should shock about the now-firm evidence that Pete Rose bet on baseball while he still played baseball: that anyone should be shocked, when all is said and done. The telltale signs have been there. And, numerous observers are saying (and have said in the past), Rose changes his story almost as often as he once changed his sanitary socks.

Pete Rose applies for reinstatement, and here we go (yet) again

Rose has applied for reinstatment.

Rose has applied for reinstatment.

As of 16 March 2015 the question of whether Pete Rose should or will be reinstated to organised baseball became an official issue one more time. That was the date commissioner Rob Manfred announced he received a formal request for reinstatement from Rose himself. And Manfred was clear enough that nobody—Rose’s sympathisers and opponents included—should read anything deeper into that request or his receipt of it. Yet.

The girl who would be Pete Rose’s liberator

Pete Rose, talking to CBS Sunday Morning last October---a young fan is now researching 4,256 reasons to reinstate him to baseball. (Photo: CBS.)

Pete Rose, talking to CBS Sunday Morning last October—a young fan is now researching 4,256 reasons to reinstate him to baseball. (Photo: CBS.)

Rob Manfred’s first half month in office as baseball’s new commissioner seems a brief introductory term in which he has enunciated thoughts good, not so good, better, and not so much so. At the minimum he seems to have ideas about putting a little distance between himself and his predecessor, which is good, never mind “how much” remains to be seen in full.

Cooperstown has a date with an Angell

Roger Angell, baseball's prose poet---who doesn't like that term.

Roger Angell, baseball’s prose poet—who doesn’t like that term.

Roger Angell at 93 still reports to The New Yorker every day to read fiction for the magazine and, here and there, write yet another one of his symphonic essays from the diamonds and the stands. Next summer, he’s going to make a trip to Cooperstown as an honoured guest.

One milestone achieved without tragedy or scandal

Four thousand, the scandal and tragedy-free way . . .

Four thousand, the scandal and tragedy-free way . . .

That was no ordinary heave of admiring relief Wednesday night when Ichiro Suzuki swatted his way into a club whose membership now numbers six but includes only one who achieved his membership on international terms. The last time someone passed a milestone in that range or higher, it was achieved with tragedy underwriting it and scandal to follow in due course.

Beckett—Ill Seen, Ill Said

Afforded the chance to do so by WEEI’s Rob Bradford, who seems one of the less cannibalistic among sports radio heads, Josh Beckett had a few more things to say about the end of his Boston tour. A few perhaps inadvertent misstatements to the contrary, since Beckett wasn’t always forthcoming with reporters after his losses this season, the righthander didn’t exactly come across as a mere fuming brat. MassLive.com’s Ben Shapiro caught the point almost at once:

Roar of the conqueror, in the 2007 World Series . . .

Rarities? Great Players, Becoming Great Managers

Most baseball analysts blurt out observations that beg for further examination here and there. Ken Rosenthal, the Fox Sports writer and commentator, and one of the best analysts of the breed, is one of them. Here he is, musing about Don Mattingly’s growth as a manager in light of having had “three strikes” against him when he took the command post for the Los Angeles Dodgers last year: He had never managed in the majors or minors. He had to exert greater authority over players who knew him only as a coach. And he had been a great player — a drawback, seeing as how great players rarely make great managers.