Wednesday, June 19, 2024
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Snyder’s Soapbox: MLB’s most rant-worthy topics of 2024, including oven-mitt gloves and real meaning of ‘BP’

Snyder's Soapbox: MLB's most rant-worthy topics of 2024, including oven-mitt gloves and real meaning of 'BP'

Let’s jump around and hit a litany of smaller complaints

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Welcome to Snyder’s Soapbox! Here, I pontificate about matters related to Major League Baseball on a weekly basis. Some of the topics will be pressing matters, some might seem insignificant in the grand scheme of things, and most will be somewhere in between. The good thing about this website is that it’s free, and you are allowed to click away. If you stay, you’ll get smarter, though. That’s a money-back guarantee. Let’s get to it.

Do you ever have a small little rant that doesn’t need more than a sentence or two? Of course. It might not even necessarily be a “rant” but a general observation on which you have a little pushback or a hearty endorsement. Or maybe just something tongue-in-cheek that is for fun? 

Here are a few of mine gathered over the course of the 2024 season. 

  • “The MLB.” Some of the other three-letter sports have ruined us here. Think of “the NFL” and “the National Football League.” Either work. Same with NBA or NHL. Major League Baseball does not work. If you don’t say “the Major League Baseball,” you can’t say “the MLB.” Stop it. I’m not even asking nicely, as this is so stupid it doesn’t deserve kindness. 
  • You cannot use “BP” as shorthand for the bullpen. Baseball already has a “BP” and it long has. It’s batting practice. Anyone who has played any level heard “BP” and knows this. “What time is BP?” is an incredibly common phrase among players at many levels. That isn’t “what time are we throwing bullpens?” Stop using “BP” as shorthand on social media. Yes, I’m aware that sometimes there are character constraints, so that means you can use “RP.” That means relief pitcher(s) and can easily stand in for the relief pitching corps, which is the bullpen. If you want to say, “the bullpen is bad,” you can type, “the RP is bad,” and every baseball fan anywhere knows what you mean. Stop using “the BP” for bullpen. 
  • I yearn to hear “that was a good piece of hitting” about a prodigious home run. Isn’t it an exceptional piece of hitting? We love saying “good piece of hitting” when a hitter pegs a ball to the opposite field and it just barely drops in for a hit, but a better piece of hitting is to absolutely destroy a mistake for a three-run bomb. On a serious note, I understand the sentiment behind the common use of “good piece of hitting,” which is to say that it’s a good adjustment by the hitter to get a knock on a well-executed pitch. I’m just having fun with the concept. Let’s make a deal to try this one on sometime: Aaron Judge obliterates a baseball 500 feet, and we all say, “man, what a good piece of hitting!” 
  • The oven-mitt gloves on the basepaths, especially for base-stealing types, just cannot stand. I understand if a player wants to slide head-first and has issues with fingers getting jammed or even broken; it’s necessary to guard against such things in baseball, where each finger is incredibly important. Having a glove that adds extra inches starts to infringe upon being unfair. We’ve already gotten bigger bases, now the player can add like six more inches with a glove? Why not just make them like two feet long? Get outta here. In fact, until there’s a specific rule in place, I’m demanding a specialist like White Sox rookie Duke Ellis wear a glove that extends down past his knee while he’s standing still. 
  • Does the entire infield really need to visit the mound every single time a pitching coach comes out to talk with the pitcher? When I was growing up — oh no, this is dangerously close to “back in my day,” and that used to drive me crazy — conferences on the mound involved the catcher, pitcher and a coach. Sometimes they’d summon an infielder. If it was a huge part of the game where, for example, the infield was going to be brought in to cut down a runner at home plate, the conference on the mound might involve the entire infield. Sometime around, I think, the turn of the millennium, a bunch of middle infielders decided they needed to be in on every single mound meeting. Why? Sometimes a pitcher is wild and just needs a second to calm down and the pitching coach just says a few talking points or even mentions things unrelated to baseball to get his mind off the pressure. Does the third baseman really need to hear every word? Just stay at your positions unless specifically called in by the catcher or coach, guys. 
  • Messing with the helmet while running the bases hard is probably a tick that players don’t think about, but it’s something that slows them down. Earlier this season, I swear I saw Nick Madrigal grab the bill of his helmet while trying to beat a throw to first. What in the world? If the helmet is going to fall off your head while running the bases, gents, just let it happen. Anything else is gonna slow you down. Or, you could always pull a Gary Matthews Sr. (shout out to the Sarge!) and knock your helmet off on purpose quicky out of the box in order to prevent annoyance with it while running. That ruled when he did that. 
  • Why does the stat “sacrifice” ignore groundouts? It’s easy to understand the concept of purposely laying down a bunt to sacrifice yourself, but how does a sac fly get separated out of batting average while driving a runner home via grounder doesn’t? Has anyone ever considered this? Sometimes, you need to hit the ball to the outfield in order to score the runner, whether it’s a hit or a sac fly, but other times just putting the ball in play scores a run. Somehow we’ve determined that flying out to score a run is inherently more valuable or more controllable by the player than hitting a grounder in a place that’ll score a run. 
  • Enough with this “ghost runner” crap. Good grief. Didn’t you use “ghost runners” when you were a kid playing sandlot ball with friends? That means there’s an imaginary runner that doesn’t actually exist as a human. The extra-inning rule puts actual players on second base. If they were ghost runners there wouldn’t be a body there and we’d just imagine where the runner would be when balls were put in play. C’mon, man. This is elementary. I should point out that I’ve complained about this multiple times before, but the problem appears to be spreading instead of shrinking. Please join me in attempting to root out this abomination. 
  • It appears from watching on TV and trying to listen, when possible, in person, that MLB players call “I got it!” instead of “mine!” on fly balls/pop ups. All through high school and college, my teams always used “mine” instead, and I thought it was so much better. It’s one syllable and much easier to repeat over and over when chasing a fly ball between two players, desperately hoping your teammate(s) in the vicinity hear you and avoid a collision. As an added layer in the majors, teaching someone who doesn’t know English very well one syllable instead of three seems like the play. So why is “I got it” the preferred MLB call? I asked a former player and he said he thinks it’s basically just personal preference. So let’s fix this, boys. “Mine” is much more efficient! 

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