Spotlight turns to baseball and Padres’ weighty expectations ‘Ghost runner’ in extra innings made permanent by MLB

Just hours after confetti fell on the NFL champion Kansas City Chiefs in Glendale, Arizona, the attention of the athletes turned to pitchers and catchers who began showing up at spring training facilities on Monday ahead of the World Baseball Classic.

A few miles up the freeway from Glendale, San Diego Padres skipper Bob Melvin talked about how to manage the expectations of his star club, whose long-suffering fans have been driven into a frenzy after a thrilling run at the NL Championship Series last fall.

Once Fernando Tatis Jr. returns to the active line-up on April 20 following a drug suspension, Melvin will present a line-up that is expected to include Manny Machadorunner-up in NL MVP voting; Juan Soto, which made a deal with Washington on August 2; And Xander Bogaertswho signed an 11-year, $280 million contract on December 8.

“We have a lot of star players here. We seem to be bringing in one every few weeks or so,” Melvin joked. “It was good to see because the fan base really followed him and accepted him. When you have so many names, it just adds to the excitement of spring training.”

Padres owner Peter Seidler hasn’t been afraid to throw in solid contracts, and many fans expect nothing less than the franchise’s first World Series title. The team estimated that 48,000 people came to FanFest on February 4, standing in long lines, sometimes for hours, for autographs and photos, and also huddled on a grassy mound behind the fence in midfield to listen to the performances of the players.

“You have to accept it,” Melvin said. “It will be there no matter what. You must understand that we put ourselves in this position. It’s good, right? . I think everyone here understands what the expectations are.”

Position players heading to the WBC are not supposed to be in camp until Thursday, but Bogarts was already hesitant on Monday. He will play for the Netherlands before returning to the Padres to play shortstop, with Tatis due to play in the outfield. right-handed Yu Darvishsigned on Thursday to a six-year, $108 million contract, flew to Japan on Sunday for his country’s training camp ahead of the WBC.

tease dads

Tatis posted a short video to his Instagram story showing a locker full of Nike boots and sneakers. Adidas pulled out of a deal with Tatis after he was suspended for 80 games by MLB on August 12 after he tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug. Neither Nike nor Tatis’ agent responded to messages asking for comment. Tatis has not played since 2021. He was on the cusp of returning from surgery on a broken left wrist when he was disqualified. The video also shows Rawlings’ glove. Rawlings is owned by Seidler Equity Partners and MLB Properties. Peter Seidler is the founder and managing partner of Seidler Equity Properties.


veteran pitcher Adam Piccolowho re-signed with the New York Mets for $14.5 million over two years, is looking forward to playing for the USA in the WBC.

“It’s going to be cool,” he said in Port St. Lucie, Florida. “In 2009 I played for Italy and I always wanted to play for them again. It was a really fun tournament for me for the first time and I also knew that I would not play for anyone other than the USA if I had the chance. It’s always been kind of a dream. So excited to join the team and see if we can bring her home.”

There was also an outfielder in the camp Brandon Nimmo, which was re-signed for $162 million over eight years. “My work ethic does not change. Who I am doesn’t change. What I expect from myself does not change,” said Nimmo. “I just focus on baseball and winning. And I’m very, very happy that I can do it.”

The Mets, who won 101 games last season, were eliminated in the wild card round by the Padres.


New York Yankees lefty Nestor Cortes will miss the WBC with a right hamstring strain, but has not ruled out being ready for the start of the regular season.

“Walked in on Wednesday and told the staff I was a little beat up,” Cortez said at the Yankees’ minor league complex in Tampa, Florida. “After long negotiations, it was obviously better not to interfere. The biggest goal here is to recover and be ready for the start of the season. I think it’s definitely doable to start the season healthy and in rotation.”


Starting extra innings with a runner at second base during the regular season is now permanent after being unanimously voted by an 11-member MLB competition committee on Monday. This rule, used for the past three seasons during the coronavirus pandemic, is known by some as “Ghost Runner” and by others as “Manfred’s Man” after Commissioner Rob Manfred.

NEW YORK. Starting extra innings with a runner on second base during the regular season has become a permanent rule change in Major League Baseball after three seasons of use during the coronavirus pandemic.

Known to some as “The Ghost Runner” and to others as “Manfred’s Man” after baseball commissioner Rob Manfred, the rule was passed unanimously by an 11-member competition committee.

The committee tightened the use of position players as pitchers. They will be limited to extra innings when the player’s team is down by eight or more runs or wins by 10 or more runs in the ninth inning. Last year, a position player could only pitch in extra innings or if his team was losing or winning by six or more runs.

The joint competition committee, set up in March last year to settle the lockout, includes six executives, four union representatives and one judge.

There were 216 extra games last year, compared to 233 in 2021 and 78 in the 2020 shortened season. The longest last year was a 7-6 win by Cleveland over Minnesota in 15 innings in Game 2 of the doubleheader on September 17. Half time win in San Diego on August 25, 2021.

Home teams went 113-103 in over-innings games last year and are 262-263 in over-innings games since the second-rule runner started in 2020, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Home teams went 312-294 in extra games from 2017 to 2019, Elias said.

The rule was adopted as a pandemic control measure for the 2020 season and is likely to remain in place.

“Clubs are used to the extra innings rule,” Manfred said Thursday after the owners’ meeting. “I think it’s generally liked by the players.”

The use of position players as pitchers has risen from 90 in 2019 to 89 in 2021 and 132 last year, according to the commissioner’s office. Usage when six or seven runs behind has increased from eight in 2019 to 16 in 2021 and 28 last year.

Usage in a lead with six or more runs has risen from 1 in 2019 and none in 2021 to 18 last season.


Back to top button

Adblock Detected

Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker