Wait. No. There was no confusion as to why it happened. Maddon was trying to sneak in a few extra warm-up pitches for Cesar Ramos.
But there was some confusion over the rule, and whether Maddon knowingly circumvented the rule that says a substitute for the pitcher must face at least one batter.
Well, the league office called Maddon yesterday to get his side of the story, and presumably to explain the rule. Afterwards, Maddon issued an apology to the umpires (via Marc Topkin)…
Rays manager Joe Maddon apologized to the umpiring crew before Tuesday’s game and said he was wrong in thinking OF Sam Fuld could warm up on the mound Monday without having to stay in the game and pitch…Maddon called it “a very honest non-descript mistake” and said “I was not totally aware of the rule like that…I wasn’t trying to get away with anything,” he said. “I was not aware of that, I was not clear on that. That is my fault, nobody’s elses”…Maddon got a call earlier today from MLB VP Joe Torre to discuss the situation…Maddon also said home plate umpire Bob Davidson misunderstood him because he never said Fuld was injured and couldn’t pitch, as the umpire crew chief said…”I think it was a total miscommunication, I never said anything about an injury,” Maddon said.
Well, we’re not sure how somebody could miscommunicate a non-injury. But whatever.
But for Maddon to say he “wasn’t trying to get away with anything,” is a bit disingenuous. He was absolutely trying to get away with something. He may have thought the move was legal. But he also knew he was making a mockery of the game, for his own advantage. Even if it was legal, it is just silly to send a position player out to the mound to buy some time.
Another issue here is just how silly it is that we are still playing baseball in 2011 under two different rule books*.
For many years, we hated the DH and subscribed to the NL way. But we have come to see the error in our ways. And now, we don’t want to see Jeff Niemann flail at a pitch anymore than we want to see Josh Freeman try to tackle a running back, or attempt a field goal, or block on kickoff return.
* We are aware that the one batter rule is a rule for both leagues, but this is not an issue in the AL where you don’t ever pinch-hit for the pitcher. That was the situation that led to the confusion.