Low-powered Laser

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Low-powered Laser

By Rich Levine
CSNNE.com

Tuesday was supposed to be the night Dustin Pedroia saved the Red Sox.

That looks and sounds incredibly dramatic, given that the game was being played in mid-August against the struggling Los Angeles of Anaheim "No, seriously, Callaspo's hitting third" Angels, but drama was real.

Pedroia's return marked the start of Boston's last chance to make a run. The idea was that injecting him back into the mix might be the last-gasp-kick-in-the-ass the Sox needed. Pedroia would invoke change in the clubhouse, and in turn, the Sox would see some change in the standings.

And because he's Dustin Pedroia, everyone expected him to rise to the occasion. Honestly, would you have been remotely surprised if hed gone 3-for-5 and with a three-run homer? Doesnt that just seem like the Pedroia thing to do?

I was having visions of Nomar coming back in 2001, and hitting a homer and the game-winning single against the White Sox. Or Manny clearing waivers in 2005 and hitting a walk-off, pinch-hit single up the middle to beat the Twins.

The Pedroia storyline felt perfect. Hell, it was even his birthday!

He'd come up big, the fans would take over, and the energy and momentum would carry the Sox into their beyond crucial trip to Tampa at the end of the month. Mark it, dude.

But, sadly, on Tuesday night, the stars ultimately werent aligned for a historic return.
He hit a Laser Show on the first pitch he saw, but swung too early. He had a great chance to collect his first post-injury Web Gem in the second, but couldn't stab the grounder. He even tried going Manny and Nomar with a bullet up the middle, except Jered Weaver closed his eyes, threw out his glove and sent Pedey back to the bench. Oh well. So much for the memories.

But at this point in the season, and with the Yankees and Rays showing no signs of slowing down, it doesn't matter how the Sox win.

Whether Pedroia went 3-for-5 or 0-for-4, the Sox kicked off their unofficial "Last chance to make a run" with momentum building, 6-0 victory.

And the season lives to see another day.

OK, that was too dramatic.

Some random SoxAngels thoughts:

The Sox are the Celtics.

Hopefully this comparison carries into the playoffs, but for now, I'm talking about the fact that no Sox lead ever feels safe.

The fact they can have a six-run lead in the seventh inning, and you feel uneasy because Felix Dobrount's the only guy warming up in the bullpen.

The fact that sometimes you're more surprised when they don't blow a big lead.

Is Fenway still pretending to have a sellout streak?

Since turning 30 in the winter, I come across at least one thing every day that makes me feel depressingly old. I'll be driving to work and hear Stone Temple Pilots on a classic rock station. Ill be wasting time on Wikipedia and discover Bo Jackson's about to turn 48. Always something. It never fails.

Anyway, yesterdays moment came courtesy of Don Orsillo:

"Torii Hunter has been moved to right field for the Angels."

Damn.

If you're interested, here are my three most crushing "sign of the times" moments of the baseball season.

1. Griffey retires
2. Hunter loses center field
3. A-Rod enters menopause

Is the music in those Boston.com ads straight from The Departed? Either that or its a situation where they changed the song just enough to not have to pay the rights. Anyway, all I can think about during the commercial is that movie. I keep waiting for Gasper to be whacked at center court.

Loved watching Darnell MacDonald crash that windshield (although I guess theres probably one guy out there who'd disagree), but at the same time, I'm wildly disappointed that Adrian Beltre didnt do it first.

Can you imagine the aftermath of car getting bombed by one of AB's blasts? I'm not sure the whole parking lot wouldn't explode?

On a related note, who would have thought that Adrian Beltre would become the most lovable personality on the 2010 Red Sox?

I always figured he'd be competing with J.D. Drew in the robot division.

Rich Levine's column runs each Monday, Wednesday and Friday on CSNNE.com. Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrlevine33

MLB may make rule changes for '18 season

MLB may make rule changes for '18 season

PHOENIX - Major League Baseball intends to push forward with the process that could lead to possible rule changes involving the strike zone, installation of pitch clocks and limits on trips to the pitcher's mound. While baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred expressed hope the ongoing process would lead to an agreement, he said clubs would reserve the right to act unilaterally, consistent with the rule-change provision of the sport's labor contract.

Union head Tony Clark said last weekend he did not foresee players agreeing to proposed changes for 2017. Under baseball's collective bargaining agreement, management can alter playing rules only with agreement from the union - unless it gives one year notice. With the one year of notice, management can make changes on its own.

"Unfortunately it now appears that there really won't be any meaningful change for the 2017 season due to a lack of cooperation from the MLBPA," Manfred said Tuesday during a news conference. "I've tried to be clear that our game is fundamentally sound, that it does not need to be fixed as some people have suggested, and I think last season was the kind of demonstration of the potential of our league to captivate the nation and of the game's unique place in American culture."

Yet, he also added: "I believe it's a mistake to stick our head in the sand and ignore the fact that our game has changed and continues to change."

Manfred said while he prefers an agreement, "I'm also not willing to walk away." He said he will send a letter to the union in the coming days and plans to continue dialogue with Clark and others in hopes of reaching agreement.

Clark met with Cactus League teams last week, five at a time over Thursday, Friday and Saturday, before departing Monday for Florida to visit each Grapefruit League club - and proposed rules changes were a topic.

"I have great respect for the labor relations process, and I have a pretty good track record for getting things done with the MLBPA," Manfred said. "I have to admit, however, that I am disappointed that we could not even get the MLBPA to agree to modest rule changes like limits on trips to the mound that have little effect on the competitive character of the game."

Clark saw talks differently.

"Unless your definition of `cooperation' is blanket approval, I don't agree that we've failed to cooperate with the commissioner's office on these issues," he wrote in an email to The Associated Press. "Two years ago we negotiated pace of play protocols that had an immediate and positive impact. Last year we took a step backward in some ways, and this offseason we've been in regular contact with MLB and with our members to get a better handle on why that happened. I would be surprised if those discussions with MLB don't continue, notwithstanding today's comments about implementation. As I've said, fundamental changes to the game are going to be an uphill battle, but the lines of communication should remain open."

Clark added "my understanding is that MLB wants to continue with the replay changes (2-minute limit) and the no-pitch intentional walks and the pace of game warning/fine adjustments."

Manfred said he didn't want to share specifics of his priorities for alterations.

"There's a variety of changes that can be undertaken," Manfred said. "I'm committed to the idea that we have a set of proposals out there and we continue to discuss those proposals in private."

MLB has studied whether to restore the lower edge of the strike zone from just beneath the kneecap to its pre-1996 level - at the top of the kneecap. Management would like to install 20-second pitch clocks in an attempt to speed the pace of play - they have been used at Triple-A and Double-A for the past two seasons.

Players also have been against limiting mound meetings. The least controversial change appears to be allowing a team to call for an intentional walk without the pitcher having to throw pitches. In addition, MLB likely can alter some video review rules without the union's agreement- such as shortening the time a manager has to call for a review.

"Most of this stuff that they were talking about I don't think it would have been a major adjustment for us," Royals manager Ned Yost said.

Manfred said starting runners on second base in extra innings sounds unlikely to be implemented in the majors. The change will be experimented with during the World Baseball Classic and perhaps at some short-season Class A leagues. Manfred said it was a special-purpose rule "beneficial in developmental leagues."

Manfred also said Tuesday that a renovated Wrigley Field would be a great choice to host an All-Star Game and Las Vegas could be a "viable market for us."

"I don't think that the presence of legalized gambling in Las Vegas should necessarily disqualify that market as a potential major league city," Manfred said.