Nation STATion: Baseball's most annoying phrase

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Nation STATion: Baseball's most annoying phrase

By Bill Chuck
Special to CSNNE.com

Friday night, Adrian Gonzalez singled in the 1st, doubled in the 2nd, and homered in the 5th. He ended up the game going 3-for-4, and drawing a walk. It was another really good night for ALs first-half MVP.

Had that simply been the description I would have been quite content, but noooooo! I had to hear Gonzo was just a triple shy of hitting for the cycle, and there is no phrase that drives me crazier than that one. If my media colleagues had said He ended up just one hit shy of a perfect night, I would have been fine, but the cycle issue drives me nuts.

Let me explain. When something is just shy of an amount it's just short of that amount by a little, teeny-weeny bit. A triple just doesnt fit that description.

A cycle is a hard thing to accomplish, primarily because of the triple. Since 2006, there have been 25 cycles hit in the majors. None, zero, zippo by the Red Sox. In fact, there have been none hit by anyone so far this season. As a frame of reference, there have been 16 no-hitters thrown since 2006 and two already this season.

There have been 17 cycles hit by the Sox since 1919, none since 1996:

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com

Since 1919:
There have been 239 Sox batters who missed the cycle because they didnt homer
There have been 67 Sox batters who singled, tripled and homered in a game
There have been 29 Sox batters who doubled, tripled, and homered in a game
But how many Red Sox batters have had games in which they were a triple shy of the cycle? Including Big Papi, twice in May, Carl Crawford once in May, Kevin Youkilis just over a week ago, and Gonzo Friday night, the count is 632.

A triple is hard to hit. There have been about 300 more batters who missed the cycle by a triple than all the others who missed by one combined because triples are hard to hit. Thats why A-Gon, who has three this season, tying his career high, is teasing everyone about his speed as Maureen Mullen shared with us, I was telling speedster Jacoby Ellsbury, who has two, I got more triples than you do. Whats going on? Gonzalez said. He just said, Hey, you're faster than me.

This is Nation STATion so here are some numbers to show you how hard it is to hit a triple.

So far this season:
There have been 18,460 hits, 673 by the Sox

Of those hits, there have been:
12,528 singles, 427 by Boston
3676 doubles, 151 by Boston
1879 homers, 81 by Boston
377 triples, 14 by Boston

Plain and simple, there are not a lot of triples hit. So my baseball friends and fellow members of the media, puh-lease do not use the phrase, he fell just a triple shy of the cycle.

Its like saying, The Vancouver Canucks fell just five goals shy of winning the Stanley Cup.

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.