Baseball, with its record scoring and unprecedented brawling,
has got what just it deserves, says Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Gibson.
"They've been changing the game since 1968," Gibson said, "and
they've finally made it. They were always complaining about not
enough scoring. Now, they've got it to the point where the pitchers
Gibson refers to 1968 because after that season, in which he
had 13 shutouts and a 1.12 earned-run average for the Cardinals,
the mound was lowered by half a foot.
That was bad enough, he said, but now he said hitters don't
believe a pitcher will throw inside, so they lean out over the
plate, taking away the outside corner. When a pitch comes inside,
the hitter is offended and the umpire gets itchy.
"Baseball caused the problem by allowing the umpire the
privilege of ejecting a player if he thinks he's throwing too close
to somebody," Gibson said. "That's ridiculous. What's too close?
You might be trying to hit the outside corner and hit somebody. And
if I hit somebody, what are you going to do? Put me in jail?
"They've created a monster. Hitters are looking outside,
thinking there's no reason why a ball should be inside. Why should
he be surprised when it is? The other day, I saw an umpire call a
guy out on a breaking ball which broke over the plate and the guy
was on his way to the mound after the pitcher. The guy fell down
and was going to charge the mound."
If Gibson were playing today, he said, "I'd probably be rolling
around in the dirt a little. But if I intentionally hit a guy,
charging the mound wouldn't stop me unless he broke my arms."
In the good old days, he said, "we had some of the best hitters
in the world and we didn't charge anybody. What happened is that if
you thought somebody was coming inside on purpose, your pitcher
would retaliate and it was all over.
"But if I played today, I would have the same mentality they
have because of the rules involved. It would have been difficult to
do it before because nobody had played like that. I pitched the way
guys who preceded me pitched. Actually, I wasn't the worst one, but
I got credit for it."
It was suggested to Gibson that he was feared because of how he
looked. "If you go by how I look, they would have put me in jail,"
he said. "My whole family looks like this. You would have eight
Gibsons in jail. You should have seen my brother, Josh. He looked
like he could kill a stump."
Gibson said, however, that his demeanor on the mound was just
mistaken as mean. "Just because you're not smiling, not grinning,
doesn't mean that you're mean. Most of the time, I was trying to
see what (Tim) McCarver was putting down and he didn't know half
the time what he was doing. I couldn't see his fingers. They said I
was staring at the hitter. Most of the time I didn't even know who
the hitter was."
Back on the topic at hand, Gibson said, "They've got baseball
the way they wanted it." And, what recourse do the pitchers have?
"Go to court," Gibson said.
Persistent, But Not Successful: Los Angeles outfielder Raul
Mondesi tried to steal three days in a row against Colorado catcher
Joe Girardi. Girardi threw him out every time.
Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Brett Butler, 36, became the
196th player to collect 2,000 hits with the 257th bunt single of
his career against the San Diego Padres. "It had to be a bunt,
didn't it?" Butler said. "How can a guy who didn't even make his
high school team stay in the league long enough to get 2,000 hits?"
The Ears Have It:
San Francisco reliever Rod Beck, who wears a diamond stud in
his left ear, had this reaction to Marge Schott's comment that
"only fruits wear earrings":
"It doesn't bother me. My mom doesn't like it either. Most
older women, it didn't happen in their generation. It's not
something acceptable to them."
And Barry Bonds, who has earrings in both ears:
"That's her opinion. …