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Bench coach Mike Redmond talks catcher safety—in brand new ways

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Colorado Rockies news and links for Saturday, May 16, 2020

Can baseball keep catchers safe at home in pandemic baseball? | Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Communal interspacing” is frequent at home plate: hitter, catcher and umpire. Rockies’ bench coach Mike Redmond has ample catching experience, and he addresses a habit at the dish that may need restraining for sanitary purposes.

The habit: spitting.

I’ve been thinking about what it’s going to be like when we get back. I know they are going to tell the hitters, ‘No spitting,’ but we’re ballplayers . . . it’s a habit. I’ve never spit anywhere else in my life, except on a baseball field.”

This article by the Minneapolis Star Tribune features several catchers with ties to Minnesota. It includes Redmond as well as Joe Mauer, his teammate with the Twins for six seasons. Both are quoted about the art of catching and the state of the position for when play resumes.

A baseball field showcases some actions that would be downright weird in most other places. People spit—sunflower seeds or just pure saliva. Pitchers lick their fingers. It’s second-nature for many, a piece of the game engrained in the usual tendencies of being on dirt and grass.

The KBO is currently the only live baseball we have—and they aren’t allowing players to spit on the field.

A pitcher licking their fingers serves a more ‘inherent’ purpose than spitting, as it is essentially the simplest form of grip enhancement. A rosin bag (the back-of-the-mound standard) can combat the sweat that could cause a ball to slip out of the hand—but residual rosin on a baseball itself would be exchanged with the catcher, too.

With virus protection measures in place, is it practical the rosin bag stays on the back of the mound to be shared this year?

If neither the rosin bag nor a finger ‘lick’ exists as an option, perhaps it could lead to an increased frequency of pitchers using personal grip-enhancing substances (or more contentiously, ‘spin’ enhancing).

Catchers could easily be the most ‘exposed’ of any player when play resumes, with an umpire and constantly-changing batter in their immediate vicinity for the whole game. Says Redmond: “Catching is a unique position and requires a different mentality. Most catchers will say, ‘Do your best to keep us safe and let’s play.’”

Colorado Rockies: Top Five Right Fielders in Franchise History | RoxPile

Counting down RoxPile’s list of Colorado’s top right fielders, five-through-one: Michael Cuddyer, Brad Hawpe, Carlos Gonzalez, Dante Bichette, and Larry Walker.

Carlos Gonzalez makes the list at number 3. In his first six years in Colorado, he started more games in left field than right, and in his first four postseason games with the Rockies (2009 NLDS), he started three of them in left. He was used in right field almost exclusively from 2015-2018, however, and the majority of his career starts have been in right field.

RoxPile points out how Larry Walker played the most games in right field in Rockies history—and also how Brad Hawpe is second on that list. Charlie Blackmon moved into right field starting in 2019, and he could be the next player to crack this top five.

2020 MLB draft to be held remotely on June 10-11 | MLB.com

Akin to the all-virtual NFL Draft this year, the MLB is slated to follow a similar format. “That could change, the memo says, as the draft date approaches.”

Recapping Day Nine of the KBO | Pitcher List

Alex Fast of Pitcher List does a daily write-up on KBO action from the day before, with details on the best hitting performances, pitching outings, and future matchups to watch for.

It’s been a month since the Pitching Ninja, Rob Friedman, got us all fired up for KBO action. This song may be the happiest thing ever recorded: