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Will Middlebrooks, World Series Champion

Zach Gelb Show / Zach Gelb
The Truth Network Radio
February 27, 2023 8:10 pm

Will Middlebrooks, World Series Champion

Zach Gelb Show / Zach Gelb

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February 27, 2023 8:10 pm

Will Middlebrooks joined Zach to discuss if the new pitch clock rule implementation is good for the game and if the Padres have the most pressure on them to win the World Series this season. 

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Zach Gelb

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That's slash positive. But overall, I'm happy with the game and the shift that the game is starting to make. Totally.

Totally. I think everybody is still trying to figure it out. The broadcasters, the coaches, the players, you know, there's a broad outline of all these rules. But as far as the timing of everything and actually implementing it within a game with game timing, everybody has this internal clock as players.

And they're having to completely rewire themselves. But like you said, I think I think it's gone really well up until this point. I thought I was going to hate it as far as the pitch clock goes.

And I've actually really enjoyed it. The pace of play has been phenomenal. Games have been cut down by, on average, 23 minutes to this point, which is not less baseball. It's less standing around in dead time. It's the same amount of baseball, maybe more.

Who knows? But it's the purists standing on the mountain yelling, this is ruining baseball. It's not. If you think about it, all these purists who are, let's say, 40, 50, 60 years old, we're taking the pace of play back to how it was when they fell in love with the game.

So that kind of kills that argument. It's ruining the game. Yeah, there's a clock. Yes, there might be some dumb penalties here and there.

But the pace of play has been phenomenal. If this is foreshadowing for the rest of the season, it's going to be a really great season of baseball. I can't stand the commissioner of Major League Baseball and Rob Manfred.

He is not a friend of mine. I don't think he'll ever send me a holiday card, but I'll give him credit here because I like the pitch clock so far. And then also eliminating the shift. I think it's important to put the ball in play and you keep the two infielders on the left side, two on the right side. I think that will be good for baseball as well.

Absolutely. And, you know, I left out something on the previous question about the pitch clock. You said it early on about the eight seconds of a hitter having to be alert, you know, alert and addressing the pitcher.

I think that is the one part that I cannot stand. I hate it because every well, if you're a big league hitter and if you watch, if you go back and look at all of the hitter violations that have happened this spring, every single one of them, the hitter is in the box. It'd be different if he had a foot out of the box. He's doing his Nomar gloves. He's tying his, whatever, whatever. If he's out of the box at eight seconds, boom, bang him for a strike.

That's fair. The guys in the box, that's a big league hitter. He knows the pitcher can legally throw the pitch at any time he wants. He could quick pitch you.

And if he does and you're not ready, that's your fault. If he throws a strike, it's a strike. But we can't end games how we saw that. We can't see games being ended that way later down the road. Now, be aggressive with forcing the rules upon them and the violations right now, because we don't want to see it in April.

And we really don't want to see it in October come the playoffs. But to your point about the shift, I love this. Now, I was a hitter, so of course I love it. Right. You know, there's not three infielders on one side waiting where the computer spits out a piece of paper and says, 70 percent of time in a 2-0 count, he hits it in this spot of grass.

You know what? Most of the time it works out and there's a guy waiting for it every time you crush the ball. That's frustrating. It takes the athleticism out of baseball. Now, you can still shift.

You just can't overshift. So we're still going to see second baseman and shortstop playing up the middle. They just can't go past second base. So you can still crush the ball at the middle and not get a hit. But there will be more hard hit balls that are hits. You're not going to have the dribbler shift beaters that the old school baseball crowd said, just go the other way.

It's that easy. Just go the other way on that hundred and two mile per hour super sideways sinker that these guys are throwing nowadays. Pitching is really, really good right now. They can pitch you into a shift. But my main thing with the with the banning of the shift is I want to see these athletic infielders. I want to see the Bogarts, the Tatis. He's an outfielder now, but just all these all these infielders that are the most athletic human beings on earth.

Let them show that to me. I want to see diving plays. I want to see the Jeter throw in the hole. I want to see one double plays and not just right where guys are standing. The balls hit right at him. Let's have fun.

Well, Meadowbrook's here with us. You bring up a good point because how many times when you do a show like this in the NFL preseason, we're all sitting here bitching and complaining about officiating, but they're making it a point of emphasis in Major League Baseball right now. They're clearly going to be strict with this. I can't wait to see how this will be called, especially on that eight second part like you were talking about in the regular season. And that to me is just going to be a really compelling part because this is an unprecedented and uncharted territory. It is.

It is. There's got to be a little bit of feel by the umpires. I feel like in certain situations at the end of games from the seventh, eighth inning. I mean, I'm not saying get rid of it at that point of the game, but have a little bit of feel. But, you know, really, like if you're if you're striking guys out or causing walks because of these violations, you're changing the back of a guy's baseball card. You're changing history of the game with wins and losses and playoff decisions and teams that make the postseason or not.

That's a big deal. And I don't want to see that because of this this rule. I think you can improve the pace of play without that eight second rule. And now everyone's going to say, oh, well, only the pitchers have rules. The pitchers have adapted seamlessly.

It has been phenomenal how how fast they have caught on. Now, I do want to see once the starters are throwing more than two innings and twenty five, thirty pitches, when they're getting five, six, seven innings and they're getting 80 plus closer to 100 pitches. How tired are these guys going to be? Because we really took baseball from a weightlifting, like a weightlifting competition and turned into CrossFit, right? Everything's timed, everything's faster. These guys are going to be tired.

This is abnormal. The Boston Red Sox have Kenley Jansen, one of the best closures of all time. He led the league and saves last year with 41. But he's the slowest to throw the baseball ever. So is this going to change the way he looks? He's saying it's an advantage. I don't know.

I need to see it. He was by far the slowest in between pitches. And now he's going to be forced to throw it at times under 15 seconds in between. So we'll see how he adapts.

Well, Middlebrooks here with us. So when you get to who the advantage goes to, I think it's more of an advantage to the pitcher, even with what all you just said, because it requires them to think less and sometimes thinking too much in baseball can hurt you. Do you view that as a bigger advantage with this pitch clock to the pitcher compared to the batter?

I think so. I think the pitcher controls the bat. I mean, the hitter can only call time once.

So let's say a guy is fast, fast, fast, like too fast, where I'm uncomfortable to hit her because you do have to think. You do have scouting reports. You do need to look and see where the defenses line. Sometimes the shortstop will, right before the pitch is thrown, will take a step to his left because he's given away pitches because he's trying to get a step closer to get the off speed pitch that will be pulled in the hole. Like there's things like that I need to be able to see.

And sometimes I have to call time and I can't anymore. So there's little small intricacies within the game that the batter is going to lose. They are taking a little bit of the thinking out of it, which to a certain extent will help. It'll be for the product of the game. I think for the fans, for the for the younger generation, I think will be great. You know, it's the constant stimulation of the brain. There's got to be something going on, something on your phone, something. You know how it is.

It's phones and tablets and iPads and people need entertainment nonstop. And so in that case, it's really going to help the game. But yes, it is going to be a major adjustment for these players. And I think it's mainly we talk about the pitch clock for pitchers, but the hitters, I think, have the disadvantage here. If you were still with the Red Sox and you were in spring training at Fort Myers, Will Middlebrooks, what would you be doing now?

And what would you have maybe done in the offseason to prepare yourself to try to make this an easier transition? Yeah, when you're what you do in the offseason, you know, face college kids, anybody, brother, pro guys, you're around. You're going to implement this. You're going to have a timer, even if it's somebody staring at a stopwatch, telling you the time because you're not everyone doesn't have the ability to have a pitch clock in the backyard, you know, at the field they're at. So literally in the cage, practice it in the cage. What I worry about are all the players going to the WBC where these these rules aren't being implemented.

They didn't inherit the rules in the WBC. So you're having these pitchers and these hitters go play on old school rules. So if I'm a manager, I'm telling my players, hey. Practice and play just like we're doing here and continue to just be in the box longer, get in the box, don't come back with bad habits because let's say you play the whole tournament, which the Dominican team may do because they're maybe the most stacked team of all time.

You're going to show up at the end of March for the beginning of the season and you're going to be it's going to kind of throw you off your time. He's going to be completely off if you're not accustomed to that eight second rule or as a pitcher, 15 seconds with nobody on base. So they have to continue doing that in the WBC, even though they're not supposed to. And you wonder if players are actually going to do that, because if you're playing with the old rules, it's like, all right, that doesn't enforce you to go by by the new rules that they're trying to incorporate into Major League Baseball. I think we see I think we see at least the players that are in Major League Baseball working faster. I think already, even two weeks into camp, it's becoming habit. And like like I said before, guys were practicing it before they got to camp, especially pitchers. So this isn't something that I don't want to say it's not so foreign.

It's definitely so foreign watch a game and it looks a little uncomfortable and rush, but it's starting to get ingrained into these guys. Well, Middlebrook's here with us. I was surprised over the weekend to see Manny Machado get an 11 year deal for 350 million dollars.

Not that he's not deserving of it, but with how much money that the Padres have already dished out. Did that catch you by surprise this weekend? Not at all.

Not at all, man. Who knew money grew like this in San Diego? That's insane. Good for Manny. I think it was a good play by Manny day one of spring training. Oh, hey, media, come talk, come talk.

By the way, I'm opting out. But we all knew he would. But for him to do that right then and there, that sets a fire under the front office to go, man, we got to get something done now. We're going to talk about this all season because agents, players, front offices, they don't like to have those talks during the grind of 162. So they're that put a little more pressure on the front office say, well, I guess we got to get this done now. So it was a good play by Manny and his and his squad. But what a team.

I mean, they say that they view themselves in my opinion. I think they see like a five to six year window for them to win a World Series, if not more than one. So in order to secure elite talent for that five and six year window, they have to overextend themselves both financially and in the years, you're going to have some old players and only one DH spot for Zander Bogarts when he's 41 for Machado when he's 42. Tatis, he signed his deal early. He's only going to be 35 at the end of his 14 year deal.

But the question at all offseason was it's either who's it going to be? Is it Juan Soto? Is it many Machado? Which one are they going to sign? Well, they just signed Machado. I think Soto is a candidate for one of the biggest bounce back seasons.

I think he has an MVP type season and top three and MVP in the NL this year. So how do they not resign that? So if they do sign him, count them out of Shohei this offseason if he's a free agent.

So there's a move in pieces. But regardless, the San Diego Padres are the best team in the West right now. I don't think the Dodgers got any better this offseason. Are the Padres, when you look at the entirety of Major League Baseball, do they have the most pressure on them entering this season or is it a team like the Yankees or the Mets? I think it's the Mets. I mean, I think it's the Mets. Just because of the splash money that they had and Cohen being one of the owners who's actually in the media and talking and saying, hey, I want to spend the money. I'm paying this money to win now. And you're getting Cy Young winners.

You have all these studs. I mean, they're spending so much money on pitching, which you should. And they let Jacob DeGrom go.

Basically, he said we don't need him. So I think the pressure is on the Mets. But I mean, the Dodgers used to be the West Coast version of that. And now it's San Diego Padres.

So the pressure is there 100 percent. It's funny to me. There's so many people that complain. Oh, Steve Cohen's bad for baseball, but then the Padres do what they do. He's great for baseball. 100 percent. I'm a Mets fan.

All hail Uncle Stevie Spen, Stevie Spen. But no one says a word about the Padres and how much spending they've been doing. No one pays attention as much to the West Coast teams because on the East Coast, when they start to do it, though, that's what everyone tells me, right? Well, the pod.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. They completely put that to bed. The small market, big market thing. I completely put it to bed because, yeah, you look at like TV revenue and all that. They're not even in the top half. So it's it's what your owner, how much money do your owners want to have at the end of the season versus how bad do they want to win? And a lot of these owners, too, we make so many excuses for them. Like we make it seem as if these owners have no money. They're all billionaires. It's like crazy to me.

Totally. You know, and a lot of people have been all over John Henry and Tom Warner for the Red Sox. But honestly, like they will from the point they bought the Boston Red Sox, they've won more championships than anybody in the game. We forget that because they're a bad off season here or there. You don't sign Zander Bogart also increases the standard, though, with the fans.

Oh, 100 percent. You know, they didn't win for forever, it felt. And then they rattle off four since 2004.

Well, now the expectations are a lot higher than when you haven't won in 86 years. Wrap it up a little, Middlebrooks, before we let you run, here's the multimillion dollar question. If you had to make a prediction next year, Shoei Ohtani is playing for what team in Major League Baseball? Well, I can tell you it's not the Los Angeles. It's not the Angels. It's not the Angels.

There's no shot. They retain him. Well, number one, I think he wants to leave because he wants to win. Secondly, so this year he's making 30 million. The last two seasons, he was making four point two million dollars. And they couldn't add enough talent around him and Mike Trout, the two best players in baseball, to get to the postseason. What are they going to do when he's making 50 million dollars a year? I mean, really, like it would be an organizational failure, in my opinion, to spend that much money on a player knowing that he's your cash cow, but you're just not going to win. But you're going to bring fans in because of him. That's your money.

You're going to sell tickets, but you're not going to win. He doesn't want to be there for that. He's smarter than that. His agent knows that. He's gone. If I had to guess, I would say the Los Angeles Dodgers. Wow.

How about that? I don't think he goes to the Met. I don't think so. Not the Mets. Not the Mets. I think Japanese players, I mean, they have Sanga, you know, Masataka is with, Yoshida is with the Red Sox on the East Coast. But if Japanese players have a choice, they like to be on the West Coast because that flight's a lot easier to get home.

Interesting. So before we let you run, just going off that, I guess then the Angels, they should trade him before the deadline, right? You can't just let him go. I think I think the Angels will be better this year. I think they'll be in the mix for wildcard if they're not, if they don't view themselves or they have injuries there here and there and they don't think they're going to be a wildcard team. They have to trade him. They have to. You have to get something. Even if you're in the mix, if you're borderline, I think you trade them and get something. Just because I have a good feeling he's not going to stay. I don't think they can financially give him what he wants and be able to add enough around them.

I just don't think it happens. Will Middlebrooks does a great job for Nesson and also CBS Sports HQ. Will, appreciate the time, as always. And oh, actually, one more thing before we let you run. Where's your confidence at with your quarterback? I know you're a fan of those drama Dallas Choking Cowboys.

There's a report out today. Don't talk like that to me. It's the truth. Your team chokes in a big spot. I was born into it, OK?

I was born there. We could still have fun at your expense. Do you have belief that Dak Prescott can one day win a Super Bowl for that cockroach organization? I do. I do. We talk we talk about it by him.

We talk about it. Zeke, we never talk about the offensive line that used to be the best offensive line in football. And they have struggled big time the last couple of years. And if he's not as as mobile as he was, that's not good. That's not good because we're not seeing him tuck it and run as much. We see him just kind of force balls and try to make the perfect throw. And that's just that's not smart in the NFL. I mean, corners can actually catch nowadays. They're not just, you know, they're actually good. So I think if they build up that offensive line, they look a lot better. Well, Meadowbrooks, appreciate the time. Thank you, my friend.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-27 22:19:11 / 2023-02-27 22:27:52 / 9

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