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REShow: Jeff Passan - Hour 2

The Rich Eisen Show / Rich Eisen
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June 23, 2023 4:06 pm

REShow: Jeff Passan - Hour 2

The Rich Eisen Show / Rich Eisen

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June 23, 2023 4:06 pm

Rich breaks down ESPN’s coverage of the NBA Draft and the overall pacing and challenges of covering the event for a TV audience.

ESPN MLB Insider Jeff Passan tells Rich what the chances are the Los Angeles Angels trade Shohei this season, if there’s a sliver of a chance the A’s remain in Oakland instead of moving to Las Vegas, Commissioner Rob Manfred’s handling of the Astros cheating scandal, why we could see a balls & strikes challenge in MLB before a full-fledged automated strike zone.

Rich explains why MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred is dead set on moving the A’s from Oakland to Las Vegas and says why he prefers a balls and strikes challenge system over having a fully automated strike zone.

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The Rich Eisen Show
Rich Eisen

And now, this is the Rich Eisen Show. With the first pick, the San Antonio Spurs select Rich Eisen. I don't think enough time is being spent on who's coaching Victor Wamblinow. From the Rich Eisen Show studio in Los Angeles. Greg Popovich at age 74.

Does this extend his career as long as he wants? Earlier on the show, senior writer for Sports Illustrated, Chris Mannix. Coming up, ESPN MLB insider Jeff Passan.

Actor Adam Devine. And now, it's Rich Eisen. Our number two of this program on the air. Live on the Roku channel, this Rich Eisen Show. Terrestrial radio affiliate smart enough to have a serious XM odyssey and more.

We say hello to everybody out there. Great conversation with Chris Mannix and our number one, Jeff Passan of ESPN joining us in about 20 minutes time. The worldwide leader in sports along with Fox, giving you national coverage on ESPN on Sunday morning. Fox on Saturday of the Cubs and Cardinals bringing their long standing rivalry from the Midwest all the way to London.

Give that one a whirl. See how the Brits like seeing Major League Baseball in their mix. Remember Yanks and Red Sox did that a couple years ago?

I remember that was when you guys were cheating that week. Oh, wait. Oh, sorry.

I didn't realize this was on. That's okay. Let me check my Apple Watch to see what time it is. There it is. It's half past hypocrisy.

Okay. That's the time right there. Chris Brockman in his spot.

Jason Feller in his spot. TJ Jefferson, who is still not telling us how old he is. I'm 54 tomorrow.

Nobody cares how old I am. That's untrue. That's untrue.

There's three people here in this studio. You and Messi, Rich. Is that right?

Lionel Messi. That's right. We share a birthday. Hold on.

I got to see where you are on the IMDb rankings. Oh, no. We'll get to it after we talk to Manics. We already talked to Manics. I'm sorry.

I mean, Jim Passon's coming up. You're talking about there's like a list of celebrity people. IMDb ranks, you know, where people are at popularity wise by your birthday.

I was like, what, 140th on the list? You were way down. All right. Sorry. That's OK. I'll take the hit to my ego.

No problem. I don't care. We had Chris Manics on in the first hour of this show. And I said to him, you know, your takeaway from last night's NBA draft is and he said, boring. That's what he said.

Boring. Now, he was there, I'm assuming. And on TV, you know, and trust me, I know of what I speak because I have sat on a draft set. For damn near 20 years now for the NFL and that puppy moves fast and the time for first round picks, you know, and second round picks and third round picks goes down and it ain't five minutes in the first round like it is in the NBA draft. And it still goes fast.

It goes real fast. But, you know, what the 10 minutes in the first round does give you is a lot of time to chop it up. About the pick that's coming or the pick that just hit and then five more minutes, one would think if somebody takes ten full minutes to talk about the pick that's about to come up and gives you a lot of time to talk about it.

Now, the NBA draft. Did it seem to you that they would they wouldn't run the clock on the next team that's up until somebody decided that the broadcast is already finished talking about the pick? It even felt like they waited until Adam Silver started walking out and then they hit the five minute clock. It was.

It did. You know, in the NFL, as soon as the pick is in, the next team is on the clock and it's rolling and it's rolling and it's rolling. And the NBA doesn't seem to do that. And that also, by the way, allows for somebody that you were talking about, T.J. and Sham Sharani to get the pick, because as soon as the picks in, I'm imagining they do what the NFL does, which is let the next team know who was just taken. And if that team gets extra time on the clock, it just seemed weird to me. I don't know if this is just from the broadcast that they didn't show the clock and they were moving as soon as the clock was moving for the next team.

But the issue that I brought up to Mannix about what what makes it difficult to watch. And understand is the fact that players are traded, but they're still wearing the hat of the team that just traded them away. And then they're putting on the hat of the team that maybe just acquired them or a team is on the clock making the choice. But it's for another team because the trade has just been made, but it won't become official until the new league year hits.

And that's not until next week. So I suggested to Mannix, I've said this before, the league, the association should hold free agency in the new league year first and then hold the draft. But Mannix said NBA executives do not want that. And he explained the business of the sport and the way the cap works and the way that they're trying to build a roster with this exception and that exception and this thing and that thing that's so confusing. So the business of the NBA takes precedence over whether the, you know, about the watchability of the draft, quite frankly. And it's confusing to watch.

You have no idea. And then, of course, this is a direct comparison to the NFL drafting and this is obviously my lane. But everybody that you see drafted in the NFL, you've pretty much watched play on a Saturday.

Quite a bit, as a matter of fact, because NFL draftees need to be three years clear of their high school graduation in order to be eligible in the draft. Last night, I mean, outside, who has watched Victor Wembunyama play a full basketball game? Scoot Henderson play a full basketball game. The Thompson Twins play a full basketball game. Koulibaly from France play a full basketball game.

You gotta be a diehard. You gotta be a diehard fan of Arkansas basketball to sit here and say you watched Anthony Black play a full basketball game. Brandon Miller, I mean, out of Alabama, you saw him, I guess. Probably March Madness was the first time we saw a lot of these guys. A lot of these guys.

And the problem is also that March Madness, the stars of March Madness. The kid from Kansas State, we had Marquis Noel on this program because his play was so electric and so awesome to watch, he didn't get drafted. The kid who I referred to as the Ronnie Cycley of the 21st century, again, Ronnie Cycley, for you millennials out there, that includes you, Jay. Thank you. I appreciate that.

You're welcome. Ronnie Cycley was a guy who played for Syracuse in those great 80s Big East years, who seemed to have like nine years of eligibility before he got. He was there forever. He seemed like to play old, like, I'm sure it was just four years or maybe a fifth year or whatever.

Like pit snuggle, seemed like he was there forever. Drew Timmy. Yep. He didn't get drafted.

Nope. The most outstanding player of the tournament from your national champion, UConn Huskies, Sanogo, didn't get drafted. Danny Hurley was on the set last night and his guy didn't get drafted. So that's another issue about the watchability of it.

But, you know, and the thing that Mannix talked about also was that he wanted more edge to it. I didn't see the ABC coverage. I was watching ESPN. You know, Malika Andrews was hosting it and Andrea Carter was on the set with Billis and J.J. Redick.

And I this is the part and parcel of again, it's just five minutes between picks, even though it did seem that they arbitrarily held the clock and then started it again. But there was more conversation, more talk coming from the interviews that Monica McNutt was conducting with the prospect and the family members that they put on the couch. We heard more from that set than from the main set because picks were coming. And, you know, you want to talk about edgy and the fact that there wasn't enough edge for.

Mannix, and you saw that, too, some other people were tweeting out about everything was too positive and not enough real talk, I guess, or negativity. And that's not what we do on the NFL Network draft set. We just tell you how good the kid was in college, how he may fit in the team that just drafted him. We're not doing the Holy Roman Emperor thumbs up or throw the pick to the Lions. And I don't mean Detroit, you know, like we don't do we don't do that on the NFL Network draft. Give up because you don't because you can't you don't know nobody knows how good the player is going to be. Nobody knows if Scoot Henderson can look at Damian Lillard in the face and say, let's play together. And he goes, OK, let's see how it goes this fall. And Scoot Henderson is one of the greatest prospects in the history of the game. Right. And then Damian Lillard wins a championship with this kid and they do have a parade.

In Portland, Oregon, you know, you could say, you know, that's crazy, Rich. OK, really? You can't you don't know. But in terms of edge and telling you something that you might think. Is a little bit edgy.

What do you think? J.J. Redick can bring the edge. And Billis can bring the edge. They do.

You see it all the time. They just didn't have the time to do it because they were going to the prospect. Getting an interview from that on the NFL draft, it's it's years Dion did it. Melissa Stark does it now for NFL Network.

Susie Culber does it for ESPN. One question it out. And they're on the stage and that's it. We're moving on the NBA draft.

That was some of those interviews were taking 90 seconds, two minutes long. And you go back to the set. It's like, all right, next pick. Here we go. And so that's where people think I'm getting a bunch of happy talk.

I'm not getting the edgy information that I need here. And I think the NBA loves. Why not? Every league loves to show you the face of the kid that just got drafted a story. You like the family.

You love the the mom or the dad. And you're you know, it's great moments. But that you put it all together and then, you know, smile and Mark Tatum is announcing pick 56 at 1230 in the morning. And if I'm the NBA, I certainly don't like the NFL hated this, hated those Sunday draft days. Roger Goodell hated when it was seventh round guy asleep at the top of Radio City Music Hall.

It gives the indication of like, right, this doesn't matter. We're falling asleep here. And that's why they sent the show on the road. Well, that because James Dolan sucked and gave them an opportunity to leave Radio City Music Hall.

And they have now since totally reimagined the draft. Maybe the NBA needs to get out of Barclays. I don't know. Put it out. Is it the playground somewhere? You know what I mean? Put it in. Is it extended to 10 minutes per pick? So we have some.

No, I don't know. To me, I think they pulled a page out of the NFL, which is, hey, Spurs, don't immediately hand in your card for Victor Wambunyama. Let's let's let ESPN chop it up for a little bit here, because, I mean, they took the full five last night. I even tweeted out like this is taking longer than LeBron's decision, like hand in the card and get going. And I got some people back saying, now you know how it feels when you're sitting on the NFL draft set and we're waiting for the obvious Trevor Lawrence pick. You know, but the NFL does tell teams at the first overall pick when it's an obvious pick, do us a favor and hand in the card like around the three minute mark of the first 10 minutes, four minute mark.

No, it did make sense. Yes. But but telling, you know, extending the picks to 10 minutes.

I don't know. Maybe tip it off at seven o'clock at night. You know, I don't I don't know what that that fix is, because I'm sitting there at nine something at night here in Pacific time. And again, I turned 54 tomorrow. I'm falling asleep.

I'm serious. I was falling asleep at like nine twenty, nine thirty at night. And Coop, my 12 year old, is like flipping out because they flew off to camp today. And Susie's like, let's go to bed. And he's just like, but there's three more picks to go. So outside of the 12 year old audience, I'm however, I was passed out.

I was done. I actually was really keen to see if our guy, Marquis Noel, was going to get picked. I'm still a little upset about that, too. It's like we said when he had him on, like just the drive, the fire, the leadership that that kid brought man for him. And I guess, you know, once you get to a certain point, I know in the NFL, people would rather not get drafted because you could choose where to go. But it's just like you got to reward the kids like that, man. Let them get drafted. But the other kids that are getting rewarded are players that we haven't seen on a big stage in a big spot. So we can actually use our own basketball knowledge and and memories of what we've seen before and go, that kid can play. And I'm rooting for him now, as opposed to somebody who's playing in some league overseas you've never seen play before. You know, it's put in a ton of time, too, one would assume.

And they're getting their dream realized as well. And some scout is like, that's the kid. We got to take him in the second round. Certainly, if you're a member of the Phoenix Suns organization and you don't own a pick of your own. Well, you know, you're you don't control your own pick until 2030, which is another confusing thing. Pick swaps. And, you know, we this is this is this trade involves a 2028 second round pick. And you're or pick swap in 2029.

You're sitting there going, all right. But if it's a trade involving a pick in the NFL draft, you're like, what the hell are they doing? Right.

We could use somebody right here right now. That linebacker can actually do something for us on special teams instead of you trading it for a sixth round pick in next year's draft. But DeAndre Swift this year involved a pick in 2025.

And even that was kind of like jarring, like what? Really? Yeah, I think it has to do with roster size. The NBA draft is only two rounds. Yeah.

NFL seven, obviously. Yeah. Yeah.

Second round picks, though, we don't see stars out of the second round. It's it's Jokic, it's Draymond Green, it's Gilbert Arenas. It's kind of it.

But you can also make decisions. In a production meeting or in a truck that adds the edge in small ways around the edges. Yeah. For instance, I saw this on Twitter from the Kobe Bryant draft that TNT was was producing. Put it up on the screen.

Look at the strengths, natural score, work ethic, weaknesses, passing, liking teammates. That's amazing. Now, again, I know I'm putting something I'm seeing on Twitter up. I'm assuming that that's legit. Could I mean, yeah.

Photoshop is pretty good these days. I know that, right? Yeah. I can see that being a weakness.

By the way, by the way, was that accurate or what? Based on what we know, you know. And so that's the sort of edge that could be brought if if that's what's required. I don't know if the NBA would particularly like that or appreciate it. I'm keen to know what somebody in the NBA front office thinks of the way it looked last night and came off last night. Obviously, Victor Wenbunyama coming in. You got a figure that even the casual sports fan knows. Well, they about right or they will know about. So that's a huge, huge.

I mean, you talk about a total difference maker. But like liking it is so funny. I'm going to bet, though, that that's not real. Do you think so? It's probably fake.

I can't see them. I don't know. You never know nowadays. I don't know what to believe and what not to believe. But that is really weird.

I'm being told by Mike Hoskins he believes it is fake. Yeah, because there's one with Allen Iverson, T.J., and his his strengths. Excellent speed.

NBA score. Weaknesses. Hates practice.

Really hates practice. But that's the sort of stuff that I'd love to see right now. I'd rather host that draft than the one that Manic says, you know, the draft that like the the hater draft. I got an idea.

You know, like next next year, Arias Altcast, where we have some for the NBA draft. Some fake fun graphics. And it's just us chopping it up. OK, we got three hundred and sixty four to figure it out. Figure it out. I tell you what, Smush Parker believe that Kobe liking teammates. Here we go. Steve Nash. Ready?

So are these the same things? I just I just googled the graphic. Here we go. Strengths strong point guard skills. Never been injured. Weaknesses. Defense.

White dude. I'm like, I don't know if that's real. We've been had. We've been had. But it's a great example of you know. You can't believe nothing you see.

You can't. Oh, Tim Duncan takes one here, too. Oh, what has he got? Weak weaknesses. Free throw shooting.

Where are you finding this at? It's literally just liking teammates and passing. Here we go. Carried kittles.

Weaknesses needs to get stronger. One sock. These are great.

I don't know where I'm finding these. Let's take a break. Shohei Ohtani. Is he going to be on the block this summer or what? Jeff Passan.

Always enjoyable when Jeff from the worldwide leader in sports stops by, as he will when we come back. Get an inside look at Hollywood with Michael Rosenbaum, actress Kristen Ritter. Your parents let you travel by yourself. It was a different time. They just put you on a train. As a 15 year old girl, you went to New York. I went on a bus and I did get picked up at Port Authority. They thought I was a runaway. What would they do?

They detain you and I get people on the phone and then they finally let you go to your modeling job. How many times did it happen? Once or twice. It just seems like it wouldn't happen. It happens.

Yeah. Inside of you with Michael Rosenbaum, wherever you listen. For decades, Rolling Stone has set the bar for entertainment publications. Today, Rolling Stone music now takes over in podcast form.

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Call or just stop by. ESPN's got a double dip on Sunday. They've got their usual Sunday night baseball game.

And also on Sunday morning, first up, 10 a.m. Eastern Time, first pitch in London between the Cubs and the Cardinals. But here to talk about all matters, Major League Baseball. You haven't spoken to him since, I think, before the season. It's been a long time. Our friend Jeff Passant back here on the Rich Eisen Show. How you doing, Jeff? Excellent, Rich. How are you, buddy?

I am doing great. So where do we stand here on one of the final weekends of June on the Shoah Ohtani front? Is the fact that the Angels being in the mix for the wild card right now and above 500 taking him off the trade table right now?

Jeff? Rich, I would love, as somebody who is in the middle of all of these transactions leading up to the trade deadline, to tell you that we're going to have a mega blockbuster deal at the deadline this year and Shoah Ohtani is going to go to a contender and everything's going to be right with the world. But why would the Los Angeles Angels at this point do that when everything that they have been working toward is sort of happening?

Like, kind of happening? There's a great argument still to be made that, you know, you have to trade Shoah Ohtani because if he leaves this offseason, all you get back is, like, the 70th pick in the draft. Like, it's not even good compensation. So the Angels are taking an enormous risk if they don't deal Ohtani. But their entire purpose for this season has been to convince him that Anaheim is a place where he wants to spend the rest of his career because that's what his contract this offseason is going to be. It's going to be, you know, eight to ten, even maybe more years. It's going to be $500 to $600 million. And it's going to take him past his 40th birthday. And boy, if the Angels haven't done everything they possibly could, from calling up Zach Neto to calling up Ben Joyce to calling up Sam Bachman, you know, all these younger guys who may not have been entirely ready, I don't know what more they could do, I suppose, aside from spend more in the offseason.

But they were among the higher spending teams in the offseason too this year. So I think Artie Moreno, the owner there, wants to keep Shoah Ohtani around long term. The question is, does Shoah Ohtani believe that the Angels are the team that he's likeliest to win a World Series with? And where is that on his priority list?

Exactly, Jeff. That is the ultimate question in the same way that we're coming off of the NBA draft wondering what's going through Damian Lillard's mind for his future and how he feels about staying in Portland is a spot that I think we all know he loves to be there. He loves living there.

I think he's comfortable living there. So what is Ohtani thinking? What are his priorities? Is it a spot that he likes to play in, that he's not in a spot where there's 50 cameras in his face and five local newspapers and long time listeners and first time callers that are freaking out over an 0 for 4? You know what I mean? Where does he stand on all that, you think?

I wish I could tell you. He does not speak publicly and he's got a very, very small inner circle. But the context that I can give you is this. I was in Miami for the World Baseball Classic Semifinals and Finals and I saw the look on his face and I talked with teammates about the intensity that he was bringing to that tournament. And I think if you were to give him sodium pentothal and get the full truth out of him, he'd tell you that's the most fun he's had playing baseball on North American soil.

And what was it? It was competition. It was winning.

It was the ability to go out and do something for your country, yes, but do something where the games really feel like they matter. And games haven't mattered in Anaheim since 2014. It has been a full decade now of abject mediocrity from the Los Angeles Angels. And the fact that they have not built around Mike Trout and built around Shohei Ohtani, who for a while there were two best players in baseball on the same team and haven't been able to win I think is an indictment on everyone who's been there.

You just can't do that. And when you have 30 miles up the road, a team that's won its division for almost a decade straight now that goes to the playoffs every year that has a higher payroll in the Los Angeles Dodgers and that also has more talent, frankly, if you're Ohtani, is that not the siren calling right there, like saying get out of Orange County while you can? Get to a place where you are likelier to go win a ring and you are likelier to bring that glory to your career?

I think it comes down to this. Everyone's going to pay him, Rich, a ton of money, more money than he'll have any idea to do with. How does he weigh winning versus comfort? Because he's got comfort with the Angels. I'm just not sure he's going to have the winning.

Jeff Passan here on the Rich Eisen Show. Last one for you on this. So is it the next three weeks?

Is that the crux of it? That if the Angels go through, say, a swoon similar to the one that cost Joe Maddon his job last year, that would knock them from their current perch in the standings? Would that spark a ton of calls to the Angels or maybe they're making them?

I think they're going to be a ton of calls regardless. I don't foresee the Angels losing 14 straight again. I know they've lost two in a row. For a couple of days, they were ahead of the Houston Astros in the standings. If you look at the American League right now, what a fascinating race we've got going on. The Minnesota Twins are as mediocre as mediocre gets, but they play in the American League Central, which is a tire fire of a division.

The team that wins is probably going to be around.500. Then you have the Texas Rangers out west. You can make an argument that the Rangers are, if not the best team in baseball, they're certainly among the top five. Then the Tampa Bay Rays out east. I'm not sure they're going to give up their perch atop the ALEs. After that, and after Baltimore in the wildsguard standings, you've got the Astros at 41 and 34, the Yankees at 41 and 34, the Angels at 41 and 35, and the Blue Jays at 41 and 35. The Red Sox and Mariners and Guardians are lurking around as well.

It's just a muddled situation right now. If you ask me, what are the Angels going to do? I think the Angels are going to buy.

I don't think they're selling. I think they are going out and they're going to be as aggressive as they possibly can. They want Otame to know that building winter is important here and getting you to the postseason is of the utmost importance.

Jeff Passan of ESPN here on the Rich Eisen Show. Let's talk about the A's. It feels like it's a foregone conclusion. And, you know, we've seen this movie before when Commissioner Manfred basically came out and talked about the fans that showed up for that protest night. He's just with his thoughts on it was just like, well, essentially, it's great to see fans there.

You know, at least it brought, you know, an average Major League Baseball audience to the stadium as if the A's are fans are not responding to the product that's been put out there on the field. And as soon as I heard that, I'm like, he and the owners, they want this thing to happen in Vegas. Period. End of story, right? I mean, like this is done. Jeff, right? Or no? It is done. Oh, yeah.

No, it's done. And what Rob Manfred said that day, I thought was the most tone deaf thing he said since he told Carl Ravitch that the World Series trophy is a piece of metal. And he admitted that, you know, he regrets doing that and putting, you know, putting Rob Manfred in front of a live microphone is always it's always a journey. You never know what's going to come out of his mouth. And he gets very defensive. And I think in this situation, his defense is shown in the worst way imaginable, which is that he was talking down to the fans.

And that's really unfortunate because I think you hit the nail on the head. Oakland fans are good fans. They just have a stadium that should be condemned and an owner who has zero interest in putting a winning product on the field. And it's a shame that the owner doesn't take the same approach as his front office because Billy Bean and David Force, they were among the only executives out there.

Certainly the only ones in a market their size or at least a revenue streams of their size who never went full tank. Like they just didn't do it. It offended them. It offended their sensibilities.

But John Fisher made it impossible to do otherwise because he is the owner, demanded that these guys get traded. It's major league. It's a movie come to life. And, you know, the movie Major League is a comedy and so are the open days.

Wow. You know, because that is the perfect analogy. When Manfred said what he said, it made me think like he was rooting about messing with Joe Boo's rum because Rachel Phelps deserves to go to Vegas. You know, like that's the way it felt, honestly. And when I heard that, I'm like, this thing's done. Because I was kind of rooting in a way for a sort of fan based grassroots movement that would lead to some to continue the movie.

A Moneyball type run that would blow things up in a way that, say, the Super League got blown up by fans and, you know, and in Europe where baseball's playing a marquee game this weekend. You know, but as soon as I heard Manfred say that, I'm like, this is over. This is a fan base that he's no longer willing or up for addressing. And then in terms of him saying he regretted something, you're referring to the Time magazine interview that he had that posted this week. What did you make of him saying that he regretted the way he handled the Houston cheating situation and that he would have approached it without giving player immunity this time around?

What did you make of that one, Jeff? I think it's taken Rob Manfred four years to get to the place where most of the people throughout the game were to begin with. I mean, you heard, you remember the comments of players going into that spring after the athletic story dropped. And this is, you know, the punishment comes down and players are given immunity.

And all of a sudden it's like, what? You know, Jeff Luna, who was the Astros GM, was in charge of baseball operations. So I understand why he got fired.

And A.J. Hinch was the manager and his job is to run the clubhouse. So I understand why he got fired.

But let's be abundantly clear about something. The players are the ones who came up with and implemented the cheating scheme. And so for the players to get off scot-free because they ostensibly were going to give information when in reality the information that MLB got was not a whole lot different than what was in the original story. It reflected awfully poorly on Manfred and it looked like the players got away with the crime. And they did. Like, they absolutely did.

Jeff Passan here on the Rich Eisen Show. I think the rule changes have really worked out. I mean, you've got a left-handed hitter in Arias hitting.400.

The pitch clock is, to me, I don't even notice it anymore. I'm digging it. I'm liking it. What's next? Now, I'm sure they're on a roll right now. They're like, OK, these rule changes are great. What's next? Is it making the umpires robots? Like, literally, not figuratively.

What do you got for me? I appreciate how Major League Baseball is approaching automated balls and strikes or robot umpires. They're not looking at what happened and what the consequences of the pitch clock and banning shifts and the larger bases are and saying, you know what, we're feeling ourselves.

We're going to go out and do whatever. No, they're being very judicious about their approach and very scientific, honestly, about it. They're doing studies on ABS and trying to see what the consequences are because they want to really thread a needle if they possibly can. It's not just getting balls and strikes right by using the automated system, Rich. What they'd like to do is use the automated system to change the game. And by change the game, I mean they want to get rid of strikeouts, not completely eradicate them, but strikeouts have become problematic in terms of the pace of the game, in terms of the action, in terms of balls in play. And they're hoping that somehow they can leverage this system into having fewer strikeouts.

Now, it's interesting what they're doing. They are running an A-B test in the minor leagues right now. Three days of the week, they're going fully automated balls and strikes.

Like, it's just very simple. The umpire wears an earpiece and in less than half a second after the pitch is delivered, in his ear he hears either ball or strike and he makes the call. The other three days of the week, though, the umpires are calling the games and players are allowed to have challenges. And there are three challenges per team per game and you maintain your challenge if it is successful. And I think the likelier outcome in the big leagues is some kind of a challenge system. What's interesting to me is the players to challenge aren't particularly successful. Last I checked, it was under 50 percent that they were getting it right when they challenged. Challenging a ball or a strike, Jeff?

Like, so a pitch is made and it might be an inch outside or an appropriate strike call and you're allowed to challenge a ball and strike under this test? Is that what you're saying? That's exactly right. Wow. And it is a smooth and seamless system.

It is? Okay. It's done. It's done, Rich. Like the whole operation takes like seven, eight seconds.

You know, the everyone. Well, it's simple. You tap your head, right? You tap your head for a challenge.

So the three people who can challenge are the pitcher, the catcher and the batter. And when you tap your head, everyone turns to the scoreboard into the video board and immediately pops up a graphical representation of the ball coming out of the pitcher's hand and toward the strike zone and you see exactly where it lands. Just like Hawkeye in tennis? Like, like Hawkeye in tennis? Precisely.

It's literally Hawkeye. The exact same system that they're using, yes. And that's three times at bat or three times a game? Three times a game?

Three times a game, yes. So a manager and a manager has no choice? I mean, like if a guy just says, screw it, I'm tapping my helmet and the manager could be like, well, we've got to wait till the seventh, eighth, ninth inning.

Yeah. Manager has no say in it. And I was just going to say that, like the game theory part of this is interesting, too. Like, do you potentially blow a challenge in the first inning? If there's a borderline pitch on a, you know, a 0-0 count or a 2-0 count or a 3-0 count, do you use it then? Like, there are all sorts of elements that the players have to keep in mind that may have to be engaged enough with the game and the situation to understand what a proper time is.

You can't just go challenging willy-nilly because if you give up your challenges and you don't have any in the later innings with a true leverage pitch, then all of a sudden you put your team in a hole. But that's if the umpires are the humans who are calling it, not the robot, right? Correct. Okay.

Correct. This is, yeah, you can't challenge the robot because the robots, quote, unquote, never will. Well, robots are taking over the world, Jeff, you know? Of course.

So... Yeah, we need a little AI invasion, right? AI, MLB, insider, Jeff Passan. I'm looking forward to seeing your coverage of the London game on ESPN at 10 Eastern. Twelve hours of coverage on Sunday, including the London Post game show, the Golden Spikes award in baseball tonight, Sunday night countdown. Thanks for the call here, Jeff. Greatly appreciate it. We're a baseball network, Rich.

What can I say? I love it. I love it.

That's at Jeff Passan, Must Follow on Twitter and Instagram as well, right here on The Rich Eisen Show. Okay, we just heard quite the report on the way baseball might be turning to some technological help for their umpires or just replacing them. And in the middle of that conversation, Rob Manfred spoke in London about the comment he made in regards to the A's fans. That's next. And then top of the next hour, Adam Devine in studio.

How about them apples? Yeah. That's how we're rolling on this Friday on The Rich Eisen Show. Back here on The Rich Eisen Show, 844-204-rich, number to dial. So Rob Manfred, as we all know, the commissioner of Major League Baseball, was very critical, was criticized quite a bit. I was, as you know, on a walkabout with the fam in Israel when the boycott night for Oakland A's fans, telling John Fisher, the current owner, that he stinks and he should sell the team and not move them to Vegas. 25,000 fans showed up, asked about the protest. Manfred said, quote, I mean, it was great. It is great to see what is this year almost an average Major League Baseball crowd in the facility for one night. That's a great thing.

Man. And so Manfred, today, just about an hour ago, speaking in London, I guess as the Cubs and Cardinals are working out, Megan Montemuro, who is, make sure I get her, she's Cubs beat writer for the Chicago Tribune, asked about whether he regretted what he said there since he told time that he's regretting things these days. Quote, my comment about Oakland was that I feel sorry for the fans, that it was my initial and preference that we find a solution in Oakland. The comment that I made about the fans on a particular night was taken out of context of those two larger remarks. I feel sorry for the fans. We hate to move. We did everything we could possibly do to keep the club in Oakland. And here's the line that I'm sure he will get dinged for.

And unfortunately, one night doesn't change a decade worth of inaction. Let me just tell you, because I, I speak this language. I'm fluent in it, stewardess. I speak commissioner.

I see what you did there. A's are gone. They want this team in Las Vegas. The NFL saw what the NHL did.

I'm serious, and I don't usually say those words. Where is the Stanley Cup? Where are people tipping the cup and drinking out of right now? All over the strip. And the NHL went there. The NFL, I'm telling you, I thought a very warm place would have to freeze over before the NFL allowed a franchise in Las Vegas, Nevada. Let alone send a draft there and then this year have the Super Bowl held there. And that warm place is not Las Vegas. Phoenix? It's got to be particularly bitter for Oakland to have lost the Raiders to Vegas now to see the A's go there too.

Yeah. But this thing is unfortunately for you A's fans and for you Oakland A's fans and Oakland baseball fans, this thing is a wrap. They're going, huh?

She's talking in the past tense. We did everything we could possibly do to keep the club in Oakland. We hate to move. This thing's over. They want a team in Vegas. They see what the NHL's doing. I think it's a matter of time until the NBA has one there, right? Only a matter of time. NBA will expand. Vegas, probably Seattle will get their team back. Well they deserve one first I think. Well maybe they, 32 is the number the NFL has. So this thing's over. And what Jeff Passan just said, I don't want Major League Baseball umpires to be replaced by robots.

I just don't. I don't want them standing back there and they're just the human conduit to hear a machine tell them ball strike. Because that just neuters them. It totally neuters them as an authority figure on the field. The most important adjudication of the game of baseball by an umpire is home plate. You are calling the action of a ball or a strike and then of course the most important base to get an out or safe call proper is the one that if somebody touches it without getting tagged, puts a run on the board. That's the most hallowed ground to be judged on a baseball field. And if you're taking balls and strikes away from that person, it's just like what are you doing here? So I like the other way, which is three challenges a game by just the pitcher, catcher or the player to tap their head and say that wasn't a strike. Come on, that's low. Come on.

Yeah. Or pitcher going that wasn't right down the middle? I'm tapping my head and then they step out of the batter's box and we all turn to the screen. Everybody take a look at the screen and just like. It's like tennis.

Just like tennis. Here comes the ball. It's in or out. Over. Okay. Now we're back at it.

Pace a play. Still going. You're not stopping to go put a headset on and talk to New York. The machine's got it. So the machine's got it, but it's still in the hands of the human being. I love that. I love that. I like that.

Yeah, me too. And if it's working, as Jeff Passan says, without a hitch at the minor league level, I think baseball's going to get this one right too. Just like the shift. I told you all the shift stunk on ice. And enough of that whole, well, Ted Williams had to deal with a shift. Well, Ted Williams didn't have to deal.

Every other left-handed hitter didn't have to back in the day. I don't know. I wasn't there. I'm just assuming.

But I'm saying it convincingly, I hope. And the pace of play. I don't notice the pitch clock anymore. The large bases are cool. I'm not sitting there thinking this is weird because that base is bigger. Yeah, I haven't thought about the base at all.

At all. I think they got this one. Conspiracy theories. Paranormal. UFOs. Science teacher Andrew Greenwood stated that a child ran into his classroom and was hysterically screaming and talking about the flying saucer outside. Hundreds of children ran out of their classrooms to go outside and see this unidentified flying object that was just above the school. Just imagine a bunch of kids running out of school. Most of them probably just ran home. Theories of the third kind on YouTube or wherever you listen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-23 18:31:49 / 2023-06-23 18:49:39 / 18

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