FORT MYERS, Fla. — When Major League Baseball, in conjunction with the Players Association, announced last week new rules and guidelines for speeding up the pace of games starting this season, one Red Sox batter immediately took offense.
And on Wednesday, the whole world found out just how ticked off David Ortiz is with rules designed to make sure batters keep one foot in the batter’s box while the pitcher has the baseball between pitches.
Ortiz was asked about the new rules Wednesday and it didn’t take much to get him started.
“Is that new? [Shoot], it seems like every rule goes in the pitcher’s favor. After the pitch, you have to stay in the box, basically? One foot?”
Told baseball executives were just trying to speed up the game, Ortiz wasn’t buying.
“I call that [bull crap],” Ortiz said. “Bro, when you come out of the box, you’re thinking about what the [pitcher] is trying to do. This is not like you go to the plate with an empty mind. When you see guys pitch and guys are coming out the box, we’re not doing it just for doing it. Our minds are speeding up. I see one pitch, I’m thinking what is this guy going to try to do to me next. I’m not walking around just because there are cameras all over the place and I want my buddies to see me and this and that. It doesn’t go that way.
“When you force a hitter to do that, 70 percent you out because you don’t have any time to think. And the only time you have to think about things is that time. So, I don’t know how this baseball game is going to end up.
“It don’t matter what they do, the game is not going to speed up. That’s the bottom line. When you argue for the pitch and then they have to go review it, that takes some time. Is that our fault? No. It’s their fault. But we still have to play the game.”
The for an infraction is $500.
“I might run out of money,” Ortiz said. “I’m not going to change my game. I don’t care what they say. My game is one [way] and I’m going to keep it that way. It’s not like I go around and do all kinds of stupid [crap]. I’ve got to take my time to think about their guy is going to do against me. And I’m pretty sure every single hitter at this level is on the same page.
“They put their rules together but they don’t talk to us. ‘As a hitter, how do you feel about this?’ Why don’t you come and ask questions first and then we can get into an agreement. But just like ‘Oh, you’ve gotta do this just because I say so.’ Oh buddy, it doesn’t work that way, trust me.”
Ortiz says he knows how he’ll respond to the first umpire that tells him to get in the box.
“Just tell [the pitcher] to throw the ball,” Ortiz said. “Hey look, this game has been going on for 100 years and the nature of the game, I don’t care who you are, you’re not going to change it. That is our nature. Pitch comes through, you come out of the box, you go back in it. But you throw a pitch and [batter] has to stay there until the pitcher is ready? I don’t know about that.”
Ortiz feels there are other ways to speed up the game.
“Of course. It’s not on us,” Ortiz insisted. “It seems like every time they want to speed up the game, they focus on the hitters. Have you noticed that? How about the pitchers that around the mound and do all that bullshit. How about all that? Why don’t you tell the pitcher to throw the pitch and stay on the mound and don’t move?”
What really bothers Ortiz is that the pitcher is not held up to the same standard, whether it’s his own teammate in Clay Buchholz or anyone else around baseball.
“I’m talking about everybody in general. If they have it on us, they should have it on the pitcher, too. We’re not the only ones in the game. Every time they talk about shortening up the time, they’re talking about the hitters, nobody else.”
“I face guys that I’m like, ‘C’mon man, make a [freaking] pitch.’ Does that count? Nobody talks about that, right? I don’t think it’s fair. That’s the bottom line.”