“No, I’m a trooper, man,” Ortiz said Thursday of whether he’ll have a problem obeying the rules, according to the Boston Herald. “I do what they say. I don’t know why people keep making a big deal about it because, regardless, it doesn’t matter what I say, I have to follow the rules.
“I don’t want to get myself in trouble. But that wasn’t what got me going. At one time what got me going was every time we talk about timing during the game, we pick on the hitters. It wasn’t the rules, though.”
The rule stating a batter must keep one foot in the box at all times certainly will present a challenge for Ortiz, who is known to step out between pitches. According to the Herald, Ortiz stepped out a few times during Thursday’s spring training game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, which could become an issue if the habit lingers into the regular season.
But Ortiz, who previously said the league’s rule changes marked the beginning of a war, apparently has come to accept the new regulations. He also seems OK with the league implementing a new clock for between innings, though his concerns regarding pace of play are centered on the time spent by pitchers between pitches rather than the time they spend warming up before each frame.
Ortiz’s biggest gripe earlier this spring, of course, was that the new rules inherently give pitchers a competitive advantage over hitters.
“That clock doesn’t mean anything to me,” Ortiz said. “Right there, when they’re warming up, they do it fast. It’s the thinking (between pitches) — ‘How should I execute? I’ve got the pitching coach coming and talking to me.’ Which is fine with me, though. I have no problem with that. It’s not like I’m (complaining) about that, either.
“But when you talk about saving some time, you should include that. That should be included — ‘OK, the pitching coach is allowed to come visit the mound, this amount of time, the catcher is going to talk to the pitcher in this amount of time, and the pitcher is going to pitch.’
“I guess I don’t know. That’s just me throwing ideas out there.”
Ideas certainly are welcome as MLB looks to up the tempo this season and beyond. And a law-abiding Ortiz definitely is a good sign, both for his personal bank account and the pace of Red Sox games.
Thumbnail photo via Michael Dwyer/The Associated Press
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