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With Jermaine Wiggins sitting in studio on a “Wiggy Wednesday”, Felger and Bertrand opened up the third hour by continuing the discussion about MLB umpiring. They guys brough up the parameters and definition of the “strike zone” per MLB regulations, after Tim McClelland, perennially voted best ball-strike umpire by players, squeezed Red Sox pitcher Erik Bedard in the first inning of Tuesday night’s game against the Minnesota Twins.
Caller Steve, who admitted that he has just completed his training at professional umpiring school, indicated that he learned in his academy that umpires today are calling pitches “a hell of a lot tighter than they used” to in the past. Bertrand procured the official MLB rulebook to describe what the MLB says the strike zone really is. Is the strike zone today in line with the exact wording of the rule book? Should the strike zone become knees to chest as they teach in Little League?
The conversation moved toward how changing the strike zone could affect the speed of MLB games; if batters were less likely to take pitches if they knew there was a greater chance of pitches being called strikes. Wiggy suggested that the umpires open the strike zone to keep the pace moving. Bertrand harped on the fact that Friday night, Jarrod Saltalamacchia griped after striking out looking against Mariano Rivera on a pitch that was definitively a strike. Bertrand put in simply, “the game needs to get rid of that.”
Another caller switched gears to return to the discussion about which is the best Boston rivalry today. Felger’s sexy pick was the Bruins-Canadiens, given that the hatred is so “guttural” between the two teams that even the Bruins TV play-by-play announcer Jack Edwards routinely calls out the Habs for diving and the like. The entire trio agreed that Patriots-Jets cannot be considered in the same stratosphere because it really only started 15 years ago when Bill Parcells left Foxboro for the Meadowlands.
Is Red Sox-Yankees still the premier rivalry in sports? Do the recent series’ TV ratings tell a different story? Why do the Bruins and Canadiens hate each other so much?
Tune in to Felger and Mazz to hear the answers to this discussion and more!