Friday 4: Pitch clocks, open nets, mock intelligence, and no coverage.

Another Friday, another installment of “Friday 4”, where I talk about the four things I’ve been thinking about the last week and the upcoming weekend in sports and the world.

I was off last week and as anyone could have predicted, a couple things happened worth writing about. Since I make the rules about what appears here, I think will include them. The first was last week’s Atlanta Braves/Boston Red Sox exhibition game ending in a 6-6 tie because home plate umpire John Libka enforced the new pitch clock rule correctly.

First off, if you’re mad an exhibition baseball game ended in a tie, you really need to get out more often. Spring training games end in ties from time to time. In fact, enough of them end up deadlocked that MLB has “tie games do not count towards standings calculations” at the bottom of their standings page. The fact that anyone cares about spring training standings, which are about as meaningful as the Pro Bowl score, is mindboggling on its own.

Now if you’re mad that a game ended on a pitch clock violation, well, I’ve got news for you, it’s absolutely going to happen again. Batters have a certain amount of time to get set in the box, and that’s when the pitch clock reaches eight seconds. Then the pitcher has to begin his delivery before the clock hits zero.

“I don’t think this (rule) was intended for a game to end like that,” Braves manager Brian Snitker told reporters. “It’s a good thing that we’re starting (now) because you never know what might happen. That instance right there, it kind of shows you what could happen.”

The intent of the rule is for the batter to be ready faster and the pitcher to deliver the ball quicker. A game ending on a violation is the byproduct of violating the rule.

There are going to be more batters like Cal Conley who don’t get set on time. Umpires are going to call a strike on the batter. They’re going to do it in the top of the first, they’re going to do it in the bottom of the ninth. It’s the rule, and they’re going to call it.

Your argument that baseball doesn’t need a pitch clock is invalid before you get the first word out of your mouth. Why you ask? Well, just watch this.

If you think the right side of the video is better than the left side, might I suggest watching some paint dry?

There are two things I love in sports more than pretty much anything else: fat guy touchdowns and goalie goals. I’d say the odds for either are long, although there do seem to be more fat guy touchdowns lately than goalie goals. I haven’t seen any in the XFL, but I’m sure if there is one it will be all over social media.

By the way, it is indeed “fat guy touchdown” and not “big guy touchdown” as some have started to call it. I’m a fat guy, and that’s the way I want it to be. Don’t be insulted or offended for me when someone says “fat guy touchdown”. In fact, that’s a pretty good rule to follow for everything. If I’m insulted or offended by something, I’ll let you know. Trust me, it won’t be a secret.

And if you’re a fat guy who gets offended by “fat guy touchdown”, you probably should find something else to worry about.

Obviously, I’m writing about this because Linus Ullmark scored a goal for the Bruins last Saturday during my “hockey-free weekend”.

I was playing in a game while half paying attention to the Bruins, and let out a pretty loud whoop when he scored. I think I replayed the tweet more than a dozen times as people came over to watch.

In all my years of watching hockey, I’ve seen a goalie score a goal in person only once, and it was just this past May when my wife and I went out to Springfield to watch their playoff game against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. We had the best view of it as we were sitting in a nearly direct line with Joel Hofer and the net.

And after it went in I did some fat guy celebrating.

Since I mentioned what I love about sports, allow me to talk about something I detest, and that’s mock drafts. One hundred percent of them are clickbait. No, there are no exceptions. They’re crap. They’re trash. They’re worthless. It’s a bunch of guys guessing what player a team will pick based on what they perceive the team’s needs are.

Do you know how you can tell it’s all a load of crap? How many of these sites that post mock drafts in any sport go back after the real draft is over and show how right they were? Obviously just because I’ve never seen a site do it doesn’t mean that someone hasn’t, but the fact is there are literally hundreds of mock drafts in every sport and I’ve never stumbled into “hey, look how great we did” type of post shows, well, how great they did.

Sites generally get no credit at all for getting any of the top three or four picks right. When every single person knows who the top picks are expected to be, you only get credit if you successfully name a player that no one thought would go that high. I suspect if you asked site owners how often they fit that category you’d hear a lot of crickets chirping.

The best part is literally hours after the draft sites post grades on how well they think a team did in the draft. Yes, they’re literally grading players that haven’t played a single game against, again, what they perceive the team should have drafted. So, with the mock draft, they’re crap. They’re trash. They’re worthless.

Look, if you want to be entertained by these posts, knock yourself out. But don’t take anything they say seriously.

The Worcester Railers are the pro hockey team here in the city. The Worcester Telegram is the only daily newspaper in the city. You’d think it was a match made in heaven.

OK, maybe not.

It’s absolutely inexcusable that the Worcester Telegram doesn’t cover the Railers anymore. I don’t care what they claim, there simply aren’t any reasons why the Telegram doesn’t have any coverage of the local pro hockey team in their newspaper.

I understand that the games now often end after the print deadline, but they have a subscription-based website that’s just begging for content. On top of that, they have a multiple award-winning hockey writer in Bill Ballou available to write. Instead, Ballou writes recaps for the Railers website that cover the home games; recaps that are picked up by MassLive but not the Telegram.

There have been many high school stories written that didn’t make it to print but appeared on the website. So why not Railers stories on the website? Well, those same crickets that are chirping waiting for an answer from blog posters on how well their mock draft went are also chirping in the offices of the Telegram when you ask about web content.

This is where I’d usually close with a joke, but unfortunately, right now there’s no bigger joke than the Telegram’s sports coverage.

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