Cubs manager David Ross agrees with Javier Báez. It “stinks” that MLB took away use of in-game video this season, after the Astros cheating scandal.
But will they get it back next season?
“MLB hasn’t called me on that one either,” Ross said, smiling. “I don’t know if they’ve lost my number.”
Several Cubs players had hinted at their displeasure with the new rule earlier this season. Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo, for example said this week that, “it’s definitely a major adjustment.” But Báez was the first to deliver an impassioned defense of in-game video.
“To be honest, it’s sucked,” Báez said Monday. “I make my adjustments during the game. I watch my swing, I watch where the ball was, where the contact was. I’m really mad that we don’t have it.”
As early as February, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred publicly discussed possible changes to the league’s in-game video policy. Then, after the pandemic hit, the rule made its way into the 2020 operations manual: Communal video terminals were prohibited, and only pre-loaded iPads could be used to watch video during the game.
“It just stinks that, first of all, they’ve got to do that for past circumstances and reasons,” Ross said. “That stinks. This season’s unique in so many ways; I think that’s just another one, and they’ll probably take a good look at this in the offseason.”
But again, the league hadn’t called to tell him that.
Ross suspects Báez isn’t the only Cub strongly in favor of in-game video returning.
“There’s elements to a season and a baseball game that we all use as tools,” Ross said, “and we start taking some of those off that you feel like are a big part of your success, it’s frustrating. So, trying to navigate how to do without a real tool that you use to succeed (and make) in-game adjustments, it’s been tough for a lot of guys.”
In response, the Cubs have adapted to more heavily rely on their teammates’ observations of the opposing pitcher.
“We’re talking on what the guy’s movement’s doing, what the guy’s pitches are doing today, if he has good action or late action,” Rizzo said. “So, the conversations in the dugout are very beneficial for us.”
They aren’t the same as having video, however, which gives a hitter feedback on his own swing at the same time.
In a normal season, the pitchers would also have access to in-game video, adding what Rizzo called a “cat-and mouse component.”
At least for now, Tom and Jerry will have to go old school.