Tag: Jake Fox

Jake Fox Breaks Unwritten Rule of Spring Baseball: Don’t Practice

Here’s the situation: Jake Fox of the Baltimore Orioles came to the plate in the bottom of the eighth inning with his team up by 10 in a spring training game on Monday.

The Orioles’ catcher, who had not made the team at the time, had the audacity to swing at a 3-0 pitch with runners on second and third and no outs.

The Orioles skipper, Buck Showalter, was visibly angry with Fox, stomping around the dugout during the remainder of the plate appearance, which ended in a walk. He then quickly replaced Fox with a pinch runner and berated Fox upon his return to the dugout.

Jim Leyland, manager of the Detroit Tigers, the Orioles’ opponent that day, was shouting at Fox from his dugout.

This is just a new level of ridiculousness where the unwritten rules of baseball are concerned.

Fox had not made the team at the time and was playing not only for a roster spot with the O’s, but also a spot on another team should the Orioles have decided not to place him on the roster; he has since been added to the Orioles opening day roster.

How is he going to demonstrate his abilities at the plate by taking pitches, even if it is a “take” situation?

Secondly, spring training is meant to be practice. As such, shouldn’t a player swing at any pitch that he would swing at in a regular game? Isn’t that what practice is?

When I am practicing with my son, I don’t have him practice taking good pitches. I don’t tell him, “Okay, son, the count is 3-0 and we are up by 10, so I want you to lay off this pitch no matter how good it looks.”

I want him to swing the bat.

Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, it was a meaningless spring training game. The Orioles won the game and do you know how many wins they have in the 2011 season now?

Zero. Zilch. Nada.

The problem with unwritten rules is that no one knows them all. Heck, most people don’t know all of the written rules, so how can players be expected to remember the ones no one has bothered to write down?

I can understand, to a certain extend, not wanting to show up your opponent, but isn’t it your responsibility to stop me from scoring? It is not my responsibility to stop playing just because you find yourself in the unenviable position of being down by ten runs late in the game.

If you don’t want me to score more, try pitching better and playing a little defense. Don’t rely on my sense of charity to bail you out.

People are also arguing that the pitcher was a minor league pitcher, so Fox shouldn’t have been swinging because of that.

I’m not even going to pretend I understand that. If he is good enough to be on the mound, he is good enough to have batters swinging at any pitch he throws.

If he is not good enough for that, what is he doing out there? Oh, that’s right, it was a spring training game; a game specifically for players to practice and, if luck is on their sides, earn a spot on a major league roster.

If baseball doesn’t want players swinging at 3-0 pitches with no outs when their team is up by 10 runs in the eighth inning, write a rule prohibiting it. Otherwise, instruct your pitcher to pitch better and not dig themselves into that kind of hole to begin with.

The unwritten rules of baseball need to go away from regular season play, in my opinion. Pitchers are encouraged to drill batters if they have the nerve to hit a home run.

How dare a player do that which he is being paid to do?

Someone is going to get hurt because of these dumb rules someday. We can only hope it will not be in a game played in March.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Baltimore Orioles: Jake Fox Makes His Case with His Bat, Deserves Roster Spot

Jake Fox has been battling many others for a backup job with the Baltimore Orioles this spring.

His primary competition is incumbent backup catcher Craig Tatum, who was very solid for the Birds last year, both at the plate and behind it.

This spring, however, Fox is blowing Tatum (and the rest of the team) away with a .356 batting average and a spring training-leading seven home runs in 45 at-bats. Two of the seven were hit in yesterday’s contest against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Fox has hit four homers in his past three games. I think it’s pretty safe to say the guy is on fire.

This begs the question: Can a guy that hot at the plate not make the big league club out of spring training?

Answering that very query, Orioles manager Buck Showalter simply replied: “Yes.”

While competing primarily to be the backup catcher on the team, Fox can also play both of the corner infield and outfield positions, making him extremely versatile. While his defense at any of those positions won’t win him a Gold Glove, he can get the job done in a temporary backup or replacement role, should someone get injured.

That’s a player that any team would love to have—one who can play multiple positions and hold his own with the bat. Showalter, an old-school-type manager who preaches great defense, is considering Fox’s defense more than his offense when deciding his bench.

Sure, a contender’s offense is a contributing factor, but Showalter would rather have a solid defensive player than one who can hit, but hardly catch a baseball.

Of course, there’s always the scenario that both Fox and Tatum make the club, with Tatum being the backup catcher and Fox being a corner’s backup and third catcher. It’s certainly not a long shot to happen.

The O’s have so many options for their bench this spring, and competition is always a good thing. A team can never have an overflow of reliable players.

Showalter hasn’t commented much on what he thinks of Fox behind the plate, but he did mention yesterday that he “looked better” than he had before, which can only help his cause.

Whether he makes the club as the primary backup catcher or a backup corner infielder, Fox has earned a spot on the major league club with his bat. Having a bat with that much pop off of the bench is always a good asset, especially to pinch-hit late in games when a light-hitting backup (such as Cesar Izturis) plays.

I understand that a great spring performance won’t necessarily translate to the regular season, but when you’re building your team off of spring performances, it counts for the time being.

Furthermore, Fox has always had that kind of power ability. He’s just never had the defensive ability to be a starter for an extended period of time, or lacked the opportunity when other players were already cemented into his positions.

Fox, keep hitting the way you are—and I’m sure that Showalter will find you a spot on the roster.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Seven Things the Oakland A’s Must Do To Make the Playoffs

The Oakland A’s are currently in a battle between two other teams for the American League West title. The A’s have some things that they need to work out to even consider being in contention for the division.

So, here are the seven things the A’s must do in order to win the American League West division.

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