Joe Maddon has already made some serious statements in 2014, buying a bread maker for the Rays' clubhouse. But baseball's ever vigilant puppetmaster has also been hard at work attempting to revolutionize MLB's new on-field rules.
Instant replay was a long time coming in the game, and this year, Spring Training has served as a petri dish for its development. Thus far, reviewed plays have "slowed" games down by about 90 seconds, and barring the Phillies' poorly timed power outage likely due to vengeful weather, have been mostly without issue.
The basics of using instant replay are rather clear, and now that Maddon understands them, he's moved onto getting around them.
"So that's why the Rays infielders were doing a drill Wednesday where, with a runner on second and a ground ball hit, they got what theoretically was the third out of an inning at first base, but they threw home anyway to potentially get another out.
Maddon's premise? That if the call at first was reviewed and that runner was ruled safe, that continuing the play to the plate could lead to the other runner being called out to still end the inning, or at least sent back to third when the umpires decide on placement since he would have been out."
Looking for fallout from the addition of instant replay to the sport? Teams going for four outs in an inning could be one of them, apparently.
It's more of the kind of stuff that makes Joe Maddon one of the most infuriatingly clever managers in the game, and likely the guy that most often makes league officials roll their eyes and mutter "C'mon, Joe..."