Following up yesterday’s post about the snub by Tony LaRussa of Johnny Cueto and Brandon Phillips, Cincinnati Enquirer reporter John Fay wrote about a new rule in the most recent collective bargaining agreement called the “Sunday Pitcher Rule.”
(ii) Sunday Pitcher Rule. Any starting pitcher elected or selected to the All-Star team who makes a start on the Sunday immediately preceding the All-Star Game (“Sunday Pitcher”) shall have the option to participate or not participate in the All-Star Game. If such starting pitcher elects to participate in the All-Star Game, he will not be permitted to pitch for more than one inning, and he may also inform his manager that he should be removed from the game if he reaches a certain pitch count (irrespective of whether he has completed one inning), provided such pitch count is reasonable. If a Sunday Pitcher who was originally named to the team elects not to participate in the All-Star Game, he will be replaced on the roster but treated in the same manner as other All-Stars who are excused from participation, and he will be encouraged to attend and be announced at the All-Star Game.
Basically, this means that no pitcher should be skipped when being picked for the All Star game because he happens to start the Sunday before the break. In that case, it’s up to the player, not the manager picking the roster.
In case you don’t remember, Tony LaRussa, the guy who got to pick the players to the game after the fans, players, and coaches, had this to say about why he didn’t pick Cueto.
“If Dusty (Baker) had been more interested in Cueto being on the team, then he wouldn’t be pitching him on Sunday. Cueto probably would be on the team if he wasn’t pitching Sunday.”
Sounds like LaRussa broke the rule, right? I mean, he himself said that if Cueto weren’t starting on Sunday, he’d have been picked. Cueto’s agent has charged as much, but Major League Baseball is apparently supporting LaRussa.
Major League Baseball senior vice president Katy Feeney said that the fact that Cueto was scheduled to pitch on Sunday actually was well down the list of considerations….Feeney said that pitching on Sunday “maybe was the final consideration,” for a pitcher not to be included on the club. “That’s just one of the reasons,” Feeney said.
That’s not the most spirited defense. It strikes me as trying to say two opposite things at once. MLB is basically admitting that starting on Sunday was a consideration while also attempting to claim that they didn’t break the Sunday Pitcher Rule. I don’t think you can claim both.
Of course, LaRussa has a final quote in the article about the matter.
“I know the rule,” said La Russa, tersely.
Now why does that remind me so much of Tracy Morgan’s old impression of Star Jones on SNL?