When opposing teams' scoreboard radar gun readings start forcing teams to make decisions based on possible injuries, it might be time to re-think the whole idea.
That's what manager Dusty Baker seemed to be saying Saturday, four days after left-hander Aroldis Chapman was taken out of a game in San Diego after facing just two batters because he was reaching "only" 93 and 94 mph on the Petco Park radar gun.
Baker's concern is the readings can't be trusted.
"That's what kind of threw us off with Chapman," Baker said. "I'm serious. I've seen teams play with that radar gun -- you know, pump up theirs and turn down ours, and guys don't like looking up there and seeing that they're throwing under their norm. Then they try to do more and it ends up being less. For some teams we've played they'll turn on theirs, but not yours, you know what I mean? But they'll never get rid of it because the fans like it.
"I don't think it's a major league rule, because I've seen some teams turn it off when certain guys are pitching because they know it affects them. You'll see some guys rub up the ball and look at the radar gun every time. We use it more as a thing (to see) if a guy is losing it or is tiring, but some guys will lose it and start pitching more effectively because they get more movement. It varies from guy to guy."
Baker wouldn't mind seeing the speed indicators removed, he said.
"It lends itself to guys throwing instead of pitching," he said. "I've seen some guys throw it 95 and can't get anybody out because they show you the ball, but there are other guys throwing 89 who look like they're throwing 95 because you can't pick up the ball. Sid Fernandez was like that. It looked like Sid was throwing 100."
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