Yeah, I hate what Jose Tabata did too. And let’s be real, what he did was no different than flopping or diving, the same as Maxim Lapierre on every play ever to every European soccer player ever to the fact that flopping has become a huge part of the NBA to this absolute disgrace by PK Subban.
But here’s the thing: It’s not gonna stop anytime soon. As LeBron once said, players flop “because it works.” Jose Tabata is an ultra competitive guy, and i say that not because I know much about him other than that he was a promising Pirates prospect but his stats haven’t lived up to it, but because he’s a professional baseball player and that’s a requirement for the job. His mindset is to get whatever edge on the opponent that he can, and if that means ruining Max Scherzer’s game in the most weasely way possible, he’s gonna do that. I have every right to hate him for it, and I do, but he’s still gonna lean in and make sure he gets hit.
So what’s the solution? Make everything reviewable. If I can tell that Tabata leaned in by watching one of the 429420234 Vines of the HBP on my Twitter timeline that night, then it shouldn’t take too much time or effort for someone in the MLB offices to do so and alert the umps. Flopping needs to be reviewable, because just about everything should be reviewable in 2015 with the technology that sports league have now, as Bill Belichick ranted to the NFL owners and coaches this offseason.
Of course, replay needs to be faster, and by “faster” I mean “like 99% faster.” It takes way too long, but that’s no reason to not at least try and go forward with this. Get someone in the MLB offices looking at each play right as they happen, and they can alert umps quickly. The league office can call down, say “Tabata clearly was trying to get hit,” and then Scherzer gets his perfect game.
Also, another tweak in all sports should be a rule that Jeff van Gundy loves to promote, and he’s totally right. If a guy flops on a play, the punishment from that should undo whatever punishment the opponent deserves from whatever he did on the play. if a guy clearly flopped on a play where his opponent charged, the charging call is undone.
Players are always gonna try to flop. The only way to make sure that flops don’t have too big a place in games is to put rules in place strictly outlawing them. Some would say that such rules would make the player more like robots, and that trying to get ahead of your opponent in little ways is part of sports. But I couldn’t disagree more when it specifically comes to flops, because I like seeing sports competitions determined by athletes doing athletic things. Flopping simply doesn’t qualify.