First Call: Redskins’ Josh Norman leaps over bull; Jagr trade anniversary; stealing 1st base |
Breakfast With Benz

First Call: Redskins’ Josh Norman leaps over bull; Jagr trade anniversary; stealing 1st base

Tim Benz
Washington Capitals general manager George McPhee, left, shakes hands with newly acquired Jaromir Jagr during an introduction news conference at the MCI Center in Washington Tuesday, July 17, 2001.

In Friday’s “First Call,” an NFL player tries “bull jumping.” A dumb rule change is on trial in minor league baseball. And an unhappy Penguin anniversary.

Is this covered in his contract?

There is a leaping penalty in football. But I don’t think this is it.

Redskins cornerback Josh Norman is in Spain “running with the bulls.” And he decided to leap over one of them. Twice.

I’m sure the Redskins loved seeing that. Is there a “horn impalement” clause in Norman’s contract?

That was a $15 million cap hit jumping over that cow right there. Think Dan Snyder enjoyed that video?

Gordon gone?

Running back Melvin Gordon says he wants a raise from the Chargers, or he may hold out.

Sound familiar to anyone?

If you think that has a Le’Veon Bell tone to it, you should. This video dug up from Sports Illustrated shows that Gordon may have been partially inspired by Bell’s actions.

Two things though:

1. Bell was on a franchise tag, technically an unsigned tender. Gordon is in the middle of a valid contract.

2. Hey, Melvin, the Steelers did try to pay Bell. They offered Bell more money overall than he got from the Jets. The guaranteed money offered was almost identical. And he left $14.5 million on the table.

So following Le’V as financial planner may not be such a wise idea.

Unhappy anniversary

I’m not sure if any of us want to remember this anniversary.

But we all do.

Yesterday marked the 18th anniversary of the Jaromir Jagr trade. The Penguins’ second-best player of all time (at the time) was shipped off to Washington for salary reasons.

All the Penguins got in exchange was Ross Lupaschuk, Michal Sivek, and Kris Beech. The three players combined for 13 goals as Penguins. Jagr scored 327 goals after leaving Pittsburgh.

So that worked out great.

Stealing first base

The Atlantic League is starting to use a computerized strike zone.

They are experimenting with four other rules, too. Three of them aren’t all that overwhelming.

• While attempting a pickoff, the pitcher is required to step off the rubber. The rule aims to put right-handers on a level playing field with left-handers, who were not required to step off the rubber on a move to first base. It also could make it easier to steal second base.

• One foul bunt is permitted with two strikes before a strikeout is called.

• The check-swing rule is being made more batter-friendly.

Here’s the weird one, though. You can now steal first base.

You know how if a ball gets by the catcher on strike three, you can try to advance to first? Well, this rule says a batter can try that at any time a ball isn’t caught cleanly by the catcher.

What a joke this is going to be. It’s just begging for more controversy and replay.

“Hey, did that strike one really get tipped, or did the batter swing through it before he broke for first?”

“Did the batter make a true break to first base? Or did he decide to stay in the box before the catcher picked up the ball and tagged him?”

What’s the point of this? Of all the things wrong with baseball and all the rule changes being debated, this is one where I had absolutely no inclination to think it was necessary.

Never before did I think to myself, “Boy! This baseball game would be more entertaining if someone tried to steal first!”

Plus, it’s already been done anyway.

Tim Benz is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tim at [email protected] or via Twitter. All tweets could be reposted. All emails are subject to publication unless specified otherwise.

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