Final Month Roster Additions Injustice To Some Teams


September Specialty Call-Ups Give Unfair Advantage

By John Ventola

Sports is an endeavor where competing teams are looking for a level playing field. That is the reason any time a player, or team, is caught trying to do something in a contest to gain an unfair advantage over an opponent, those efforts are frowned upon. Videotaping an opponent’s game preparations (allegedly by the New England Patriots), using a deflated football (allegedly by the Patriots’ Tom Brady), or putting a foreign substance on a baseball (for years by ex-major leaguer Gaylord Perry), are all grievous offenses, and tantamount to cheating.

Major league baseball, under its current rules, has a ridiculous regulation that certain teams take advantage of to give themselves a manpower and specialty player upper hand.

For five months of the baseball season franchise roster sizes are kept at 25 players. Players can be placed on disabled lists for certain periods of time, and minor leaguers,


Call Ups Can Be Important Pieces In Pennant Chases

or players acquired from another team before the July 31st trade deadline, can be added to a roster. Once September 1st comes, teams can add up to fifteen players for the final month of the season.

Some teams call up players, some do not. The reasons vary. A team with young talent in its minor league system may want to give those youngsters some major league experience. Others just want to strengthen what has been a team weakness, an extra-pinch-hitter, an extra infielder, a crafty relief pitcher for a pennant stretch drive, or a speedy pinch-runner. (Kansas City has used speedster Terrance Gore in its pennant clinching drives of 2014 and 2015).

Although the maximum number of call ups is fifteen, that number is rarely met. Most teams recall five or six players. Big market, or successful franchises, are in better position to add players as the call up of six players for the one month period is equal to having a 26th player on the team payroll for the entire season, roughly the major league minimum of $507.000 for a full year.

Roster manipulation during a season is an important part of the duties of a team’s General Manager and Manager. The idea is to always have a healthy 25-man


Some Managers Believe In Call Ups, Some Do Not

contingent available to win the most games. Baltimore’s Buck Showalter avoids the large call up, while San Francisco’s Bruce Bochy believes in it.

This year Bochy brought up Central High graduate and former Southern University pitcher Cody Hall, and his own son Brett Bochy for their major league “cup of coffee” after their minor league seasons were completed. With the Giants basically out of the pennant race (not officially), Bochy used Hall and his son in relief roles during September, spotting them in games that had already been settled. It gave each a taste of the majors, and gave the Giants a look at two possible arms for next season.

Hall threw in seven games and was impressive in five of them. The future looks bright for the 27-year-old. When Bochy brought his son into a game in September with the bases loaded, it marked the first time a managing father had given the ball to his son in a major league game.

Royals’ manager Ned Yost used Gore’s speed during September the past two seasons. Gore has gone zero for four as a hitter, but has stolen eight bases in key situations to


Kansas City’s Gore First Position Player To Make Postseason Roster Without A Hit

help give Kansas City a decided speed advantage. Although one dimensional, Gore’s unbelievable speed has been used by Yost to help secure two pennants. Gore will probably never make a year-long major league roster, but he was placed on the Royals 25-man postseason roster this season. Yost chose to remove Gore from the Royals World Series roster.

While Gore is an extreme example of the “September playing field not being level”, other teams with big bankrolls have also used the rule to gain a final month advantage. An extra pinch-hitter, or a fresh arm, will always help a team after a rigorous five-month schedule.

Major league baseball needs to look at changing this rule because it is unfair to some franchises. The game was not meant to have 33 or 35 players on one team, and 25 on another. Can you imagine the NFL allowing a team to have 65 players while their opponents can only dress out 53 players for a game?”

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