Nestor Cortes Issued Automatic Ball After Not Making Eye Contact With batter


Major League Baseball's new rules designing to speed up play will almost certainly cause chaos at times this season. The nuances of the new timing standards are still unclear to some players and pundits alike. On Tuesday, we got as wacky a ruling as we've seen all spring, and New York Yankees lefty Nestor Cortes couldn't believe it.

The Yankees were facing the Washington Nationals and Cortes attempted to quick-pitch to infielder Jeimer Candelario, a part of his arsenal the All-Star used effectively last season. Before the ball even reached its target the home plate umpire negated the play and issued an automatic ball. Cortes' crime? He didn't establish eye contact with the batter. No, seriously.

Here's the play:

Cortes responded on the next pitch by taking his sweet time as a bit of an "f-you" to the new rules:

"Establishing eye contact" is quite a standard. I mean, what if one guy is shy and doesn't want to lock eyes? It might be the first time they're facing each other and he might be nervous. Does it just need to be a quick flash meeting of eyes or does it need to be a deep, soulful gaze? At what point does that get weird and an automatic ball is called for staring too intently?

MLB is getting weird, man.