Norm’s Crazy Week in Review Feb. 19-26

I’ll start with the coolest thing of the week. The Lehigh Valley IronPigs are at it again.  They will have new uniforms in 2014.  The Pigs Saturday hat will have Bacon on it. That’s right BACON. I love it. Check it out.

Barry Bonds was hired as a hitting instructor by the Giants this week. At first I was annoyed by this. But, hey if McGwire is a hitting coach why not.

baseballMike Morse hit two homeruns yesterday in Spring Training action. Oh wait, no he didn’t. The A’s Josh Reddick robbed Morse TWICE with amazing catches. And it was the first action of the season for Reddick. Watch it here.

What do you think of the new home plate collision rule?  An experimental rule, 7.13, intended to increase player safety by eliminating “egregious” collisions at home plate was jointly announced by Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association on Monday.

The timing allows for managers, coaches, players and umpires to use the entire Grapefruit and Cactus League schedules to acclimate themselves to the rule. The intention to enact regulations was adopted at the Winter Meetings last December; now the exact wording has been agreed upon. The highlights:

• A runner may not run out of a direct line to the plate in order to initiate contact with the catcher, or any player, covering the plate. If he does, the umpire can call him out even if the player taking the throw loses possession of the ball.

• The catcher may not block the pathway of a runner attempting to score unless he has possession of the ball. If the catcher blocks the runner before he has the ball, the umpire may call the runner safe.

• All calls will be based on the umpire’s judgment. The umpire will consider such factors as whether the runner made an effort to touch the plate and whether he lowered his shoulder or used his hands, elbows or arms when approaching the catcher.

• Runners are not required to slide, and catchers in possession of the ball are allowed to block the plate. However, runners who do slide and catchers who provide the runner with a lane will never be found in violation of the rule.

• The expanded instant replay rules, which also go into effect this season, will be available to review potential violations of Rule 7.13.

I like it. It’s unfortunate that we are in a place where we have to protect players like this. I know it’s a part of the game. But, when you have millions of dollars locked up in players you need to keep them on the fields.

I will end with this. Did you watch the new Survivor? Marlins president David Samson was the first one voted out of the game. “I have no regrets,” Samson said on camera. “I played the way I thought I needed to play to get forward in the game, and the tribe just doesn’t have it together. Or they have it together, just against me. But no hard feelings to any of them. I consider myself pretty much the luckiest person in the world.”

“Survivor: Cagayan” was filmed in the Philippines last summer, and the cast was officially announced in January.

The 18 contestants were divided into three tribes — Brains, Beauty and Brawn.

With a degree in law, Samson was placed in the Brains tribe, which had an average IQ of 130.

Ok, I won’t end with that. This past week we lost another comedic great. Harold Ramis passed away at the age of 69.

Have a great week!