Red Sox postgame show bums us out with hypocritical Kenley Jansen pitch clock take

St. Louis Cardinals v Boston Red Sox
St. Louis Cardinals v Boston Red Sox / Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/GettyImages

Entering the 2023 MLB season, it seemed like a safe bet that veteran reliever Kenley Jansen, in his first year with Boston, would be among the pitchers who struggled to grasp the pitch clock.

In reality, though, Jansen, an historically slow worker, adapted quickly by coming set far sooner than ever before and demanding readiness from the opposing hitter.

On Saturday afternoon, one batter -- Willson Contreras of the Cardinals -- finally found the counter to Jansen's new pattern by uncovering a new element of his stance for the right-hander to pay attention to.

While it's true that the batter must come set and be looking up at the pitcher by the time the clock strikes eight seconds, the pitcher can't begin his delivery until the batter's entire body is set in the box. Head. Hands. Feet. The whole deal.

Three times in one at-bat, Contreras threw Jansen off by keeping his feet askew, which the right-hander never checked. Once, he received a warning. Twice, he surrendered automatic balls, trying to speed up the at-bat to an unnecessary degree. Eventually, the save was blown a few batters after this agitation.

If you'd really like your head to spin in a slow circle, please enjoy NESN's Tom Caron on the postgame show trying to argue why Contreras' behavior was out of bounds. Shouldn't Jansen deserve extra credit for not following the rules, actually, because he was speeding up the game?!

Boston Red Sox announcers yell at Willson Contreras for outfoxing Kenley Jansen

Losing stinks. In the wake of a loss, often you're left looking at the things that went wrong and whining in their general direction, wondering why the universe allowed you to feel pain.

However ... watching a whole mess of Bostonian commenters, amplified by a prominent voice on NESN, complain about the Cardinals working the rules to their advantage and ignoring the "spirit of the game" was absurdly rich. Like fine chocolate. Stretching the definitions of written rules with the kind of chicanery that comes from being acutely aware of the text has been, like, the entire foundation of the New England Patriots' 20-year, multi-dynastic run. That's been Bill Belichick's secret sauce from the day he entered the league.

Trying to discredit Willson Contreras for knowing the rules, while arguing that Jansen deserves the benefit of the doubt even though he was outfoxed, is the type of loser's mentality that Jets, Dolphins, Bills and especially Ravens fans have tried to throw in New Englanders' faces for several decades. "Wow, I mean technically you can line a tight end up there, but have you considered that it's very much not fair to my dumber team that doesn't know how to stop it?"

You never want someone on your team to learn on the fly, which is what Jansen did on Saturday after largely managing to exist on autopilot without being challenged through the season's first 40 games. It's no wonder Caron was left sputtering, too, but it's a shame he can't see the irony of arguing for league rules to be interpreted only in a way that leaves the Red Sox on top.