Blog Entry

Nationals play Friday's game under protest

Posted on: May 28, 2010 11:16 pm
Edited on: May 29, 2010 12:36 am

Bizarre moment in Friday night's Washington-San Diego game when the Nationals lodged a protest midway through the first inning because the Padres had erroneously listed Adam Russell as the starting pitcher on the lineup card instead of Clayton Richard.

Richard had worked a 1-2-3 first when Nationals manager Jim Riggleman called the Padres on the mistake. Umpires then accepted the protest for an "unannounced substitution", which would be moot if the Nationals win.

It could have gotten dicey had the Padres won because the Nats appeared to have the Padres stone cold. Alas, Washington beat San Diego 5-3 with Matt Capps earning his major-league leading 17th save.

Had the Padres won, a baseball official said Friday night, one of two things likely could have happened:

The protest could be upheld and the game would have to be replayed from the middle of the first.

Or, the league could deny the protest, most likely on the grounds that the pitcher's spot in the batting order had not yet come up and it was clear who was pitching for the Padres.

Being that protests are very rarely upheld, the latter is the most likely scenario.

To find the last protest upheld in the National League, you have to go back to a Pittsburgh-St. Louis game in June, 1986, when then-NL president Chub Feeney upheld the Pirates' protest that umpire John Kibler improperly called a game prematurely on account of rain.

On that night, there were two rain delays. The first totaled 17 minutes, then the game resumed for only two pitches before another rain delay of 22 minutes. Then the game was called with the Pirates losing 4-1. NL rules called for umpires to wait at least 75 minutes during the first rain delay and 45 minutes during a second delay before calling the game.

The last AL protest that was upheld was in the infamous Pine Tar Game between Kansas City and the Yankees in July, 1983.



Since: Sep 23, 2007
Posted on: May 31, 2010 9:30 pm

Nationals play Friday's game under protest

Hey, you're absolutely right. Here's a good idea, and it goes hand-in-hand with yours: Fire all of the players, and use robots or androids to play the game ! If you want to radically change the game, as you seem to favor, this idea is right up your alley. That should improve the performance of everyone on the field, huh ? Ford uses a lot of robots on the assembly lines.....

Since: Jan 20, 2008
Posted on: May 30, 2010 11:34 am

Nationals play Friday's game under protest


No-one is denying that umpires do the best they can, but if the technology exists to improve their performance, or replace them, why not use it?

In every other industry, if technology reaches a point where it is indisputably better than and cheaper than human labour it is introduced. Why should baseball (and sports more generally) be any different? By your logic, Ford should be producing cars by hand rather than using machines.

Since: Sep 23, 2007
Posted on: May 29, 2010 12:12 pm

Nationals play Friday's game under protest

It amazes me how fans seem to think that umpires are just out there trying to make a buck, and don't really care if they get calls right. I any of you ever have a bad day at work ? Or, does everything go just perfectly every day ? Umpires, and all sports officials, are human. They have days where they don't miss a pitch or a play, and they have days where they struggle, just like most people in their day-to-day lives. The difference is, your job likely isn't televised, and it certainly isn't scrutinized every hour on Sports Center, and constantly on the internet.

Since: Dec 6, 2009
Posted on: May 29, 2010 12:50 am


I understand what you are saying....umps are graded, they'll get a slap on the wrist if they are bad......but it doesn't change the fact that ballgames are being decided by these guys.  I know it's a cliche, but games should be decided on the field.  A home plate ump is still a necessity for fielding plays/calls....but I think MLB should explore other options for balls and strikes.  I'm not even a rockies fan. Watching that game tonight made my stomach turn and my toenails curl!!!!

Since: Oct 16, 2007
Posted on: May 28, 2010 11:45 pm

Nationals play Friday's game under protest

Although information is difficult to come by, the Questec system has been in use since at least 2001 in a number of MLB ballparks.

Ostensibly, the system is used to "grade" umpires on their ability to call balls and strikes.

Additionally, all the major broadcast networks now make use of improved versions of Questec for their respective pitch tracking systems (K-Zone et. al), but of course these are all considered unofficial.

I would also like to see a more uniform implementation of balls and strikes in baseball.  That being said, baseball is by far the most traditional of the four big sports here in the States, and by extension, the slowest to adopt new rules.  Look at how long it took baseball to implement instant replay for home runs, for example.

Ultimately, until there is a critical mass reached between the owners on implementing such a system, it will never come to be.  Current Commissioner Selig is also a traditionalist (except when it comes to new avenues for making money, in which he will gladly throw tradition out the window to implement things like interleague play and the wild card), and so I don't think a Questec-style system of calling balls and strikes would be implemented before Selig retired from his position.

Since: Dec 6, 2009
Posted on: May 28, 2010 11:35 pm

balls/strikes opinion?

I've been wondering something the last few years.  Has there been any talk of getting a cyclops type of machine to call balls and strikes?  It would be similar to what tennis has to call faults on serves.  If it's out of the zone, it beeps, like in tennis.  I'm currently watching the dodgers/rockies game.  Kuo just threw a pitch TWO feet outside and the ump called it a strike.  The next two pitches were virtually in the same place and called balls.  Helton ended up striking out instead of walking which would have loaded the bases for tulowitzki.  I'm just tired of the inconsistencies behind the plate.  An ump could still be present for plays at the plate, etc, but i'd like to see some sort of "cyclops" machine to call balls and strikes.  This way a hitter knows EXACTLY what balls and strikes are!!!  Any opinions on this out there????

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