Tag:Ron Kulpa
Posted on: October 23, 2011 6:50 pm
Edited on: October 23, 2011 7:18 pm

Instant replay in MLB? Torre and La Russa

By Matt Snyder

ARLINGTON, Texas -- In light of the botched Ron Kulpa call at first base in Game 3, discussion of expanded instant replay has once-again ramped up.

As a refresher, here's a GIF of the play, courtesy of SB Nation:

Rangers manager Ron Washington, Cardinals manager Tony La Russa and Major League Baseball's vice president of baseball operations Joe Torre spoke with the media before Sunday night's Game 4 on the matter.

"All I want is to get the play right, that's all," said Washington. "And sometimes umpires don't get it right, and there's nothing you can do about it.

"You know, we brought in instant replay for the home run. I think in the World Series, for plays like last night, maybe we can find a way to get the play right."

And he's right. We can't be sure of what the perfect system would entail in baseball just yet, but there's far too much technology at our disposal to allow an easily correctable call to just stand and move on -- especially when the umpire himself knows he messed up.

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"Ron Kulpa came in, and I was in the umpires' dressing room afterwards, and he walked in. The first thing out of his mouth was that he had to see the play. He said, 'I missed it, did I miss it?'" Torre said, also adding that anyone questioning Kulpa's integrity -- he's a born-and-raised St. Louis native -- is crossing the line.

And I agree with Torre. Kulpa absolutely nailed the biggest call of Game 2 when he called Ian Kinsler safe on a ninth-inning stolen base. If he was in the bag for the Cardinals, he calls Kinsler out. It's very simple. So the focus should be entirely on replay, not Kulpa's honest mistake.

La Russa seems to feel Kulpa's pain, as well as any other umpire who has made an honest error and been vilified for it.

"My two cents is more in favor of looking at it. I think, as long as it doesn't affect the game as far as slowing it down, I think the umpires are -- it's unfair," La Russa said, when discussing that he'd like the umpires to get more help and take less blame. "And if there's a way to ease that burden, some limited additions are going to be discussed, and we'll see where it goes."

When asked if there was a chance that MLB would implement further replay measures, Torre seemed to give a bit of a contradictory message.

"Well, I'd say drop it, but I don't want people to think that we're stubborn about this," Torre said. He later noted that he's worried about delays.

"To me, wholesale replay, I think is going to disrupt the flow of the game. That's just my opinion. Am I old school? Yeah, I am old school, but I'm not ignoring the new technology that's available to us, and we're going to do everything we can to make the game better."

Only by refusing to implement simple additional measures -- even if only in the postseason -- MLB is certainly ignoring new technology. And what about the delay when a manager argues with the umpire? In a replay system, it's possible they just challenge a play or whatever the system might be instead of a five-minute argument delay.

"That's certainly legitimate," Torre said when asked about the time spent arguing calls. "That question is certainly legitimate, but they're not all going to be that clear-cut. Again, it's still not going to keep the manager from arguing, it's not going to keep the player from arguing before you go to replay."

And, again, I'd ask why they can't just review and overturn the clear-cut plays and ignore the close ones? Torre might say they don't want to be stubborn, but it's pretty evident Major League Baseball is being very stubborn on the use of video replay, at least for now.

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Posted on: October 23, 2011 3:02 am
Edited on: October 23, 2011 4:01 am

Overheard: Notes, quotes from World Series Game 3

By Matt Snyder

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Cardinals took Game 3 of the World Series with some pretty huge offense. Here are some of the post-game notes and quotes from Rangers Ballpark.

• Don't forget about Allen Craig. He had two huge hits in the first two games of the series and then hit a home run in his first at-bat of Game 3. As we noted in the Game 3 preview, the designated hitter actually gives the NL team the advantage in this series, as the Cardinals can get Craig's bat into the lineup, while the Rangers only get to add the likes of either Yorvit Torrealba or Mitch Moreland. The Rangers have a sick lineup, too, but seeing Craig, Albert Pujols, Matt Holliday, Lance Berkman and David Freese through the thick of the lineup is pretty imposing.

• Yes, first-base umpire Ron Kulpa is a born-and-raised St. Louis-area resident. I'm sure plenty of fans will latch onto that in the coming days and find it means that he had bias on the play. It's a ridiculous notion because, first of all, Kulpa was accountable for his mistake. "I saw a replay when I walked off the field, and the tag was applied before his foot hit the bag," he said after the game. If there was a hidden bias, he probably wouldn't own his mistake.

Secondly, if you still think he made the errant call on purpose, you're gonna have to explain why he called Ian Kinsler safe on a bang-bang play in Game 2. If Kulpa was in the bag for the Cardinals, he could have easily called Kinsler out and the Cardinals would have likely won that game, too.

World Series, Game 3
• Should Kulpa have asked for help? "No. On that type of play, I'm not going to ask for help. Ron (Washington) didn't ask me to get any help, either."

• Rangers manager Ron Washington on the call: "Well, he missed the play, and I knew he missed the play when I went out there. We still had an opportunity to get off that field with maybe them just pushing one run across the plate. We just didn't make the plays. I mean, I don't think you can just start all of a sudden making excuses about things. We had a chance to get off the field with them scoring one run in that inning right there, and we just threw the ball around in that inning, and it really messed up Harrison's outing because he was throwing the ball well."

• Neither Josh Hamilton nor the Rangers will say much about it, but when he had to throw on the brakes at third base in the bottom of the fifth inning, that had to have hurt his tweaked groin. Nothing brings out pain in leg muscle injuries like having to stop on a dime from full speed.

• "The thing I liked best was that he was working good counts all night," hitting coach Mark McGwire said to a handful of reporters in the hallway after the game of Albert Pujols' performance.

• Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki on throwing out the first pitch: "My last one in July was a little high. This time they told me to throw a four-seam fastball. I still don't understand what that means. But I think that's the grip I had. Or was it a two-seam fastball? No, I forgot. It worked out better the last time. Everybody just told me don't throw it low, so I left it way high, and Michael Young almost pulled a hamstring trying to jump and get it, and this time I think he could stay in the stance and catch it. So it was better."

• Cardinals manager Tony La Russa moved past Bobby Cox and into second place in the all-time record books. La Russa is now 16 wins behind Joe Torre for first.

• Cardinals reliever Lance Lynn on his outing: "You know, that's what this game is all about, who's going to be the guy that comes in and is able to get multiple innings in a game like that because both offenses were on tonight. Somebody had to come in and try to calm the storm, I guess, and I was able to make a couple pitches, and I actually got away with some pitches, too. So to be able to come in and get a couple outs there and not have to go in our bullpen any deeper, I felt like that was good movement on the rest of the series."

• Lots of attention is being paid to Alexi Ogando's issues this series, but Scott Feldman had a terrible outing Saturday night, too. Feldman and Ogando were an incredible bridge to the late-innings guys in the ALDS and ALCS but have faltered this series.

• Lost in the Cardinals' offensive hooplah: Matt Holliday is now just 2-for-11 in the World Series.

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Posted on: October 23, 2011 1:44 am
Edited on: October 23, 2011 4:03 am

Bad call? Yes. Reason for Rangers loss? No

By Matt Snyder

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Other than the rightful praise of Albert Pujols and the Cardinals offense after a 16-7 shellacking of the Rangers in Game 3 of the World Series, the story gaining the most traction among fans is the blown call by umpire Ron Kulpa in the top of the fourth inning. Cardinals left fielder Matt Holliday hit a routine double-play ball, but Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler made an errant throw to first base. Rangers first baseman Mike Napoli made the catch and a swipe tag.

“We ran into each other, I don’t know whether he tagged me or not," Holliday said afterward. "I didn’t watch it. All I know is we ran into each other and I ended up on the ground, so I don’t know.”

Replays showed Napoli clearly tagged Holliday, but Kulpa called him safe. He even admitted the mistake after the game.

"I saw a replay when I walked off the field, and the tag was applied before his foot hit the bag," he said.

World Series, Game 3
Had the correct call been made, the Cardinals would have had two outs with no one on base. Instead, the floodgates were opened and the Rangers would never recover -- even if they tried with two big innings.

"He looked like he tagged him before he reached the base from my point of view," Rangers pitcher Matt Harrison said. "I wasn’t sure until I saw the replay. He was out, but he called him safe and I just had to move on."

Only the entire complexion of the game had been changed. Harrison and the Rangers' defense melted down. It was 5-0 before the inning ended. Sure, the final score was 16-7, but what if the Rangers got the correct call and escaped the inning down 1-0? And then took a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the fourth? That's a completely different game.

“I don’t think it did (harm the Rangers) psychologically, no, but the game could have turned out differently," Harrison said.  "That’s four runs that inning, so if he woulda called him out there they may or may not have scored that inning.”

"You gotta move past that," Napoli said. "We had a chance to get out of the inning, but we didn't make the plays we had to."

Napoli himself was among the culprits. It was just 2-0 when Napoli made a terrible throw to home, letting in two more runs before Harrison coughed up an RBI single to Ryan Theriot, completing the scoring for the inning. And it was Harrison who gave up a single and double following the botched call. And don't forget that the bad call was only made possible by Ian Kinsler's bad throw. If he makes a good throw, the call is an easy out. So that inning was the Rangers' fault.

"We had more chances after that," Napoli added. "We came back and scored three runs that inning. We had more chances after that, too."

"We didn't lose because of the call."

And he's right. Even if you take that four-run inning off the board, the Rangers were outscored 12-7 in Game 3. We can talk about momentum or shifts in psyche or anything else fictional and hypothetical if you want. It simply has no factual basis and, thus, no relevance.

The bottom line is that two things beat the Rangers Saturday night: The Rangers and the Cardinals. Blaming one call is a very convenient excuse and ignores the bad defense and pitching, not to mention the Cardinals' offensive explosion. Give Napoli credit for being accountable and refusing to blame the entire game on one call in the fourth inning. One call doesn't cost a team a game in which they lost by nine.

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Posted on: October 18, 2011 1:42 pm

Layne leads World Series umpires

Jerry LayneBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Jerry Layne will be behind the plate for Game 1 of the World Series, Major League Baseball announced on Tuesday.

Layne, who is the crew chief, will be working his first World Series since 2005. He'll be joined by Greg Gibson, Alfonso Marquez, Ron Kulpa, Ted Barrett and Gary Cederstrom. Gibson and Kulpa will be in their first World Series, while Marquez was in the 2006 World Series, Barrett 2007 and Cederstrom in 2005 on the crew with Layne.

For Game 1, Gibson ill be at first base, Marquez second, Kulpa third, Barrett in left field and Cederstrom in right

Cardinals starter Chris Carpenter has pitched just two games with Layne behind the plate, one in 2001 and another in 2006. In 2006, Carpenter allowed three unearned runs in six innings with Layne calling balls in strikes. Layne has been behind the plate for Wilson in just two relief appearances totaling 1 1/3 innings in 2006 and 2009.

All six of the umpires worked during the Division Series, with Barrett behind the plate in Game 5 of the Yankees-Tigers series and drawing some criticism for his strike zone. He'll be behind the plate for Game 5 of the World Series.

Kulpa is a native of St. Louis. Marquez was behind the plate for Game 2 of the 2006 World Series, a 3-1 Tigers victory over the Cardinals. Cederstrom was behind the plate for the classic Game 5 of the NLDS this season between the Cardinals and Phillies, with Carpenter outdueling Roy Halladay

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Posted on: August 6, 2010 10:00 pm
Edited on: August 7, 2010 12:10 am

Hunter tossed, makes contact with ump

Torii Hunter Torii Hunter's bad week has gotten worse.

First he's moved from center field, then his baserunning gaffe Wednesday night may have cost the Angels a game. Friday night was the worst, though, as Hunter made contact with umpire home plate umpire Ron Kulpa.

With the Angels leading 4-2 in the eighth inning, Hunter was called out on three consecutive called strikes by Kulpa -- and then hit Kulpa with the brim of his helmet and he was promptly tossed. Angels manager Mike Scioscia was ejected as well. According to PitchFX on MLB.com, all three pitches were strikes, although all three were close.

Although Hunter is known in baseball circles as one of the best of the good guys, but anytime a player makes contact with an umpire, he can expect a suspension and fine -- and Hunter's no exception.

Hunter finished the game 1 for 3 with a two-run homer in the first innings and the Angels won 4-2.

UPDATE: Hunter denied his move from center field to right field had anything to do with his popping off, and didn't realize he made contact with Kulpa.

From the Orange County Register :

"Just crazy. I'm a competitor. You don't want to act like that," Hunter said. "But understand – this is my passion. I'm a very competitive guy and I felt like it was taken away from me, the chance to compete.

"For me to get upset, you know some things were said. I'm sorry. But at the same time, I had to do it."

Hunter indicated there was a "buildup all day" of comments from Kulpa that led to the ejection.

"Obviously, Torii didn't like 'Strike One' and we had a talk about 'Strike One' and then he didn't like 'Strike Three' and we had a conversation about 'Strike Three' and he said some things that crossed the line and he got ejected," Kulpa said. "Then after that he 'beaked' me with the brim of his helmet. ... right above my left eye."

Replays appeared to confirm there was contact between Hunter's helmet and Kulpa's face. But that was news to him, said Hunter who admitted Kulpa's reaction to the inadvertent contact set him off further.

"I don't remember bumping him. If I did, it definitely wasn't intentional," Hunter said. "Then he made it very dramatic. That's what got me really upset. I felt like he was being a drama queen."

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com