Tag:umpires
Posted on: July 27, 2011 9:14 am
Edited on: July 27, 2011 9:28 am
 

Ump says he 'might have' missed the call

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Umpire Jerry Meals admitted after Tuesday's 19-inning Braves-Pirates game that he "might have" missed the game-ending call.

From Mark Bowman of MLB.com, here's what Meals had to say about the play that ended the 4-3, 19-inning Braves victory at Turner Field:

"I saw the tag, but he looked like he oled him and I called him safe for that," Meals said. "I looked at the replays and it appeared he might have got him on the shin area. I'm guessing he might have got him, but when I was out there when it happened, I didn't see a tag.

"I just saw the glove sweep up. I didn't see the glove hit his leg."

Here's a .gif of the play:



If you watch closely -- and not just noticing when the ball and runner both get near the plate, you can see how Meals could think that. It's not as obvious as it appears at first blush. It looks as if Michael McHenry did get him, but only brushed the runner.

"I know I'm safe," Braves runner Julio Lugo said.

Still, this is yet another example of why we need replay expanded. In the end, Meals made a mistake after 19 innings, that happens. But there should be a recourse. If the Pirates' dream season ends one game short of the playoffs, you can imagine who will be the scapegoat, and it's likely nobody will feel worse about it than Meals. 

Last year there was a lot of attention around one missed call that cost Armando Galaraga a perfect game -- that only hurt an individual achievement, not an entire team. This one is worse, because the ramifications could last the entire season.

All that said, replay isn't a cure-all -- we saw that earlier on Tuesday with even the benefit of replay, umpires blew a call giving Albert Pujols a home run in St. Louis' win over the Astros. Pujols hit a ball off the wall in center field in the first inning that umpires reviewed and called a home run.

That didn't sit well with Astros manager Brad Mills.

"The whole system I think has to be reviewed if everyone looks at it and says it’s not a home run," Mills told Zachary Levine of the Houston Chronicle. "Somebody in New York is supposed to have seen it and talked to them; that’s my understanding. And they should have seen the same thing that everybody saw. The whole thing has got to be reviewed. Especially if they go back and look at it and screw it up, then we have to be able to protest it or something. Something’s amiss here."

I'm a proponent of replay, but as long as humans are involved in the game, there will be mistakes. Replay can help minimize them, but not eliminate them. 

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Posted on: July 17, 2011 7:28 pm
 

Quade: Umps' calls 'mind-bloggling'

By C. Trent Rosecrans

The Cubs have been bad enough this season without help -- but they got it on Sunday when second base umpire Lance Barrett erred when calling Marlins runner Brett Hayes safe on Kerry Wood's pickoff throw.

The game was tied at 4 with two outs in the eighth when Wood tried to pick Hayes off. With a correct call, the Cubs are out of the inning. However, afterward Emilio Bonifacio hit an infield single to load the bases before Wood walked in a run and then gave up a two-run single to Logan Morrison.

After the game, Mike Quade went off (from the Chicago Tribune):

"I don't make a lot of excuses," Quade said. "I probably could have got run two or three times in this series alone. Thrown out three times, young manager, all that crap. But it's getting tough to watch some of this.

"I have all the respect int he world for [umpires]. We've heard a lot of [negative] comments lately and I've tried to stay out of it, but there were a couple of calls in this series that were mind-boggling -- and were crucial and huge. Not just two out and nobody on stuff.

"And [there were] some comments made [by umpires] and other stuff that irritated me."

Wood agreed, calling the call "terrible." According to the Tribune he added: "He's right on it, right there on top of it, and he butchered it."

Expect a fine for both -- even though they were right. Check out the screengrab from MLB.tv below:

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Posted on: July 15, 2011 10:59 pm
Edited on: July 15, 2011 11:23 pm
 

MLB removes Hernandez from West's umpire crew

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Major League Baseball has split up two of the worst umpires in the game -- moving Angel Hernandez from Joe West's crew, at least for the start of the second half of the season, the Dallas Morning News' Gerry Fraley noted.

West's crew received Sam Holbrook from Gerry Davis' umpire crew in exchange for Hernandez in a trade as lopsided as Frank Robinson for Milt Pappas.

West and Hernandez had a combined six ejections in eight days leading up to the All-Star break, including Rangers manager Ron Washington, who responded after the game by saying Hernandez "is just bad." He will be fined, no doubt, for speaking the truth.

Fraley said it was the only significant change in umpiring crews for the second half.

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Posted on: July 12, 2011 5:22 pm
Edited on: July 12, 2011 5:35 pm
 

Selig: 'Modest' additions to replay coming soon

By C. Trent Rosecrans

PHOENIX -- Baseball will expand replay -- but this is just a loosening of the belt instead of an opening of the floodgates.

Speaking to the Baseball Writers Association of America on Tuesday, MLB commissioner Bud Selig said replay would expand next season, but those changes would be "modest."

"There will be some more replay, but very modest," Selig said -- and said the announcement would be coming soon. "I believe in the pace of the game."

Selig's only expansion on the topic was it would include "bullets down the line." Basically expanding the line calls from just home runs to close plays in play. It's a start, if anything.

The positive is that Selig is open to change and expanding the replay. If the replays with these work quickly, it could expand. However, if done poorly, it could hinder expansion of replay.

The current setup has umpires get together and then go inside the dugout to review a call. A better system would be to incorporate college football's system that has an official off the field that watches the play and relays the information -- or even the NHL system that has a central location in its headquarters that has officials watching all the games on TVs and reviewing goals. Either solution would cut down on the time needed to make the call and preserve the "pace of the game."

As for the umpiring as a whole, Selig said MLB officials review umpires "every day."

For complete All-Star Game coverage, keep up with Eye on Baseball in Phoenix

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Category: MLB
Posted on: July 6, 2011 5:28 pm
Edited on: July 6, 2011 5:44 pm
 

Leyland: Tension between teams, umpires a problem

By Matt Snyder

Tuesday night, Tigers' manager -- and famed sparring partner of umpires everywhere -- Jim Leyland was ejected by umpire Joe West. It was Leyland's second ejection in the past nine games, the other was courtesy of Ed Rapuano (pictured right). West is no stranger to tossing guys out of games himself. Justin Verlander of the Tigers and Bobby Abreu of the Angels were also ejected during the game Tuesday.

Wednesday, Leyland told reporters that something needs to be done to remedy the league-wide problem of screaming matches between managers/players/coaches and the umpires.

"We have to work harder to eliminate some of the tension," Leyland said, via the Associated Press. "You can feel it. That's just not a good situation. That usually causes blowups."

Leyland did point out that MLB's new executive vice president of baseball operations, Joe Torre, is on the case and that it's the responsibility of all involved.

"I'm not criticizing anybody," Leyland said (via AP). "I'm making the point that we all need to work together to resolve this situation, because it's getting out of hand."

I think most people would agree that there are far too many confrontations between umpires and members of teams. It's funny that people who argue against expanding instant replay don't like delays in the game, however, the screaming matches take far longer than it would to just look at a replay and get the call correct. That might help to solve the problem, but Leyland also has a great point. There is far too much tension.

The players, coaches and managers could surely settle down and not be so quick to start screaming at umpires, but it has to be a two-way street. I've written about this before when I took West's crew in particular to task, but I'll reiterate: Baseball is the only major sport where you see the game officials yelling back at anyone. Nothing can be accomplished by responding to a yelling player or manager with equal ferocity. Just let them vent, should be the umpires' stance. The umpires can respond after the game once everyone is calmed down or do so during the game in a calm, quiet voice. Yelling back only escalates the situation. If the umpires kept quiet, quit antagonizing the team personnel and stayed relatively anonymous, we'd all be ready to start giving the respect they very much deserve for doing such a difficult and thankless job.

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Category: MLB
Posted on: July 6, 2011 12:23 am
Edited on: July 6, 2011 11:46 am
 

Umpire's missed call costs Blue Jays

Edwin Encarnacion

By C. Trent Rosecrans


Another day in baseball, another bad call that could have been reversed with the simplest form of instant replay review.

But once again since the play in question wasn't a boundary play, instead a play at the plate, the Blue Jays were dealt a loss instead of getting a chance to play for a win at Fenway Park.

After Jose Bautista's two-run homer off of Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon moved the Jays to within a run, Edwin Encarnacion singled. After J.P. Arencibia's two-out walk, John McDonald singled to left. Red Sox left fielder Darnell McDonald charged the ball and made a good throw to the plate that beat Encarnacion there. Catcher Jason Varitek blocked the plate with his left leg, tying up Encarnacion's lead leg. However, Encarnacion swiped the plate with his other leg, his right, before Varitek could put the tag on him.

Home plate umpire Brian Knight called Encarnacion out, ending the game. Watch the play here.

"We should still be playing right now," Toronto manager John Farrell told reporters (via the Boston Herald). That play is right in front of Brian Knight. It was clear that Edwin did a good job of sliding around the plant leg of 'Tek, but his swipe tag missed him by no less than a foot. So right now we should be out on that field playing."

Farrell said he couldn't see the play live, but when he saw the replay, he knew Encarnacion was safe.

"After the replay, absolutely, because from our vantage point Edwin is right in line with the play at the plate," Farrell said. "But the wide margin which he missed the tag, a little surprised that the call went that way."

It's understandable why Knight called Encarnacion out, but that doesn't make it right. Once again, I'll go into my broken record mode, but the goal of umpires and Major League Baseball should be to get every call right. We have the technology, we should use it. Let the players decide the games, not the umpires.

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Posted on: July 4, 2011 10:03 am
Edited on: July 4, 2011 10:26 am
 

Harsh words for umpires

Ron Washington

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Fines be damned, Rangers manager Ron Washington and Braves third baseman Chipper Jones expressed their frustration with umpiring Sunday.

Washington's target was Angel Hernandez, known far and wide as one of the worst umpires in baseball. After Washington and first-base coach Gary Pettis were ejected arguing that Florida reliever Mike Dunn had balked.

"Angel is just bad," Washington told reporters (via the Dallas Morning News). "That's all there is to it."

Probably adding insult to injury is that Hernandez is on the same crew as Joe West, another notorious umpire.

Chipper JonesWhile his specific beef was with rookie umpire Mark Ripperger, Jones took on the state of umpiring as a whole in his postgame comments, from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

"I've said it time and time again, the officiating in this league is substandard for the most part," Jones said. "I actually apologized to [Ripperger] after the 3-1 pitch, I said, 'I'm sorry. That pitch was right where the 2-1 pitch was and it was called a ball.' And he said that ball got plate.

"I knew that I was dealing with a larger than average strike zone at that point."

Jones tried to take first base twice in the at-bat, but Ripperger called the pitches strikes and Jones struck out to end the Braves' loss to the Orioles.

"I didn't say a word after the last pitch," Jones told reporters. "I know they are balls. I've been here 18 years, [and] I know what balls and strikes are. I know when guys are trying to pitch around me. He can stare me down all he wants; he made two bad calls."

Jones also said, "I guess it was a little too hot; [he] had to get on a plane." 

Jones' manager had his back: "I came back in here and looked at them on video; I thought they were awful," Fredi Gonzalez said. "I thought the balls were away, not even close. It's hard to lose a game on those two balls like that."

All three will be fined, but I'm not sure any of them care. In fact, Jones said as much afterward.

"I'm going to stick up for my team, if a guy's not going to do his job, I'm going to say something," he said. "If I get fined, I get fined. I don't care." 

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Posted on: June 22, 2011 9:57 am
Edited on: June 22, 2011 11:34 am
 

Pepper: No rule change needed at 1B

By C. Trent Rosecrans

BASEBALL TODAY: There may not be a more interesting division in baseball than the American League Central. While the surprising Indians lead the Tigers by a game, the White Sox and Twins linger. Can the Twins, now just 6 1/2 games out, continue to get themselves in contention? Will Jake Peavy be able to stay in the White Sox's rotation? NESN.com's Tony Lee joins our own Lauren Shehadi to discuss.

RULE CHANGE NEEDED?: And just yesterday, I was going to make a sarcastic joke that I was surprised I hadn't heard Giants fans complain about safety at first base after the Albert Pujols injury.

For weeks after Buster Posey's injury we heard long discussions about changing the rules for plays at the plate and how the catcher had to be protected. Scott Cousins was vilified and scapegoated. Well, Wilson Betemit was taken off the hook when Cardinals manager Tony La Russa put all the blame on the shoulders of rookie Pete Kozma, even though in both cases the injured player deserves much of the blame for being in a  poor position (and I'm not saying either deserved to be hurt, just that they put themselves in a bad spot and got hurt -- it happens).

Anyway, the New York Times is the first (and only that I've seen) to start up the change-the-rules-at-first-base bandwagon. My response? In a word: no.

LUDWICK ON THE MOVE?: Ryan Ludwick was moved last July from one contender to another -- from St. Louis to San Diego (in a three-team trade that brought Jake Westbrook to St. Louis); he could be on the move again.

The Phillies, Marlins and Reds have all reportedly asked about Ludwick's availability. Ludwick is hitting .255/.322/.393 with a team-high nine home runs this season, but is hitting .279/.324/.419 away from Petco Park.

The Padres could also move some of their relievers, with the Phillies and Cardinals having already checked in on the availability of Chad Qualls and Heath Bell.[FoxSports.com]

SHIPPING HANLEY?: Are the Marlins better off without Hanley Ramirez? Ramirez is in the third year of a six-year, $70 million contract that pays him $46.5 million over the next three years and does not include a no-trade clause. [Palm Beach Post]

MADDON APOLOGIZES: Joe Maddon didn't intentionally pull the wool over the eyes of umpires Monday by not having Sam Fuld face a batter after warming up in the eighth inning, it's just that Bob Davidson was behind the plate, and he didn't know the rule any better than Maddon did. Maddon apologized to the umpires and Brewers manager Ron Roenicke. [Tampa Tribune]

FAUSTO FLOUNDERING: One Ohio team has already demoted its opening-day starter to the minors, and the other team may soon be sending its opening-day starter to the bullpen if he doesn't get it together. Cleveland's Fausto Carmona is 4-9 with a 6.17 ERA in 16 starts this season and is 1-6 with a 9.73 ERA over his last seven starts. [Cleveland Plain Dealer]

ESCOBAR IMPROVING: Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar has seen his batting average rise nearly 50 points in the last two weeks, and his glove was already playing at a high level. Is the one big-league player the Royals got from the Zack Greinke trade beginning to show why the Royals thought he could be part of their next wave of talent? [Kansas City Star]

HEADED HOME?: The Hanshin Tigers are scouting Hideki Matsui and Kosuke Fukudome if either Japanese player decides to return to Japan after the season. Fukudome would be a better fit for the Tigers, who play in Japan's Central League. Like in MLB, NPB has one league with the DH (the Pacific League) and one without (the Central League). [YakyuBaka.com]

GREEN LIGHT: The Rangers' Craig Gentry is pretty fast. [Fort Worth Star-Telegram]

RESPECT: White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen sometimes goes out of his way to tweak the Cubs and Cubs fans, but not when he's talking about the other Chicago team's shortstop, Starlin Castro. Guillen calls Castro "amazing." Guillen gave some encouraging words to Castro after Monday's game, and that meant a lot to the young Cub. [Chicago Sun-Times]

TURNING 20: Nationals catcher Ivan Rodriguez celebrated the 20th anniversary of his big-league debut Monday. The 39-year-old Rodriguez has 13 Gold Gloves and an MVP since he came up as a 19-year-old with the Rangers. [MLB.com]

NICE PICK: With the Yankees in town, the Cincinnati Enquirer caught up with former Reds first-round pick Chad Mottola, who was taken with the pick before the Yankees took Derek Jeter. Mo Egger of ESPN 1530 in Cincinnati breaks down why Mottola wouldn't have played for the Reds even if they picked him. Hint, his name is Barry Larkin.

ARMS SALE: Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times looks at what the Mariners could get for Jason Vargas or Doug Fister, two guys who are having pretty decent years.

COMPELLING CAMPANA: A great story in The Tennessean about Cubs outfielder Tony Campana. As a kid in Franklin, Tenn., Campana battled Hodgkin's disease and couldn't play baseball, but was still in the dugout with his teammates, cheering them on. His coaches at the time didn't think he'd survive, much less be in the big leagues.

WORTHY CAUSE: There's a petition online to have Vin Scully call one more World Series. Scully hasn't called a World Series on TV since 1988 and is still one of the best. [Yahoo!'s Big League Stew]

CUTTER CUT: The Jays have told recently demoted Kyle Drabek to shelve his cutter for now. The team wanted him concentrating more on his fastball, but he kept going back to the cutter more than the team liked. The Jays hope he gains confidence in his fastball and lessens his reliance on the cutter. [National Post]

NO CHANGE IN POSTING: The posting system for Japanese players coming to the United States won't change, NPB Tracker passes along (since I can't read the original Sanspo report).

GOLDEN GROOMING: You may have missed the Golden Groomer Award, a monthly award given to the baseball player with the best facial hair. The last winner was Reds minor league catcher Corky Miller. [OMGReds.com]

LOGO FUN: Check out this really cool graphic of all the team's cap insignias since 1950 (including batting practice). Hat tip to the fine folks at the UniWatchBlog, which had a cool thing worth reading about spotting baseball fields from the sky.

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