Tag Archives: umpire

Revisiting the Posey Play ~ OR ~ Getting the Umpire out of his Comfort Zone!

Here it is again for the 1,000th time. Photo courtesy of Google Images.

This is my response to the TAKEOUT SLIDES ruling that has been approved by Major League Baseball and is a repost of a blog I wrote on February 23, 2012.

The basic premise of this ruling has always been in effect ~ they just weren’t using it. I’m disappointed MLB didn’t take it further and impose more severe personal penalties on the player such as automatic ejection from the game. The NFL and NBA have this built into some of their penalties and it certainly hasn’t hurt the game.

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The only reason I’m bringing this up again is because Calcaterra over at Hardball Talk said Posey was told to “stop” blocking the plate.   This implies that Posey “was” blocking the plate, which he was not as the photo above clearly shows.  The runner intentionally left the baseline with a spectacular charge  aimed directly towards the catcher with no intention of getting to the home plate.  The runner, Scott Cousins,  said later his intention was to dislodge the ball~ which he could not, because Buster never had it.

But here’s what’s really amazing about this photo.   Notice the umpire.  No one  had a better birds-eye view than this umpire, standing steadfast and staring intently at the play as it was happening and boom!  Crash!  Bam! Slam!   The play’s over and the umpire calls the runner safe, run counts,  and the catcher is lying mortally wounded* (defined below) on the field.  What the heck was he thinking?  The umpire I mean.

Somehow it seems reasonable that MLB Rule 7.08 (b) could be construed to somehow apply in this situation.  A good attorney could probably make it work.  I don’t know.  I’m just saying the umpire has total charge of the game.   And in this case I  think he let this one get by.  Too bad.  Would have been a real feather in his cap if he’d stepped up to the plate (no pun intended) took a stand and said something like “No more! This ain’t gonna happen on my watch”.   Like the NFL did when they made it illegal to spear with their helmets, with no intentional blows to the head.

Who knows?  An umpire taking a stand.  Might have changed the game forever.  He has the authority to do that you know. Baseball needs a little cleaning up.   It’s not just bulldozing the catcher at the plate that can get really nasty, but what about all those pitches thrown at the batter’s head, back, arm, foot, leg in retaliation for some stupid reason (there are hundreds of them) that everyone knows about, including the umpires.  They all know what’s going on.  It’s extremely rare that a pitcher gets thrown out of a game for hitting or trying to hit a batter, even though it happens regularly.  And if a pitcher does happen to be ejected for intentionally hitting a batter the minimum fine is a whopping $200! (MLB Rule 8.02)  Can you believe it?  Who makes these rules.  I mean a batter could get killed, and has, from one of those bean balls.

“The Scales of Justice”

Here in the land of fruits and nuts according to Wikipedia, “on April 6, 2006, in a case arising from a game involving community college baseball teams, the Supreme Court of California ruled that baseball players in California assume the risk of being hit by baseballs even if the balls were intentionally thrown so as to cause injury.” So I guess the message is  if you’ve got the moxie to do it, do it in California.

You might notice I’ve not once tried to blame any of  this on Scott Cousins (see my June 4, 2011 post).  Scott was doing what he was trained to do which is to do everything he can to win. And he did.

“I’m thinking, I’m thinking”

No, this is something that falls on the  Major League Umpires Association.  They’re the only ones who can get this violent aspect of the game  under control and they don’t need any rule changes to do it.   If they’d start bouncing players out of the game when they resort to these retaliatory pitches and the unnecessary violence at the plate and elsewhere, the players would get the message and it would stop.  The question is, will they?  The answer is,  probably not.  They’d have to move  a tad out of their comfort zone and who the heck wants to do that?

* Mortally Wounded Defined:   A mortal wound is a very severe and serious injury (almost always a form of penetration or laceration) whether accidental or inflicted intentionally…

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Non-Blind Umpire a Tad Sensitive? You Think?

“Non-Blind Unhappy Umpire”

On Wednesday, August 1, 2012,  the home plate umpire for a minor league game between Daytona and Fort Myers in Florida ejected the  guy in charge of music from the ballpark.  Not only did he eject him from the ballpark but he demanded no more music or public address system announcements be made for the remainder of the game.  

The  cause of this heinous infraction?  The music being played over the PA system was  “Three Blind Mice”, after what some, and obviously the DJ,  considered to be a questionable call.   And even though the umpire’s actions might seem a little drastic, there is a precedent for this and “Three Blind Mice” does have a definite history in Major League Baseball. 

Consider this.  Back in 1941 the Brooklyn Dodgers had a somewhat volunteer band made up of fans that paraded around the stadium during the games playing fight songs, charge songs, and doing the regular things that pep bands do to inspire the crowds.  Not that the Dodger fans needed inspiring.  And when, in the minds of the fans and the band, an umpire would make a questionable call the band would break out into “Three blind Mice” much to the thrill of the wild and rowdy crowd.  Ebbets Field probably only had an average 5,000 fans at the park back in those days, but it sounded like twice that many as the noise from the stadium was loud and intense.   Rumor has it that the practice continued  until the National League added a fourth umpire to the previous crew of three, rendering the three mouse ditty passe’.  But in reality, the league office ordered the team to stop the practice, likely in response to umpire antagonism and threats of a walk out  related to the unruly crowds inspired by the song.

This probably wasn’t the case last Wednesday in Daytona Beach, Florida, but you never know.  There is such a thing as respect you know?  Just saying …..a one – a two – a  three

We Have a Winner!

Congratulations to David Wing from Three Rivers, Michigan.  Dave has won an  autographed copy of my book “Garlic Fries and Baseball: The Book” which is being mailed to him today.  This is our second contest in less than a year and both winners have been Detroit Tigers fans!  What are the odds?

Here’s the response I received from David this morning:

“I’m thrilled to have been selected as the recipient of your new book. My name is David Wing and am a big fan of the Detroit Tigers. My address is (……….) Three Rivers, Michigan 49093. Please feel free to use my name in any way needed.  Thanks again from an avid reader of your blog. Dave”

The contest was a drawing to celebrate this blog’s 50,000th view which occurred yesterday. The blog started only two years ago and we appreciate the response we’ve received.  Baseball fans are awesome and you Detroit Tigers fans are among the best.  Look back at our June 3, 2010, post “The Umpire ….. Toughest Job in Baseball” where I fell over backwards loving those Tiger fans.   And now with Justin Verlander the raves just keep coming.

So thanks again to all our subscribers and especially to David Wing.  We’ll do this again when we reach another milestone!

Umpire Changes his Mind….. Who Knew?

Video:   Umpire Changes Call   Take a look at this MLB video.  I wasn’t able to post the video, so posted a link to the video instead.   

The Lonely Umpire

What’s interesting here is the umpire originally called the play as a “foul ball” but when the catcher showed the ball to the umpire, the call was changed immediately to “out”.  This was all split-second timing so that’s why it’s important to watch the video. 

The commentators were critical of the catch because he could have thrown the ball to first and had a double play, but catcher Eli Whiteside explained later his main concern was trying to convince the umpire, who’d already made the foul ball call, that it should have been an out. 

I like this little ditty because umpires have been having a pretty tough go of it lately and this helps reinforce the fact that even though they have the toughest job in baseball, they’re  still pretty darn awesome!

MLB Bans Jim Joyce from Calling Galarraga Games!

I wrote a post last June entitled “Umpire ~ Toughest Job in Baseball“.   It was about the call Jim Joyce made on an Armando Galarraga throw to first that cost the pitcher the “perfect game”.   So when I read Craig Calcaterra’s headlines today I thought of the many games Joyce has called in the past year where Galarraga  has played and the games went without a hitch ~ smooth as silk. 

Today is the first anniversary of that infamous call and I have to say this made for a great headline!   It seems that the umpire and pitcher have entered a business venture and co-authored a book together.    The name of the book is “Nobody’s Perfect” . It was published last month and is available on Amazon

Some of the comments on Calcaterra’s blog this morning were pretty entertaining.   One mentioned an extreme dislike for a few of MLB’s umpires and suggested letting  every owner and GM in the game co-author a book and have their least favorite umpires write a chapter on the nuances of umpiring, country music, dieting, whatever, thereby eliminating them from umpiring “any” game.   After watching two really, really bad calls last night during the Cardinals-Giants game I understand what they’re saying.  Probably not a really good idea, but I get it.   Unfortunately the calls were made by two different umps so the blogger’s rationale isn’t very sound.  Eventually there wouldn’t be anyone left to call the games! 

Hmm…. you just know a movie about the two is in the works.   Wonder who’ll play Armando?   Better yet!  Who in the world could possibly play Jim Joyce?   I can see it now;  “And the award for best actor goes to ……… Jim Joyce for playing  ………. “Jim Joyce”! 

All in fun.  It’s great to see a friendly and working relationship between these two special men, and I hope the entire baseball community will embrace this as well.