Time for umpires to be ejected- from baseball

August 9, 2012

> I’ve never been one to come down on umpires. I understand they have one of the toughest jobs in baseball. Just like players make mistakes, umpires will every so often as well.

Some people would disagree with this, but, in my opinion, umpires’ mistakes are usually by accident. Say there’s a bang-bang play at first base. Sometimes the naked eye just can’t see whether or not the runner was safe, without instant replay (but that’s another story). Since MLB refuses to expand instant replay, we have to accept the fact that umpires are human and will miss calls like that every now and then.

Those are the type of umpire mistakes I can accept. But, there was an incident last night where an umpire became selfish, and an innocent player was punished because of it. Those are the types of intentional mistakes that make me hate umpires.

The incident I’m referring to occurred in last night’s Nationals-Astros game. The first part of it happened in the fourth inning. Bryce Harper was at the plate, and Armando Galarraga (who, ironically, has one of the most famous run-ins with an ump of all time) was on the mound. Harper had an 0-2 count, and Galarraga threw a fastball that ran a bit outside. Catcher Carlos Corporan sort of framed the ball, but not enough to make it a strike. But, home plate umpire Angel Hernandez (heard that name before?) called Harper out. Harper didn’t explode about the strike call, but he let Hernandez know that he thought it was outside. Hernandez appeared to take it well, and didn’t eject Harper.

All seemed well until Harper’s next at-bat in the sixth inning. The Nats had the bases loaded with two outs against reliever Chuckie Fick, and Harper was in a favorable 3-1 count. So, Fick, a left-hander, threw a cutter to the also left-handed Harper that appeared to run outside- there was no question about this one. Harper waited for a strike call, didn’t hear it, and started to run to first base. But, after Harper took a few steps out of the batter’s box, Hernandez called a strike. You could see the discontent on Harper’s face as he walked back to the batter’s box.

On the next pitch, Fick threw a cutter in the exact same place. Harper once again started to run to first base, but Hernandez called that pitch a strike as well. Harper slammed his bat in anger, but made no gesture towards Hernandez, so he wasn’t ejected.

Still, this shows that Hernandez held a grudge against Harper from the fourth inning. He also probably wanted to see if he could break Harper and make him retaliate. Harper, who is just 19, handled it perfectly, although I wouldn’t have blamed him one bit for barking at Hernandez.

The point is that some umpires aren’t even doing their job anymore. They think fans come to the games to see them, which isn’t at all the case. MLB claims that they’re evaluating their umpires, but that is in no way true. If they actually were, guys like Hernandez, Joe West, Bob Davidson, and so on would be on the unemployment line right now.

#RobotUmps2013

The News

> The Brewers don’t play today, which is why I decided to put up an opinionated article. They start a three-game series with the Astros in Houston tomorrow.

> Shaun Marcum’s first rehab start for the Timber Rattlers was rained out today. Instead, he’ll make his scheduled start tomorrow at 5:35 PM CT in the first game of a double-header.

> I learned from EM this morning that the Cardinals traded the one-time highly-touted prospect Tyler Greene to the Astros for a player to be named later and/or cash considerations. This comes the night after Greene was booed by the “best fans in baseball” because he made an error that would have cost the Cards the game at the time. They went on to lose to the Giants 15-0, which wasn’t all Greene’s fault. But the game could have gone differently had he not made the error.

Anyway, Cards fans have always had mixed feelings about Greene, but the past few years they’ve found ways to blame him for everything. So I’m guessing the game last night was the last straw for Greene, and he requested a trade following it.

> Last night, a pretty funny situation happened to Reds media relations director Jamie Ramsey (@Jamieblog), who also runs a blog. After the Reds lost to the Brewers, he got into fights publicly with a bunch of Reds fans. He also apparently sent a threatening direct message to one of the guys he was in disagreement with. The user he sent it to posted a picture of the DM a few minutes later, and Ramsey deleted his account (which he brought back this morning). Deadspin got a hold of it, so you can guess what happened from there. (Here’s a link to Deadspin’s article, which posted all the conversations/pictures Ramsey was having.)

> The Orioles called up their top prospect today, shortstop Manny Machado. There was some speculation that the O’s, when they were in the running for Zack Greinke, would need to give him up, but they weren’t willing to do that.

Anyway, it’ll be interesting to see what they do with former Brewer JJ Hardy, who currently mans the starting shortstop position for the Orioles. Machado is starting at third base tonight, but his natural position is shortstop, so I can’t imagine they’d keep playing him at third (since Chris Davis and Mark Reynolds also need positions).

I would say this is a perfect time for the Brewers to claim Hardy off waivers and use him as a utilityman, but Hardy has been one of the Orioles’ best power hitters the past two years, so they probably wouldn’t give him up in the middle of a pennant race.

> MLB released its new playoff schedule today. It’s screwy this year, but is supposed to get better after this year:

October 4th: Regular season tiebreaker game(s) (if needed) (TBS)

October 5th: Tiebreaker games between the two Wild Card winners for each league (TBS)

October 6th: First two Division Series begin (TBS)

October 7th: Second two Division Series begin (TBS/MLBN)

October 13th: ALCS begins (FOX)

October 14th: NLCS begins (FOX)

October 24th: World Series begins at NL Park (FOX)

Now we see the effect of the two Wild Cards be added to late (if they should have been added at all). Everything is jam-packed at the beginning of the postseason. That causes the teams with worse records to have home field advantage in the first round due to time/travel issues. Sort of defeats the point of home field advantage, no? Everything returns to normal in the second round, however.

MLB Network is also going to be broadcasting a few DS games this fall for the first time in their history.

Probably none of this will apply to the Brewers, though.

> I updated the about page here at BWI. I made that page over a year ago when I first started BWI, so it was in desperate need of some updating.

On another note regarding the site, I’ve decided that I’m probably going to change the theme again. At first I liked the new theme, but lately it’s felt too busy and crowded. It makes the style of article I write feel messy and unorganized, and there are a ton of useless widgets that the theme doesn’t let me get rid of.

The Numbers

> Randy Wolf threw a 49 MPH eephus/curveball in yesterday’s game against the Reds. I think that’s a record low, even for him. You can watch the slow ball here.

> Anyway, that’s about it. I’ll be back tomorrow with more Brewers coverage.

Advertisements

Brewers smash Twins to end losing streak

May 21, 2012

> Today’s game may have been the Brewers’ offense making up for their lack of runs during their last four games. Unfortunately, we don’t know where it’s going to go from here: it’s either going to start getting consistent, or they’re going to have games like this every five days, with no offense on the days in between.

> In the meantime, though, let’s look at the positives. The Brewers literally mauled the Twins today, 16-4. The 16 runs on 17 hits were season highs for the Brewers, and probably their biggest offensive outburst since 2011. Jonathan Lucroy and Ryan Braun highlighted the contributors to the 16 runs. Lucroy had a career day, hitting two home runs- including a grand slam- and seven RBIs. After going 3-for-5, he boosted his average to .342, which leads the Brewers. Braun went 3-for-4 with four RBIs, and his average is now .331.

The Brewers jumped all over Twins starter Jason Marquis early. After the Twins took an early 1-0 lead in the first inning on a Josh Willingham RBI single, Corey Hart and Lucroy hit home runs in the bottom of the inning to make it 2-1. The Brewers then had a six-run offensive binge in the second, including RBIs from Hart, Braun, Lucroy, and Travis Ishikawa. Marquis’ wouldn’t even make it through that big second inning, and went just 1 2/3 innings while giving up eight runs- all earned- on eight hits.

The Brewers added on two more in the fourth on another RBI from Braun, this one on a double. Taylor Green then hit a sacrifice fly to make the score 10-1. Braun tacked on yet another RBI in the fifth on a single.

The Brewers put up another crooked number in the seventh. First, Norichika Aoki hit a pinch-hit RBI single. One batter later, Lucroy hit his first career grand salami- an opposite field home run, no less. He’s turning into some kind of hitter.

But the Twins weren’t going to go down without a fight. Brian Dozier hit an RBI single in the eighth. Then, the Twins got two more in the ninth, courtesy of a fielding error by Cesar Izturis and a bases-loaded walk by Kameron Loe. But that would be all the Twins got, and they were still nowhere close.

Zack Greinke continued to pitch like an ace today. He went 6 2/3 innings while giving up a run on five hits. He walked two and struck out six. I recently wrote an article on Reviewing the Brew on Greinke’s season up to this point, and I’ll say it again: he’s been a joy to watch. Nothing against Yovani Gallardo or Shaun Marcum, who I think can both get better as the season goes on, but Greinke is the only one I enjoy watching pitch at this point.

> Tim Dillard was ejected in the ninth inning today after throwing behind Jamey Carroll. I was on my way home from the game at this point (I was there today), so I didn’t get to see it live, but apparently Dillard’s first pitch to Carroll was inside, and the second one went behind him. I still don’t see why Dillard would be trying to intentionally hit a batter with a 14-run lead, but I’ve noticed that all of the umpires this year have been pretty radical. Heck, Bob Davidson- an umpire- received a suspension the other day. You never see stuff like that. I have a feeling umpires won’t be around much longer; that or their roles aren’t going to be as significant, with expanded replay just around the corner.

> The Brewers are thinking about moving Hart to first base. The Brewers have tried multiple options at first since Mat Gamel went down with a torn ACL, including Ishikawa, Green, and Brooks Conrad (but it won’t be long before he’s cut, I can’t believe he’s still on the roster). While Ishikawa has shown flashes of a consistent hitter in the middle of the lineup, none of them have been putting up the production the Brewers are looking for. Plus, if they move Hart to first, they can put Aoki as a starter in the outfield, which I would love to see.

> And that’s about it. The Giants are coming to town tomorrow, who the Brewers have already lost a series to this year. The Brewers will send Randy Wolf (2-4, 6.38 ERA) to the mound. At this point, I would say you might as well count this as an automatic loss, but I don’t like being negative. But don’t be surprised.

The Giants will counter with Madison Bumgarner (5-3, 3.10 ERA). He’s already beaten the Brewers this year, throwing seven innings of one-run ball back on May 5th.

Anyway, thanks for reading, and feel free to leave your thoughts.


Close plays, missed chances cost Brewers in loss to Giants

July 24, 2011

Update 10:42a A little more clarification on the ejections and umpires. Bochy wasn’t actually ejected; it was the Giants’ bench coach, Ron Wotus, who was ejected for arguing balls and strikes. And I figured out that the home plate umpire was not West, but Sam Holbrook. I guess that means Holbrook was the one making the bad calls. But that doesn’t change anything I said about West later in this post. Anyway, sorry for any confusion, and hopefully it’s cleared up now.

11:14p There are a few things that have made me angry during the Brewers’ time in San Francisco. That includes their loss today, but it’s more than that, and I’ll get to that later.

Brewers-Giants Wrap-Up

The Brewers lost a close game with the Giants today, 4-2. Randy Wolf was on the mound, and had another solid start, but the Brewers’ bats seem to always shut down whenever he pitches.

The Brewers struck first in the fourth inning, when Ryan Braun hit a solo homer off of Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong. Rickie Weeks followed up with a double, then Casey McGehee hit a hard single to left field. Weeks tried to score, and he did, but not according to home plate umpire Joe West. Left fielder Cody Ross’ throw was on the money, but catcher Chris Stewart completely missed the tag, and yet Weeks was called out. But West was making questionable calls all night, which was another thing that I wasn’t too impressed about, but I’ll get to more on that later as well.

The Giants immediately answered in the bottom of the fourth, as Nate Schierholtz, who would be a nightmare for the Brewers the rest of the game, hit a two-run double off of Wolf to make it 2-1, Giants.

The Brewers tied the game in the fifth, however, on Nyjer Morgan’s RBI double. But, in the bottom of the inning, the Giants regained the lead on Aubrey Huff’s sacrifice fly.

The Giants added another run on Andres Torres’ RBI single in the eighth inning. Brian Wilson and his shoe polish beard came into finish the game for the Giants, who sealed the 4-2 victory over the Brewers.

Morgan “flips off” fans in center

He didn’t, actually. That’s what put me over the top about this.

While Morgan was playing center yesterday, he made a great catch to rob whoever was batting of extra bases. Morgan then put up two fingers to signify that there were two outs in the inning, but the fans in the center field crowd, who must have been blind, took it the wrong way. They all assumed that Morgan had flipped them off. Morgan, who is an emotional player and likes to have fun on the field, played along and continued to taunt the fans (which the deserved for being that stupid). Ever since then, Morgan has been booed whenever he makes a play or comes up to bat in a game in this series.

Anyway, Giants beat reporter Henry Shculman made the whole situation worse by tweeting and blogging that Morgan flipped off the center field crowd, which probably got him some extra boos today. Shculman also said that Morgan would probably be suspended for a game or two. I noticed Shculman’s tweet earlier today, and said that he was only signifying that there were two outs (and many others did as well). His reply? “That debate was so yesterday.” I guess Giants fans and affiliates have a little less class than I thought.

By the way,  I don’t normally do things like this on my blog (meaning referring to tweets and things on other blogs). But this was just flat-out stupid and I had to say something.

Anyway… I could go on about past experiences where the Giants didn’t have too much class, such as an incident between Prince Fielder and Barry Zito, and some offensive comments by Giants GM Brian Sabean regarding Buster Posey’s season ending injury. But that would get me WAY off topic…

West is the greatest home plate umpire ever.

Not.

West, who was umpiring home plate for today’s game, was making extremely questionable calls early on in the game, and continued throughout. He actually screwed over Vogelsong on a lot of pitches, which led to him having to throw 103 pitches just to get through the fifth inning. In fact, Giants manager Bruce Bochy (or another coach in their dugout, I couldn’t really tell due to the camera angles) was ejected from the game for arguing balls and strikes, which isn’t allowed.

Anyway, back to West. He’s made a pretty bad reputation for himself this year as one of the worst umpires in baseball. This wasn’t the first time he’s made a scene in a game this year. I remember earlier this year when he was umpiring a Boston game, and Red Sox manager Terry Francona got into an argument with another one of the umpires in the crew. West, of course, had to get into the argument, because, as Francona said after the game, “he’s always getting in other people’s business.”

I’ll stop my ranting after this, but I just want to say one more thing about how bad umpires have been this year. Former Brewer Bill Hall, while he was in a game for the Astros, was at bat, and the umpire was giving him some bad calls. Now, we all know that Hall takes awhile to get set before he steps back into the batter’s box after a pitch, but he took a few extra moments before getting back into his stance. While he was taking his time, the home plate umpire came up to him and said, “Get the **** back in the batter’s box.” (I censored the word because I’m not going to go as far as putting swears on my blog.) Yeah. An UMPIRE said that. Hall clearly wasn’t too happy with that, and, after the game, he made a statement that went something along the lines of “all umpires think that fans come to the games to watch them and try to attract attention to themselves.” Which is completely true. I could name a few umps who appear to think this way, such as West, Bob Davidson, Angel Hernandez… I could go on. But, when did all this craziness with umpires start? Well, I noticed it immediately after Jim Joyce blew Armando Galarraga’s perfect game. Which makes perfect sense, if you think about it.

Anyway, I’ve gotten way too far off topic with these last few topics, so I’m going to get back to the Brewers now. My apologies for all this ranting.

Up next for the Crew…

The Brewers will play a rubber match against the Giants tomorrow in the finale of their three game set. Yovani Gallardo (11-6, 3.96 ERA) will go for the Brewers, hoping to become more consistent as the ace of the staff. Gallardo has had success against the Giants in his career, going 5-2 with a 3.02 ERA against them. I should also mention that Gallardo won the first game of his career against the Giants.

The Giants will counter with Madison Bumgarner (5-9, 3.72 ERA), who has been victim of even less run support than Wolf, and his having a much better year than his record shows. Bumgarner is 1-1 with a 1.32 ERA in his career against the Brewers.

Elsewhere around the division…

  • The Cardinals knocked around the Pirates, 9-1. They are tied with us for the division lead and one game back, respectively.
  • The Cubs defeated the Astros, 5-1. They are 12.5 games back and 20 games back, respectively.
  • The Reds blew out the Braves, 11-2. They are four games back.
  • Zack Cozart and Scott Rolen of the Reds were both placed on the DL today. (By the way, I’m going to start putting news about other teams under this section of my posts, if you’re wondering what this is doing here.)

Box Score

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Milwaukee Brewers 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 2 7 0
San Francisco Giants 0 0 0 2 1 0 0 1 X 4 10 0

Milwaukee Brewers

Player AB R H RBI BB SO LOB AVG
Corey Hart, RF 3 1 1 0 1 1 0 .258
Nyjer Morgan, CF 3 0 1 1 0 0 1 .327
c-Brett Carroll, PH 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
d-Mark Kotsay, PH-CF 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .250
Ryan Braun, LF 3 1 1 1 1 2 0 .319
Prince Fielder, 1B 4 0 0 0 0 2 1 .285
Rickie Weeks, 2B 3 0 2 0 1 0 0 .275
Casey McGehee, 3B 4 0 1 0 0 1 3 .227
Yuniesky Betancourt, S 3 0 1 0 1 0 2 .252
George Kottaras, C 2 0 0 0 0 1 2 .207
a-Jonathan Lucroy, PH-C 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .283
Randy Wolf, P 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 .194
b- Josh Wilson, PH 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .283
Total 30 2 7 2 4 7 9

a-Lined out for Kottaras in the 7th.

b-Grounded out for Wolf in the 7th.

c-Batted for Morgan in the 8th.

d-Flied out for Carroll in 8th.

BATTING

2B: Weeks (25), Morgan (10).

3B: Hart (2).

HR: Braun (19).

RBI: Braun (67), Morgan (23).

Team RISP: 3-for-6.

Team LOB: 5.

BASERUNNING

SB: Weeks (9).

CS: McGehee (2).

Milwaukee Brewers

Player IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Randy Wolf (L, 6-8) 6.0 7 3 3 3 6 0 3.62
LaTroy Hawkins 1.0 1 0 0 0 1 0 2.15
Kameron Loe 0.1 2 1 1 1 0 0 4.60
Marco Estrada 0.2 0 0 0 0 0 0 4.50

Pitches-strikes: Wolf 101-62, Hawkins 18-12, Loe 13-7, Estrada 3-3.

Groundouts-flyouts: Wolf 4-6, Hawkins 1-0, Loe 0-1, Estrada 1-1.

Batters faced: Wolf 28, Hawkins 4, Loe 4, Estrada 2.

Inherited runners-scored: Estrada 2-0.