> 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.
> 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.
> 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.