Tagged: umpires

Questionable Call ALDS Game 1 MIN@NYY Wed 10-7-2009 on TBS/WCBS Radio

Umpire Assignments ALDS Game 1, MIN@NYY 6:37pm at Yankee Stadium:
HP: Tim Tschida (Crew Chief), 1B: Chuck Meriwether, 2B: Mark Wegner, 3B: Paul Emmel, LF: Jim Joyce, RF: Phil Cuzzi.

Top 3
CC Sabathia (NYY-P) lost a strike call on a 2-2 pitch to Orlando Cabrera (MIN-SS), opening a stream of 2-out baserunners. Cabrera advanced to 3rd on Joe Mauer’s (Joe Mauer-MIN-C) 4-pitch double and then scored on Michael Cuddyer’s (MIN-1B) single on the first pitch he saw. Mauer subsequently scored on Jorge Posada’s (NYY-C) second passed ball of the game – during Jason Kubel’s (MIN-RF) 5-pitch at-bat, which ended in a strikeout. This put the Yankees behind 2-0 in a game that they were widely favored to win. (The opposition played on little sleep after arriving in New York at 3.30am following a nail-biting 12-inning win over Detroit night for the right to fly into New York.)

The color commentator for WCBS Radio, Suzyn Waldman, at first seemed to chastise Sabathia for his evident disappointment at losing the strikeout, because he had already tried that pitch and failed to get the call. On review, however, Waldman said she could see why Sabathia – and the 50,000 in the stands – felt robbed. Characteristically disinclined to stir controversy, her partner, play-by-play man John Sterling, noncommittally stated that it looked very close.

Effect: Instead of getting out of the inning unscathed, Sabathia was hit-up for 2 runs and threw 11extra pitches – equivalent to a short inning – on a night when his pitch count was already running high with 4 strikeouts before the 3rd inning ended, and starting with Denard Span’s (MIN-CF) game-opening 7-pitch double. The Yankees failed to score first, losing the psychological advantage and comfort zone for their starter, and, significantly, they were facing a pitcher who, albeit inexperienced, was unknown to them, exactly the type of pitcher to stymie Yankee bats since late in the Joe Torre era, if I remember correctly. But Derek Jeter (NYY-SS) immediately pulled a HR to left (very unusual for him), scoring 2, and removing Sabathia’s deficit. In the 4th, Nick Swisher (NYY-RF) doubled-in Robinson Cano (NYY-2B), earning the lead for the Yankees, who held onto it and in fact built on it through the 7th inning. Sabathia was able to pitch through most of the 7th with no further scoring by Minnesota, having earned just the 1 run. (Minnesota’s second run was unearned, because it came in on a passed ball.) Joe Girardi (NYY-Manager) said Sabathia’s performance lived up to expectations, despite the effects of some miscommunication between the pitcher and catcher. Sabathia, who threw 113 pitches through 2 outs in the 7th, appeared to have shaken off any lingering effects of the questionable call after the 3rd inning and pitched a strong game, backed by consistent offense, despite commanding less than his very best , as he said himself.

Umpiring Assignments, Division Series 2009

NLDS- COL@PHI Wed 10.7.2009 2:37pm at Citizens Bank Park:
Gerry Davis (Crew Chief), Bob Davidson, Jerry Meals, Ron Kulpa, Angel Hernandez, Tim Timmons

NLDS- STL@LAD Wed 10.7.2009 10:07pm at Dodger Stadium:
Dana DeMuth (Crew Chief), Brian O’Nora, Mike Everitt, Jeff Nelson, Ed Rapuano, Tony Randazzo

ALDS- MIN@NYY Wed 10.7.2009 6:07pm at Yankee Stadium:
Tim Tschida (Crew Chief), Chuck Meriwether, Mark Wegner, Paul Emmel, Jim Joyce, Phil Cuzzi

ALDS- BOS@LAA Thur 10.8.2009 9:37pm at Angel Stadium:
Joe West (Crew Chief), C.B. Bucknor, Eric Cooper, Greg Gibson, Brian Gorman, Dan Lassogna

Experience of Crew Chiefs, in years:
Gerry Davis- 24, Dana Demuth- 26, Tim Tschida- 24, Joe West- 32

Source: ALDS, NLDS Umpire Crews Announced (by Mark Sheldon / MLB.com. Published 10/05/09 3:30 PM ET)
http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20091005&content_id=7338454&vkey=news_mlb&fext=.jsp&c_id=mlb

Questionable Calls – NLDS Game 1 COL@PHI, Wed 10.7.09 on TBS

Umpire Crew, NLDS Game 1 COL vs PHI, Wed. 10-7-09 2:07pm at Citizens Bank Park:
Umpires: HP: Gerry Davis (Crew Chief), 1B: Bob Davidson, 2B: Jerry Meals, 3B: Ron Kulpa, LF: Angel Hernandez, RF: Tim Timmons

Top 2
3B umpire Ron Culpa called-out Yorvit Torrealba (COL-C) on Jason Werth’s (PHI-RF) strong throw to Pedro Feliz (PHI-3B), ending the inning. TBS broadcasters said Torrealba, who had tagged-up at second on Clint Barmes’ (COL-2B) flyout, beat the tag.
Effect: Possible run scored + more pitches thrown by starter Cliff Lee (PHI-P).
With 2 outs and Torrealba at 3rd, Ubaldo Jimenez (COL-P), #9 hitter, would have needed to knock-in Torrealba or, more likely, coax a walk out of Cliff Lee (PHI-P) to bring up the leadoff batter Dexter Fowler (COL-CF), a switch-hitter who batted .500 off Lee in 4 at-bats against him this season.

Bottom 3
2B umpire ___ ruled that Cliff Lee (PHI-P) was back safe at 2B after Ubaldo Jimenez’s (COL-P) pickoff throw. (Lee had just stolen 2nd and taken a lead toward 3rd.) Jimenez had Lee picked-off at 2nd, according to TBS broadcasters, who said he ran into the tag.
Effect: 1 extra pitch thrown by Jimenez to Jimmy Rollins (PHI-SS) for the strikeout and 3rd out.

Of course, fans will wonder about the psychological effects of 2 bad calls favoring a home team in consecutive early innings. Did the Rockies lose momentum when Torrealba was wrongly called out at 3rd to end the 2nd inning just 90 feet from home? Were the Phillies energized by what looked to some like home field favoritism? Escaping the embarrassing 3rd out that he should have incurred by taking too big a lead during slugger Rollins’ at bat, and right on the heels of a successful steal – rarely attempted by a pitcher – was Lee able to ride an endorphin rush through 9 innings to his near-shutout of the Rockies? Because their pitcher was due up next for the Rockies with 2 outs in the 2nd, and because Rollins was down 2 strikes with 2 outs in the 3rd, I hesitate to draw this conclusion. But Lee did establish control of his game to dominate for remaining innings, whereas Jimenez began losing hold of his in the 5th before leaving in the 6th, and his offense could not pick him up to score against Lee until the 9th.

Home on the Range at the OK Corral – Who’s the Sheriff?

Petitte vs Wakefield

Plate umpire Jim Reynolds called Petitte’s 1st inning 3-1 pitch to #3 batter “Big Papi” Ortiz a ball, though Sterling says it had the plate and was belt high.  Hmm, this after Petitte struck out Ellsbury and Pedroia.   On review of the video Waldman said it was off the plate by 3″ and sets the boundaries for the strike zone.  Next batter Kevin Youkilis — batting in Manny’s former slot — walked, too. Let’s see how tonight goes….

(For the sake of narrative satisfaction I should add that Bay popped out.)

At the very top of the 2nd — with the score at 1-0 courtesy of Damon’s HR off his former-countryman Wakefield — Sterling noted that Petitte’s 2-1 pitch was called a ball in a rather tight zone against Lowrie.  (By the way, neither Sterling nor Waldman saw Reynolds call the final strike against A-Rod at the bottom of the 1st.)  And now, for the second straight inning, here’s another 2-on, 2-out situation for Pettite, who had shut down the first 2 at-bats in the inning before letting 2 swinging bunts from the bottom of Boston’s line-up get on base and the first – Bailey – score on Ellsbury’s subsequent single.  Score:  1-1….

___________________________________________________

 

As the Yankees were going ahead 2-1 in the bottom of the 2nd, a quietly enchanting astronaut who had phoned Sterling from the Space Station was that rarest of persopnages, a perfect guest, so engaging, and speaking in thoughts that seemed too natural to be timed to fit between the pitches Sterling had to call, but they did.  I dislike having my game interrupted by guests who come on during games, and thankfully Sterling and Waldman welcome few.  But this gentleman, who threw out tonight’s first pitch, was a pleasure.

__________________________________________________

 

Note:  Top of the 4th (3-2 Boston):  As Girardi and Petitte confer on the mound, Sterling conjectures that they are discussing Petitte’s strike zone being squeezed by Reynolds.  Sure enough, next they invite Reynolds to the mound, where, as Sterling tells it, Girardi is taking care not to get thrown out for arguing balls and strikes, speaking loudly but facing no one in particular.  After the confab, Petitte strikes out the batter and speaks to the umpire on his way off the field.  Sterling was right on top of this from the 1st. 

Note:  Top of the 5th (3-2 Boston):  Sterling observes that 1st base umpire FIelding Culbreth missed Giambi’s tag-out (of Crisp?), putting-on an extra Boston runner.  Subsequently, Bailey wasn’t called for interfering with catcher Molina on the basepath, and Sterling asks if Waldman or Feinsand recalls which umpire called that very out against the Yankees at which park on their recent road trip.  Nada.  After reviewing a play at 3rd on video between innings, Sterling discovered that A-Rod’s tag beat another runner’s [Lowrie’s?] slide. 

 

So, what would the score be at the end the 5th if accurate calls were being made?  Not 6-2 Yanks, even discounting any squeezing of Petitte’s strike zone by Reynolds.

 

Top of the 6th (6-3 Boston):  Here we go again.  Molina thought Bruney’s last pitch to Pedroia was a strike, and Girardi comes out to talk to Reynolds again.  No reversal.  Waldman, mentioning a talk she’d once had with Mussina, speculates that the concern is that Reynolds is not being consistent on his calls on the same pitch. (Mussina had told Waldman that pitchers can get used to a unique strike zone as long as the umpire is consistent.)  Bruney walks 3 men in a row.  (7-3 Boston)

 

6 walks by Yankee pitching in 6 innings. 

The calling of Yankee pitches is very much an issue in this game, as are at least 2 safe calls, made at 1st and 3rd.  

Condoleeza To Throw Out First Pitch…in Israel!

It makes perfect sense.  Peace in the Middle East may be within sight.  A US Ambassador to Israel retires to become Israel’s Baseball Commissioner!  First task :  Raise funds for a Palestinian Baseball League.  Be fruitful and multiply, right?  That’s what I would do.  Diplomacy, manners, the significance of small symbolic gestures — these constitute the language of the game.

However, I’d feel more confident about the survival of Israeli baseball – and any peace our great sport can broker – if Dan Kurtzner hadn’t been Ambassador during the second Bush administration.  Not exactly the peace that passeth understanding.  Then again, maybe he kept it from getting much, much worse.

 

World Series?  Feh.  How about the 7-Day War?  And it will be played every year, so there’s no "winner."  There’s some revisionist history for you.  Hey, that’s even better than Yankees vs. Red Sox.  (Hmm, Varitek vs. A-Rod, Pedro vs. Zimmer.  That’s hard to beat.)

I shouldn’t make light of 2 unwanted peoples’ fight for safe borders.  Seriously, if any sport can bring people together in a temporary symbolic oasis in the desert, it is baseball.  Maybe Mr. Kurtzner can make this more than a field of dreams.

Here a couple tips for you, Commish:   National League rules – we can’t have pitchers throwing at batters’ heads with impunity. (Look how many brawls Pedro and Clemens avoided with the Mets and Astros.)  And NO MLB UMPIRES!

More Umpire Trouble

Yesterday, June 23, both Yankee radio broadcasters spoke with uncharacteristic candor about the egregious errors made by umpires throughout this season.  The context?  To the credit of Jon Sterling and Suzyn Waldman — the respective play-by-play and color voices of WCBS radio — their anger (for it amounted to anger) was sparked by an umpire error that benefited the Yankees.

At Least It’s the Right Sox Tonight

Wow. What a Weekend. Well, at least it’s the Right Sox tonight. A breather, even if they do win, which is how it’s looking right now. Roger the Rocket looked pretty fat at Pinstripes on the Park last Thursday. Hate to but I must tell you that the audience — just like at the Stadium the Saturday prior — was definitely not swayed by his charms or promise. His promises, on the other hand, were inspiring. He said we’d take the Series this weekend, and we did. We could use a cheerleader from Texas. One who’s on OUR payroll.

I hear from Floraine Kay that we might take Runyldys Hernandez off the hands of the Red Sox. We might have saved some money and the risk of a double agent (ala Ramiro Mendoza working for us in in their clubhouse in 2003 — and then back with us in the minors last year — where is he now?) had someone LISTENED TO ME and bought him straight from Kansas City. It’s hardly a secret that I have a soft spot for oversized lefties like David Wells (San Diego — HELLO, anybody LISTENING?), CC Sabathia (Cleveland), and, yes, Runyldys, who definitely needed some guidance while he was with the Royals. It will be interesting to see where he is.

So we need a fielder who doesn’t have to hit, eh? Um, anybody look at our bench? MIGUEL CAIRO? And, does anyone remember that he makes things happen? Why hasn’t he been working? He worked in April during some shortages, then NOTHING. Even a DH needs SOME time on the field, and he is a good fielder when he gets a chance to play.

Besides Miggy, there’s Super Joe McEwing, former Met, beloved by fans in Kansas City, and now somewhere else, I will have to check. I loved watching him field. Like David Dellucci as a Yankee, Super Joe was everywhere before you knew where to look. Then, there’s Jeff Keppinger, another former Met, though he may have found a home, as I know Ty Wigginton has as a Devil Ray. Wiggington is a bat more than a fielder, anyway. I’ll always remember the story Floraine told me about how, when he was playing 3rd base for the Mets, knowing he was prone to errors, he wrote E-5 on the inside of his visor.

More on umpires, especially regarding this last weekend, to come.

Youkilis Charged the Mound and Didn’t Get Thrown Out?

You are pitching with a 9-3 lead in the bottom of the 9th.  You just got 2 outs in a row.  You are 2-2.  If you get this out, your team wins.

  • DO YOU HIT THE BATTER?   I DON’T THINK SO!

  • Pitchers weren’t warned despite 4 previous hit batsmen (3 hit by Red Sox, of course) and yet Yankee Scott Proctor — who has every reason to avoid another suspension — is thrown out of the game?  Was he more likely to be guilty because he has a "record"?  Even Joe Torre, who took an unusual position earlier in the game and got himself thrown out on behalf of a bad call against Bobby Abreu, would not back up Scott Proctor, who swears he didn’t mean to hit Youkilis.  I believe him, and Joe’s job is to believe what his players say, at least publically.  Instead his position is that he understands why Proctor was thrown out, because the ball could so easily have hit the head of Youkilis.  In my opinion, that is all the more reason to believe Proctor, who would not want to take a risk like that.  He’s no Roger Clemens, who didn’t get  punished for those Mike Piazza incidents, by the way.  And remember Pedro as a Red Sock?  No umpire dared throw him out, despite his history, which always went unpunished.  Clearly his hit batters were purposeful — he stopped hitting batters when he switched leagues and started batting, for the Mets.  By the way, John Sterling and Susan Waldman were critical of Proctor, too.  I am disappointed, especially because earlier in the game, they sounded as if they were finally speaking out straightforwardly about the bad calls that the Yankees have been receiving these last weeks.  Susan even said she was going to start keeping a list.  Yet, they made no comment on how Youkilis – screaming – came at the mound. 

  • Youkilis — the hit batter — came at Proctor screaming.  I think that’s why the benches cleared for a brawl.  WHY DOESN’T YOUKILIS GET THROWN OUT?
    • OK, it turns out Youkilis was scared.  Weee Weee Weee.  (Kudos to Posada for calming him down.)  Regardless, a big guy is charging the Yankees’ pitcher Proctor, who — several pitches into the at-bat, at 2-outs in the 8th with a score of 9-3– hits him up and inside.  It just doesn’t sound like an intentional hit.
    • Shame on the umpire, Torre, and Sterling/Waldman for not backing Proctor, or at least  supporting the possibility that he did not hit Youkilis on purpose, especially after he went straight to Torre’s office to say so.

Except Jeff Nelson (the umpire, that is)

Today before the game Joe Torre took the line-up cards tothe chief umpire himself.  Since when does Joe take the line-up card
out himself, except during the World Series?   He went on to shake the
hand of every umpire.  Except Jeff Nelson.

2718

When I turned on the radio this afternoon, before the Yankee-Angels
game at Yankee Stadium, Suzyn Waldmann, WCBS Radio color commentator,
was telling that story.

NOTE:  If the NY DAILY NEWS (or anyone else) covers this story, they should credit Suzyn Waldmann for the idea. Anthony McCarron, who was a guest of WCBS Radio booth during the "DAILY NEWS 5th" inning, said he had not noticed when Ms. Waldmann mentioned the line-up card and hand-shaking routine.  They discussed yesterday’s post-game report with John Sterling, who calls play-by-play during the game.  He said he had been struck by how intensely Mr. Torre repeated the sequence of events that led to the game-ending call by Jeff Nelson.   

I enjoyed the game at Yankee Stadium yesterday, my first of the season.  We lost to the Angels, but Wang kept us in the game, and Mo closed us out beautifully, 1-2-3.  Our bats q up about halfway through, and the slumping players got on base by hit or walk — Cano, Melky, Abreu.  A-Rod hit a single and fielded well.  Mank…witc (However you spell it — first baseman, #11) got on base and made an incredible stop.  Damon pinch-hit a single in the 9th.

Early in the game I joked to Floraine Kay — who got me these 2 tickets for my birthday a long while ago —  that John Sterling must be appreciating the home plate umpire, who was calling the pitches expeditiously.  (Mr. Sterling can be eloquent and very funny filling time while waiting for the more deliberate umpires to signal  "strike" or "ball.")  We didn’t know his name at the time, but that home plate umpire was Jeff Nelson.

 

Throughout the game, we noticed a number of questionable calls which could have affected the score of the game.  Having forgotten to bring my radio, we were cut off from what was apparently a lively discussion, particularly at the end of the game.

Photo courtesy of mlb.com.

OKAY…what ELSE is going on here?

For the

5th TIME EVER IN BASEBALL HISTORY,

4 CONSECUTIVE HR’s  were hit
(by Boston, off Chase Wright).        

WHAT ARE THE ODDS
that Boston could figure the Yankee pitcher out so fast?

  • SCORELESS before the 4 consecutive HR’s.     (3-0 Yankees).
  • 1963:  Last time 4 consecutive HR’s occured in the AL.