No one would ever pretend that it isn’t a hard job being an umpire in Major League Baseball. And no one should pretend that Bob Davidson’s terrible call of runner interference in the top of the thirteenth inning during Saturday night/Sunday morning’s marathon of a baseball game was the primary cause for the Blue Jays 6-5 loss to the Angels. Stranding 18 runners and going 3 for 23 with runners in scoring position had far more to do with it.
However, Blue Jays fans can be forgiven for a bit of an overreaction on this one. I think nine out of ten times Yunel Escobar’s run to third base from second on Edwin Encarnacion’s grounder gets complimented for smart baserunning. The fact that the Escobar didn’t come into contact and that Alberto Callaspo seemed unsure of which route to take to the ball should make the call a no brainer is upsetting. Just like Davidson’s awful job behind home plate the evening before.
Reds are called strikes, greens are balls. Triangles are from Jays pitchers while squares are from Angels pitchers. It’s not unusual for outside or inside pitches to be called strikes like this, but what is unusual is the complete and utter inconsistency with which it was done Friday night.
But perhaps most memorable for Blue Jays fans is that it was Davidson who ignored Kelly Gruber’s obvious tag on Deion Sanders in the 1992 World Series triple play that never was.
However, Davidson’s call in the thirteenth inning is especially maddening because the onus wasn’t on him to make the call. He wasn’t calling balls or strikes or misreading a safe or out scenario. He inserted himself into a game to make the wrong call, and cost the Blue Jays a run, and possibly the game.
According to John Farrell:
Bob Davidson’s interpretation of the play was that Callaspo’s timing and direction to the ball [were] altered going into third. I obviously disagreed with his view and his judgment. I would still argue the same play all over again. I saw that as a slow roller to the 5-6 hole that Yunel had his baseline established. [I] recognize that he has to give right of way to the defensive player, but that ball was 10 feet away from him. I viewed it as Callaspo was unsure if [shortstop] Izturis was going to cut him off, which is a very typical play for a shortstop to cut off a third baseman there. Again, if that were to happen 10 more times, I would still have the same thought to the point, where I think video backs up my view of it.
And The Rest:
The Manny Ramirez retirement was almost completely worth it, if it had any impact whatsoever on Tampa Bay outfielder Sam Fuld getting the opportunity to make what was probably the greatest catch I’ve ever seen in the history of forever on Saturday against the White Sox.
Ozzie Guillen is considering a closer by committee in Chicago.
The Yankees have picked up pitcher Carlos Silva after he was released by the Chicago Cubs a couple weeks ago. It’s easy to forget with all of the negative publicity following his blow ups during Spring Training, but Silva wasn’t terrible last year.
The high five double play gets the diagram treatment.
Milton Bradley wears earplugs to drown out the boos. I’m not sure if he needs bigger ones at home or on the road.
I like that Morgan Ensberg prefaces his attack on Manny Ramirez by informing us that he’s a Christian. How very Jesus-like to write an open letter on your blog to someone you believe to be in the wrong. Just like your savior did to the money changers at the temple.
I’m surprised Eric Wedge hasn’t written an open letter to Jack Wilson yet.
It’s only a matter of time until Stan Kasten will be preparing an open letter for Rob Dibble after learning of the former analyst’s memory of his firing from MASN.
Clint Hurdle is the thinking man’s Jim Tracy.
Barry Bonds isn’t the first athlete to be prosecuted for his unlikability.
After striking out 14 and throwing 125 pitches in only his third start of the year, Jered Weaver may be the perfect example of the Angels overusing their starting pitchers.
Jason Bay has finally been cleared . . . for batting practice.
This weekend in inherent racism.
Like many American baseball players, Brian Bannister returned home following the earthquake in Japan. Unlike many American baseball players, he did so without permission and has yet to return.
Dave Stewart would like to go from intimidating batters to intimidating general managers.
Finally, maybe the Blue Jays would’ve been best off taking a page out of Joe Maddon’s play book.