Player A feels wronged by an official. He or his manager takes up his cause. The play is never overturned, but as fallible human beings, it seems as though the next close call always goes the way of the team that argued with the umpire about his previous call.
While it would certainly be a worthwhile study to see if this is really happening or merely our faulty selves attempting to jam occurrences into a narrative, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence for me to cherry pick from. A perfect example of what I’m writing about occurred a couple of weeks ago with Roy Halladay.
In the bottom of the fifth inning of an April 16th game between the Philadelphia Phillies and the San Francisco Giants, Halladay walked Aubrey Huff on a close, but fair, ball four call on the fifth pitch of the at bat.
The base on balls not only resulted in runners on first and second with two out, but also this:
That’s Roy Hallday staring down home plate umpire Marty Foster, pointing and then saying, “Excuse me, sir, but I believe your judgment on that last call to be erroneous. Please try to do better next time or I shall have to use my mind to will your existence to cease. Capiche?”
The next batter to face Halladay that night was Brandon Belt. His five pitch plate appearance ended with this called third strike, which killed one of the Giants only real threats of the game:
According to Pitch FX, this is how the plate appearance looked from catcher Carlos Ruiz’s perspective:
Just a bit outside.
For a manager, the benefit to arguing a call can also be found in protecting a player from being thrown out of a game. This occurred during last night’s Tampa Bay Rays and Texas Rangers nationally broadcast Sunday Night Baseball game when Ian Kinsler finally struck out looking on a 78 miles per hour splitter after facing eleven pitches from Joel Peralta.
As we see from Rays catcher Chris Gimenez’s perspective, the strike out pitch was high in the zone.
Kinsler voiced his displeasure with the call suggesting that he’d seen better judgments on reality courtroom television programs. However, before he could reference Judge Judy, Rangers manager Ron Washington was out there between his player and the umpire. As Kinsler was shuffled off to the dugout by the coaching staff, Washington was representing his second baseman’s case before the umpire.
He was eventually thrown out of the game, which seemed odd, as it occurred while the manager was walking away from home plate umpire Dan Bellino. However, that’s neither here nor there. What’s important is that Washington, a manager whose strategy and bullpen management rightfully come under a lot of fire, understood that it was more important that Kinsler finish the game in the lineup than he finish it on the bench.
And it almost paid off, as the Rangers rallied in the ninth to bring Kinsler up with his team down by three, with two out and the bases loaded. It didn’t work out this time, but having their starting second baseman up in that situation was far more preferable than an alternative like Alberto Gonzalez.
So, while I can understand the point of arguing a call with an umpire even though it’s exceedingly unlikely to change his mind at the time, I’ll never wrap my head around what exactly the arguments consist of.
Warning. NSFW language.
Blue Jays manager John Farrell rushed out to argue with third base umpire Greg Gobson. While no one was tossed, the discussion seemed to last an exceedingly long time. I wondered what could possibly be said during such an argument. Certainly, the mannerisms being used weren’t indicative of an Earl Weaver style rant, but what more could be said after, “I disagree with that call,” or, “Looked safe to me?”
In unsurprising news, I would make a terrible manager.
And The Rest
If there is one umpire to never argue with, it’s Jeff Kellogg. He’ll take matters into his own hands. [The Score]
Seattle Mariners reliever George Sherrill will require elbow surgery, thus ending the remainder of his season. [Lookout Landing]
Delmon Young’s antisemitic slur, and the problem with having athletes as role models. [RabbiJason.com]
The quelle surprise of the day: Mark DeRosa is injured … again. [Washington Post]
After clearing waivers from the Detroit Tigers, Brandon Inge is the newest member of the Oakland Athletics. [Athletics Nation]
The Arizona Diamondbacks will watch Vladimir Guerrero work out. It sounds like somebody lost a bet. [Getting Blanked]
Appreciating the uniqueness of David Ortiz. [WEEI.com]
After multiple disastrous starts the New York Yankees have sent Freddy Garcia to the bullpen to see what kind of terrible results he can bring after the fifth inning. [River Avenue Blues]
Los Angeles Dodger reliever Javy Guerra is still the team’s closer, but you have to wonder for how much longer that will remain the case. [ESPN Los Angeles]
The Los Angeles Angels are looking into available closers. [Call To The Pen]
Some people think that scoring a baseball game is a timeless joy, I’m more inclined to see it as something that gets in the way of maintaining a proper buzz. [ctpost.com]
Washington Nationals manager Davey Johnson attempts to provide justification for allowing Tom Gorzellany to face Matt Kemp in extra innings on Saturday Night. [Washington Post]
Some guy by the name of Bryce Harper made his debut that night as well, in case you didn’t hear about it. [Getting Blanked]
Finally, Bruce Chen tried to pick off a runner ten times during a single at bat. [Big League Stew]