If you didn’t catch last week’s post on Umpires, warnings and rules, the intended message was:
Umpires and rules are all well and good, but sometimes, the umpires need to impose the rules while using their common sense. We’re not in court, no one’s life is at stake – a strict interpretation of the rules is not always necessary. Let’s just play ball.
I think that might have gotten lost a bit in the rules I was ranting against, so I just want to reiterate that. I’m not anti-umpire; for the most part, they do a great job, but I do believe they should be seen and not heard. Well, I guess the, "Strike!" screaming is OK, but let’s keep the Leslie Nielsen performances to a minimum.
Today, I’d like to call attention to yesterday’s interference call against Jorge Posada during Chan Ho Park’s disastrous ninth inning. When the ball got away from Posada, he through away his mask, which spent a lot of time bouncing around on the ground. The ball was slowing down, and, by chance, his mask landed on top of the ball. The umpire called interference, meaning that the catcher’s mask/equipment can’t be used to retrieve the ball, and awarded the runner at 3rd home plate, making the score Yankees 12, Royals 6.
It’s really important to understand that Posada’s mask was not intentionally used to slow the ball down – he didn’t through the mask at the ball. The ball was already moving very slowly, hence the mask, which bounced several times before hit landed on top of the now virtually stopped ball, was able to catch up to it. Posada didn’t use his mask to scoop up the ball, or deliberately throw his mask at the ball. This is what the spirit of the rule is intended to guard and punish, and that’s not what happened on Sunday. Some common sense needed to be exercised in that situation, and it wasn’t. It didn’t change the game, as the Yankees still won, and it’s not worth deliberating ifs, but this was a bad call by the umpire. This didn’t help the Royals, it certainly didn’t help the Yankees, I don’t see how any baseball fan benefited from this call. MLB needs to modify this rule so the umpires can use their own judgment and determine if the catcher’s action was deliberate and if it would have altered the course of the ball. In Sunday’s case, there was no way the ball was traveling fast enough to get far enough away from Posada to allow the runner on 3rd to score. I believe the umpires can use their judgment to determine this.
I feel that this year, more than any other year, the umpires have injected themselves into the game in a way that is not necessary. I think the Rays at Blue Jays game was probably the best example of this, during which Angel Hernandez called strike three on Carlos Peña after Peña asked for time out and Hernandez, being one of those ‘up the game tempo’ guys, didn’t grant it. Ah, Hernandez and Joe West – my favorite umpires! Those guys just can’t seem to keep their mouths shut. Having these two guys on the same crew is just begging for problems.
Robinson Cano got his 1000 career hit!
Joba Chamberlain let up 2 ER in the 8th inning. It’s time to give somebody else a shot at the eighth inning – Joba needs a kick in the butt!
Chan Ho Park gave up 2 walks and 1 hit in a horrendous 9th inning. If you can’t throw strikes with a 12-5 lead in the ninth inning, well, I don’t know what to say. You just suck. I know I stuck up for this guy early in the season – well, that’s because it was still early – and he had a great outing against the Red Sox. It’s not so early anymore, and when you walk guys the way Park did on Sunday, I can’t have your back.
The Kansas City Royals suck. More than half the time, they don’t seem to be trying; or they’re trying to hard. Not sure which is worse.
The road trip begins with 4 games in Cleveland against the Indians (41-57) and 3 in Tampa against the 2nd place Rays (59-38). The Yankees need to fatten up against Cleveland – they stink. The Indians have scored 403 runs and allowed 472 this season – compared to the Yankees 533-405.