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Saturday, August 25, 2007

Bob Davidson, immortal umpire reversed call in World Baseball Classic gets more headlines--what about background check?

Umpire Bob Davidson is world famous again. With his wave goodbye to an east coast player he threw out well after midnight last night, fans are reminded any mental defective off the street is welcomed by Bud Selig.
  • Remember the reversed call that changed the outcome of a World Baseball Classic game? It was Bob Davidson's:
"Home plate umpire Bob Davidson reversed the second base umpire's call on an eighth-inning fly ball tag-up play from third base that would've again given Japan the lead.
  • "That was a great, great ballgame," said Team USA manager Buck Martinez, who came out of the dugout immediately after left fielder Randy Winn's throw was too late to nab Nishioka at the plate and was able to get Davidson to review the call. "It was such a close game you have to check everything out."

The game turned on that contested call in the Japanese half of the eighth inning.

  • With the bases loaded, one out and Joe Nathan pitching, Akinori Iwamura skied a fly to Winn in medium left. The throw was to the third-base side way off the plate as Nishioka scored. Catcher Brian Schneider tossed the ball down to Derek Jeter covering third, and second base umpire Brian Knight, who had rotated over on the play, pointed to his chest that it was his call and signaled safe.

Martinez immediately hopped out of the dugout to appeal the play.

"I asked Bob, 'Why did he make that call? You were going to call him out. Let's get this right,'" Martinez explained. "'He said, 'Well, just give us a chance.' It was obvious to me. And everybody in our dugout yelled, 'Hey, he left early.'"

  • Davidson, who was one of 14 umpires who resigned in a union dispute nearly five years ago and is back on a list to call Major League games again full-time, conferred with Knight and then reversed the call, ending the inning with the double play.

"It's a tag-up situation," Davidson said in statement. "In a bases-loaded situation our mechanics is that the plate man lines up the tag. Brian Knight hustled over to third where he's supposed to be, but he doesn't have the tag-up call. It's the plate umpire's call. I had it lined up. The wrong umpire made the initial call. It's the plate umpire, which is me, and I had him leaving early and called him out."

  • "Buck (Martinez) is the player of the game today," Rodriguez said. "I was very surprised the call got overruled because you don't see that often."
From article by Barry M. Bloom, MLB.com, 5/13/06, "A-rod Lifts USA Past Japan"
  • Plenty more about Bob Davidson, including his old title, "Balkin' Bob," and another controversial call he made when apparently needing to rush to catch a flight, umpires leaving the Baltimore stadium with police escort:
  • "Still, Davidson called the balk with the score tied in the eighth inning and the game dragging on to the point where it apparently was questionable whether he would make his flight to Tampa for the series between the Devil Rays and the Chicago White Sox. The Baltimore Police Department and other sources confirmed that the umpires asked for an escort out of the ballpark because of the tight travel schedule. They got a motorcycle escort through the stadium traffic, which is not unusual following an afternoon getaway game. That, in itself, is not improper, and World Umpires Association president John Hirschbeck said yesterday that major league umpires would not let a travel schedule affect their performance. "I know I would never do that, nor do I believe that any umpire would do that," Hirschbeck said."
  • Pointed out by Peter Schmuck ever so gently so as not to ruffle feathers (article posted 5/10/05). on Baseball-Fever.com, "Was it a Balk or Not?
I'm so relieved to hear Hirschback say he doesn't believe it. That changes everything. (sm)
  • On last night's 11PM start after a 4 hour rain delay:
"Posada said the umpires, who had jurisdiction over whether to call a rainout, did not want a doubleheader under any circumstances." I just like reality acknowledged. (sm)

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