Saturday, October 09, 2010

Neglect is abuse. Selig's actions or lack thereof back umpires and show neglect for players and the game

10/11, Update: Joel Sherman was right about Frank Robinson. He's there to protect umpires, the exact opposite of what should be happening: FoxSports by Ken Rosenthal: 10/9, Joel Sherman: "In each of the first two games of the Yankees-Twins division series, there was a critical call late in the game that was very likely botched. In both instances, the umpire who made the call did not speak to the media and, therefore, did not speak to the fans. Game 1 should have ended on an excellent shoestring catch by defensive replacement Greg Golson. But right-field ump Chris Guccione mistakenly ruled a trap. That enabled the Twins to bring their home run leader, Jim Thome, to the plate as the tying run. He popped out to end the game.
  • Afterward two reporters went to the umpires' room to interview Guccione. They were intercepted by umpire supervisor Larry Young who said:
"We don't comment on judgment calls."
  • Which means they don't comment, since all calls are judgments.
This is not a longstanding policy. I have spoken to plenty of umpires over the past 20-plus years about judgment calls.
  • Robinson did not respond to an e-mail seeking an interview on this subject.
I have been told Robinson is trying to protect the umps.
  • But I would ask, from whom?
The most memorable moment of the 2010 season was when Jim Joyce blew Armando Galarraga's perfect game with a bad call at first base. What made it memorable was Joyce's postgame accountability over, yes, a judgment call. A horrible moment for umps became a positive one because Joyce humanized the profession, demonstrated how much he aches to get the calls right. Baseball management, players and umpires will have another summit on the state of umpiring on Dec. 3, just ahead of the start of the winter meetings.
  • MLB officials also wonder why umps should be made available to explain their calls when referees in the NBA and NFL are not.
Well, this is the "my neighbors aren't holding their kids to high standards so we won't either argument." Also, the NFL uses extensive replays to get calls like the one Guccione messed up right. As for the NBA, maybe if its officials had to explain themselves then the league would not have been Tim Donaghy-ed.
  • There is no widespread concern currently about major league game fixing.
  • But trust in the umps' abilities and standards are cratering, triggered by their abysmal work in the 2009 postseason followed by their
controversial calls in five of the first six division series games this year. Lance Berkman appeared to have struck out on a 1-2 Carl Pavano pitch in the seventh inning. But home-plate ump Hunter Wendelstedt ruled a ball. Berkman crushed the next pitch for an RBI double that put the Yankees ahead for good. more important, there was a history of bad blood between Wendelstedt and Gardenhire, who was ejected by Wendelstedt before the next pitch of the game. After the game, Gardenhire answered questions about the call and his relationship with Wendelstedt. if necessary, a pool reporter would be designated to speak to the umps. In this case, only a reporter from Minnesota (not also one from New York) was assigned the postgame task.
  • The reporter was not provided Wendlestedt, but instead crew chief Jerry Crawford, who was in right field.
Crawford's disdain for the task came through in three non-revealing answers that totaled seven words. Again, who does this help?
  • The fans -- the fuel of the game -- are left without satisfactory answers to issues that come up during the highest-profile games of the season. The umps come off as indifferent or worse.
And MLB is seen as countenancing different rules of accountability for the umps.
  • The message is horrible.
The Commissioner's Office should take a look at this decision on instant replay, and change it." ####
  • A Blue Ribbon Panel
10/8, from MLB.com: "Last year, Selig formed a 14-person advisory committee -- made up of field managers, general managers, and club owners and presidents -- to analyze ways of improving Major League Baseball on the field, including the use of instant replay."..."Player-umpire relationships to be evaluated," by B. McTaggart
  • It's settled. Umpires know they're free to treat everyone else with contempt--aside from getting the game right or wrong. Selig has a chain of evidence as to his handling of this serious labor problem. By his actions or lack thereof, he has protected umpires, encouraged a negative atmosphere, trashed the players, coaches, fans, and the game. Perhaps there can be an appeal to some kind of labor board about this. These matters can involve millions of dollars and immortality especially in the post season. How detached Mr. Selig is. His actions show a man devoid of conscience. s.
P.S. General comment about Selig and today's owners via BTF poster, fra paolo, 10/11/10:
  • "Bud Selektor rules the MLB with an iron fist, and today's panty-waists, purportedly brave warriors in the marketplace, just sit there and take it like a bunch of eunuchs in an Ottoman seraglio."


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