Saturday, April 27, 2013

Inside Baseball

Interesting.  Pittsburgh pitcher gives up leadoff homer, then second homer, then a single.  So, two runs in, man on first, to lead off the game.  No outs.

Pitcher then throws ball WAY up and in, could have hit Craig in the head if he ducked down.  An extremely dangerous pitch.

Generally, umps warn both benches in this situation.  But of course that allows the pitcher who threw the "purpose pitch" to get away with it, and prevents the other team from retaliating.  So, that's probably a bad idea.

Other two courses of action for the ump:
1.  Do nothing.  Let baseball work it out, with all the problems that implies.  The tradition is that somebody takes one hard for the other team, and it's even.  When this does not happen, people notice. 
2.  Toss the pitcher.  No warning, just toss him  And since this is unusual, you will almost certainly toss the manager also, who will be obliged to protest to protect his pitcher and avoid losing face in the eyes of his team. 

The point being that #2 is a pretty big deal.  I favor #1, for a first offense.  The ump, Timmons, chose #2.  Here is the video.  And here is a video of what happened later.  'Cause here's the thing:  Cards pitcher Lance Lynn hit Marte TWICE.  And then later a THIRD Pirates batter was hit, on an up and in pitch.  Three Pirates hit, no Cardinal ejected; one Cardinal hit, three Pirates ejected. (Here is the box score, if you want to follow the whole thing...)

My view?  Return to the Samurai code.  In hockey, they fight, they get it over with.  If you take a cheap shot, you had better watch your ass.  I understand that people get hurt if a baseball hits them.  If you think someone is intentionally throwing at a guy's head, you have to toss him.

The counterargument:  Batters increasingly are taking matters into their own hands.  Rather than accepting the Samurai code, they charge the mound.  And premium pitchers get hurt.

So, I have to say that umpire Timmons probably played this correctly, all the way down the line.  Except he should have ejected (Cardinal) Boggs when he hit (Pirate) Sanchez.  That ball was up and in.  Both times Lynn hit Marte, Marte swung into it.  The ball was inside, but it was on the hands and no way was it intentional.  When Boggs hit Sanchez, that was the third Card HBP, and it was up and in.  If you are going to regulate, you have to be fair, and allow the Pirates to save face.  Otherwise they to fight or throw at guys to defend themselves.

As it stands, the Pirates are pissed.  I think they are wrong about being mad about the Sanchez ejection, and the Hurdle ejection, and the Marte HBPs, and the Bell ejection.  But the Pirates are right, at the very least, about the failure to eject Boggs.  If you are going to use regulation to prevent fights, you have to punish the behavior, not the intent.  Up and in is an ejection, and Boggs threw it up and in.  Umps can't read minds.

1 comment:

Jeff said...

Agreed. I think the Pirates are justifiably upset. Just pick a standard apply it consistently; everybody will adjust. It's the attempt to substitute individual judgement for a clear standard that bothers teams and coaches.

Then again, as one of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's writers noted, with the way Sanchez is pitching this year, Timmons did the Pirates a favor tossing him in the first inning when it was only 2-0. The Cardinals should have been the one's complaining; they missed their chance to really tee off on a guy with a 12+ ERA, although apparently the game did get out of hand later, after I quit watching.