May 07

Something must be done with the umpires.

Enough is enough.

Major League Baseball has long had an umpire problem. There’s never going to be perfection, and missed calls are part of the game and always will be, but it seems they are happening with more regularity.

WEST: He needs to be ejected.

Bad calls are one thing, but couple that with arrogance and it is an untenable situation, such as the one last night at Fenway Park, which figured a meltdown by Red Sox manager Terry Francona clearly initiated by two of the worst umpires in the game, Angel Hernandez and Joe West.

When Francona went out to discuss a balk call against Tim Wakefield, Hernandez ran him within seconds. The rules, ridiculous as they are, dictated an automatic ejection. Francona wanted an explanation of what Wakefield did wrong, but Hernandez never let him get a word in.

That’s a quick trigger. Umpires are supposed to be composed and show some patience, but that obviously goes against the grain with Hernandez. You must give the player or manager the opportunity to make his point.

Had Hernandez shown discretion there might not have been the subsequent meltdown.

That’s when Francona lost it and went after Hernandez, only to be intercepted by West, who has the reputation of being a hothead and wanting to interject himself into the game.

West clearly butted into a situation that didn’t involve him as Francona would say later. All he did was escalate the confrontation. There was contact made – six times according to the replay – but it was instigated by West.

Francona will obviously be fined, perhaps suspended by Commissioner Bud Selig, but West will get a pass because MLB doesn’t want to antagonize the umpires union, which, if angry enough, will take it out on the game and be confrontational all summer.

However, something needs to be done about West, who has consistently been ranked one of the worst umpires in player polls. He has the reputation of being a loose cannon and putting himself in the middle of things.

West, you might recall threw ejected two cameramen from Shea Stadium when they allowed the Mets to view a replay of a play at the plate. He’s also the one who criticized the Yankees and Red Sox for their slow play.

MLB must do something to improve the quality of umpiring. It could begin with expanded instant replay, because the objective is to get it right.

But, what I want is for each umpire to be wired so we can hear what goes on in the argument. We will be able to tell who did the instigating. Many of these arguments occur when the umps have rabbit ears and seek out the confrontation.

Having the umpires wired, and held accountable with fines and suspensions similar to the ones given the players, will help calm the waters.

The umpires are supposedly graded every year, but what is done with those who are at the bottom? Evidently not much as they return to show us their incompetence the next summer.

In the case of Joe West, he’s been a example of what is wrong with umpires. It is time the sport ejects him.

 

Jul 30

Favorite Doc and Straw moment

Doc Gooden and Darryl Strawberry will be inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame this weekend. Both players brought a certain electricity to Shea Stadium.

Each player had the ability to grab the crowd by the scruff of the neck.

For Strawberry, it was the sense of anticipation with every at-bat. He was one of the few players who kept you riveted every time he came to the plate because there was the prospect of hitting a mammoth home run like the one he hit off the scoreboard clock in St. Louis.

For Gooden, during the summers of 1985 and 1986 there was a buzz at Shea whenever he took the mound. I remember how the crowd would rise and scream whenever he got two strikes on a hitter. Gooden had electric stuff, the kind that made you wonder if this would be the night he’d throw a no-hitter.

Eventually, he did. But, fittingly in the tormented history of this franchise, he did so for the Yankees.

Is there a special Doc or Straw moment for you?

Apr 01

April 1.10: Better late than never.

What the Mets should have done last year they’ll do Opening Day, and that is to honor their past by unveiling a Mets Hall of Fame. Gates open at 10:40 a.m.

“The Mets Hall of Fame & Museum honors the greatest players and greatest events in our history,” said Dave Howard, Executive Vice President, Business Operations, New York Mets, in a statement released by the club. “The museum connects generations of fans to the moments they cherish and reflects our ongoing commitment to celebrate our heritage and history at Citi Field.”

The Hall will feature significant artifacts, interactive exhibits, videos and photographic imagery, recognizing the unforgettable plays and players that are their 48-year history.

The exhibit will include plaques honoring the members of the Mets Hall of Fame, the 1969 and 1986 World Series Championship trophies, and memorabilia on loan from Mets greats, such as Tom Seaver’s 1969 Cy Young Award and Keith Hernandez’s 1987 Gold Glove Award. Also, there will be the Mookie Wilson ball Game 6 of the 1986 World Series.

On loan from the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum are ball used in the first play at Shea Stadium, Tommie Agee’s glove from the 1969 World Series and the ball Tom Seaver threw to Mike Piazza for the ceremonial first pitch to open Citi Field.

ON A SIDE NOTE: Please read the post from yesterday, Murphy Down, and tell me who you’d rather see at first base until Daniel Murphy is back. Do you want the veteran MIke Jacobs or the prospect Ike Davis?

Jan 30

Jan. 30.10: A sad note.

A sad note, former Mets organist Jane Jarvis has passed away. She was a constant at Shea Stadium, with songs for just about every situation. For those growing up at Shea Stadium, she represented happy memories.

The organ at a baseball game is an awesome sound. It’s too bad we don’t hear it much these days.

Jan 21

Jan. 21.10: How about those Jets !!!!

Let's Go Jets

Let's Go Jets

A friend of this blog, Ray Sadecki, suggested opening a Jets site. A good idea is a good idea, so let’s go Jets. A good idea is a good idea, so if you want to say something about the Jets, let’s go for it.

I’m thrilled the Jets are doing so well. They are kindred spirits with the team they once shared Shea Stadium with, and not just because of the housing link.

They also have a history of being disappointed.

I covered the Jets during the Joe Walton Era, and I’ll never forget on 3-18 Mark Gastineau being called for roughing Bernie Kosar. It kept the drive alive and the Browns eventually won in overtime. That was the year the Jets started out 10-1 and limped into the playoffs.

Well, they are rolling now. I hope you’ll add to the link, and if I get comments asking me about blogging the Jets-Colts game on Sunday I’ll do it.