Results tagged ‘ Bob Davidson ’
Last week we saw that Charlie Manuel and umpire Bob Davidson were both suspended one game for an on-field altercation. It may have happened before, but I don’t recall ever hearing of an umpire being suspended for his part in an on-field argument.
To this I say, “It is about time!” There are many very good umpires in the game. There are also umpires who believe that fans have paid money to come watch them. The truth of the matter is, if an umpire is a really good umpire, you will never notice they are there.
I dealt with both over the course of my 11 years in the league. I was thrown out of a game at least once every year. And I would say that the majority of the time, it was my fault for arguing over balls and strikes.
But there are umpires who are very confrontational and look for any reason to get things stirred up. Bob Davidson is a good guy, but on the field he has always been known as an umpire that has “rabbit ears,” meaning that he is listening for anything to be said from the dugout disagreeing with what he may have called on the field.
There are a few umpires who are the exact same way. I won’t mention names. No matter what has been said from a dugout, an umpire should never engage with the dugout. His job is what is on the field in front of him.
There will always be players, coaches and managers who are going to question balls and strikes from the dugout. We all know that you can’t question or argue balls and strikes. The good umpires simply will say, “That’s enough,” to the dugout. Kind of a warning. But there are umpires who actually walk toward the dugout and start yelling at the dugout. These are the umpires who are baiting and looking for a reason to throw someone out of a game.
I will never argue for instant replay on balls and strikes. But it is getting to the point now that we are seeing so many bad calls on the field at bases that I am moving closer and closer to supporting instant replay for calls that are so badly missed in the field that it is affecting the outcome of games.
Just off the top of my head, I can think of two such plays in the last few weeks that were so blatant, it was hard to believe that they were missed. The first one being the play in the Dodgers-Rockies game where Todd Helton was pulled off the bag at first base to pick a ball out of the dirt:
People from the upper deck of the stadium could see that the runner was safe. Helton was at least three feet off the bag and yet the runner was called out. This can’t happen at the big league level.
The second was a play in a White Sox-Cubs game where the Cubs runner slid into second base safely and Gordon Beckham basically tackled him and forced him off the bag:
Cubs manager Dale Svuem came out and argued the call for five minutes and was thrown out of the game.
We have always heard the complaint that the games take to long. Well, adding an extra umpire in the booth upstairs that has a radio headset wired to the home plate umpire would save a lot of time, arguments and ejections.
People will ask how many times a manger can ask for a replay. Considering the number of calls in a game, I would say four. Much like the NFL, there has to be a consequence if the play is reviewed and the umpire’s original call was correct. That part is simple. If they ask for a booth review and the ump is right, they lose one of their four challenges. That way you won’t have mangers arguing bang-bang plays at first base. Because what you think you see from the dugout ain’t always what is seen on replay. The umpires get more of these calls right than they get wrong, by a long shot. Also I think any play that ends a game that is questionable automatically should be reviewed by the booth umpire. Hence, the Pirates’ loss last year in extra innings that wasn’t even close. The ump missed it, and the Pirates lost the game.
But back to the suspension of Bob Davidson. Making umpires just as accountable for their actions on the field as players and managers is long overdue. Umpires looking for a fight has no place in our game. Just as there is no place in our game for some of the actions of players. The Brett Lawrie reaction last week where he threw his helmut and he hit the umpire with it? That can’t happen. I don’t think for a second that he meant to hit the ump. But it did, and I was shocked that he only got a four-game suspension
In my opinion that was a case of the umpire baiting a young kid. Lawrie had a 3-1 count on him, the next pitch was blatantly outside, and Lawrie took off for first base without waiting for the call from the umpire. This is viewed by umpires as the player showing him up. So basically, if the catcher caught the 3-2 pitch, the ump was going to ring him up. Sure enough, the pitch was up and outside and the ump called him out on strikes:
That is unacceptable in my opinion. As an umpire, you have to take pride in what you do.
The best umpires are the ones who, if they blow a call on a pitch, will tell the hitter or the catcher that they missed it. That is telling the player that they are human, and can make mistakes. The bad umps think they are right on every call and will look for a fight. Those umps need to go. So I applaud the league for the suspention of Bob Davidson. Umpires must be held accountable just like players and managers.