Monday, October 15, 2012

The Yankees and Bad Umpire Calls

Two words:  Jeffrey Mayer

In Game 2 of the ALCS, the umpire blew a call against the Yankees that led to a Tigers 2-Run eight inning.  The Tigers were already leading and the Yankees never did score, so the runs were not really important.  Girardi made the weak case that the insurance runs changed the tone of the game, taking pressure off the Tiger relievers.  Still, Detroit handled the pressure fine in the first seven innings of the game.

The Yankees are imploding, and all non-New York fans are likely pretty happy.  As a Cleveland fan, I certainly have no love for Bronx Bombers.  We lost a whole lot of games to their high priced line-ups.

I still like CC Sabathia, by the way.  He was traded away (for very little) and he likely would left through free agency, anyway.

No doubt Yankee fans will spend half the time bemoaning this call, along with skewering the overpriced Alex Rodriguez.  They quickly forget the calls that go the Yankees way, including the one referenced above from 1996 when a fan interfered in the game and no call was made.  Just last week against Baltimore there was another questionable call on a home run that went to the Yankees.

So, no tears here for the Yankees.  A blown call, yes.  But it made no difference in the game.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Terry Francona Named Indians Manager

I guess he will be an OK hire. He shouldn't have to deal with all the prima donnas he had in Boston. Just a bunch of extras and chorus girls.

My issue is, what is the big hurry? They interview two guys over two days and make their decision? When a business hires a upper level leadership position, it takes months, and they interview at least a half dozen candidates.  

As far as whether a manager can make a big difference, I would come on the yes side of that.  Not so much in game decisions.  Maybe a genius can gain a game or two based on replacing the pitcher at the exact right time.  Chances are the new pitcher that comes in will do no better or worse than the guy he replaced. 

The difference is in talent evaluation.  A good manager can see quickly that a player doesn't have it.  In working with the GM and front office, they can get the better players.  The GM can work to bring them in, but the manager makes the decisions on playing them or getting them out.  The best example here was the Hargrove-Hart tandem.  They didn't like each other, but worked well together. 

Friday, October 5, 2012

Why Does Baseball have an Infield Fly Rule?

In baseball, if there are men on first and second and less than two out, an umpire can rule that a pop fly to the infield is subject to the infield fly rule.  In this case, the batter is automatically out.   The fielder does not have to catch the ball.  It is played as if the ball was caught.  In that case, the runners can advance after tagging up.

The reason for this is that a fielder doesn't attempt to get a cheap double play.  If there were no such rule, a fielder could intentionally drop a an easy fly and double up the runners at third and second, who would be at risk for being doubled off if they strayed any distance from the base.  It is to protect the integrity of the game by letting a fielder gain an advantage by intentionally dropping the ball.

In the Cardinals - Braves Playoff game on October 5, 2012, the extra right field umpire called the infield fly rule for that purpose.  However, it really wasn't a good call, as this wasn't an easy catch, and the fielder was so deep that he could not have easily doubled up any runner.  The call was made late, but before the catch was made.  So there was no way they could have overturned it.  It is possible that the shortstop heard the umpire call the runner out, and thought it was the outfielder calling him off.

That game is being played under protest, but it is unlikely to be upheld.