After the “he-said, he-said” incident between Tampa Bay Rays pitcher David Price and homeplate umpire Tom Hallion, Price and several other Rays are waiting to hear if they will be fined by Major League Baseball. In 2012, MLB created a new law that forbids baseball players and coaches from criticizing umpires to the media – not surprising considering how much MLB protects the umpires. While players can be fined and suspended for one incident, it takes three incidents for an umpire to be suspended and even if he is punished, MLB will keep it a secret. Hallion was suspended in 1999 for bumping a player and a coach; he has a history of being an instigator.
Price also believes the ESPN video clip of him leaving the field distorts what happens – which is true. When I was watching ESPN, the clip made it seem that Price was talking to the umpire when he headed back to the dugout and that the umpire ejected him, but in reality, Price was just talking to himself (which he is known to do) and Jeremy Hellickson was actually ejected. Hellickson seemed to be the scapegoat since all the Rays were upset at Hallion because several players heard Hallion use the F-word to Price. Several sports analysts seemed to believe Price started the argument, when it was Hallion.
Price believes that none of the Rays players should be fined and that he was unaware of MLB’s social media that prohibits players from posting content “that questions the impartially of or otherwise denigrates a Major League umpire.” Besides Price, Jeremy Hellickson, Matt Moore, and Sean Rodriquez make comments on their Twitter accounts that criticized Hallion. Even if the four players are fined, MLB may choose to not punished Hallion at all.
Marc Topkin Price hasn’t heard from MLB yet, still upset at ump’s language Tampa Bay Times
- Umpire tells David Price “to throw the ball over the F-in Plate” (mlblogstbchick2011.wordpress.com)
The game was tied 3-3 in the 7th inning when Tampa Bay Rays pitcher David Price stepped onto the mound. The Cy Young Winner has yet to win a game this year and he was determined to pitch a scoreless inning. After allowing a single to Conor Gillaspie, Tyler Flowers hit into a double play. After David Price threw a “strike 3” pitch to Dewayne Wise, he and Rays fans were surprised to see the ball was called a “ball” instead. Throughout the game, homeplate umpire Tom Hallion had a strict strike zone – the pitch had to be perfect for it to be called a strike. Though Price was able to get Wise to ground out to him and end the inning, he was not happy.
After the commercial break ended, Rays announcer Todd Kalas announced that Rays pitcher Jeremy was ejected from the game. According to Price and several other players, after the inning was over Price was upset at the umpire, but did not say anything. The umpire, seeing Price was mad at him, told him to “throw the ball over the f-in plate.” This caused the Rays players, especially the pitchers, to get upset so Hallion pointed to Hellickson and ejected him. As fans know, Hellickson is the stereotypical country boy; he’s quiet, polite, and well-behaved so for him to get ejected is really surprising.
After the game, it wasn’t the win that the Rays were talking about first, it was the ejection of Hellickson. Coach Joe Maddon was surprised that of all the players, it was Hellickson that was ejected. When Hellickson was interviewed, he looked as though he couldn’t even harm a fly, much less cuss at an umpire. Hellickson has never been ejected, but less been in any kind of trouble. Price took to Twitter to defend him and Hellickson’s actions – asking his followers “Someone give me the definition of a coward please.”
Meanwhile, Hallion told a reporter, “I’ll come right out bluntly and say he’s a liar… I’m denying what he said I said, pretty strongly…I said ‘Just throw the ball.” That’s all I said to him.” Hallion also claims he ejected Hellickson because “He was told to know if off, him and Moore were at the dugout rail and I told them to knock it off, and he thought it was okay for him to have his final comment, at which time he was ejected.”
Once David Price heard the umpire called him a liar…
Price is not the only Rays player on Twitter upset. Fellow pitchers Matt Moore and Jeremy Hellickson, plus infielder Sean Rodriquez expressed their disgust at the umpire.
This episode shows that umpires need to be held accountable for their actions. Instead of claiming Price is a liar even though other players and fans at the game heard the “F” word, the umpire should of acknowledge his mistake, apologized to Price, and accepted his punishment. Instead, he called Price a liar and took his anger out on Hellickson. Umpires are supposed to be anonymous, not the antagonist of the show.
- Umps Continue to make Bad Calls Against the Rays (mlblogstbchick2011.wordpress.com)
It was the bottom of the ninth, two outs, a runner on first, and a 3-2 count – the Tampa Bay Rays had a nine inning rally going on. Ben Zobrist was batting and Evan Longoria was up next; the two best Rays hitters were up and could make a difference in the game. Texas Ranger closer Joe Nathan threw what appeared to be a ball; catcher A.J. Pierzynski’s glove touched the ground when he caught the ball. As Zobrist began his trot toward first base, home plate umpire Marty Foster shouted “strike!” The game was over – Rays lose 5-4.
It was obvious to me and viewers everywhere that it was a ball – it was low and nearly bounced into Pierzynski’s Sports analysts, sports journalists, baseball fans, Rangers fans, and even football players took to Twitter to comment on how that was obviously a ball. Rays fans took to Twitter to express their anger about the call; how once again, the Rays lost because of bad umpiring. Now, there are those who will say “the game shouldn’t have been that close to begin with” or “mistakes happen, you try being an umpire” and I would go to bed angry and wake up in a better mood, except I’m tired of hearing those excuses. Why do umpires continue to determine the outcome of a Rays game? This is hardly the first time an umpire made a bad call against the Rays, it is becoming way too common for Rays fans to witness umpires controlling the game. Former Rays pitcher Matt Garza was switched in the pitching rotation because one home plate umpire believed Garza’s strikes were actually balls. Another umpire had trouble with B.J. Upton’s batting – the two would argue every year they met. And if the Rays are playing the Boston Red Sox or New York Yankees, Rays fans expect to different strike zones – one zone favored the big market team, the other ruined the Rays’ chances to win. As a low-market team with a small fan-base Major League Baseball (MLB) probably prefers a team that will bring in television ratings in October.
There has been seven baseball games this season and already two of the games involved umpires making bad calls against the Rays when they had momentum on their side. On April 4th, the Rays had another ninth-inning rally going on when Evan Longoria was called out for passing up Ben Zobrist while they were running bases. The cameras show that all the umpires were looking toward outfield to see if the ball was a homerun, none of them were watching Longoria and Zobrist running. When coach Joe Maddon asked them to huddle together to make sure one of them saw Longoria pass Zobrist, they refused.
Now, umpires will make mistakes because they are human, so why does MLB continue to believe technology will hurt the game? Maddon could have “challenged” a call and had it reviewed – it would take a minute and all fans would be satisfied with the call. Other sports like football, basketball, and hockey use video-replay and the games have not gone on for half-a-day. As long as MLB continues to favor umpires, the umpires will continue to be the bad guys. MLB made a rule that coaches and players cannot argue balls and strikes, meaning umpires can get away with an unique zone. If a player complains about an umpire, he is fined but some umpires were allowed to complain about certain teams making the games last more than 3 hours. Now there is a possibility that certain umpires may try to hurry games along by using the strike zone to their advantage. But as baseball fans know, baseball is played in all 9 innings – the Cincinnati Reds scored 9 runs in the 9th to beat the St. Louis Cardinals just the other day. And if an umpire is ever in trouble for making a bad call, it is not made public like coaches and players. If MLB continues to let umpires take the blame, fans will continue to believe that baseball favors certain teams over others. Its time for MLB to stop letting umpires get away with bad calls but removing some of the human element and replacing it with technology – it is 2013, not 1913.
- Chris Davis leads Orioles past Rays (mlblogstbchick2011.wordpress.com)
Roberto Hernandez’s first start with the Tampa Bay Rays was overshadowed by Chris Davis’ unbelievable start this season. After driving in seven runs in the first two games of the season, one would expect the Rays to walk him each time at the plate. Today, he showed that he can hit, ball or strike.
- Desmond Jennings CF
- Matt Joyce LF
- Ben Zobrist RF
- Evan Longoria 3B
- Shelley Duncan DH
- Yunel Escobar SS
- James Loney 1B
- Jose Molina C
- Ryan Roberts 2B
- Roberto Hernandez P
- Nate McClouth LF
- Manny Machado 3B
- Nick Markakis RF
- Adam Jones CF
- Chris Davis 1B
- Matt Wieters C
- J. J. Hardy SS
- Ryan Flaherty DH
- Brian Roberts 2B
- Miguel Gonzalez P
The first inning went by smoothly for Roberto Hernandez – he struck out Nate McClouth and got the next two batters to ground out. For the Rays, Desmond Jennings led off with a walk, but he only manages to get to second base during the inning after being tagged out on his way to third base. In the 2nd inning, Adam Jones singles and then Chris Davis steps up to the plate… and hits a homerun. This makes homerun number three for Davis. In the bottom of the 2nd, Yunel Escobar walks but is caught stealing, ending any threat. In the 4th, Davis is hit by a pitch – probably intentional since Davis has been killing the Rays all series.
Rays finally get a hit in the 5th inning thanks to Evan Longoria. Yunel Escobar singles, James Loney singles, and Jose Molina singles, making it 2-2. The Orioles answer back in the 6th when Nick Markakis walks, Jones singles, and Davis doubles, making it 4-2. Rays should have just hit walked Davis again. In the 8th inning, Cesar Ramos is able to get Davis to ground out, but allows J.J. Hardy to homer with Matt Wieters on base. Orioles now lead the Rays 6-2. In the bottom of the 9th, Sean Rodriguez is hit by a pitch (probably retaliation for Davis being hit, through Rodriguez does get hit the most on the Rays team). Zobrist singles and then Longoria singles – the ball is almost a homerun and is almost caught by Jones. After Rodriquez scores, Longoria is thrown out of the game for passing Zobrist while they were running the bases. Coach Joe Maddon wants the umpires to huddle together to confirm the call, but they refuse. Replays show that the umpires got the call wrong, Longoria never passed Zobrist. The replay also showed that the umpire never witnessed it, meaning that once again, umpires interfere in the game. Though the Rays were down 3 runs, the umpires killed the momentum of the game. Longoria and Zobrist both admit they should of ran the bases better, but baseball’s replay refusal continues to anger fans. Rays lose the game 6-3.
It is only game 3 of the season – pitching isn’t perfect and neither is batting, but they aren’t bad either. Pitching will improve and hopefully so will the offense. So far, the thing that stands out as being “perfect” is the defense. Also, Chris Davis is crazy good and it’s a shame the Rays met him. As Evan Longoria said, “Without Chris Davis, we’re at 3-0 without him in their lineup.” The Orioles scored 20 runs this series and he is responsible for driving in 11 of them. The last baseball player with at least 11 RBI in the first 3 games was Dolph Camilli of Philadelphia in 1935 with 12 RBI. Besides Davis, Orioles’ other threat was the starting pitcher. Miguel Gonzalez in his past four games against the Rays has only allowed 2 or fewer runs. Today, he only allowed two. When he entered the 5th inning today, he had tossed 17 1/3 scoreless innings at the Tropicana Field. Davis will cool down but the Rays need to figure out Gonzalez.
Around the League:
- Cleveland Scott Kazmir has a right rib cage strain, will be placed on DL. Will miss 2-3 games.
- The only teams not to win a game so far this year are the Miami Marlins.