Monday, May 25, 2009

The Integrity Of The Game

What's the use in having video replay if a fan CLEARLY leans over and obstructs play to one team's advantage and the umpires don't overrule?

I just don't get that.

The integrity of the game was on the line tonight in the bottom of the 6th inning in Queens. The New York Mets Gary Sheffield launched a John Lannan Fastball to left centerfield with two runners on base--near the top of the wall at Citi Field. A fan leans over the fence by about two to three feet and--without a doubt--obstructs the action by touching the baseball with his glove. The ball WAS NOT going OVER the wall. The baseball was heading downward.

One run would have definitely scored on a ground rule double for interference. Instead, 3rd Base Umpire Adrian Johnson ruled a three run Home Run. After an argument by Our Manager Manny Acta--The Umpiring Crews went to the video replay. A decision that took nearly 10 minutes to inexplicably make.

And the call was NOT reversed.

Sorry, but that decision was incorrect.

It was the wrong call and that feeling has nothing to do with the fact that The African Queen and I are cheering for Our Washington Nationals. No matter the circumstance, The Umpires should have made the right decision and reversed the home run and let the game continue with The Mets now ahead 2-1. The Men In Blue had all the necessary tools available to make the proper decision.

They blew it.

And there is NO EXCUSE for that error in judgement. This group failure changing the complexity of the game and giving The New York Mets a undeserved 4-1 lead.

No question, Our Washington Nationals had multiple chances to come back and win this game in the subsequent 7th, 8th & 9th innings tonight at Citi Field. They eventually left 13 runners on base; were 1 for 10 with runners in scoring position. A little clutch hitting by Washington could have helped to take away the sour taste of a poor ruling by The Umpires.

But whether Our Washington Nationals win or Lose any battle--The Integrity Of The Game should be maintained at all times. A fan interfered with play tonight in Queens and the arbiters of judgment--The Rulers Of Every Game--chose to ignore what everyone clearly saw with their own eyes--not only on the field of play--but while watching multiple television replays after.

Home Plate Umpire Larry Vanover and his crew have some explaining to do. And if Major League Baseball has the guts to officially say the ruling was incorrect--MLB should fine the umpires for losing control of the game--although I doubt their union would stand for that, much less a suspension.

Final Score from Citi Field where Fan Interference changed the outcome of tonight's game--The New York Mets 5 and Our Washington Nationals 2. The 31st Loss of 2009 will be remembered for one disappointing ruling on the field. And recalled for it's frustration--because Washington had bases loaded with one out in the 7th and scored just one run. Had runners on 1st and 2nd with no outs in the 8th--and didn't score again. Finally, DC's Team had runners on 1st & 2nd and one out in the 9th--and couldn't push anyone across the plate. Multiple chances were still there for the taking, but Our Washington Nationals could not find the strength to overturn that bad umpiring decision and win despite all odds.

An all around bad night of baseball involving Our Washington Nationals.

Game Notes & Highlights

John Lannan had a poor outing this evening. Although tagged for Sheffield's So-Called three run homer, Our Number 31 gave up 8 hits, four walks and struck out no one. He wasn't sharp and didn't look comfortable all night long.

As far as Daniel Cabrera is concerned, can we please just Designate Him For Assignment? Please, just eat the salary. He's not helping. Tonight, called on to pitch the 8th inning, Cabrera again couldn't find the strike zone, walked three New York Batters and threw one more wild pitch and multiple more pitches in the dirt--thankfully blocked by Wil Nieves. Jason Bergmann was eventually called on to save him on the mound. But Daniel is clearly not an answer, for now or later. He has no confidence and is throwing his fastball 10 MPH slower than just two years ago. Something is wrong with him. Let him figure it out--elsewhere but here.

Ryan Zimmerman extended his consecutive games reaching base streak via hit, walk or hit-by-pitch to 43 games tonight with a single and walk--tying the single season franchise record of Tim Raines (of The Montreal Expos). Rusty Staub (an original Expo) holds the Franchise Total Consecutive Games Reaching Base Streak (tallied over two seasons) at 46 games.

Wil Nieves continues to swing a hot stick. Two more hits this evening, one rbi and one run scored. He's playing well and really is a fine backup catcher--dependable.

Finally, although he did not do well with runners in scoring position tonight for Washington, Austin Kearns again displayed his defensive prowess. When Gary Sheffield sliced a liner to right field in the bottom of the 1st inning with two outs, Carlos Beltran took off from 2nd base, rounded 3rd and headed home--looking to score. Like he always does, Our Number 25 deftly moved in on the fast approaching baseball, scooped it up and UNLEASHED A PERFECT ON THE FLY STRIKE to Wil Nieves standing on home plate. Beltran was out by a mile. The Defensive Play of This Game proved again that Austin has value--even when not getting the clutch hits at the plate.

Tonight's InGame Photos--Paul J. Bereswill (AP)


flippin said...

Yes, the umps probably missed the call. But, that does not change the fact that the ball was hammered and was just a couple of inches away from being a legitimate HR, in that park. The integrity of the game is fine unless Sheff has been dabbling in supplements again. Speaking of cheaters, I think the integrity of the game is challenged more by the likes of Manny and the fact that the Dodgers don't have to forfeit the games in which he played.

Sam R said...


We were hamstrung by the "irrefutable evidence" clause. Unfortunate. I wonder if the call had been at Nationals Park if it would have been different. Perhaps the wrath of the crowd played into it.

Take Me Out To The Ballgame!


SenatorNat said...

The team is in a bizarre rhythm right now - on pace to set the all-time Washington and Montreal franchises, however you view it, and yet interesting and very hopeful at the same time. The five young turks in the starting rotation have decided promise, and all display a certain savvy and mental toughness, too.

Indeed, I would not trade our starting eight for the Cubs starting eight, for example, and there are probably 20 other teams I would say that about, including the Orioles, IF utilized and managed correctly:
Anderson Hernandez should be leading off and playing regularly at second - he has earned it, and he improves with playing time. (Belliard to the bench.)

Guz natural second batter in a line-up, since he can control his bat and he doesn't bunt or walk. (Bring up Gonzalez to back him up.)

Johnson is a natural third hitter, despite relatively few home runs. (Back him up by playing Williamham there.)

Zimmerman is a natural clean-up hitter, and batting fourth should reduce number of double-plays.

Dunn bats fifth - he walks too much to be an accomplished clean-up hitter.

Dukes sixth - playing center this year. But next year, move him to right, and start Maxwell in center.

Williamham seventh - playing right - yes, you lose something in the field, especially arm-wise, but Kearns cannot hit at Major League level.

Flores, catching, batting eighth - great everyday player.

The weakness in this everyday starting line-up is principally in the outfield, defensively, where Dukes should optimally be in right, Williamham in left, and a true centerfielder like Maxwell manning the middle. Problem is that Dunn has to play somewhere. Manny likes him in right and Williamham in left at Nationals Park, but forget that: right field needs an arm, pure and simple. Second weakness is Guz's range, but so be it - no line-up is perfect.

As for the starters: Nats have no number one, as Lannan is nothing higher than a number three on a solid club. I would put Zimmermann number one; Detwiler two; Lannan three; Martis four; and Stammen five until Strasburg arrives.

I would assign Cabrera and Colume now; putting Olsen in the bullpen, and, as said bring up Gonzalez for the dug-out; Bard goes when Flores returns.

Bullpen: Hanrahan, 9th; Beimel, 8th; Bergmann 7th; Vallone & Tavaras spot & situational; Olsen and Wells middle relief.

I am in favor of Manny being relieved of duties and Tim Foli coming up to manage this crew for the balance of 2009 under the Horace Greeley theme for this developmental season and 2010: "Go to Natstown, and Grow Up with Your Team!"

Trust in real organ music. And hope springing eternal.

An Briosca Mor said...

"Anderson Hernandez should be leading off and playing regularly at second - he has earned it, and he improves with playing time."

I don't recall Anderson Hernandez doing particularly well as a leadoff hitter during the 2+ weeks Guzman was on the DL. Indeed, his performance at leadoff was verging on Milledgesque. Is this where he "earned it", SenatorNat?

OTOH, Hernandez seems to do pretty well in the back of the order. Leave him there.

Anonymous said...

"Williamham seventh - playing right - yes, you lose something in the field, especially arm-wise, but Kearns cannot hit at Major League level."

Willie Harris is almost back to 2008 form without the power. His .427 OnBasePercentage is huge and he is very capable of playing RF.

Willingham's numbers are worse than Kearns.

Justin Maxwell would have a spot in the outfield if he could get a few hits.

Wouldn't it be nice to see Dunn in LF, JMax in CF and Dukes in RF with Willie Harris as the main backup.

Kearns and Willingham have been huge disappointments so far. Kearns is getting the ABs.

Get Dmitri healthy as I know he can be the guy off the bench that really can Pinch Hit and you need that type of player in the NL.

SenatorNat said...

Of course, I meant to type that team is on pace to set all-time futility record for both franchises - losing 113 or so to match 1904 Senators/Nationals record. Don't think they will. Hard to believe they can lose more than last year with this year's team hitting 20 or more points higher and with power. But, we have (God forbid) not suffered a major season-ending injury to someone, say, Zimmerman...Then, all bets are off.

Team netted profit of $46.8million last year. Should be down in attendance this season by about 5k per game this year, or 400k for the year, garnering somewhere around 1.95 million. While this lowers the net, team will take $18.5 million off payroll quite readily to begin 2010 planning with deletion of D.Young; Kearns; Cabrera; Belliard. Other than Nick Johnson, no major current player to be signed, either.

Thus, team can draft and sign Strasburg and Crowe and still turn good profit, while not 10% of the investment, as they did for their first two years. Still, in a down economy, netting 5% not bad per year for 2009 and 2010. The payroll for 2010 unlikely to hit $80k even with improvements.

This framework suggests, too, that Nick Johnson will be traded to SF or Oakland, for relief pitcher and hitting prospect, in order to help keep payroll down and to figure out a way to play Dunn in a position where he can do the least harm. If Johnson leaves, team can sign Dunn for 5 more years, figuring it helps Z get good pitches, and helps attendance to have the longball threat in the line-up daily.

Most fans will decry this move, but it fits the mold that, if they are going to have to shell out now for signing bonuses, and attempt to keep Dunn, they have to make up for it somewhere else. Team brass can rationalize that Johnson doesn't stay healthy two years in a row...He will not be traded, if possible, to a team which plays Nats 18 times a year - brass is smarter than that! Plus, by 2011, that kid should be ready from the minors to play first everyday...

Braves were very smart for years about getting rid of everyday players and acquiring them at just the right times - brilliant actually. The constant was keeping that Hall of Fame starting rotation together, along with some quality bull-pens.

Clearly, this is the Kasten-Rizzo model, which is not impulsive like BowBow, and can be sold to Lerners - depends mightily on successfully and quickly getting 5 starters out of the 7-9 they should have going into 2010.

It is a fine line between foolish and cheap and frugal and keen. Time is money. All true.

Screech's Best Friend said...

If Justin Maxwell could hit off-speed pitches better he would definitely be in The Big Leagues Full Time. That's his crutch and let's hope he figures it out because he has all the tools.

Anonymous said...

If Justin Maxwell has all the tools he better get a better hammer.

I am a big believer in JMAX. Unfortunately we haven't seen much on the offensive side yet.

After that great catch on Saturday, it was surprising he couldn't break the lineup on Sunday or Monday so it seems his bat is keeping him out of the lineup right now. Maybe tonight!

You are right, he has to show he can hit something other than fastballs or else he will never make it. If he gets on base, he can make things happen!

Can't count out Roger either. Bernadina is a better all around package right now because he can get on base and has speed and also great defense, just doesn't have JMAX power or arm. Does that make Roger just 3 tools in the toolbox?