Mets Merized Online » umpires http://metsmerizedonline.com Tue, 06 Dec 2016 01:10:15 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.16 MLB Needs To Immediately Review End of Game Plays http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/mlb-needs-to-immediately-review-end-of-game-plays.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/mlb-needs-to-immediately-review-end-of-game-plays.html/#comments Fri, 30 Sep 2016 16:30:05 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=224117 yadier molina

Last night, Yadier Molina hit a game winning walk-off double scoring Matt Carpenter from first base to keep the Cardinals Wild Card hopes alive and well. There was just one teensy little problem. The umpires blew the call. Molina’s double hopped the fence and hit the back wall meaning the umpires should have ruled it a ground rule double and ordered Carpenter to go back to third base. Now, this is exactly the type of play that should be reversed on replay. It wasn’t, and we learned about a number of issues related to replay.

Understandably, the Major League Replay Rule states, “A challenge to a play that ends the game must be invoked immediately upon the conclusion of the play, and both Clubs shall remain in their dugouts until the Replay Official issues his decision.”

Makes sense, doesn’t it? If the play is going to end the game, why do you need to wait to hear from your team’s replay official to challenge the play? You shouldn’t. If your team is definitively going to lose on that play, you, as the manager, have to get out there and challenge the play. There is no disincentive for asking for the replay in that spot. It is managerial malpractice not to immediately ask for replay in that spot.

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As an aside, with the replay rule, we have lost some of the fire and brimstone fans loved from their managers. When there was a bad call like that, before the play was over, you would see managers like Earl Weaver and Lou Piniella, jumping out from the dugout and hopping mad. They knew the play was wrong, and the umpires were going to have to hear about it IMMEDIATELY! Now, with replay, managers are more timid and reserved. They can’t just act out of pure emotion. They have to be measured and get word from their replay team as to whether or not a challenge would be successful.

But that’s the culture that has been created, and that’s exactly what Bryan Price was doing in that situation. Like Pavlov’s Dog, his inclination on a play that was questionable was to reach for the phone rather than pop out of the dugout. It was regrettable because, under the rules, he needed to challenge the play immediately. He didn’t, and by the time he figured out he should challenge, the umpires had already left the field.

Keep in mind, the umpires left the field, thereby making the call stand and ending the game, despite getting the call wrong on the field. At the end of the day, the timing aspect of the replay rules were subservient to the spirit of the replay rules, which is to get the call right so a bad call doesn’t change the outcome of the game.

When the spirit of the rule is violated by a technicality of the rule, it is time to seek out solutions on how to balance the two. Here, the solution is simple. Since a challenge for the last play of the game is required to be immediate, why not just automatically review the final play of every game if it’s questionable?

On the Molina play, the replay officials could have been reviewing the play right away, and they could have alerted the umpires that the call should have been overturned. The call would have been right, and a game that had far reaching implications in the National League Wild Card race wouldn’t have been decided on a technicality. Again, the purpose of replay is to get the call right, not to get the call right only if it is challenged by a certain time.

In fact, like the NFL with touchdowns and turnovers, the immediate replay rule should be further expanded. Major League Baseball should institute an automatic replay on every home run and end of game situation. Like the NFL, the home plate umpire can be given a buzzer that goes off alerting them to the fact that the play is under review sending the umpires to the the phones. If done properly, this will actually reduce the amount of time wasted on replays. If done properly, the calls will be right rather than subjecting everyone to hand-wringing over whether the challenge was actually done in a timely fashion.

By the way, it will also save managers like Price, and Terry Collins from earlier this season, from having egg on their faces when they didn’t challenge a call that automatically ended the game.

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MMO Fan Shot: The Umpires Strike Back http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/05/mmo-fan-shot-the-umpires-strike-back.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/05/mmo-fan-shot-the-umpires-strike-back.html/#comments Sun, 29 May 2016 15:30:21 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=213363 Terry Collins, Manny Gonzalez

An MMO Fan Shot by Michael Reilly

The bases are loaded, with one out in the third inning and the Mets are down 3-1. Colorado’s Tony Wolters heads to the dugout after striking out. Not so fast, says home plate umpire Carlos Torres. You foul tipped it… A double and four runs later, the hole the Mets were already in gets much deeper. “He sold it for me,” Wolters says after the game. “I appreciate it. Carlos [Torres], thank you.”

MLB rightfully decided to honor the human element in the game by not allowing replays in such situations, leaving it up to the umpires to officiate. Umpires are permitted to consult with one another to try and make certain that the correct call is made. An umpire also has the right to refuse to discuss the issue any further with anyone at all. Too often, despite common sense and without humility, umpires choose the latter—even when it is obvious they are aware they blew the call.

The next day, with one out in the 8th inning and umpire’s egos dangerously close to being crushed, another call was badly blown. With the Mets trailing 4-3, Lucas Duda tapped a grounder to third base. Juan Lagares, running from 2nd base, avoided the tag from 3rd baseman Nolan Arenado, who instead threw to first for the out.

The third base umpire (properly) ruled Lagares safe. However, the second base umpire called him out for running out of the baseline. Who cares about such insignificant details like Lagares not even coming close to running out of the baseline and remaining on the dirt and directly in line with the third base bag, all while avoiding the tag? Ignore the fact that it wasn’t the second base umpire’s call to make. Definitely ignore the first call (safe) made by the umpire whose call it was to make. Ignore the rules. It is the umpires’ egos that we must protect.

To get to the end of this article, we must go back to 10/10/15. Game 2. Noah Syndergaard took the loss against the Dodgers and Ruben Tejada got knocked out for the remainder of the playoffs with a broken leg from a hard (and now illegal) slide by LA’s Chase Utley.

Since that game, the Mets have played the Dodgers on eight different occasions. 72 innings. Noah Syndergaard has already pitched once against L.A. since that loss in Game 2. In that game, he got the win and a couple of homers. So tonight was the 9th time that we played the Dodgers without any of the retribution every baseball fan and player thought was rightfully owed to Chase Utley, including himself.

I am not talking about hurting the guy and putting him on the disabled list. That would be wrong in any sport. Instead, one in the back, perhaps? Or, just throw a purpose pitch to back him up off the plate he has been hogging all season. Even better, make him eat dirt; you know, because: BASEBALL.

So last night, Noah Syndergaard got ejected for throwing behind Utley. Could the ball have just gotten away from him? Sure. Who knows? Adam Hamari, home plate umpire and rookie call-up, that’s who.

Although no warnings were officially issued, the umpires certainly seemed like they were treating this game and its players as if one had actually been given. I wonder just how long the umpires would have continued like this, seeing that the Mets had never sought retribution (if indeed that was retribution)?

It is not reasonable to issue bench warnings one off-season and nine games later when there has not even been a single pitch thrown inside by a Met pitcher. Nor has there been any tension or animosity between these two teams; therefore, sensibly, no bench warnings were given. Instead, the umpires decided the game should be played and ruled in the same manner it would be if an official warning was given: ONE STRIKE AND YOU’RE OUT!

Did 44,000 fans buy tickets for tonight’s game just for the chance to watch home plate umpire and rookie call-up Adam Hamari get involved and become the headliner of the game? Yes, according to yet another umpire’s ego. When will the league step in and do something not only about the bad umpiring itself, but to address this rampant arrogance and refusal to even confer as a group to get the call right?

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This MMO Fan Shot was written by MMO reader Michael Reilly. Have something you want to say about the Mets? Share your opinions with over 30,000 Met fans who read this site daily. Send your Fan Shot to FanShot@MetsmerizedOnline.com. Or ask us about becoming a regular contributor.

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Collins: No Retaliation, Flores Is SS Now, Game 4 Starter Undecided http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/10/collins-no-retaliation-flores-is-ss-now-game-4-starter-undecided.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/10/collins-no-retaliation-flores-is-ss-now-game-4-starter-undecided.html/#comments Mon, 12 Oct 2015 20:59:31 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=196319 terry collins cage

Terry Collins spoke to reporters at Citi Field and had some interesting things to say.

On Retaliation For Ruben Tejada:

Collins doesn’t think the umpires will issue warnings before tonight’s game. But he expects them to let both teams know there will be no “bullshit” tolerated.

“After Saturday night, I have a big challenge tonight. I’ve gotta keep things under control.”

“We cannot let our emotions take over here. We’ve got to let the past go. We have to play the game like we know how.”

Collins spoke privately with Matt Harvey and basically told him, “We’re not throwing at anyone. We have to worry about the game, and not retaliation right now.”

“We can’t just give a game away to show Ruben were backing him up. If Harvey gets ejected in the second inning, we’re in trouble.”

Shortstop Situation:

Collins confirmed that Ruben Tejada‘s fibula was a clean break so no surgery will be required. He will be getting another x-ray at Citi Field today and hopes he’ll be part of the pre-game ceremonies. Wilmer Flores is the starting shortstop. Matt Reynolds is only insurance.

On Game 4 Starter:

On Sunday, the headlines everywhere read, Collins Makes It Official: Steven Matz To Start Game 4. Less than 24 hours later, manager Terry Collins backpedaled and said it’s not a given that Steven Matz starts Game 4 if they lose Game 3. It could be Jacob deGrom on short rest, but he doesn’t know how he feels about that.

How Deep Will Matt Harvey Pitch?

Terry Collins says he’ll look at Matt Harvey at 110 pitches to see where he is. Definitely no more than 120.

On If He’d Rather Face Clayton Kershaw or Alex Wood in Game 4:

“What are you a fucking moron?” Okay, I made that last response up…

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Jerry Grote: The Man Behind The Mask http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/168700.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/168700.html/#comments Sun, 26 Oct 2014 13:50:52 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=168700 jerry grote

Winning was Jerry Grote’s bliss. In fact, his most joyous moment on the diamond was captured on film when teammate Jerry Koosman leapt into his arms after the final out of the 1969 World Series.

In 1976, Bob Myrick found out the hard way how Grote felt about losing when the Mets rookie pitcher beat his catcher in a game of Backgammon, causing Grote to explode, sending the board and its pieces across the room with a single swing of the arm.

“I just sat there staring at him – hard,” remembered Myrick. “He got up and picked up all the pieces, and we never had a cross word. He was a perfectionist.”

Grote’s desire to win led to unparalleled intensity on the field. During his 12-year career in New York, teammates labeled Grote surly, irascible, testy and moody. Then, there’s Koosman’s description: “If you looked up red-ass the dictionary, his picture would be in there. Jerry was the guy you wanted on your side, because he’d fight you tooth and nail ‘til death to win a ball game.”

Grote played with an anger and intensity that was, at times, intimidating to opponents, umpires, the media and teammates alike.

“When I came up I was scared to death of him,” said Jon Matlack, winner of the 1972 Rookie of the Year award. “If you bounced a curveball in the dirt, he’d get mad. I worried about him more than the hitter.”

“He could be trouble if you didn’t do what he said,” added former Met Craig Swan. “He wanted you to throw the pitches he called. He made it very simple. I would shake him off now and then, and he would shake his head back at me. If a guy hit a home run off of me, he wouldn’t let me hear the end of it.”

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Grote had a special way of letting his pitchers know he wasn’t pleased with a pitch. “Jerry had such a great arm. He could throw with great control and handcuff you in front of your belt buckle,” remembers Koosman.

Grote would get incensed when Jim McAndrew was on the mound. “McAndrew would never challenge hitters according to where Grote wanted the ball; so Grote kept firing it back and handcuffing him in front of the belt buckle, and we would laugh, because we knew what Grote was doing,” said Koosman.

The tactic didn’t go over so well when Koosman pitched. During a game when Koosman was struggling to find his control, Grote began firing the ball at his pitcher’s belt buckle. Koosman called Grote to the mound.

“I told him, ‘If you throw the ball back at me like that one more time I am going to break your f—ing neck,’” Koosman told Peter Golenbeck in Amazin’. “I turned around and walked back to the mound, and he never threw it back at me again. We had great respect for each other after that.”

He took his frustration out on umpires too. Retired umpire Bruce Froemming claims Grote intentionally let a fastball get by him, nearly striking Froemming in the throat. Because they had spent the three previous innings in a non-stop argument, Froemming accused Grote of intentionally moving aside in hope that the pitch would hit the umpire.

“Are you going to throw me out?” snapped Grote.

“He made no attempt to stop that pitch,” Froemming thought. The home plate umpire fumed but realized he had no grounds to toss Grote from the game.

National League umpires were well aware of Grote, and his on-field demeanor. In fact, in 1975, the league was discussing physical contact between catchers and umpires. Jerry Crawford was queried about his unique style of resting a hand between a catcher’s hip and rib cage and he said, “I ask the catcher if it bothers him, and only Jerry Grote has complained.”

“The writers never respected Grote, but they guys who played with him could barely stand him,” said Ron Swoboda. “He was a red-ass Texan who loved to f— with people but who didn’t like anyone to f— with him. It was a one-way street. Grote is Grote, and we would not have been as good without him behind home plate.”

“Grote had a red-ass with the media, but he didn’t care,” added Koosman. “All he cared about was what he did on the field. If you didn’t get your story from what he did out there, you either talked to him nicely or he wasn’t going to give you any more story.”

Grote did not return calls or respond to multiple email requests for an interview for this story.

This is who Jerry Grote is – and the Mets knew it from the day they traded for him for a player to be named later in October 1965.

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“When we got him, I don’t think anyone else had that big of an opinion of him,” said Bing Devine. “Jerry was withdrawn and had a negative personality, but he knew how to catch a ball game and how to handle pitchers, and maybe that very thing helped him to deal with the pitching staff. He was great. I know he surpassed our expectations.”

He was exactly what the Mets needed to manage a young, extremely talented pitching staff, but he was clearly a handful to manage too.

“If he ever learns to control himself, he might become the best catcher in baseball,” former Mets manager Wes Westrum told the media during Grote’s first season in New York.

Then, in 1968, Gil Hodges arrived. After being briefed on the Mets roster, Hodges said he “did not like some of the things I heard about Jerry. He had a habit of getting into too many arguments with umpires and getting on some of the older players on the club.”

Hodges, known for his firm, but fair, demeanor, took Grote into his office for an attitude adjustment. The Mets manager realized the importance of Grote’s talents and how it would affect the pitching staff. Hodges made his expectations clear.

“I hesitate to imagine where the New York Mets would have been the last few years without Jerry,” Hodges told Sports illustrated in 1971. “He is invaluable to us. He is intent and intense and he fights to get everything he can.”

Grote batted .256 in his 12 seasons in New York. He is a two-time All-Star (1968 and 1974). In 1969, Grote threw out 56% of baserunners. He ranks third on the Mets all-time list for games played (1235), 11th in hits (994), 15th in doubles and total bases (1413).

Grote fractured his wrist after getting hit by a pitch in May 1973. The Mets recorded three shutouts the first month with Grote behind the plate, four more shutouts over the next two months (May 12-August 11) without Grote behind the plate and eight more shutouts over the final six weeks of the season with Grote managing the staff. Grote caught every inning of every playoff and World Series game in 1969 and 1973. Here’s a statistic for you: In the 20 post season games between ’69 and ’73, the Mets used 45 pitchers and one catcher. Those were the only two post season appearances the Mets made during Grote’s 12 years in New York.

“One of the advantages of playing for New York is that the big crowds at Shea Stadium help you tremendously,” Grote said in a 1971 interview with Sports Illustrated. “They make you want to give 115% all the time. In other places it cannot be the same for the players. Like in Houston, nobody seems to applaud unless the hands on the scoreboard start to clap. Once those hands stop, so do all the others. Real enthusiasm.”

Grote loved playing in New York, and New York loved his gritty style.

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Mejia Wanted To Finish Utley Off, Collins Called Intentional Walk http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/08/mejia-wanted-to-finish-utley-off-collins-called-intentional-walk.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/08/mejia-wanted-to-finish-utley-off-collins-called-intentional-walk.html/#comments Mon, 11 Aug 2014 11:30:22 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=163093 terry collins

Losing in walk off fashion is always a punch to the gut. What made yesterdays loss feel so much worse were the questionable calls made in the later innings of the game. Those calls came from both the umpires and Terry Collins.

During the ninth inning there were two calls that went against the Mets. First was a ball that was lined down the right field line by Cody Asche. It seemed to hook around the bag as Lucas Duda dove into foul territory to try to make the play. As soon as the play came to an end, Collins sprinted out of the dugout to discuss the call with the first base umpire.

“My whole thing was Lucas is on the line, playing no doubles. He dives for the ball and can’t get near it. The ball has got to be pretty much foul for me. That was my argument. I just asked the home-plate umpire. I know he’s not allowed to check (on instant replay). You can’t challenge it. I just thought the home-plate umpire might have had a better angle” (Adam Rubin, ESPN).

According to Adam Rubin of ESPN, the Mets were not blaming the umpires for the loss but Collins did feel the club was wronged by the call.

Later in that inning, Jenry Mejia threw a very close pitch to Chase Utley that was called a ball. It was a very, very close pitch, hindered by Travis d’Arnaud‘s quick throw to second as Marlon Byrd stole second base. With that ball the count went full to Utley and Collins made the call from the dugout to intentionally walk him.

After the game it seemed as if Mejia was less than thrilled with that decision. Six pitches later the game was over and the Phillies were celebrating. “I wanted to finish” Mejia told Rubin, “I’m not the manager. I just pitch and have to do whatever the manager wants me to do. There’s nothing I can do, just give a walk and face Howard.”

Walking Utley in that situation makes a lot of sense. He is the teams best hitter and with a runner on second, the runner on first means nothing. Ryan Howard was on deck and he came into that at bat hitting just .216. It was the correct move from a stats perspective but that’s baseball. It backfired on Collins as three blown calls sank the Mets on Sunday.

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It’s A Beautiful Day in the “Neighborhood” http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/its-a-beautiful-day-in-the-neighborhood.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/its-a-beautiful-day-in-the-neighborhood.html/#comments Tue, 08 Jul 2014 13:20:26 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=160314 fredi gonzalez ejectedfredi gonzalez ejected

While it had no bearing on the results of Monday night’s 4-3 win over the Braves, one of the most controversial points in the game came in the bottom of the ninth when an out call at second base was overturned, giving the Mets runners on first and second with nobody out.

Eric Campbell was ruled safe at second on a bunt play when replays showed Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons came off the bag too soon as he took a throw and relayed to first. 

Normally referred to as the “neighborhood play,” such plays are not reviewable under instant replay rules. But that didn’t deter Mets manager Terry Collins from coming out to argue the call, telling umpires that a bad throw from third baseman Chris Johnson pulled Simmons off the bag at second base.

“It was one of the worst calls I’ve ever seen,” Gonzalez said.

“We reviewed the call because, in our judgment, we felt the throw took the fielder off the bag,” crew chief Mike Everitt told a pool reporter. “That was going to be reviewable.”

“He’s trying to complete the double play quicker. He’s trying to gain an advantage,” umpire Tim Timmons said.

Gonzalez vehemently disagreed and was soon ejected from the game.

“It’s bad interpretation — whoever interpreted it,” he said. “That becomes a neighborhood play … nobody can tell me that that throw was pulled off the bag.”

MLB released a statement after the game:

“The replay regulations allow umpires to determine if they considered a play to be a neighborhood play or not, based on a variety of factors. Some of the factors they consider are the throw and if the player receiving the ball is making the turn. Umpires might consider whether it was an errant throw or if a player receiving a throw who is not at risk of contact made an effort to touch the bag.”

As it turned out, the Mets would not take advantage of the favorable ruling as Braves reliever Shae Simmons pitched out of the jam leaving the game tied at 3 and sending it into extra innings.

“They got lucky that we didn’t lose the game there,” Gonzalez said.

For what it’s worth, the SNY booth all thought it was a bad call by the umpires and that the throw was not errant. Simmons, they argued, put himself in a better position to make the throw to first base to try and complete the double play.

Then this happened…

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Beat Writer Apologizes For Mocking Bartolo Colon http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/04/beat-writer-apologizes-for-mocking-bartolo-colon.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/04/beat-writer-apologizes-for-mocking-bartolo-colon.html/#comments Wed, 30 Apr 2014 17:12:17 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=154261 lardball

April 29

New York Post beat writer Mike Puma, whose comments about Bartolo Colon caused Mets players to boycott his presence in the clubhouse, apologized today via Twitter.

“No intent to offend with Colon comment last week, was meant to be a joke. For the record, I keep hot fudge on my neck for long games.”

If the rain stops, Colon will be on the mound tonight in Philadelphia with the Mets looking for a two-game sweep .

April 26

The Mets would not speak with the media after their exciting walk-off win on Friday night until NY Post beat writer Mike Puma left the clubhouse.

Kristie Ackert of the Daily News, dished out the details:

Instead of a jubilant clubhouse with loud music and happy players after Friday’s walk-off win, the doors opened to silence, empty, spinning chairs and no Mets.

Apparently angry about an article in the New York Post on Friday about Bartolo Colon under the headline “LARDBALL,” the players would not talk to the media until Post writer Mike Puma left the clubhouse. Puma was asked to leave and did so without incident. Within a minute, several Mets appeared in the clubhouse.

Puma began that article:

“If the umpires searched Bartolo Colon’s neck for a foreign substance on Thursday, chances are they only would have found peanut butter.”

That’s pretty unprofessional for a writer being paid to cover the Mets beat and report the news to fans. And an awful oversight by the editors at the Post for allowing that article to go public like that. Bad job all around…

Kudos to David Wright and all the other leaders in the Mets clubhouse for taking note of Puma’s article and then taking a stand to defend one of their own teammates in a silent protest.

I’m very proud of this team which continues to take the concept of teamwork to a whole new level, both on and off the field.

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All 30 MLB Clubs Unanimously Approve Instant Replay http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/01/all-30-mlb-clubs-unanimously-approve-instant-replay.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/01/all-30-mlb-clubs-unanimously-approve-instant-replay.html/#comments Thu, 16 Jan 2014 19:51:43 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=139764 mlb-logo

2:45 PM Update: All 30 MLB clubs have just unanimously approved expansion of instant replay, which will be in effect for the 2014 season and postseason.

Clubs can now show all replays on scoreboard in stadiums.Teams should know if they’ll win challenge before doing so. Can look at video.

Anthony Rieber of Newsday is at the Owners Meetings where the big thing on the agenda is whether Major League Baseball should scale back its planned ambitious expansion of instant replay so it can be implemented in time for the upcoming season.

MLB executive vice president of baseball operations Joe Torre said on Wednesday night, ”I think it’s going to happen.”

Torre said MLB is considering adding fair/foul calls and limited safe/out calls with a manager’s challenge.

Previous incarnations of the system proposed to begin this season included all safe/out calls, but that may no longer be the case.

“It’s not a perfect game,” Torre said. “If you try to get every single thing right, you’d have to time the game with a calendar.”

He indicated that adding safe/out calls on plays at the plate was the first priority. The current replay plan looks only at whether a ball is a home run.

“The home run thing, it’s worked really well,” Torre said. Of the changes, Torre said, “We certainly don’t want a play at the plate where umpires realize they were wrong and couldn’t do anything about it.”

Torre said the umpires are on board, but any plan approved by the owners must also be approved by the players’ union for 2014. Owners also are discussing banning home-plate collisions at these meetings.

Back in November, when the plan was first bought to the table and met with a strong willingness by the owners to move forward with it, our own John Ginder wrote the following:

Touching on it briefly, it looks as if managers will be allowed two challenges a game. If they are unsuccessful with their first challenge they will lose the second one. It is still unclear what can be challenged, but it won’t just be home runs anymore.

One thing about baseball that I have always loved and admired is the human element. Maybe I am in the minority. I understand how frustrating it can be when a call doesn’t go your way, but I also know the feeling when you get away with one. Implementing this replay system in a way is phasing this out. I am not saying that I don’t agree with it, I am just saying that one of the things that I along with many love about the game is being handed over to the replay booth.

A complaint for years has been how long games take to be played. With pitching changes, hitter’s pre-at bat rituals, time between pitches, etc… adding the possibility of four challenges isn’t going to speed things up any. I am not complaining about the duration of a game because I could spend all day everyday at a ballpark, I am just stating the facts.

It is still early in this process and I know that the people involved are going to put in a ton of time to iron out the details to be sure the right system is in place, but it leaves me with an on the fence feeling about how much it actually will change the game.

The technology is there to make this work but where does it stop?

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MLB Expanded Replay: Why Now? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/11/mlb-expanded-replay-why-now.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/11/mlb-expanded-replay-why-now.html/#comments Fri, 15 Nov 2013 13:00:24 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=133019 On Thursday, MLB owners unanimously voted on funding that would expand instant replay in baseball. There are still plenty of details that need to be worked out before the final votes by the owners are cast, but pending player’s union approval, it looks like this is going to be a go. This is something that has been in the works since the summer.

bud selig 5

Touching on it briefly, it looks as if managers will be allowed two challenges a game. If they are unsuccessful with their first challenge they will lose the second one. It is still unclear what can be challenged, but it won’t just be homeruns anymore. The one thing that was mentioned was that balls and strikes will not be challengeable. It appears as though everything else will be. It is also unclear if umpires have the ability themselves to review a homerun or if that will be left up to the manager.

One thing about baseball that I have always loved and admired is the human element. Maybe I am in the minority. I understand how frustrating it can be when a call doesn’t go your way, but I also know the feeling when you get away with one. Implementing this replay system in a way is phasing this out. I am not saying that I don’t agree with it, I am just saying that one of the things that I along with many love about the game is being handed over to the replay booth.

A complaint for years has been how long games take to be played. With pitching changes, hitter’s pre-at bat rituals, time between pitches, etc… adding the possibility of four challenges isn’t going to speed things up any. I am not complaining about the duration of a game because I could spend all day everyday at a ballpark, I am just stating the facts.

It is still early in this process and I know that the people involved are going to put in a ton of time to iron out the details to be sure the right system is in place, but it leaves me with an on the fence feeling about how much it actually will change the game. The technology is there to make this work but where does it stop? Homeruns have been reviewable since the end of 2008. Soon it could be just plays at the plate. Or maybe fair or foul balls. Perhaps every out could be reviewed. Are the managers the only ones to call for a replay? Are players going to stall and “argue” to give the manager enough time for someone within the organization to review the play then relay the message to the dugout to have it reviewed? There are a million questions about this but the one I am stuck on is, Why now?

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Managers May Be Able To Challenge Umpire’s Calls Beginning In 2014 http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/08/managers-may-be-able-to-challenge-umpires-calls-beginning-in-2014.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/08/managers-may-be-able-to-challenge-umpires-calls-beginning-in-2014.html/#comments Thu, 15 Aug 2013 18:02:53 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=127210 bud-selig 3The Associated Press reports that baseball as we know it could be changing forever beginning next season.

Major League Baseball is expanding its video review process next season, giving managers a tool they’ve never had.

Commissioner Bud Selig calls it a historic moment for the game in a press conference in Cooperstown after two days of meetings with representatives of the 30 teams. The proposal is to be voted on by the owners in November.

Managers will be allowed one challenge over the first six innings of games and two after the seventh inning until the end of the game. Calls that are challenged will be reviewed by a crew in MLB headquarters in New York City, which will make the final ruling.

MLB vice president Joe Torre gave the replay presentation to representatives from all 30 teams on Wednesday and it was discussed Thursday morning.

A 75 percent vote by the owners is needed for approval and the players’ association and umpires would have to agree to any changes to the current system.

Atlanta Braves President John Schuerholz, a member of the replay committee, says the umpires are receptive to the change. Schuerholz says 89 percent of incorrect calls made in the past will be reviewable.

Wow, I wonder how the owners will vote on this… Usually, Selig always gets his way especially with some strong-arming from his biggest allies like Fred Wilpon…

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Avenging Angel: Will Botched Call Pave Way For Centralized Review? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/05/avenging-angel-will-botched-call-pave-way-for-centralized-review.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/05/avenging-angel-will-botched-call-pave-way-for-centralized-review.html/#comments Thu, 09 May 2013 17:43:56 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=118106 Angel Hernandez, Bob MelvinSusan Slusser of the SF Gate reported this morning on a botched call that resulted in Bob Melvin of the Oakland A’s being tossed kicking and screaming from a game against Cleveland last night for arguing after a home run review didn’t go his way.

With two outs in the ninth, Adam Rosales hit a drive to left field that seemed to clearly hit a railing above the edge of the wall tying the game, yet somehow, crew chief Angel Hernandez ruled that there was “not enough evidence” to overturn the call. Apparently, actually seeing the ball clear the wall, is not enough.

”Everybody else said it was a home run, including their announcers when I came in here later,” a miffed Melvin said. ”I don’t get it. I don’t know what the explanation would be when everybody else in the ballpark knew it was a home run.”

”Clearly, it hit the railing. I’m at a loss, I’m at a complete loss,” Melvin added.

Buster Olney and Ken Rosenthal are both calling for resumption of the game from the point in the ninth inning where Rosales tied it 4 – 4. While the chances of this happening are slim, MLB will likely offer some consolation in the form of an “official statement” … there may even be a “policy review.”

The term that’s being knocked around a lot this morning in light of this astonishingly bad call, is “centralized review.” Central review is similar to what is employed in the NHL, involving a team of officials monitoring a video bank (most likely in N.Y.) with access to all the video feeds of all in-progress games.

During the off-season MLB also agreed to test two advanced replay systems live during games, a radar-based system and a camera-based system, similar to the ones used in tennis for down-the-line fair-or-foul calls. Yankee Stadium and our very own Citi Field were chosen as guinea-pig parks for these systems, which have apparently already been installed.

So my question is, where were these systems during the botched call in the ninth inning the other night? In fact, where are these systems period? I don’t see them, are they so advanced they have “stealth” capabilities? Is the box that Buck crashed into last week that prevented him from making a play in foul territory part of these systems? Are they supposed to interfere with players that way? How are they testing these systems? Is there a team of officials umpiring certain games in a video room and comparing their results with the rulings on the field? A digital domain, if you will, where the alternate umps officiate in real time only instead of wearing black outfits they’re dressed in blue spandex dotted with blinking LED lights … Maybe instead of popcorn and hotdogs they snack on couscous and baby carrots …

In 2012, Ken Rosenthal, in the midst of his little conniption over Santana’s no-hitter, reported that commissioner Bud Selig remains wary of slowing down games for fear of a “robotization” that may eventually extend to balls and strikes. Robotization, yep, that’s the word he used … Bud Selig is afraid of a robot takeover. Can you imagine? A terminator-series cybernetic umpire? Hasta la vista Bob Melvin.

One thing is clear, in an age where video review is everywhere, where anything out of the ordinary can end up on Youtube in a nanosecond, MLB is well behind the curve.

The purists will tell you the game doesn’t need to be changed, but there is a growing consensus that technology has improved to such a degree that the game would be improved dramatically with the addition of these technological assets.

I’m all for it … in fact I don’t see what would be so difficult about equipping umpires with some high resolution 12 inch tablets with direct links to all the video feeds. Umpires could watch the game as it happens … shucks, they wouldn’t even have to be at the game, they could officiate from the comfort of their living rooms thereby also avoiding any potential bodily harm from fan riots.

Thoughts from John Delcos

There’s arrogance. There’s blind arrogance. And, there is Angel Hernandez arrogance, which by the way, incorporates a little bit of the blind.

bob melvin angel hernandez

Another night, another blown call, but Hernandez’s last night in Cleveland was compounded by his bullish behavior afterward, which should be met with swift and forceful action by Commissioner Bud Selig.

“Probably the only four people in the ballpark,’’ Oakland manager Bob Melvin said about the umpire’s non-reversal.

Replays clearly showed the ball struck a metal railing over the padded outfield wall. More to the point, after striking the railing, the ball ricocheted as you know it would when it strikes metal. Umpire supervisor Jim McKean told ESPN.

Hernandez, using the umpire’s stock get-out-of-jail-free card, said: “It wasn’t evident on the TV we had and it was a home run. I don’t know what kind of replay you had, but you can’t reverse a call unless there is 100 percent evidence and there wasn’t 100 percent evidence.”

Hernandez clearly didn’t want the interview recorded because he could come back and claim he was misquoted. The quote the reporter acquired the old fashioned way was damning enough.

The umpires use the same camera angle used in the broadcasts and have additional cameras. To suggest the reporters had different camera angles is absurd, not to mention a fabrication.

Hernandez was trying to cover up his own ineptitude with an outlandish story. Clearly, he blew the call, threw dirt on the system used to correct mistakes, and compounded his failure by refusing the interview to be recorded and his arrogant answer.

The ball now is in Selig’s court, and with his powers “to act in the best interest of baseball,’’ his reaction should be swift.

The call should be reversed – to hell with it being in the umpire’s judgment – with the game resumed after the home run. Any fines for Melvin and Rosales should be rescinded.

As for Hernandez, he must be fined and suspended for his actions. Selig needs to come down hard on Hernandez. Really hard. And, in the future, any attempt by an umpire to bully reporters by preventing interviews to be recorded should be met with similar punishment.

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Featured Post: Behind the Mask – Jerry Grote http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/04/featured-post-behind-the-mask-jerry-grote.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/04/featured-post-behind-the-mask-jerry-grote.html/#comments Tue, 23 Apr 2013 04:01:58 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=115881 jerry koosman jerry grote ed charlesWinning was Jerry Grote’s bliss. In fact, his most joyous moment on the diamond was captured on film when teammate Jerry Koosman leapt into his arms after the final out of the 1969 World Series.

In 1976, Bob Myrick found out the hard way how Grote felt about losing when the Mets rookie pitcher beat his catcher in a game of Backgammon, causing Grote to explode, sending the board and its pieces across the room with a single swing of the arm.

“I just sat there staring at him – hard,” remembered Myrick. “He got up and picked up all the pieces, and we never had a cross word. He was a perfectionist.”

Grote’s desire to win led to unparalleled intensity on the field. During his 12-year career in New York, teammates labeled Grote surly, irascible, testy and moody. Then, there’s Koosman’s description: “If you looked up red-ass the dictionary, his picture would be in there. Jerry was the guy you wanted on your side, because he’d fight you tooth and nail ‘til death to win a ball game.”

Grote played with an anger and intensity that was, at times, intimidating to opponents, umpires, the media and teammates alike.

“When I came up I was scared to death of him,” said Jon Matlack, winner of the 1972 Rookie of the Year award. “If you bounced a curveball in the dirt, he’d get mad. I worried about him more than the hitter.”

“He could be trouble if you didn’t do what he said,” added former Met Craig Swan. “He wanted you to throw the pitches he called. He made it very simple. I would shake him off now and then, and he would shake his head back at me. If a guy hit a home run off of me, he wouldn’t let me hear the end of it.”

Grote had a special way of letting his pitchers know he wasn’t pleased with a pitch. “Jerry had such a great arm. He could throw with great control and handcuff you in front of your belt buckle,” remembers Koosman.

Grote would get incensed when Jim McAndrew was on the mound. “McAndrew would never challenge hitters according to where Grote wanted the ball; so Grote kept firing it back and handcuffing him in front of the belt buckle, and we would laugh, because we knew what Grote was doing,” said Koosman.

jerry groteThe tactic didn’t go over so well when Koosman pitched. During a game when Koosman was struggling to find his control, Grote began firing the ball at his pitcher’s belt buckle. Koosman called Grote to the mound.

“I told him, ‘If you throw the ball back at me like that one more time I am going to break your f—ing neck,’” Koosman told Peter Golenbeck in Amazin’. “I turned around and walked back to the mound, and he never threw it back at me again. We had great respect for each other after that.”

He took his frustration out on umpires too. Retired umpire Bruce Froemming claims Grote intentionally let a fastball get by him, nearly striking Froemming in the throat. Because they had spent the three previous innings in a non-stop argument, Froemming accused Grote of intentionally moving aside in hope that the pitch would hit the umpire.

“Are you going to throw me out?” snapped Grote.

“He made no attempt to stop that pitch,” Froemming thought. The home plate umpire fumed but realized he had no grounds to toss Grote from the game.

National League umpires were well aware of Grote, and his on-field demeanor. In fact, in 1975, the league was discussing physical contact between catchers and umpires. Jerry Crawford was queried about his unique style of resting a hand between a catcher’s hip and rib cage and he said, “I ask the catcher if it bothers him, and only Jerry Grote has complained.”

“The writers never respected Grote, but they guys who played with him could barely stand him,” said Ron Swoboda. “He was a red-ass Texan who loved to f— with people but who didn’t like anyone to f— with him. It was a one-way street. Grote is Grote, and we would not have been as good without him behind home plate.”

“Grote had a red-ass with the media, but he didn’t care,” added Koosman. “All he cared about was what he did on the field. If you didn’t get your story from what he did out there, you either talked to him nicely or he wasn’t going to give you any more story.”

Grote did not return calls or respond to multiple email requests for an interview for this story.

This is who Jerry Grote is – and the Mets knew it from the day they traded for him for a player to be named later in October 1965.

“When we got him, I don’t think anyone else had that big of an opinion of him,” said Bing Devine. “Jerry was withdrawn and had a negative personality, but he knew how to catch a ball game and how to handle pitchers, and maybe that very thing helped him to deal with the pitching staff. He was great. I know he surpassed our expectations.”

He was exactly what the Mets needed to manage a young, extremely talented pitching staff, but he was clearly a handful to manage too.

“If he ever learns to control himself, he might become the best catcher in baseball,” former Mets manager Wes Westrum told the media during Grote’s first season in New York.

Then, in 1968, Gil Hodges arrived. After being briefed on the Mets roster, Hodges said he “did not like some of the things I heard about Jerry. He had a habit of getting into too many arguments with umpires and getting on some of the older players on the club.”

Hodges, known for his firm, but fair, demeanor, took Grote into his office for an attitude adjustment. The Mets manager realized the importance of Grote’s talents and how it would affect the pitching staff. Hodges made his expectations clear.

“I hesitate to imagine where the New York Mets would have been the last few years without Jerry,” Hodges told Sports illustrated in 1971. “He is invaluable to us. He is intent and intense and he fights to get everything he can.”

Grote batted .256 in his 12 seasons in New York. He is a two-time All-Star (1968 and 1974). In 1969, Grote threw out 56% of baserunners. He ranks third on the Mets all-time list for games played (1235), 11th in hits (994), 15th in doubles and total bases (1413).

Grote fractured his wrist after getting hit by a pitch in May 1973. The Mets recorded three shutouts the first month with Grote behind the plate, four more shutouts over the next two months (May 12-August 11) without Grote behind the plate and eight more shutouts over the final six weeks of the season with Grote managing the staff. Grote caught every inning of every playoff and World Series game in 1969 and 1973. Here’s a statistic for you: In the 20 post season games between ’69 and ’73, the Mets used 45 pitchers and one catcher. Those were the only two post season appearances the Mets made during Grote’s 12 years in New York.

“One of the advantages of playing for New York is that the big crowds at Shea Stadium help you tremendously,” Grote said in a 1971 interview with Sports Illustrated. “They make you want to give 115% all the time. In other places it cannot be the same for the players. Like in Houston, nobody seems to applaud unless the hands on the scoreboard start to clap. Once those hands stop, so do all the others. Real enthusiasm.”

Grote loved playing in New York, and New York loved his gritty style.

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Boyd’s 4 RBI Day Leads Savannah To A 6-4 Victory http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/04/boyds-4-rbi-day-leads-savannah-to-a-6-4-victory.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/04/boyds-4-rbi-day-leads-savannah-to-a-6-4-victory.html/#comments Sun, 21 Apr 2013 06:28:55 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=115592 420Savannah

 

Savannah 6, Lakewood 4

Jayce Boyd had a great offensive night and the Sand Gnats received a questionable call from the umpires down in Lakewood en route to a 6-4 victory on Saturday night.

It was Rainy Lara who got the start for Savannah in this one, and he was shaky at best, allowing 11 hits and a walk. This resulted in four earned runs and it could have actually been worse, because the umpires ruled what looked to be a home run, as a ground-rule double. Lara was able to neutralize the threat in the inning and Lakewood ended up with only one run in the frame. Lara pitched into the sixth, lasting 5.1 innings, before he was lifted in favor of Hunter Carnevale with two men on base. Carnevale wrapped up the inning without allowing the runners to score, and Jake Kuebler and Bret Mitchell shut the door down there from there till the end of the game.

As for Savannah’s now high-powered offense, Jayce Boyd was the man of the hour as he torched Lakewood for three hits and four RBI – including two of them with two outs. Boyd actually drove in runs in three different frames, including Brandon Nimmo twice – who tripled and scored two runs in this game. Kevin Plawecki added another double to his stat sheet and continues to merit the nickname “Doubles Machine.”

Key Stats

Brandon Nimmo: 1-for-3, 1 3B, 2 R, 2 BB

Jayce Boyd: 3-for-4, 1 2B, 4 RBI, 1 BB

Kevin Plawecki: 1-for-4, 1 2B, 1 BB

Cole Frenzel: 1-for-4, 1 2B, 2 R, 1 BB

Rainy Lara: 5.1 IP, 11 H, 1 HR, 1 BB, 4 ER, 2 K

Jake Kuebler: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 0 ER, 3 K

Bret Mitchell: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 BB, 0 ER, 1 K

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A Few Changes MLB Can Implement To Improve The National Pastime http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/03/a-few-changes-mlb-can-implement-to-improve-the-national-pastime.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/03/a-few-changes-mlb-can-implement-to-improve-the-national-pastime.html/#comments Wed, 20 Mar 2013 04:05:50 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=111332 MLB: Washington Nationals-Pitchers and CatchersThe NFL is contemplating a rule where running backs can’t duck their heads when outside the tackle box. Like the rule or not, unlike baseball, football is proactive when it comes to rule changes and adjustments in the game.

It isn’t as if Major League Baseball has to appeal to the Supreme Court for changes. Some could be negotiated through the Collective Bargaining Agreement, where others are common sense.

Here are some changes that could be made to improve the quality of play, and yes maybe a few are tongue in cheek:

INSTANT REPLAY: Expansion is being considered and rightly so. If they have replay, do it right. Nobody expects it on balls and strikes, although the TV pitch tracker box shows a lot of mistakes. Unlike football and basketball, where action occurs all over the field, much of baseball’s action happens at fixed locations, such as the bases, foul lines and outfield wall. Cameras can easily be focused on those key spots. There are out and safe calls on the bases, as well as fair and foul, that could be overturned with a minimum of time. It would take a fifth umpire located in the press box with monitors. Should take no more than a couple of minutes to get it right, and MLB has the money for the extra umpire.

THE UMPIRES: There is an adversarial relationship between players/managers and umpires. Too many umpires have a short fuse and eject at the slightest debate. So, put a microphone on them they can’t control to record arguments. Not only will it show umpires sometimes being in the wrong, but it also can be taped and sold for extra marketing bucks. Who wouldn’t want a DVD of greatest umpire-manager fights?

SCHEDULING: The scheduling is a mess that creates problems. For example, why are the San Diego Padres opening the season at Citi Field? The weather is ugly in April, so the first month should be mostly within the division so games can be made up easier. If the Padres-Mets game is bagged, it will be hard searching for a make-up date. Why put the Padres, or any team, in position of crossing three time zones to make up a game? Just makes no sense.

THE GETAWAY GAME: The last game in any series, if not followed by an off day, should be in the afternoon. As it is, teams don’t get into the next city until 3 or 4 in the morning, and players are exhausted for the next game. Players can be seen in the clubhouse before the first game of a series guzzling coffee and Red Bull. The quality of play suffers when the players are tired, so why not put them in the best position to succeed? Alert players give the fans a better product. Also, it provides teams at least another couple of day games in a month and what’s not to like about day baseball?

THE DAY-NIGHT DOUBLEHEADER: If MLB insists on interleague play and the unbalanced schedule, there will continue to be 19 games a year against teams in the division. Familiarity does breed contempt, so perhaps this contributes to an attendance fall-off at the end of a season. If a day-night doubleheader were scheduled once or twice a month (at home and the road), it would clear 12 days, which could be used for extra off-days and make-up games. I’ve spoken to many players who would rather have the doubleheader if it meant another off day. This format could schedule shorten the season by up to a week and start the playoffs earlier. Anything to alleviate November baseball. I know they’ll never go for the traditional doubleheader because of not wanting to give up the gate, but this is feasible.

BODY ARMOR: This padding on the elbow has to go. If you’re protecting an injury, fine, but players are taking advantage of the padding and therefore don’t fear the inside pitch. Not fair. Barry Bonds spend the last four or five years of his career not having to worry about being plunked.

PITCHER SHIELD: Can’t a light helmet with a face shield for pitchers be designed to protect them from line drives to the head and face? They made helmets mandatory for base coaches after a coach was killed after being struck in the head. Does somebody else have to be seriously injured or killed before something is done?

SUSPENSIONS: When a player is suspended for throwing at a hitter or using a corked bat, his penalty should come against the team he was playing against at the time. Just seems a fairer way. And, why does the player usually have to wait until the next time his team plays in New York before an appeal? There’s teleconferencing and conference calls, so what’s the big deal?

There are countless of other possible changes, but these are a few that have been rattling in my mind. I’d like to hear if you have others.

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Baseball Oddities: Random Items Lifted From The New CBA http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/02/baseball-oddities-random-items-lifted-from-the-new-cba.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/02/baseball-oddities-random-items-lifted-from-the-new-cba.html/#comments Sun, 24 Feb 2013 13:00:15 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=108899 confusedNothing in this Agreement shall be construed to restrict the rights of the Clubs to manage and direct their operations in any manner whatsoever except as specifically limited by the terms of this Agreement.

During the championship season, each Player shall receive a daily meal and tip allowance for each date a Club is on the road and for each traveling day. No deductions will be made for meals served on an airplane.

Any Player wearing a golf or batting glove underneath a playing glove may not rub up balls for use by the pitcher.

No field personnel may wear distracting jewelry of any kind. Distracting jewelry includes any item worn or used by a Player which, in the opinion of the umpire, could interfere with the play of the game or umpires’ ability to make calls, or endanger the health or safety of a Player, including the Player wearing the jewelry.

A catcher entering the on-deck circle as the next batter shall have removed his shin guards before entering the on-deck circle.

At least 51% of the exterior of each Player’s shoes must be the Club’s designated primary shoe color and the portion of the Club’s designated primary shoe color must be evenly distributed throughout the exterior of each shoe.

In any case in which a Player’s consent must be secured prior to the assignment of his contract, or in which a Player may elect free agency in lieu of accepting the outright assignment of his contract, the form given to the Player must include the Player’s name in typewritten form.

Sleeve length may not extend below the elbow.

If the new Uniform Player’s Contract is signed between the last day of one championship season and the first day of the next championship season, it must begin no later than the championship season following the next succeeding championship season; and if it does not begin with the next championship season, it cannot modify the terms of the Uniform Player’s Contract covering the next succeeding championship season. (Huh?)

Players will not be allowed to change shoes while running bases during any Major League game.

During the championship season, including travel to the first game of such season, no Club, absent extraordinary circumstances that make travel by plane impossible, may travel by bus between games if the distance between the two cities is, by the most direct highway route, more than 200 miles (one way).

Sleeves may not  be cut.

The Senior Vice President of Standards and On-Field Operations may choose to suspend a Player without pay for intentionally throwing a baseball, equipment or other object at a non-uniformed personnel with the intent of causing bodily harm.

Jerseys may not intentionally be untucked. (Hello, Jose Reyes.)

Under no circumstances may a jersey be ordered at or altered to a length where it cannot properly be tucked in.

The use of smokeless tobacco by Players, managers and coaches during televised interviews or appearances on behalf of the Club is prohibited. At any time when fans are permitted into the ballpark, players, managers, coaches and other on-field personnel will conceal tobacco products (including tobacco tins or packages) and may not carry tobacco products (including tobacco tins or packages) in their uniform or on their body.

The bottom of the pants may not be cut. Players wishing to relax the elastic string must do so from inside the pants.

obama confusedProhibition: All covered Individuals are prohibited from possessing deadly weapons while performing any services for MLB Entities, including while traveling on business (e.g., road games).

All Players will undergo neuro-cognitive baseline testing during Spring Training or when they join a Club each season.

A Player will not be permitted to change his jersey number even if such request is approved by his Club unless the request was received by the Office of the Commissioner no later than July 31st of the year preceding the championship season in which the jersey number change would take effect.

Straps may not be attached to the bottom of the pants.

No Player may have any visible corporate markings or logos tattooed on his body. In addition, no pitcher shall have markings on his body that are potentially distracting to the umpire or batter. Markings that are potentially distracting include tattoo(s) or other marking(s) which, in the opinion of the umpire, could interfere with the umpires’ ability to make calls, endanger the health or safety of a batter or otherwise interfere with the play of the game.

The elastic string may not be completely removed from the bottom of the pants.

During the period between reporting to the Club and being added to the Active Roster, a Player may participate in one workout and/or orientation without receiving Major League salary or service, but may not be in uniform for a game or otherwise occupy the bullpen, dugout, or field after the official end of his Club’s batting practice.

Any pitcher starting or entering a game wearing a colored glove must wear a glove of the same color for the pitcher’s entire participation in the game.

The trainer’s room and players’ lounge may be off-limits to the media, but each club controls these areas, and it is vital these areas not be used as a sanctuary for players seeking to avoid the media.

Pants pockets may not intentionally be untucked.

Ropes or other restraining barriers are not permitted to bar the media.

Media are to be allowed in foul territory, in an unrestricted manner, in an area that is to be not less than the territory between first and third bases, and which territory includes the area around the batting cage, except the dirt area around the batting cage.

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David Cone to Guest Bartend at Foley’s to Help Victims of Hurricane Sandy http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/11/david-cone-to-guest-bartend-at-foleys-to-help-victims-of-hurricane-sandy.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/11/david-cone-to-guest-bartend-at-foleys-to-help-victims-of-hurricane-sandy.html/#comments Sat, 10 Nov 2012 18:34:35 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=100470

Five Time All-Star “Pitches In” to Aid New Yorkers in Need

During his 17-year major league career, David Cone took the mound in big spots for the Mets, Yankees and three other teams. However, on Thursday, November 15, 2012, he’ll be “pitching in” to help New York area residents impacted by Hurricane Sandy.

The popular broadcaster and former star pitcher will put his mixology skills to the test at Foley’s NY Pub & Restaurant (18 W. 33rdSt.) on November 15 from 6-9 pm as a guest bartender at a fundraiser quickly organized to aid victims of Sandy’s destruction.

Foley’s will donate 100% of its sales from 6 pm to midnight, including proceeds from the drinks that the former five-time World Series Champion and YES Network analyst pours. In addition, all of David’s “tips” will go to the cause.

“Many friends and customers are suffering because of Hurricane Sandy. Seeing the devastation in Staten Island, The Rockaways, Long Island and New Jersey, I wanted to do something to make a difference. We reached out to David Cone, and he jumped at the opportunity to help,” said Shaun Clancy, owner of Foley’s, which houses one of the country’s most extensive public displays of baseball memorabilia.

“David won the Hutch Award in 1998, which is given to the MLB player who best exemplifies fighting spirit and competitive desire. He’s a personification of New York’s fighting spirit during a time that has been difficult for so many people,” Clancy added.

David Cone has long been a fan favorite in New York. During his career with the Mets (1987-92), a legion of “Coneheads” supported him in the stands at Shea Stadium. He went on to win a World Series with the Toronto Blue Jays in 1992 and the Cy Young Award with the Kansas City Royals in 1994 before collecting four championship rings with the Yankees as an essential part to the team’s rotation from 1995-2000. Cone also pitched the 16th perfect game in baseball history at Yankee Stadium on Yogi Berra Day (July 18, 1999) with fellow perfect game hurler Don Larsen watching in the stands. David Cone finished his career with a 194–126 won–loss record, 2,688 strikeouts, and a 3.46 lifetime ERA.

“Although we will have fun at Foley’s, we are all trying to help a serious cause,” said Cone, now a broadcaster on YES Network. “I invite all my friends in New York — Mets fans and Yankees fans alike — to come out and support this effort to help some of our neighbors who are in great need right now.”

Foley’s NY Pub & Restaurant (18 W. 33rd St.) is home of the Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame.A popular destination among baseball players, executives, umpires, media, and fans, Foley’s is located across from the Empire State Building. The “Irish Bar with a Baseball Attitude” features walls adorned with 2,500+ autographed balls, hundreds of bobbleheads, game-worn jerseys, stadium seats and other artifacts that make it the premier baseball bar in New York and one of the best sports bars in America. For more information, call (212) 290-0080 or visit www.foleysny.com or www.facebook.com/FoleysNYPub.

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Time For The Mets To Make Their Move http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/07/time-for-the-mets-to-make-their-move.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/07/time-for-the-mets-to-make-their-move.html/#comments Fri, 20 Jul 2012 03:01:19 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=89214

POWER PLAY: Ike Davis will need to flex some more muscle in critical homestand for the Mets.

Mets Season Prospects

Coming off a series sweep by the Atlanta Braves that left nothing undamaged and a series loss to the Washington Nationals, the New York Mets season appears to be in jeopardy. While the Mets started the season with a respectable win-loss ratio (46-43) at the All-Star break, the second half is off to a rocky start. It is too soon to call the season over at this point, but as the days slip away, it is definitely becoming crunch time.

The Fan Base

While the fans have stayed loyal to the team, it is not surprising that the tumultuous start to the second half of the season is giving many Mets loyalists an unwelcome reminder of last year’s season. In 2011, the team had an almost similar and impressive 46-45 start to the season before imploding in the second half and spending the last two months at ten games below .500, it is not surprising that even the faithful are developing doubts.

While the aftermath of losing both Francisco Rodriguez and Carlos Beltran in pre-deadline trades provide some explanation of last year’s decline, fans are concerned that a similar meltdown could occur again. Everything seemed to go wrong. Even umpires with the best umpire equipment couldn’t make the right calls which only added to the frustration. The fact is that even if this year’s cause is different, it will serve as little consolation if the result is the same.

The Outlook

After the getting swept in Atlanta and losing the first two games in D.C., the Mets salvaged the final game of their road trip with a convincing 9-5 victory on Thursday. They are sitting three and a half games behind the Braves and a full seven games behind the Washington Nationals. Getting swept and losing a series against the two teams we are trying to catch can be a disastrous blow for the Mets at this point in the season. But the Mets have been very resilient this year, and they go back to Citi Field on a high note.

To that end, this homestand beginning with the Dodgers this weekend and then a rematch with the Nationals, may prove to be a very critical six games. Not only will it set the tone for the next few months, it could cause a significant change in the standings.

The Mets have a real opportunity to make up some ground and show their faithful fans that the season is not done. On the other hand, another 1-5 finish would be a major blow that may spell the end for the Mets this season.

If the Mets wish to continue to compete this season, the team will not only need to dominate at home and push for their stake in the wild card standings, but they will also need to send a strong message to the fans that they are not done. These next six games may prove critical.

This Fan Shot was contributed by Rebecca.

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The Mets Alumni Association And Habitat For Humanity http://metsmerizedonline.com/2011/07/the-mets-alumni-association-and-habitat-for-humanity.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2011/07/the-mets-alumni-association-and-habitat-for-humanity.html/#comments Mon, 18 Jul 2011 13:45:23 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=54701

We live in interesting times where we tend to take so much for granted. We always seem to want what we don’t have whether we have a pressing need for it or not. Most of us are lucky enough to come home, kick off our shoes, hug the kids, put on one of our 1000 channels, surf the web, have a bluetooth conversation on the smartphone that we hardly ever surf the web with all the while complaining how we just don’t have enough time to do anything meaningful. Georgette Lee knows exactly what is and isn’t meaningful in her life.

On July 15th the New York Mets Alumni Association partnered with Citi to team up with Habitat For Humanity to build affordable homes in the Ocean Hill – Brownsville section of Brooklyn. The project is part of the Mets and Citi’s “Teammates in the Community” initiative, reflecting their ongoing commitment to be active in the community.

Both Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling were on hand along with 18 Citi volunteers to help build Habitat-NYC’s four story affordable condominiums.

Georgette Lee, humbled by the outpouring of assistance from Habitat and the volunteers, was presented a ceremonial home plate signed by Hernandez and Darling. Lee will be one the first new homeowners when the project is completed in 2012.

Darling a Brooklyn native himself, spoke along with Hernandez, about the benefits the partnership the Mets and Citi have with Habitat for Humanity and how it’s had such a positive impact on the surrounding neighborhoods. Darling in fact mentioned how he along with his family, traveled to the Katrina ravaged areas of New Orleans to build homes for those in need. Darling made it a point to say that while it’s important to help areas such as storm damaged New Orleans, it’s the local surrounding neighborhoods that tend to be forgotten and need help just the same.

I had a chance to talk to Ron for just a few moments amidst all the hustle and bustle of the construction work surrounding us. I assumed most of the questions were going to be realted to how the team was doing so I tried to be original and asked Ron what his thoughts were on the state of umpiring in Major League Baseball today. This is what he had to say:

“First off Major League Baseball has the highest overall caliber of umpiring in all professional sports, in my opinion. They are given the very best training and in order to keep them at the highest caliber there has to be constant evaluations and transparency in those evaluations. What concerns me isn’t when a particular umpire commits an error; they’re just as human as the rest of us.

What concerns me is the unwillingness to consult their fellow umpires or worse, when some umpires cross the line and become argumentative. There has to be accountability no only for players or coaches in uniform who cross that line but the men in blue as well. Hopefully MLB can address this.”

Unfortunately that was all I could ask Ron and similarly Keith who left before I could get a chance to interview him as well. Perhaps its best that way since the real stars of the day deserved the spotlight; the volunteers who gave so much of themselves to help people like Georgette and others so that perhaps someday they too will be shown that good does still exist because there are people out there who understand what is meaningful in this world and what isn’t.

For more information on how you can help in your neighborhood, head over to Habitat For Humanity’s website at Habitat.org.

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These Guys Need To Take A Few More Pitches http://metsmerizedonline.com/2010/05/these-guys-need-to-take-a-few-more-pitches.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2010/05/these-guys-need-to-take-a-few-more-pitches.html/#comments Wed, 12 May 2010 15:47:08 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=26809 It sure is fun to watch games like last night or Friday and Saturday’s finishes against the Giants, or even the way the team battled back on Sunday against Tim Lincecum.  But some of the Mets are striking out at an alarming rate (ahem, David Wright…ahem, Jason Bay).  Even Ike Davis, who has been the spark that fired up the team the past few weeks, has 19 strikeouts in 66 at-bats.  I heard Keith Hernandez talking about Ike on “Mike and Mike” on ESPN radio the other day, saying what a great eye he has, and how he doesn’t swing at bad pitches.  That’s not entirely true, but it’s hard to say anything bad about Ike right now.

Regardless, the Mets are striking out 21.6% of the time (241 K’s in 1112 at-bats).  It’s not worst in the majors by any means, but still.  The pitching has been a surprise for the most part, but this team still has a problem that has plagued them the last few years–they need to take more pitches and work the count in order to get to the other team’s bullpen as soon as possible.  And they need to stop killing rallies with by going down on strikes.

The umpires seem to shrink the strike zone every year, making games longer, so why not make the games even longer by not swinging every once in a while?  At the very least, this has to be the way Wright and Bay approach every at-bat.

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Two Things in Baseball Should Be Fixed http://metsmerizedonline.com/2009/10/two-things-in-baseball-should-be-fixed.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2009/10/two-things-in-baseball-should-be-fixed.html/#comments Wed, 28 Oct 2009 18:37:03 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=15172 Now that we’re deep into the baseball postseason and we Mets fans are enduring a great match up that we frankly all hate in the World Series, I think it’s time to mention two things that MLB needs to work on this off-season.

First of all, the umpiring has never been great, but the fact that only home run calls are reviewable is downright comedic in this day and age, especially in the postseason when every call is important.  If you saw that foul ball call in the Yankees/Twins series, you know what I mean.  Joe Mauer’s hit down the line was fair by a foot, and the umpire was standing 10 feet away, but he called it foul.  A review puts Mauer on second base and the outcome of the game might have been different.  And that’s just one small example I saw…I’ve seen a few more and heard about countless others.  There needs to be a football-like system where a manager is allowed to throw a red flag twice per game.  The umpires need not be insulted by this either—you don’t see football refs complaining about replay, do you?  They want the calls to be right.

Of course, this directly contradicts my second thing that needs to be fixed, but I’ll bring it up anyway.  The length of games is ridiculous, especially in the postseason when there are more pitching changes, weather delays, and more commercials.  I live in the central time zone, and even I can’t stay up for a lot of these games that go on until midnight my time.  I know most of you live on the east coast, and you have to watch games that go on until 1am or later.  My red flag idea would surely make this worse, but what can be fixed are the microscopic strike zones, and pitchers taking all day to deliver a pitch.  Of course, mixing in a few more day games would be nice, too, especially on the weekends.

That’s all I’ve got to say.  I’m curious what you all think.  And hey, try to enjoy the World Series.

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How The Mets Can Hit Into A Quadruple Play http://metsmerizedonline.com/2009/08/how-the-mets-can-hit-into-a-quadruple-play.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2009/08/how-the-mets-can-hit-into-a-quadruple-play.html/#comments Tue, 25 Aug 2009 03:30:42 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=11655 So far this season, the Mets have lost a number of games in bizarre and improbable ways.  From failing to touch third base at Dodger Stadium to dropping a potential game-ending pop-up at the new Yankee Stadium, Mets fans everywhere have been forced to revise their “I’ve never seen that before” lists.  After Sunday’s stunning game-ending unassisted triple play, I’ve been thinking about new ways the Mets can lose ballgames.  There is one thing worse than ending a game on a triple play.  They could actually hit into a “quadruple play” to end a game.  If my knowledge of the baseball rule book is correct (and please correct me if I’m wrong), here’s how it would work.

Say the Mets load the bases against the Phillies in the bottom of the ninth inning.  For argument’s sake, let’s put Luis Castillo on third, Daniel Murphy on second and Jeff Francoeur on first.  (I feel bad for the guy.  There’s no way I was going to make him the hitter in this scenario.)  Let’s also say they’re losing 6-5, with Gary Sheffield batting and waiting on a no-out, 3-2 pitch from Brad Lidge.  Sheffield lines a ball to the Cryin’ Hawaiian in center field, who takes his foot out of his mouth just in time to make a highlight-reel, over-the-shoulder catch before tumbling to the ground.  The umpires haven’t made an out call yet because Victorino is seeing hula girls circling his head due to the impact of his diminutive body against the center field turf.  As a result, the baserunners are still running the bases.  Once the umpires make the out call, Raul Ibañez takes the ball out of Victorino’s glove (leaving his customary tissue in the ball’s place) and throws to Victorino’s fellow member of the Lollipop Guild, Jimmy Rollins, who tags Murphy trying to get back to second and then tags Francoeur.

This looks like a triple play with the game ending once Francoeur is tagged out.  However, Castillo scored from third base long before the second and third outs were made.  Once Rollins tagged Murphy, the force was removed on Castillo.  Therefore, his run would count since it scored before the third out was made.  Of course, in between bites of a chocolate bar, Charlie Manuel notices that Castillo also left third base early.  Therefore, he instructs the team to go back onto the field for an appeal play at third.  When Pedro Feliz steps on third, the third base umpire calls Castillo out for leaving the base too early. This is the “fourth out” of the inning and prevents the Mets from tying the game. Had the “fourth out” not been made, Castillo would have scored a legal run and the game would have gone into extra innings with score tied 6-6.

I expect this bizarre play to occur at some point in September, if not earlier. If it does, please do not ask me for my thoughts on lottery numbers. That information is on a need-to-know basis and you don’t need to know.

Just for fun, I’d like to ask the readers for their opinions on unusual ways to lose ballgames.  Is there anything you can think of that could rival Sunday’s ending?  Not including this season’s odd endings, what’s the most bizarre way you’ve ever seen the Mets lose a game?

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