Wednesday, August 20, 2014

I Thank Joe Torre

Go back in your San Francisco Giants' time machine.
Back to the dreary days of when Orlando Cepeda was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals for Ray Sadecki.
Cepeda goes on to win the MVP and the Cardinals win the World Series in 1967.

Then on March 17, 1969, Cepeda was traded to the Atlanta Braves for Joe Torre. Torre, joins the Cardinals and he too gets the "magic" as he wins the 1971 MVP. Torre remembers these days and sees how the Giants got "Ground-screwed" by those buffoons on the Cub payroll. He takes the Giants protest and makes the Cubs have to continue the game in the bottom of the 5th inning, ahead 2-0, Thursday, August 21, 2014 at the friendly confines of Wrigley Field.

Sometimes there is justice.

Kevin J. Marquez

They Got "Grounds-Screwed" at Wrigley Field, August 19,2014

Did you see the ultimate in incompetence when it comes to a grounds crew putting, or attempting to place, a tarp on the infield during a downpour of rain?

On August 19, 2014, at Wrigley Field, the crew re-enacted an old Three Stooges skit as they fussed with, and miscalculated the length and distance of tarp while the skies opened up with a hard-driving rain. And in a season where the Giants have had their share of being "Replayed" by the Stooges in their New York call center, tonight they got a once in a lifetime flogging by the most incompetent group of jokers since the sound effects reduced Curly, Moe, and Larry to buffoons of the most recognizable order. The Giants indeed got "Grounds-Screwed."

And since the major leagues probably will not do a thing about this inability to cover the field, one has to wonder if there wasn't a degree of intent or purpose to this mockery of unrolling the tarp and placing it over the infield of a baseball diamond. That this is allowed just goes to show how the powers that be really aren't concerned with "getting the call right" but instead just giving the illusion that they'd like all calls to be accurate but the end result is that those buffoons in New York are getting footage the teams AT that particular game are not seeing and that what happened to the Giants at Cubs on August 19, 2014 is just an "oops" that no one will do a damned thing about.

The world is filled with people who act as if they give a damn but after further review you come to realize it's all an act.

This so-called effort comes across as pitiful. What we witnessed tonight was DESPICABLE. Those hired to review calls-in-question and even the inept performances like the comedic grounds crew chumps of Chi-town on August 19, 2014, ought to be ashamed. When those involved cannot accept responsibility or those "chosen few" in New York hide behind the facade of never being introduced by major league baseball by name and title,no photo ID, no name, and no accountability is just plain pathetic.


Kevin J. Marquez

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Unbelievable Circumstances Cost Giants One Run. What IS the Rule?

BASE PATH - The base path belongs to the runner EXCEPT when a fielder is in the path attempting to field a batted ball or when a fielder is in the path and in possession of the ball. After a runner has been put out (typically on a force play at second) he has NO rights to the base path. If R1 is put out at second by a long distance, he must duck or get out of the path. If he is hit with the throw while in the path, or makes contact with the fielder who is in the act of throwing, while on his feet, he is guilty. Rule 7.08(b), 7.09(L)

In the bottom of the first inning of a game (August 12, 2014 @ AT&T) between the Chisox and Giants, Hunter Pence triples. Next batter, Buster Posey, grounds one to shortstop but as Pence begins his sprint home he notices the bat is in the way so he goes in standing up and gets tagged out because of his inability to slide.

Because it was his teammate who dropped the bat is this legal? What about sportsmanship? As an umpire or catcher I immediately would toss the bat aside to clear the path as to avoid any possibility of injury. That the catcher and home plate umpire just left the bat lying there annoys me. Am I wrong for thinking that because they did leave the bat in the path of the runner there must be a rule protecting both the catcher and home plate umpire? Otherwise, one of the aforementioned would have kicked or tossed the stick aside. It wouldn't have been a matter of safety for the catcher but rather an opportunity to make a play.

What is the rule?



Kevin J. Marquez

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Something Shady

When an umpire rules that a base runner-sliding into a base- came off of the base, in which the fielder kept the glove on the base runner OUT, isn't the same true, depending on whether the great and powerful video crew gets the appropriate angle. Can you then rule "Safe!" if while the defender is applying the tag, the ball rattles around inside his glove?

You won't always get the shot that shows the ball rattling around in the glove, but on those fortuitous moments when the glove happens to be turned in a way as to expose the insecure ball this should be definitive enough to either over-rule or leave the damned call alone.

Just who are those douches in New York, anyway? Why aren't the players, managers, and coaches seeing EXACTLY what those douchebags in New York are viewing to allow them to make the decisions they are arriving at? There is something shady about this newly implemented system in Major League Baseball.


Kevin J. Marquez

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Home Plate Umpires Be Aware!

Far as I can see, fans are not showing up to the games to see you. But if you don't do the job you were hired to do you will be heckled.
I understand you guys/gals have it rough. But you knew what you were getting into when you signed up for the duty of umpiring baseball games.

I would like to see the home plate umpire pay attention to how the pitcher is throwing the ball on a given night and see if you can adjust to his pitch. Rather than making him adjust to your strike zone, take an inning or two to see what the pitcher is doing. Now if the guy is all over the place and unable to enter anywhere near the strike zone (rulebook version) then you go by what you deem to be a strike. (Hopefully, rulebook version.)

I say this because the fans that went to see that game were going to see the pitcher on their favorite team. And if the pitcher is known to be "around the plate" but on a particular night was in the lower half of the strike zone (or upper) I think it's the home plate umpire's duty to make the adjustment for the better game outcome.

If your strike zone is strictly yours and one team is getting the benefit of an easier adjustment, who do you think is going to win? That is not why umpires were added to the game of baseball. Quite the contrary. Umpires were introduced into the game to follow a set of rules that kept the game fair and eliminated any extra curricular or unseemly behavior. Your job initially was to keep things in line. No hanky-panky.

When one teams appears to have an advantage the umpires truly are the "bad guys." There is a real good chance that game will have gotten out-of-hand and an indelible scuff mark will remain in the fans' and players' minds because of the ineptness of that particular game's umpire crew.

Finally, I think it behooves you to have a yielding manner in which to call balls and strikes. Those who have this style of assessing what is and is not a strike will get a better understanding from the players,coaches, and managers because they will remember how your flexibility was for the betterment of the game and they'll think twice about giving you grief on a bad night you may have in the future.

Kevin J. Marquez

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Lincecum's Full House

On June 25, 2014, I was wondering what to do for the day game between the Giants and Padres. After the two games before (on Monday and Tuesday) I probably shouldn't have put much thought into it, but I'm unemployed and awaiting a call as to whether I will or will not be hired. So I have what some might refer to as nervous energy.

Shall I walk to Golden Gate Park or just get a bite to eat and listen to Lincecum vs. Ian Kennedy on 680 KNBR? The two pitchers used to go head-to-head in college when Tim was on the University of Washington and Kennedy on the Trojans of USC. So I was kind of looking forward to the meeting. Besides, I had a book I was reading that I was fully invested in and I wanted to finish it. (Johnny Cash, The Life)

After six innings I started thinking, 'Hmmm, the home plate umpire has a pitcher's strike zone and Lincecum was breezing through the Padre batting order. The 7th inning was quick and the Giants scored two runs to make it 4-0.

The Eighth inning was of no difficulty and the ninth had a grounder in which Lincecum actually made the play on. Sometimes he's so tangled up in the wind-up of his he is in no position to field. So you knew that yesterday he was feeling pretty good. Then the grounder to Panik, love that name, and his second no-hitter is in the book.

He even got two hits and scored two runs. Wow, he expressed joy over that feat himself.

Then I began to think about pitchers who pitched great games and also did well with the bat. And I remembered on June 23, 1971 (yes, I had to look up the actual date) Rick Wise, of the Philadelphia Phillies pitched a no-hitter and hit two home runs in the game. He would hit two homers again in one game that season, finishing that season with 6 homers.

I remembered a game in 1966, when I was a kid when Tony Cloniger belted two grand slams against our beloved Giants. When I looked it up I was re-assured that it was on a Sunday, July 3, 1966. Why is that? Because I was at my cousins house for someone's birthday. Sunday would have been the day, for sure. In Cloniger's game he had AB-5 R-2 H-3 RBI-9. And he also served up a big fly to his opposing pitcher, Ray Sadecki. The guy we got in the Orlando Cepeda trade.

And I would be remissed, Holy Cow! if I didn't mention Buster Posey. Here was yet another example of how this ballplayer rises to the occasion. He went 4-for-4 and it was his blast off the bricks that upped the count from 2-0 to 4-0. Clutch. What is clutch? To me, it is doing what it takes when it matters most. And much like the pitcher in yesterday's classic, the two of these guys have shown San Francisco Giants' fans they have what it takes to make "it" happen. These two are winners.

No matter how many callers waste the listeners time to whine about how Timmy blows or Posey is overrated, on the Sports Leader (KNBR680AM), we all know that when the chips are down these two ballplayers find a way to get in the win column.

(thanks to baseball-reference.com for making my memories more accurate than they might have been)

Oh, what's Lincecum's full house?...55 2,2,2 (2-Cy Youngs, 2-World Series rings, 2-no-hitters)

Kevin J. Marquez

Monday, June 16, 2014

Who Are These Guys?

In back to back to back games in which their closer threw a pitch that was hit in such a way as to "fool" Angel Pagan and the failue to execute a double-play in Sunday's game led to comeback victories by the Colorado Rockies the one thing that really captured my attention was the umpires' effort to make themselves known.

Two unknown umpires, youths breaking onto the scene, both had the attitude that they were going to make themselves known by subscribing to a strike zone not in your 2014 Major League Rulebook. Their strike zone will not be found in any rule book, unless, of course, they have come out with their own. And if this is true, who do they think they are, to shove aside the rules that have been etched in the book since it was decided that an unbiased arbiter rule on the plays made by one team on another team?

Sure, in the 1800s there was plenty of hiring "their own" going on. In 1893, the distance from the pitcher's mound to home plate increased from 50 feet to 60 feet and six inches. And it was around this time that some stabilization was being assigned to the rules of the game. In 1883, foul balls caught on the bounce were outs in the Junior Circuit. But the National League said no more to that rule.

It wasn't until 1933 that the major leagues adopted the three-umpires system. In 1952, a four-man team was instituted for all regular season major league games.

When the mounds were lowered after the 1968 season, the strike zone for 1969 was altered as such: The Strike Zone is that space over home plate which is between the batter's armpits and the top of his knees when he assumes a natural stance. Rickey Henderson's stance would not be considered natural as I'm sure he had umpires explain why they called the pitches the manner in which they did.

In 1988, the strike zone was that area over home plate, the upper limit of which is a horizontal line at the midpoint between the top of the shoulders and the top of the uniform pants. Lower level is the line at the top of the knees. The Strike Zone shall be determined from a batter's stance as the batter prepares to swing at the pitched ball.

In 1996, The strike zone is expanded on the lower end, moving from the top of the knees to the bottom of the knees (bottom has been identified as the hollow beneath the kneecap. "Hollow" is that place the doctor hits with the rubber hammer to check your reflexes.)

Chris Segal on Saturday and Mike Muchlinski on Sunday basically said, 'to hell with that interpretation.' I'm here to make a name for myself and I'm calling what I think is the perfect pitch for a strike. Pitchers had to work harder to get calls and batters weren't confident the umpires knew what an actual strike was and some were called out on strikes more than once. Which is a signal that they weren't sure what the umpire was calling a strike.

This an inexcusable error on the home plate umpire's part. They aren't there to deceive the batters and pitchers. Fans cannot enjoy a game they paid hard earned money to see and not know themselves what was being called a strike.

Jon Miller, in one of his rambling rants so much as said that Segal was averse at calling strikes. That he seemed to not want to call the pitch a strike. No bueno.

Muchlinski tossed Bruce Bochy at the game's end on Sunday but not before Bochy vented his displeasure of the intermittant strike zone displayed over the weekend.

Something just doesn't seem right when those who were hired to adhere to the rules can't seem to. Ya think?

Kevin J. Marquez