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Rays-Sox home plate ump was out of control

May 26, 2010, 8:44 AM EDT

Bob Davidson.jpgCarl Crawford and Joe Maddon were ejected in the bottom of the fifth inning in last night’s Rays-Red Sox game after arguing balls and strikes. That’s fine as far as it goes because they know the rule: you can’t argue balls and strikes. Except in this case the far greater wrong was umpire Bob Davidson’s demeanor during the argument.

Watch the video here. For starters, the ball was clearly outside and, as the announcers note, Davidson had been missing that call all night.  But that’s not really important right now.  What’s more important is the course the argument takes.

Watch Crawford. He starts up with some run-of-the-mill beefing. He heats up fairly quickly, however, and it seems apparent to me that he’s heating up because of whatever it is Davidson is saying and, more importantly, how he’s saying it. And Davidson looks animated. More animated than an umpire simply telling the hitter that the ball was a strike tends to get.  There was a little bump in there too — for which Crawford may very well be fined — but Davidson was not exactly backing down.

The real action starts after Maddon comes out.  No, Maddon does not distinguish himself here — he’s obviously hot — but Davidson is leaning in, barking even more than Maddon is.

This is beyond an umpire defending his call. I don’t know what it is, actually, I can’t recall seeing an ump stay in a player’s and a manager’s face like Davidson did. Usually they
at least attempt to back up and defuse the situation.  Here Davidson seemed like the most hostile guy out of the three of them.

Look, I understand the rule about not arguing balls and strikes, but if umpires are going to have that rule, they need to treat their calls like they’re non-negotiable. If the players and the managers insist on beefing about it, fine, let them beef a tad, eject them when they don’t let it go and if they feel like continuing to embarrass themselves stand by, let them embarrass themselves,  and then file your report with the league office.  An umpire should not get into a red-faced spittle-spewing argument with the players or the managers.

Davidson embarrassed himself last night. The league should discipline him.

119 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Joe - May 26, 2010 at 2:43 PM

    The worst call I have ever seen an umpire make. Honestly I thought it was amusing to see him get upset because he knew he was wrong and I’m glad Joe Maddon get out there and got in his face because he doesn’t do it enough and the fans needed to see it. haha.

  2. Al - May 26, 2010 at 2:49 PM

    I agree technology needs to be the future. Maybe Davidson can squat in a chair and call it from “Foxtrac” with as much animation as he wants, but as least the call would be right. We could put a man on the moon with pinpoint accuracy so we can certainly call ball and strikes correctly. As for Red Sox fans complaining that we are whining, did anyone notice Beltre the inning after the ejection, he made a face with an incorrect call Davidson made calling a strike when it was clearly a ball(I am a Rays fan). I actually rewinded it because his face was priceless. To reiterate some of the comments… Davidson WAS out of control, umpiring is getting worse, and I 100% agree with another comment about if the ump is consistently wrong it is STILL WRONG you can’t justify it…come on people wake up. Remember it could be your team that misses 1st place by 1 game and that 1 game could have been BLOWN by an ump that facilitated a loss.

  3. a different ladyfan - May 26, 2010 at 2:50 PM

    I would expect a surgeon to be perfect the first day on the job. Just saying.

  4. hammer - May 26, 2010 at 3:01 PM

    They can argue all they want but Crawford got tossed because the bill of his helmet hit the bridge of the umps nose.

  5. J Rose - May 26, 2010 at 4:33 PM

    I just got back from the Big East tourney at Bright House Field and literally every Rays fan was complaining about the strike zone/ejections. People, get over it. It’s baseball. You have the best record in baseball, your team lost a game in which you were throroughly dominated, and now you want to make this all about robotic umpires and perfect humans. Quit friggin whining and play the damn game!

  6. IndiansSUCK - May 26, 2010 at 4:50 PM

    Can’t wait till the White Sox and Rays play…it’ll be like two 16yr old Beverly Hill girls getting together complaining about everything…”Like OMG…can you beleive the strike zone on that up?” “I know…and to think we are down by 7 runs and the other team keeps stealing bases…” WHAAAAAAAAAAAAA

  7. AJinVA - May 26, 2010 at 7:39 PM

    Many of you are specifically clueless about MLB processes and procedures and others are generally ignorant of the entire basis of baseball traditions. ML umpire crews get individual critiques after every game, none more extremely scrutinizing than the plate guy who gets evaluated on every pitch via a CD with comment from NY HQ. The successor to QuesTech is much better than the original but still, even with multiple camera angles is NOT perfect. Everybody in organized baseball (players and coaches) grows up through LL, into BR and HS and if good enough through College or into pro ball, understanding and accepting that umpires calling a consistent zone, is by definition being fair. Unhappily, some players, at certain times (sometimes inexplicably) decide they can judge balls and strikes better than the guys who are trained, and get “retrained” every Feb)to render those judgments. Read those key words carefully–render judgment. This is what umpires do, balls and strikers, fair/foul, safe/out, catch or no catch. The rule book makes it clear that is organized baseball’s strict guidance to their umpires. So, to LadyFan and all the others who get their understanding of the requirements, duties and responsibilities of umpires from game announcers and equally clueless bloggers, get rule book and then go to an umpire school or class. Enjoyment of the game will be enhanced because you not be so busy crapping about umpire calls you don’t like.

  8. Sssith - May 27, 2010 at 3:51 PM

    For a real commentary on this issue goto: http://joyofsox.blogspot.com/2010/05/rays-announcers-and-players-whine-about.html
    Once again HBT shows he doesn’t have a clue.

  9. Craig Calcaterra - May 27, 2010 at 3:54 PM

    What doesn’t “HBT” have a clue about? I said in the post that I didn’t care one way or the other if the call was bad. The whole point of posting was that Davidson’s reactions were unprofessional and poor. And that criticism would have held even if the ball was right down main street.

  10. Pinstripes - May 27, 2010 at 4:05 PM

    This is a breath of fresh air in our all-too-politically-correct world. Finally, a good ol’ fashioned baseball beef (not the nonsense by Ozzie and Cowboy Joe, two of the games most shameless self-promoters, on Wednesday). A tip of the cap to both Joe and Bob for taking us back to the days when baseball was more entertaining. In the ’60s and early ’70s the Pacific Coast League sold tons of tickets and delivered entertaining baseball when such antics were a nightly ritual…much better than we see on many nights now at any level of ball. No one wants to see this on SportsCenter every night, but it’s great to see guys show a little emotion once in awhile.

  11. by jiminy - May 28, 2010 at 9:52 AM

    I agree that too many umps think they can make up their own rules regarding the strike zone, and think that enforcing respect for them is more important than umpiring the game. But I don’t agree about the Bush-Rapuano thing. Bush walked toward the ump, openly questioning a ball-strike call. (Personally, I thought the ump was right, by the way; it looked low. Not that that’s important.) What Bush did is way over the line, and he should have been calmly ejected. Instead, the ump gave him a warning. He told him angrily never to do that again. An ump should never show anger — that was Bush league. But Bush clearly deserved to be ejected. If anything, the ump was too easy on him, jawing with him instead of just enforcing the rules.

  12. By Jiminy - May 28, 2010 at 9:54 AM

    oh, and by the way, the announcers who said Rapuano had to be restrained by the Rays players were totally full of it. I watched the replay three times and it just didn’t happen.

  13. By Jiminy - May 28, 2010 at 10:05 AM

    Crawford:
    [Davidson] didn’t want to back down. I definitely wasn’t going to lose a trash-talking contest. It just went from there.
    Crew chief Tim Tschida:
    Carl gradually started moving closer to the umpire. And Bob’s line was, “Now you’re coming into my space here, back off.” And when he said, “Back off,” [Crawford] actually moved closer. That’s why Carl was ejected from the game. … Joe’s immediate response was, “You’re calling stuff off the plate on our guys”. And he’s arguing balls and strikes. When a manager leaves his position in the dugout to argue a ball-strike decision, it’s [an] immediate [ejection].
    Actually these both seem like open and shut ejections. Crawford admits he refused to stop trash talking. And Maddon was arguing balls and strikes.
    Doesn’t mean the ump should lose his head. But he had no choice but to eject them.

  14. A. Hanson - May 28, 2010 at 8:40 PM

    The video was very self explainatory.While I would say Bushes pitch WAS Low, YET Rapuano was WAY TOO EAGER ro run his mouth & pick for the fight. Seems to be a growing trend in all sports requiring officials…they require their ’15 minutes of fame’ which is Disapointing because it tarnishes & can actually affect the outcome of a game.

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  17. Poster Nutbag - Jun 13, 2010 at 1:19 PM

    …..judging from the comments, the vast majority of you are not very familiar with the game of base-ball or it’s rules/obligations/responsibilities/expectations of it’s officials….or are INSANE Sox-homers……or are simply the type of folks who enjoy talking sh!t to rile people up (seriously? nothing better to do?)….the umpires are losing sight of their rules/obligations/responsibilities/expectations on a daily basis, and it’s been getting worse. Just yesterday during the A’s/Giants game, the home plate umpire FOLLOWED a player (Mark Ellis) back to the dugout, chirping the ENTIRE time. Ellis, professional as he is, never even said a word and only looked back once (probably because he couldn’t believe what was going on). For those of you who may be unaware, that is directly against the rules that umpires are to abide by. They have rules too, just little-to-no accountability for thier disgraceful actions. Umpire Joe West has been involved in 3-4 similar displays of disgrace just within the last 2 weeks or so. Clearly, it’s time for Selig to man up and start holding some of these disgraces to the sport accountable of their improper and unprofessional actions. If any of you doubt that, go pick up a rule book for the Umps and make sure you understand their duty and function within the game. It’s painfully obvious that some of you are oblivious to the facts.

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