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And That Happened: Thursday's Scores and Highlights

Aug 6, 2010, 5:47 AM EDT

Bad umps and a bad ballpark makes for a pretty crappy Thursday for baseball teams in Florida.

Phillies 5, Marlins 4: Ugly game, with each team trying valiantly to lose throughout, but third base ump Bob Davidson was the ugliest part of all. He blew the call on what would have been the game-winning hit by Gaby Sanchez in the bottom of the ninth, calling it foul when it most clearly was not. Not that he’d know, because he was out of position to make the call. Really, check the screen cap to the right: he’s looking up. The ball is down and to his left.

This crap is just inexcusable. You can institute replay to fix these mistakes or — and this is even more nutty — you can hire umpires who know their ass from their elbow. What you can’t do is let bad calls like this stand in an age when it’s possible to review and correct every single bad call almost immediately after it happens.

Twins 8, Rays 6: OK, this may have been an even bigger horsesh– reason to lose a game than a bad call: Jason Kubel’s pop to shallow left in the top of the ninth hit the
catwalk at Tropicana Field and dropped for an RBI single, giving the
Twins a 7-6 lead in a game they won 8-6. Joe Maddon freaked. As would I have. Then again, at least everyone knew this could happen beforehand because it’s part of the ground rules of the place. No one, in contrast, would have expected that an extra-base hit would be called a foul ball for no good reason in that Philly-Florida game.

Orioles 5, Angels 4: The power of Buck compels you. The Angels have now lost all three Dan Haren starts since the big trade.

Pirates 5, Rockies 1: James McDonald shut out the Rockies over six while striking out eight. I guess that means he’s still helping the Dodgers out, loosely speaking, but eventually they’re going to realize that it was probably a mistake getting rid of him.

Braves 3, Giants 2: Both teams had tons of scoring chances that went by the wayside so in the end the dingers decided it. Two off Tim Lincecum — one for Alex Gonzalez, one for Eric Hinske — which doesn’t happen very often. Jair Jurrjens wasn’t anything special, allowing seven hits, five of which were doubles, and walking three. The Giants should have scored more runs off that, but that’s where this recap started so we’re just going around in circles now.

Red Sox 6, Indians 2: An Adrian Beltre homer and the good version of Dice-K (more valuable because it’s rare!) take care of business.

White Sox 6, Tigers 4: Bobby Jenks did all he could do to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, but a two-run triple by Mark Kotsay in the 11th sealed the deal for the Chisox. There are too many good relievers in that Sox pen for Ozzie Guillen to keep using Jenks when he obviously doesn’t trust him.

Padres 5, Dodgers 0: Five pitchers combine to blank L.A., and the Padres are now up two games up on the Giants. Starter Kevin Correia was rather lucky, actually, as he had no strikeouts and gave up a few warning track flies in his five and two-thirds innings.

Rangers 6, Mariners 0: Tommy Hunter bounces back from his first loss of the season to shut down the Mariners. Not that they were running at such a high velocity to begin with. The AP game story is the first time I’ve seen the word “embattled” applies to Don Wakamatsu’s name. I don’t expect it to be the last. And I presume by October it will change to “former.”

Diamondbaks 8, Nationals 4: Sticking with AP game stories, this one contained a classic passage that I think says it all: “The few who showed up got to see a sometimes-stinky game filled with
four errors, a botched squeeze and a strikeout that scored a run.”  “Sometimes Stinky” sounds like the name of an album from some twee, overly-studied British folk duo from the mid-90s.

  1. kllhouston - Aug 6, 2010 at 10:54 AM

    I’ve been reading a lot of different posts on multiple web sites and everyone is on opposite sides on this. Please clarify the rules of a foul ball. Looking at the replays the first bounce of the ball, just a few feet from the batters box, appears to be foul. This would mean whatever happens next doesn’t matter because it is a dead ball. If it had hit fair, then rolls foul, then comes back before the bag it would have been fair, no question there. But since the initial contact with the ground was foul, the ball is dead at that point no matte what, Yes?

  2. Chris Fiorentino - Aug 6, 2010 at 11:03 AM

    No, if the ball bounces before getting to the third base bag, then it is fair if it goes over any part of the bag. If it is completely to the foul side of the bag, then it doesn’t matter what it did before it got to the bag. If it is a line drive, then it only matters where it LANDS, not where it is in relation to the bag. In this case, it is debatable whether the ball bounced over the bag…it does appear that using the laws of physics, and looking at Craig’s picture above, that it was fair. However, the umpire thought it was on the foul side of the bag and he was in PERFECT position to make the call. It is not WHERE it lands once it passes the bag…only where it was in relation to the bag.

  3. bgrant - Aug 6, 2010 at 11:09 AM

    I’d like a clarification as well. I agree, it really does look like that 1st bounce is foul by a few inches. Can a foul ball roll fair? I recall that is still always going to be a foul ball.
    If that is accurate that means the ump did not blow the call at all. It does not matter that he does not point this out later – maybe he just got lucky:-).

  4. sportsgenious - Aug 6, 2010 at 11:11 AM

    Craig – with all due respect, I think you are out of line. First of all, as a reporter, you have a responsibility to report the entire story… you show a picture of the call which is made after the ball passed the bag and say he was out of position. If you look at the replay, he was in correct position when the ball was at the bag. He is even crouching down to get as clean a look as possible. On ground balls that bounce before the bag, Fair and Foul depends on where the all crosses the bag, not where the ball bounces once past the bag.
    For the record, I hate this umpire. I recall him blowing up at a manager earlier this year so, I have know reason to be on his side. I simply do not think you provided much of an accurate perspective. Although, I do agree that replay should be instituted.

  5. bgrant - Aug 6, 2010 at 11:12 AM

    Oops, thanks (wipes off flop sweat).
    Okay, so maybe the ump incorrectly made the call based on seeing it foul on the 1st bounce, but later defended his call by saying he saw it foul at the 3B bag:/. Bad call anyway, as dozens have stated:-).

  6. sportsgenious - Aug 6, 2010 at 11:14 AM

    yes, a ball that bounces foul first before hitting another object, person etc and then rolls into fair territory is fair if it rolls into fair territory before reaching first or third base.

  7. Htown1986 - Aug 6, 2010 at 11:30 AM

    Craig…… this article really reflects poorly on you. You, along with most people, clearly don’t know the rules of baseball. Maybe the next time you write an article castigating an umpire you should take 10 seconds and look them up. IT DOESN’T MATTER WHERE THE BALL LANDS. There is NO REASON FOR THE UMPIRE TO BE LOOKING IN THAT PICTURE. The only relevant issue in this entire discussion is WHERE THE BALL WAS WHEN IT PASSED THIRD BASE. Nothing in that picture you have has anything to do with it. Why should the umpire be looking at that ball? The fair/foul determination has already been made. I mean really, this is a sad piece of “journalism”.

  8. jo jo is smiling - Aug 6, 2010 at 11:43 AM

    yes….Htown you are right.
    The sad part about the blown call is that the ball also bounced in fair territory in front of the bag and so the call was wrong……unless the ball defied the laws of physics and curved foul as it passed the bag and then back to fair as shown.
    shame on craig

  9. dsmith4444 - Aug 6, 2010 at 12:05 PM

    This writer is about as respectful as a box of rocks. Does anyone pay attention to a whining writer who probably has not swung a bat since t-ball?

  10. Htown1986 - Aug 6, 2010 at 12:06 PM

    Spin and curve don’t defy the laws of physics. That ball (on the second hop) took a wicked hop that changed its spin and trajectory. I’m not saying the ball was foul, I’m saying its possible, and there is no way to tell with the available camera angles.

  11. Ray - Aug 6, 2010 at 12:09 PM

    Craig, get your rules correct before you report something like this. All that matters is where the ball is when it passes the base. Bob Davidson was correct in making the call before the ball bounced in your picture. The determination had already been made. Little League WS is coming up, go cover that and alienate the VOLUNTEER umpires there.

  12. metalijojo - Aug 6, 2010 at 12:25 PM

    Yes – the shot above shows the ball bouncing fair, however, if you were actually watching the Phillies game and actually saw the replays and the play itself, it clearly bounced very close if not on the line closer to home plate. While I agree that it was a marginal call, don’t say that the picture clearly shows the ump looking in the wrong spot when that is not where the ball hit the ground!

  13. metalijojo - Aug 6, 2010 at 12:29 PM

    No No No – if the ball hits the ground foul 2 feet from home plate it makes no difference where the ball crosses the bag! That rule is day 1 of little league for pete’s sake!

  14. doctorfunke - Aug 6, 2010 at 1:00 PM

    Wow. Lots of people getting way too fired up over this. Probably not the last controversial play we’ll see this week/month/season. It happens. Let’s move on, OK?

  15. jo jo is smiling - Aug 6, 2010 at 1:12 PM

    come on you are smarter than that..there is NO way the ball was not a fair ball. He blew the call

  16. El Bravo - Aug 6, 2010 at 2:01 PM

    Agreed. Selig is laughing to the bank somewhere and the umps are still the end all be all of what is the final call. Not that I agree w/ that, but that’s the way it is…realism trumps idealism.

  17. walk - Aug 7, 2010 at 12:57 AM

    Year of the crappy umpire continues. Unfortunately i believe espn is running with the less controversial version and call it the year of the pitcher.

  18. Justagirl007 - Aug 7, 2010 at 11:38 AM

    Hey Craig Calcaterra, before criticizing the mistakes that other people make in their jobs, please ensure that your work is flawless. You state ump Bob Davidson was “the ugliest part of all” for making a mistake on a call when he is required to do his job during a game that is in real-time – with no instant replay. Your job as a “journalist” has the benefit of review before posting a story online, yet you seem to have failed to use it. You posted a story with glaring grammatical errors, such as “the Padres are now up two games up on the Giants.” I am going to call you “out” on it. As you stated, “This crap is just inexcusable. You can institute replay to fix these mistakes.” Hey Craig, this is crap is inexcusable! You can use review and an editor to “fix these mistakes!”

  19. metalijojo - Aug 9, 2010 at 12:40 PM

    You should not call yourself sports genius if you don’t even know the basic, little league, gym class rules of the game. If it goes foul before it crosses the bag it is foul end of story, no rolling back in, no nothing!!!

  20. sportsgenious - Aug 10, 2010 at 2:30 PM

    wow, you are not in my league when it comes to sports, obviousley. let’s use an example… a bunt is made and it hits the batters box (not the batter, just the box), then rolls fair when it is touched by a player… you are telling me that it is foul because it touched foul territory at some point? no, you are wrong. fair and foul prior to the ball passing the bag is determined where the ball is when it is touched by a perosn or object.
    rule 2.0: A FAIR BALL is a batted ball that settles on fair ground between home and first
    base…
    All that matters is where the ball settles, not wehter it went foul at some point.

  21. sportsgenious - Aug 10, 2010 at 2:32 PM

    wow, you are not in my league when it comes to sports, obviousley. let’s use an example… a bunt is made and it hits the batters box (not the batter, just the box), then rolls fair when it is touched by a player… you are telling me that it is foul because it touched foul territory at some point? no, you are wrong. fair and foul prior to the ball passing the bag is determined where the ball is when it is touched by a perosn or object.
    rule 2.0: A FAIR BALL is a batted ball that settles on fair ground between home and first
    base…
    All that matters is where the ball settles before crossign the bag, not wether it went foul at some point.

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