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Quote of the Day: Awesome Umpire Bob Davidson

Aug 6, 2010, 8:25 AM EDT

Fair ball? Who you gonna believe, me or your own lyin' eyes?

“I was right on top of it, and it was wide of the bag. What the ball did when it went past me is irrelevant . . . I understand
that’s the winning run, but in my opinion it was foul.”

Bob Davidson, third base umpire in last night’s Phillies-Rays game, not letting anything get in the way of his opinion.

And Davidson is right to say that where the ball is after it passes the bag doesn’t matter. It’s just that based on repeated viewings of the play in question, I can’t see how anyone can say the ball wasn’t fair when it passed the bag. It bounced fair in front of the bag. It bounced fair behind the bag. Unless it took a left turn and then an immediate right, I’m not sure how it could have ever been foul.

  1. Chris Fiorentino - Aug 6, 2010 at 9:50 AM

    Craig, don’t listen to the trolls who come in for a day or two and see this and think that you are a homer. We who follow the site daily know that you are pretty much fair, even though we all know you love the Cowards. I believe you would be just as outraged if it had cost the Phillies a win…you would have just written something snide like “Not that I am complaining”

  2. nps6724 - Aug 6, 2010 at 9:57 AM

    Craig also complained when Minnesota was screwed against Seattle on June 2 (same night as Galarraga’s near-perfect game).

  3. schiver - Aug 6, 2010 at 9:58 AM

    Phillies-Marlins*

  4. eaglealan64 - Aug 6, 2010 at 10:29 AM

    Looked like a foul ball on my first look and still haven’t seen an angle that persuades me otherwise.
    Funny to hear the commentators on MLB.com who clearly don’t know the rules and react to the ball hitting the ground which, we can all agree, is utterly irrelevant.

  5. Keith K. - Aug 6, 2010 at 10:40 AM

    The location of the ball when it hits the ground is not irrelevant, because it helps the umpire determine where the ball was when it passed the base. If it touches down fair a few feet in front of the base, and then touches down fair behind the base, it is not possible for it to have passed the base in foul territory.

  6. Dwight Evans Mustache - Aug 6, 2010 at 10:48 AM

    Yes, it appeared foul before the bag, but you even said yourself that it goes fair OVER the bag, making it a fair ball not a foul ball. The location of the ball OVER the bag is what the umpire is making a call on.

  7. Ditto65 - Aug 6, 2010 at 10:56 AM

    Does all that really excuse you for being a Braves fan? ;-)

  8. turf24 - Aug 6, 2010 at 10:58 AM

    Ok craig, now that I have spent far too much of my day off looking through a ton of old posts I suppose you’re not as biased as I stated earlier. You’re right a lot of it is good natured sarcasm. I still think this controversy from last night is being blown out of proportion and that picture shows he was watching the bag like he should be. Anyway, keep it up, ill do my best to check the site more often……. the Braves are still a fraud though….

  9. Chris Fiorentino - Aug 6, 2010 at 11:08 AM

    Keith, the umpire has to look at the BAG, not where the ball lands past the bag. He has to make a split-second call, based on where the ball was when it passed the bag. If it were a line drive, then he wouldn’t have looked at the bag at all as it would be irrelevant. However, since it bounced before it reached the 3rd base bag, the single most important thing for the umpire to watch is where the ball is when it reaches the bag. Umpire thought it was to the right of the bag. Maybe it was and curved back…who knows.

  10. BC - Aug 6, 2010 at 11:20 AM

    The ball can hit in foul territory, but if it comes back into fair territory before the bag, it’s a fair ball.

  11. BC - Aug 6, 2010 at 11:21 AM

    The ball can hit in foul territory, but if it comes back into fair territory before the bag, it’s a fair ball.

  12. skyjo - Aug 6, 2010 at 11:37 AM

    That’s one magic loogie.

  13. APBA Guy - Aug 6, 2010 at 11:46 AM

    Craig, the real problem is you fail to sufficiently address the heroic Jair Jurrjens, battling back from a 2 run deficit, holding the evil ones at bay, all after suffering mightily from grievous injury and recovering. Where is your heart? Where is your soul?

  14. The Rabbit - Aug 6, 2010 at 11:54 AM

    Warren Commission:Magic Bullet::Bob Davidson:Sanchez’ fair ball
    Umpires may have always been inept but the technology has progressed so that every fan can see the number of calls they miss. Instant replay is an easy solution.
    The bigger problem is that they are arrogant, confrontational, and unaccountable. This allows them to influence the outcome of more games than merely incompetence. Their ability to eject anyone for body language or a player in which they initiated the confrontation gives them the opportunity to place a team they dislike in an disadvantageous position. The president of umpires union has publicly made negative remarks regarding a team and its players. How can you expect them to be unbiased?
    Because the idiot owners’ representative (I really can’t call him Commissioner), Bud Light won’t deal with the issue, perhaps catchers should be less efficient in blocking some of those fast balls.

  15. Keith K. - Aug 6, 2010 at 12:08 PM

    From where Davidson was standing, he can certainly follow a ground ball as it comes down the line, before and after the base. If he sees the ball bounce in fair territory just in front of the base, and again bounce in fair territory after the base, that will indicate to him, better than his own “side view” of the space above the base, that the ball crossed the base in fair territory.

  16. John_Michael - Aug 6, 2010 at 12:25 PM

    Imagine if a call like this was blown late in a NBA game costing a team a win. Imagine what the wild conspiracy theories would be. Dang, look what I just started.

  17. PaulKersey - Aug 6, 2010 at 12:32 PM

    But how do you get to Shell Beach, Craig?

  18. grapes911 - Aug 6, 2010 at 12:42 PM

    You are incorrect. Ruling fair or foul IS a judgment call.
    9.02a in the MLB rule book:
    Any umpire’s decision which involves judgment, such as, but not limited to, whether a batted ball is fair or foul, whether a pitch is a strike or a ball, or whether a runner is safe or out, is final. No player, manager, coach or substitute shall object to any such judgment decisions.

  19. doctorfunke - Aug 6, 2010 at 12:50 PM

    Agreed. And you can put that on the board. Chris, are you a Twins fan?

  20. doctorfunke - Aug 6, 2010 at 12:53 PM

    No controversy there, we all already know that the NBA is fixed.

  21. GP - Aug 6, 2010 at 1:28 PM

    Actually, he did. The very first bounce off the bat is on the foul side of the chalk. The second bounce is dead on the chalk (so, fair ball at that point) and the third bounce is a few inches inside the chalk. So, in the space of about 100 feet, his ball moved about 5 or 6 inches.

  22. matt - Aug 6, 2010 at 1:42 PM

    Whoaa, for the people that are bashing the phillies broadcast crew, what are you talking about you morons? They both clearly stated after looking at it on replay a million times that they thought it was likely a fair ball. Wake up you dopes.

  23. Old Gator - Aug 6, 2010 at 5:16 PM

    Just thought I’d circle back here on my way from the swimming pool to shower off my sunblock and remind everyone that the Feesh made more than enough mistakes and pitched and fielded more than poorly enough to lose this game with or without Davidson. They have a two run lead in the top of the ninth. Leo Nunez gets a routine ground ball with a guy on – maybe not quite a double play ball but close. His throw to first winds up in Collier County someplace. Two more straight hits. Byebye lead. Davidson had no input into any of that fiasco. Let’s say that the ball was foul (which of course it was – and it is preserved in history as a foul ball as surely as a bug in amber now, so what fucking difference does it make?). Gaby strikes out. The next Feesh hitter strikes out. The runner, as so many Feesh runners are, is left stranded. Next inning – first guy up, pow! The Feesh go one two three in their half. You had a home team with a lead that coughed it up and couldn’t score a winning run given seven batters in the bottom of two consecutive sudden death innings. Finis operis.
    .
    It’s true, of course, that I’ve seen the Feesh implode like that so many times this season that a mere blown call strikes me as just one more bad play in a lo-o-o-o-ong series of them, so I’m about as immune to it as a rattlesnake handler who’s been bit fifty times. But folks, this was a game that the Feesh were destined to lose, wanted to lose, and lost with or without Bob Davidson.

  24. quint - Aug 6, 2010 at 6:21 PM

    The problem is the umpires watch it over the bag, you can’t turn around and watch it land as well.
    Given a split second, you see it bounce foul and go near the bag, foul ball seems the right call.
    I don’t doubt it was fair, it took a bit of a turn towards fair, but its understandable how you call that a foul ball.

  25. Budha425 - Aug 7, 2010 at 3:25 PM

    I think everyone is missing the bigger picture here. Umpires aren’t held accountable for their actions. There is no one to oversee or reprimand them not only for making bad calls but also for not owning up to their mistakes. Only one time have i ever seen an umpire take public responsibility for getting a call wrong. And for that we thank you Jim Joyce. Even if you did cost a guy a place in history, and the HOF.

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