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Umpire Bob Davidson had yet another “incident” last night

Apr 13, 2011, 10:47 AM EDT

bob-davidson-and-kirk-gibson Getty Images

I wrote yesterday about how mainstream media members are thankfully beginning to take notice of how aggressively awful and confrontational umpire Bob Davidson has been for years and amazingly he had another “incident” last night.

Of course, given how many “incidents” Davidson has every season the timing of the whole thing probably isn’t that remarkable.

Through his first 92 games as Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson had never been ejected, but Davidson changed that by booting him for arguing about a checked-swing strike call.

Gibson got his money’s worth via a bill-to-bill screaming match with Davidson, who as usual did everything he could to worsen the situation by allegedly trying to goad catcher Miguel Montero into a confrontation earlier in the game.

I’ll let Jack Magruder of set the scene:

[Gibson] and home-plate umpire Bob Davidson went lip to lip, as Justin Upton called it, after Davidson called Miguel Montero out on a check-swing third strike in the bottom of the third inning. It was the same call on the same pitch–a low, inside breaking ball–that retired Montero in the first, lighting the fuse. …

Montero was upset after being called out in the first inning, and Davidson appeared to say something to him on his way to the dugout. “I never said anything to him; he said something to me,” Montero said. “I thought he wanted me to say something back, something to throw me out of the game and pay a $500 fine.” After the second strikeout in the third, the D-backs’ dugout was all over Davidson, who ejected Gibson, leading Gibson to run out on the field.

In other words, Davidson made a “questionable” call and then tried to escalate the situation by creating a confrontation. Mission accomplished, I suppose. At least if his mission is “be awful at your job and get your name in every game recap.”

  1. Jonny 5 - Apr 13, 2011 at 10:52 AM

    What a nozzle. BTW did anyone see Jimmy Rollins get tagged out with an empty glove while the ball was actually being thrown, by the throwing hand??? Blue was right there to see it all, but didn’t. Epic fail.

    • nps6724 - Apr 13, 2011 at 11:14 AM

      So the fielder was throwing the ball and tagging Jimmy at the same time?

      • mercyflush - Apr 13, 2011 at 11:29 AM

        yes, exactly. rollins on first, slowish ground ball to the second baseman, he picks it up and tags rollins and throws to first for the double play (throw was late).

        however, it was clear in real time (and laughable on replay) that the second baseman took the ball out of his glove, and tagged rollins with the empty glove as he started to throw to first.

        the phillies announcers were like “wow, how did the ump miss that, he’s standing right there?”

        to be fair, it was such a wierd play that the ump probably wasn’t even thinking that could happen, and was watching to be sure that the glove touched rollins.

      • Utley's Hair - Apr 13, 2011 at 11:31 AM

        Yep. Ian Desmond was about to cock his arm to throw—over and past Matt Stairs at first, it turns out—as he tagged JRoll “out” with his glove. Unbelievable.

      • Jonny 5 - Apr 13, 2011 at 11:32 AM

        Yes, if the game was closer there would be some outrage. Unlike a home run, this was actually a rally killer.

      • Utley's Hair - Apr 13, 2011 at 11:37 AM

        Honestly, Rollins should have made a bigger stink about it, too. It was a bogus call at the top of the inning where Blanton started his implosion.

    • nps6724 - Apr 13, 2011 at 11:38 AM

      Wow. Front-runner for Worst Call of the Year?

      • Jonny 5 - Apr 13, 2011 at 11:52 AM

        Too early to know for sure but it’ll be in the top ten for sure.

      • paperlions - Apr 13, 2011 at 12:42 PM

        You “Yankee fanned” this thread on purpose didn’t you?

  2. Travis Reitsma - Apr 13, 2011 at 10:59 AM

    Davidson was also the ump in the 1992 World Series who missed the Kelly Gruber triple play tag.

    And I BELIEVE he was the umpire who goaded Milton Bradley into injuring himself that year.

    I’m continually amazed at how he keeps his job.

    • professor59 - Apr 13, 2011 at 11:43 AM

      Strongest union on Earth, that’s how.

      • JBerardi - Apr 13, 2011 at 2:06 PM

        Since when is Davidson a player?

      • tomemos - Apr 13, 2011 at 2:15 PM

        Hardly. The umpires got their asses kicked when they tried to strike.

    • lanceaferd - Apr 13, 2011 at 7:47 PM

      Actually, it was Mike Winters that goaded Milton Bradley back in the ’07 season that led to his injury. I can’t understand why the plate umpires constantly insist on making check swing calls–the two umpires down the foul lines have the perfect angles. Time to demote Davidson to Single-A ball…

  3. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Apr 13, 2011 at 11:08 AM

    At the most basic level, the media talking about an umpire = umpire fail.

  4. BC - Apr 13, 2011 at 11:14 AM

    Until umpires are accountable to MLB and not to a union, you’ll have this stuff happening over and over and over. I’m not anti-union in general, but this group has to be canned, re-apply for positions accountable to MLB, and get some new blood in to replace the deadbeats like Davidson and West.

    • Old Gator - Apr 13, 2011 at 11:29 AM

      Short of betting on baseball, what does an umpire have to do to get himself in trouble?

      • bigxrob - Apr 13, 2011 at 12:11 PM

        Run a dog fighting operation?

      • cur68 - Apr 13, 2011 at 12:36 PM

        Davidson’s so aggressive I’m not sure he doesn’t. Breathing fighting dog testosterone everyday would certainly account for his antics.

      • BC - Apr 13, 2011 at 12:54 PM

        Nothing. The union protects them all. All the “discipline” is cloak-and-dagger. It’s a joke.

      • mgflolox - Apr 13, 2011 at 1:13 PM

        PEDs, maybe?

      • Old Gator - Apr 13, 2011 at 1:18 PM

        There are meds that can make him a bigger asshole? But will they shrink his balls to make room?

      • Utley's Hair - Apr 13, 2011 at 1:40 PM

        In order to be that big of an a$$hole, he’s gotta have big brass ones, so the meds would probably grow ’em and petrify ’em.

  5. psousa1 - Apr 13, 2011 at 11:28 AM

    After their idiotic mass resignation 10 years ago the ones who came back had their tail between their legs. Now they are starting to get back to the old days of Ken Kaiser, John Mcsherry, Eric Gregg, et al where they seemingly could care less if they get the call correct or not. I’ve already watched about 30 games this year and it is remarkable home many pitches the home plate umpires have been missing. Astonishing.

  6. saints97 - Apr 13, 2011 at 11:34 AM

    I was watching the game, and the two calls on Montero were terrible. The second one, however, was not a strike three call. It was the first pitch of his second at bat – so he got robbed two pitches in a row.

    And then Davidson clear as day said, “F— you!” to Gibson during the shouting match. They really have to do something about this guy. Baiting players and relishing shouting matches is not what’s best for baseball. Not to mention that he is ringing guys up on plays that he really needs to check with his base umps on.

    I don’t know what MLB can do about it, but something needs to be done. He is a disgrace.

    • Old Gator - Apr 13, 2011 at 11:40 AM

      Maybe one of these days he’ll bait one of the players who’s been incorporating kickboxing routines into his workouts. Maybe he’ll bait K-Rod. Maybe he’ll go a step too far and smear shoe polish on Kirk Gibson’s forehead. Maybe some Rupert Pupkin type fan will wait for him outside in the parking lot with a gill net. Maybe….

  7. baseballstars - Apr 13, 2011 at 1:25 PM

    Send him to LA dressed as a Giants fan.

    • sayheykidwschamp - Apr 13, 2011 at 2:05 PM

      Hey Bob Davidson, is that you? A guy is lying in a hospital fighting to stay alive and that is your comment. Stay classy!

  8. mgflolox - Apr 13, 2011 at 1:30 PM

    This is certainly an exercise in complete futility, but that’s never stopped me before, so here goes:
    First off, the system for developing and training umpires absolutely assures that the best, most qualified umps are not all in the majors. Umpires should be developed and promoted the same way as players. First of all, pay Minor League umps a living wage, second, promote them through the rungs of the organized baseball based on performance, and release the ones who aren’t getting it done. I would bet anything that there are some better umps in the minors than there are in the majors. How hard do you think these guys would work if they knew that there were young, upcoming umpires ready to replace them as soon as their performance began to slip? MLB players have a very strong union, but when players are no longer good enough to play, they get released and replaced. That’s the way it should be with umpires.

    • Utley's Hair - Apr 13, 2011 at 1:58 PM

      “I would bet anything that there are some better umps in the minors than there are in the majors.”

      Scott Barry objects to that statement.

  9. sanzarq - Apr 13, 2011 at 1:39 PM

    Davidson is a disgrace and should be sent to the low minors or fired! The game is not about the umpires, but Balkin’ Bob forgot that long ago.

  10. sayheykidwschamp - Apr 13, 2011 at 2:07 PM

    I say catchers need to start letting high fastballs pass right into his grill over and over again. If you are going to lose on bad calls, might as well make his face hurt.

    • Chris Fiorentino - Apr 13, 2011 at 2:32 PM

      Didn’t high school kids do this to an umpire last year? Seemed pretty stupid and indefensible then, and, no matter how much of a dickweed Davidson is, wouldn’t be very cool to do to him either.

  11. frankvzappa - Apr 13, 2011 at 4:56 PM

    gibson should have met Davidson with a Louisville Slugger and made like it was the 1988 World Series…

    • bigdicktater - Apr 13, 2011 at 7:37 PM

      I don’t think Kirk needs anything extra to KO Davidson. I’d have excused him if Balkin’ Bob did give him an f-bomb. Heck, I’d pay to see that.

  12. marshallnbrown - Apr 14, 2011 at 7:10 AM

    MLB needs to implement an umpire grading system (a la the British Football (Soccer) Leagues) wherein each team grades the umpires, on a scale of 1 for the best, nn (however many MLB umps there are) for the worst. The bottom 3 or 4 or 5 (with the highest grade counts) simply don’t get hired back. They are replaced by the top 3 or 4 or 5 umpires in AAA, who in turn are replaced by the top in AA, et seq. The loss of professionalism — and personality, a la Jocko Conlin — in today’s umpires is a disgrace to the game. Players need to prove themselves, be graded much more arbitrarily, every spring. Umpires need to also, but at the end of the season.

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