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Jonathan Papelbon could be facing suspension for ump bump

Jun 5, 2011, 5:08 PM EDT

pap argues getty Getty Images

It’s reasonable to wonder whether Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon is going to face a fine or suspension (or both) for getting in the face of home plate umpire Tony Randazzo during Saturday’s 9-8 extra-innings victory over the Athletics.

Papelbon charged at Randazzo and appeared to make slight contact with his chest protector after getting the heave-ho for questioning the strike zone with a stare down. It was the ninth inning, and Papelbon had just allowed Oakland to tie the game at 7-7. has the video here.

Papelbon spent a couple of minutes on the topic with reporters after Saturday’s game. It doesn’t sound like he’s expecting a suspension.

“From my perspective,” Papelbon said, “I had my back turned and did not turn around. He’s got his hands up, and I’m not even talking to him. I was talking to Salty (catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia). I said, ‘Salty, ‘Hey come out here. I need to know where that’s at. I felt like some pitches I was not getting were strikes and I threw one that I felt like was a ball and then he called it a strike, and I more or less was trying to get Salty out here and say, ‘Hey come talk to me, let’s figure out this zone so I know how to go about this.’ Because I had no idea what his zone was. … It’s not like I pushed him or anything. … The league’s going to come down on me the way they want to, whether they believe me or not, but I wasn’t trying to maliciously bump him or anything. I haven’t looked at the replay or anything.”

The MLB commissioner’s office was all quiet on Sunday, but a ruling could be made early this week. Nationals infielder Jerry Hairston Jr. made a similar kind of contact with a home plate umpire during the last week of May and received a one-game suspension. Papelbon is likely facing something similar.

  1. deathmonkey41 - Jun 5, 2011 at 5:20 PM

    Nah, if Bud Selig let a Board of Directors from the Red Sox head the steroid investigation, he won’t suspend the closer. He didn’t suspend Francona when he bumped Joe West mutliple times, so I’m sure Papelbum with get the same special treatment.

    • bobwsc - Jun 5, 2011 at 5:24 PM

      or he used him because the guys an ex-senator who might be able to handle an investigation. by not granting him subpoena powers, the investigation centered around dirty clubhouses (both in NY) and was a sham.

      • deathmonkey41 - Jun 5, 2011 at 5:33 PM

        I guess it would have been impossible to find a senator who was not on the board of directors of one of the teams being investigated.

    • JBerardi - Jun 5, 2011 at 8:26 PM

      Selig is granting the Red Sox special favors… why, exactly?

      • deathmonkey41 - Jun 5, 2011 at 9:32 PM

        Because Selig is spineless and ESPN (aka the Boston Red Sox Propaganda Machine) has influence.

      • marinersnate - Jun 6, 2011 at 12:46 AM

        “Because Selig is spineless and ESPN (aka the Boston Red Sox Propaganda Machine) has influence”

        EXACTLY RIGHT! Those cheating ass Red Sox! Always getting “special” treatment! And the Yanks ALWAYS get screwed! Spot on.

    • kedaco - Jun 6, 2011 at 5:20 PM

      They have always received favorable treatment on roids, look at Manny and Ortiz. I am sure popi must be juicing again to all of a sudden have the year he is having. I guess he either figures no problem they won’t bother me cause I’m a red sox or just doesn’t care because it is a contract year.

  2. ryanmallettsbluntwrap - Jun 5, 2011 at 6:07 PM

    Worst called game by an umpire in a long time , for the red sox and oakland , guys was bad , lets leave it at that.

    • clydeserra - Jun 5, 2011 at 9:52 PM

      not really. Go look at brooks baseball. It was a fair game.

      Papelbaum had less to complain about than others. He only lost one strike (to a hitter he got out) and was given one strike.

      Just him being a total jerk.

      • ryanmallettsbluntwrap - Jun 5, 2011 at 10:38 PM

        ugh yeah really , i don’t need to look at brooks baseball , i’m not talking about the papelbon sequence , I am more talking about the whole game in general for both teams , he would not call a strike on the inside part of the plate IN THE STRIKE ZONE , but would call outside right part of the plate out of the strike zone all game , varitek is a class guy , he doesn’t flip out for no reason , if you watched baseball tonight all 3 announcers agreed it was a horrific called game.

      • clydeserra - Jun 5, 2011 at 11:48 PM

        Lulz, baseball tonight as a reference. That’s still on NESN right?

        No, look at any pitch FX data. It wasn’t that bad.

      • sorryyourmomblewup - Jun 6, 2011 at 9:30 AM

        That’s “not bad”?

    • kellyb9 - Jun 6, 2011 at 11:12 AM

      Granted – I only watched the series of events leading up to the ejections, but they all looked border line to me. I would’ve leaned towards a ball on all or most of them. Papelbon and Varitek need to stop whining. On the other side of the coin, there should be no suspension for Papelbon… the contact was clearly incidental and minor. From the video, it didnt even look like he touched him.

  3. heffmessina - Jun 5, 2011 at 7:45 PM

    Nonsense. Look at the pitch fx for Papelbon in the 9th. He had no reason to complain at all.

    • paperlions - Jun 5, 2011 at 9:10 PM

      Exactly, first thing I checked after seeing the story (I usually want to actually know who was right in such a situation before forming an opinion). I don’t know about the rest of the game, but Papelbon had no reason to complain about the ball/strike calls.

      • jimbo1949 - Jun 5, 2011 at 9:31 PM


    • tekton8 - Jun 6, 2011 at 1:44 AM

      Not nonsense at all. It was a matter of consistency and Pitch Fx proves the umpire was garbage.

      The issue was not that the ump favored one team or pitcher over another, or that his zone was unusually large or small. It was simply that his strike zone was laughably inconsistent (for everybody) all day long. Pitch Fx proves that balls and strikes for both teams were thrown in similar spots, particularly low in the zone and up and away (to RHBs). Red and green appearing in the same areas = inconsistent = bad umpire = angry pitchers/catchers/managers.

      The strange part is Papelbon initially reacted to a called strike which he thought was up, so it wasn’t like he was whining about NOT getting the call… he was just confused about the zone like everyone else.

      I don’t agree with Papebon’s reaction but he was essentially right in his characterization of Randazzo’s day. Epic fail.

      • The Baseball Idiot - Jun 6, 2011 at 3:29 PM

        Pitch Fx doesn’t prove anything. It’s an evaluation tool, just like every other camera used. But it doesn’t prove anything.

        There is no way it can accurately capture a true strike zone 100% of the time, and until it does, it doesn’t prove anything. It’s a good tool, and it shows a lot, and it should be paid attention to.

        But it doesn’t prove anything.

  4. dirtyharry1971 - Jun 5, 2011 at 9:42 PM

    he should be suspended along with veritex and popeye, 10 games a piece for each of them

  5. pisano - Jun 5, 2011 at 9:58 PM

    That’s a shame, he was just rounding into shape with his era @ 4.32 it seemed like he regained his form.

  6. ryanmallettsbluntwrap - Jun 5, 2011 at 10:40 PM

    It sucks he isn’t pitching quite as good as that guy the yankees have Soriano though , oh well.

  7. Jonny 5 - Jun 6, 2011 at 8:23 AM

    I’d bet good money that if Pooplebon hadn’t blown so many saves this season, (this yet another) there would be no discussion here as he wouldn’t have acted like an idiot. Regardless of the strike zone. This is just a frustrated man lashing out imo.

  8. yettyskills - Jun 6, 2011 at 9:09 AM

    These fracking Umps need to STFU and get their arses back behind the plate. All too often they LOOK for confrontation. God Forbid they SHUT UP and SUCK IT UP. And not engage players and managers in heated discussions. Their egos are a joke, they all should be replaced with an electronic strike zone.

    • bleedgreen - Jun 6, 2011 at 10:48 AM

      I agree. After watching the clips from the Nats/DBacks game, I saw the home plate ump put his hands on a batter no less than 3 different times after HBP. If the umps want to piss and moan about incidental contact, then they should no intentionally put their hands on a player, whether to hold them back or not.

  9. redsox2011 - Jun 6, 2011 at 12:09 PM

    I agree with Jonny 5. I am a die hard Red Sox fan, but whenever Papelbon is brought in to close I can’t watch. He has blown so many games—-I do think he was acting out of frustration at himself.

  10. erikthev - Jun 6, 2011 at 5:30 PM

    To be honest, suspending Papelblob might be the best thing for Red Sox Nation. Then we wouldn’t have to suffer, every time his arm winds up, that he’s going to throw another game instead of a good pitch. And we’d be able to interview the replacement candidates for his position without having to wait till the end of the season!!

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