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Did Joe Maddon lie to the umpires last night?

Jun 21, 2011, 11:00 AM EDT

Tampa Bay Rays v Milwaukee Brewers Getty Images

Weirdness in the Rays-Brewers game, as Sam Fuld — who had pinch hit for reliever J.P. Howell in the top of the eighth — came out to the mound to warm up as the relief pitcher in the bottom of the inning.  He did not face any batters, however, as manager Joe Maddon pulled him for reliever Cesar Ramos after Ramos had time to warm up.

Except here’s the problem: the rules state that if a reliever — in this case Fuld — warms up, he has to actually pitch to a batter.  How did he get out of it? The umpires were told that Fuld had “soreness” and this had to be lifted because of an injury.  This despite the fact that Maddon was pretty expansive after the game in saying that he never intended to let Fuld pitch at all and his presence out there was merely to give Ramos more time.

To sum up: Fuld warming up was a stalling tactic to give Ramos more time, and Maddon — or someone — apparently lied to the umps about Fuld being hurt so that the switch could be made before Fuld had to face anyone.  The umps, as they explained after the game, have to take the manager at his word when an injury is mentioned because, really, they can’t be in the business of judging which injuries are legit and which ones aren’t.

Is this worthy of a federal case? Not really, and it likely had no impact whatsoever on the game. But if I’m Joe Torre or someone I have a talk with Joe Maddon about this, because it looks like he was playing fast and loose, and appearances sort of matter.

  1. Manni Stats - Jun 21, 2011 at 11:03 AM

    I don’t think it was a legal move persay, but Rays Index did point this out:

    “The official rule says a player replacing a pitcher must face one batter, but Fuld had already come in as a pinch hitter so he technically wasn’t a substitute.”

    There might be some gray area because of that but have to be inclined to go with the umpires on the rules.

    • Kevin S. - Jun 21, 2011 at 11:29 AM

      Wouldn’t Maddon have had to declare the double-switch and give up his DH if that was the case?

      • fivetoolmike - Jun 21, 2011 at 11:43 AM

        NL park, friend. No DH.

      • FC - Jun 21, 2011 at 11:51 AM

        Err… what DH? They were playing in Milwaukee right? Or maybe my sarcasm meter isn’t working this morning… [kicking the stupid thing!]

      • Kevin S. - Jun 21, 2011 at 12:03 PM

        D’oh! :idiot:

        Did Fuld pinch-hit for the pitcher? If so, I guess he’d be fine then.

      • indaburg - Jun 21, 2011 at 2:50 PM

        Say it ain’t so, Joe.

        I believe Fuld did pinch hit for the pitcher however, I am not sure that makes a difference in this case. According to rule

        Rule 3.05 (b) states: If the pitcher is replaced, the substitute pitcher shall pitch to the batter then at bat, or any substitute batter, until such batter is put out or reaches first base, or until the offensive team is put out, unless the substitute pitcher sustains injury or illness which, in the umpire-in-chief’s judgment, incapacitates him for further play as a pitcher. (Credit goes to:

        http://www.tampabay.com/blogs/rays/content/why-was-sam-fuld-mound)

        As bad as the two subsequent relief pitchers pitched, I wished Joe Ma had left Fuld in. Fuld couldn’t have done any worse. If he did lie, there’s karma for you.

  2. 18thstreet - Jun 21, 2011 at 11:12 AM

    That’s Bush League. They need to penalize blatant stalling tactics like that. And I like Maddon.

    I’m not exaggerating — I’d like to see a 10-game suspension over this crap. The game should be played in a way that the fans find entertaining. We don’t watch the game to watch pitching changes. We don’t watch the game to wait for the batter to get back in the box. We don’t watch the game to see 5 pitchers record 3 outs. They need to put a stop to this.

    • Manni Stats - Jun 21, 2011 at 11:18 AM

      Whether it’s bush league or not, the second paragraph is just asinine. I seriously doubt Fuld throwing a few warm up pitches ruined the night for fans. And managers should do everything they can to win; if that means 5 changes it means 5 changes sometimes. It’s not a manager’s faults that most relievers can only get same-handed batters out.

      So yes, the tactic may have been illegal. And while I don’t like modern bullpen usage, this instance hardly invalidates that.

      • 18thstreet - Jun 21, 2011 at 11:48 AM

        The game should be structured in the interests of the fans, not the players. Managers should do everything they can to win; the rule book should prevent them from doing, literally, everything. That’s why they invented rulebooks.

    • bigbbfan - Jun 21, 2011 at 2:43 PM

      Well, you are welcome to watch baketball, football, tennis….you get the point.

    • jjschiller - Jun 21, 2011 at 2:45 PM

      Post game interview:

      (Reporter:) “Why did you leave the lefty in there to face Pujols?”

      (Manager:) “I just thought we’d get this thing over with, ya know? The game is for the fans, anyway. Let’s not make them wait through another pitching change.”

      At home, watching on TV:

      (18thstreet:) “FINALLY! SOMEONE GETS IT!”

  3. The Baseball Idiot - Jun 21, 2011 at 11:14 AM

    So all those times Maddon has been ejected over arguing a call with an umpire, he might have actually know all along that he was wrong and just lied about it to get an advantange over the other team and the ejections were actually warranted?

  4. mdpickles - Jun 21, 2011 at 11:20 AM

    We all know Maddon is a smart fella. I’m thinking he took inter-league play as an opportunity to shine a light on a ‘loophole’ in the rules.

    • b7p19 - Jun 21, 2011 at 11:34 AM

      If you think Joe Maddon is the first person to do this you’ve got another think comin..

  5. trevorb06 - Jun 21, 2011 at 11:30 AM

    And people say due to the DH that AL managers know no strategy. Maddon 1 Haters 0

    • b7p19 - Jun 21, 2011 at 11:37 AM

      However, I rarely see Craig write a post about the AL manager that did nothing because he had a DH. NL games are more interesting unless you subscribe to the “chicks love the long ball” theory.

      Just my opinion. Of course, the fact that you like the DH makes you a “hater” of the NL ways right?

      • trevorb06 - Jun 21, 2011 at 11:55 AM

        Oh gees I forgot… This is a humor free zone.

        NL games are just as intriguing as AL games. They’re just intriguing for different reasons. I’m not a chick, I’m actually a dude, and I personally enjoy the long ball just as much as I enjoy the strategy behind the small ball plays. I root for the Twin’s, obviously not as much long ball action there as the Yankees or Red Sox. I do also enjoy the strategy behind the NL and the pitchers batting, the pinch hitting (honestly, I think either way they’re screwed because most PHers get out too) but I enjoy rooting for the underdog and want that pitcher to absolutely clobber a ball, hit to the gap for a double or even sacrific bunt the ball to move a runner into scoring position. I’m sure many people share this opinion, too.

        I suppose I already answered your question on being an NL hater. I am not an NL hater. I do love both leagues and love how they each play differently. I love interleague play. I wish there wasn’t as much interleague play but I still enjoy it none the less.

        Please do lighten up though. Craig cracks jokes in a lot of his posts and I don’t see you getting all huffy about that. Why can’t commenters show some humor as well? I wasn’t attacking any one side in my comment. Honestly, the DH rule in baseball is treated a lot like abortion in politics. We’re never going to agree on how it should be so it’s just not worth getting all worked up about it (in baseball that is…)

      • b7p19 - Jun 21, 2011 at 1:22 PM

        Wow, I’m the one that needs to lighten up?

  6. mdpickles - Jun 21, 2011 at 11:38 AM

    “Managing in the AL is a heck of lot easier than the NL. In this American League, you take the pitcher out one pitch before he gives up a 3-run homer.” — Jim Leyland

    • trevorb06 - Jun 21, 2011 at 12:01 PM

      See, even Leyland has a sense of humor!

  7. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Jun 21, 2011 at 2:42 PM

    As the guys on the MLB network pointed out last night, this is completely bush league and rude to the opposing team. The Rays were up 8-1 (I think) at that point. Having an outfielder warming up on the mound, then subbing him out is disrespectful to the opponent, and kind of rubbing their faces in it. I’m sure nobody on the Brewers, especially not Prince Fielder, would ever react to a perceived slight, but if I’m a Tampa Bay catcher I might ask for one of those suits the bomb squad wears instead of the usual catching gear…

    • bigbbfan - Jun 21, 2011 at 2:47 PM

      That assumes Fielder can hit Rays pitching…..no necessairly a good assumption.

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Jun 21, 2011 at 3:00 PM

        Ummm…he was on base 3 times in 5 PA last night. Getting on isn’t the problem. Coming around to score with the trio of McGhee, Kotsay and Betancourt behind him could be a problem.

    • indaburg - Jun 21, 2011 at 2:58 PM

      There was no disrespect meant to the Brewers. The Brewers recognized that it was a stalling tactic to get the real pitcher ready. Leaving Fuld in would have been the real sign of disrespect–not using him as a phony pitcher who never threw a pitch.

      Besides, the Brewers have enough ammo on the Rays and I guarantee you that tonight, a Ray (probably Longo) will get plunked. Fielder was knocked off the plate twice, and one of the throws was up towards the head.

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Jun 21, 2011 at 3:19 PM

        Not having a pitcher ready and making the opposing team wait out your day-late/dollar-short pitching change while staring at a 7-run deficit might rub some guys the wrong way. I don’t know for sure, but the former players (Hal Reynolds, Mitch Williams) in the MLB studio instantly said they would have taken offense at such a move if they had been on the Brewers, and I can certainly see their point.

  8. Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Jun 21, 2011 at 4:55 PM

    Seems there is room to maneuver, but little. I think this is going to be a big f’ing deal if it occurs in the W.S.

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