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Umps screw up the whole warn-the-benches thing in the Indians-Tigers game

Aug 22, 2011, 9:38 AM EDT

Porcello Cabrera.bmp

Yesterday in the Indians-Tigers game Asdrubal Cabrera hit a long foul ball that could have gone out. He watched it as it flew. Which, given that it was either a foul ball or a home run shouldn’t have been too big a deal. I mean, it’s not like it was a moon shot to straightaway center he was admiring. Dude just wasn’t sure where the ball was going.

Rick Porcello, however, took exception and threw one behind Cabrera’s back on the very next pitch. That was stupid and immature. Also stupid: the umps decided to warn the benches right after the pitch.

I thought that if a pitcher throws a clear retaliation pitch — which this was — you eject the pitcher immediately. That’s punishment, see.  The only effect the warning had was to give Porcello a freebie purpose pitch while simultaneously preventing the Indians from retaliating. Or, if the umps misconstrued a later inside pitch from them as a purpose pitch, made it harder for them to pitch inside legitimately.

Manny Acta was mad about it, and rightfully so.  If a guy throws at someone on purpose, they should be ejected.  Why is that so hard?

  1. drmonkeyarmy - Aug 22, 2011 at 9:44 AM

    Ejected and suspended. You should also be suspended for throwing sucker punched in a melee but MLB rules are very strange and tend punish the aggressive actions of some while ignoring the overt aggressive actions of others.

    • Alex K - Aug 22, 2011 at 9:54 AM

      I agree about the ejection and suspension. He shouldn’t be suspended as long as a guy that throws at someones head, but I think he should miss a start because of it.

      • hanswatson2013 - Aug 22, 2011 at 11:35 AM

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    • The Common Man - Aug 22, 2011 at 9:56 AM

      Seriously, suspend this idiot before he hurts somebody. Freaking knucklehead.

      • The Baseball Idiot - Aug 22, 2011 at 10:13 AM

        I’m the Idiot here, and name calling is as bad as Cabrerra sanding and watching the ball.

      • The Common Man - Aug 22, 2011 at 10:21 AM

        Is it as bad as misspelling two words in one sentence? Or was he actually sanding the ball? Because that would be hilarious. Idiot is right.

        The ball Cabrera hit went foul, running was not required.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Aug 22, 2011 at 10:26 AM

        Why is it that every time an umpire makes a stupid decision in a game, TBI is always there to pick up for him? It’s crazy. You admit that Porcello threw behind Cabrera to send him a message, yet you say he didn’t deserve to be ejected? Seriously? What was the message? Run out every hit, even if it is a foul ball? Then you are OK with the warning to avoid retaliation. So, like Craig said, Porcello got a freebie. There is no other way to look at it TBI.

      • The Baseball Idiot - Aug 22, 2011 at 10:33 AM

        “Yesterday in the Indians-Tigers game Asdrubal Cabrera hit a long foul ball that could have gone out. He watched it as it flew. Which, given that it was either a foul ball or a home run shouldn’t have been too big a deal. I mean, it’s not like it was a moon shot to straightaway center he was admiring. Dude just wasn’t sure where the ball was going.”

        If he didn’t know where it was going, then he should have been running. Why are you so happy to have grown men act like 12-year old children?

        If the umpire was wrong for not ejecting Porcello, and Porcello was wrong for trying to hit the battter (if he actually was), then you should first be calling out Carbrera for being a punk. Because if he wasn’t standing at home plate admiring what he thought was a homerun, then none of it even happens, or matters.

        As far as standing up for the umps, I always will. As long as guys like you keeping painting a target on their back and piss and moan about every call they make, I’ll take their side. Why don’t you invite some of them to your place of work and let them critique every decision you make in front the entire company?

      • drmonkeyarmy - Aug 22, 2011 at 10:42 AM

        Is the Baseball Idiot, Angel Hernandez?

      • Chris Fiorentino - Aug 22, 2011 at 10:45 AM

        Dude, first of all relax.

        OK, are you calm now? Good, now let’s talk.

        You said this…”If the umpire was wrong for not ejecting Porcello, and Porcello was wrong for trying to hit the battter (if he actually was), then you should first be calling out Carbrera for being a punk. Because if he wasn’t standing at home plate admiring what he thought was a homerun, then none of it even happens, or matters.”

        OK, fine. Let’s agree to disagree on whether Cabrera was a punk. I think he just didn’t know if it was foul. You think he was a punk. Fine. What business is it of the umpire’s whether Cabrera acted like a punk? Is it the umpire’s job now to allow the pitcher who felt shown up to throw behind the guy? Really? Is that going to be your argument? That the umpire let him throw behind him because he acted like a punk? You are trying to argue two different things here when all this is about is a simple screw-up by the umpires.

        It’s a very very narrow question that you are turning into a debate on whether Cabrera acted like a punk, when it really doesn’t matter to this question:

        Do you agree that the umpires gave Porcello a freebie with the way they handled the situation or not? And if they did, then weren’t they unfair to the Indians?

      • The Baseball Idiot - Aug 22, 2011 at 10:58 AM

        You’re saying we don’t know what Carbrera’s intent was, but the umpire is supposed to make an immediate judgment of what Porcello’s was?

        For all of the complaining about umpires, most of them are very good. Watch the umpire during a game sometime, instead of the the other stuff.

        If the umpire had thought Porcello was throwing at Cabrera, he would have been out from behind the plate immediately, giving the signal. He didn’t come out right away, and only did when Cabrera stepped towards the mound. That tells me the umpire didn’t think it was a serious attempt to hit him.

        Remember, he’s also looking at from a much different angle than the replay shows, and that changes a lot of things.

        Has anyone stopped to think that maybe it really wasn’t that much of an issue, and Cabrera made it into one by stepping towards the mound?

        To answer your question, from everything I saw, and from my experience, I would not have ejected Porcello for this pitch, If he had hit him, or caused him to fall to the ground or do any more of a movement than what he did, I would have tossed him immediately.

        I was actually criticized for being too quick to give warnings, so it’s not that I let things like this happen. I didn’t. All in all, I still don’t think it was worthy of an ejection. Not as it happened.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Aug 22, 2011 at 11:01 AM

        TBI, now I know how managers feel when they come out to argue with umpires because they never win. The only reason Cabrera DIDN’T get hit was because he moved out of the way. Had he stood his ground, the ball would have nailed him right in the middle of the back. Geeze.

        We’ll agree to disagree on this one, sir.

      • The Baseball Idiot - Aug 22, 2011 at 11:04 AM

        Also, I don’t think Porcello got a freebie, because I don’t think there was any way he was going to hit or throw at any other batter.

        The umpires DO NOT have to eject anyone after that if another batter gets hits. The main point behind the warning is that that managers are ejected also, and it’s up to them to control what happens intentionally, not accidentally.

        But what they did do was solve the problem. No one was hit. No one was hurt. No one was ejected. The game was decided on the field, not in the rule book. Nothing that happened changed the game in any way.

        Sounds to me like the umpires handled it pretty well. I don’t that it’s a sin and a crime to actually say that, so send the police to come get me. I’ll go quietly.

      • The Common Man - Aug 22, 2011 at 11:04 AM

        He knew where it was going…beyond the fence. The question was whether it was going to be fair or foul once it got there. I see no reason why Cabrera should run until he knew whether or not that was the case.

      • The Baseball Idiot - Aug 22, 2011 at 11:20 AM

        Chris, Cabrera was able to avoid being hit by the pitch without moving his feet.

        I know I’m alone in this and not a single person agrees with me, but I just don’t see intent to hit.

      • cmutimmah - Aug 22, 2011 at 4:12 PM

        He threw the ball behind him… it slipped!

        Acta should be pissed that after the benches were warned, Valverde went out and hit a guy on the Indians… now, it was 0-2, a one run game, and a guy on first base with nobody out… so they didn’t toss him. BUT a warning is a warning right?

        Weaver got mad at Magglio a few weeks back, and then Carlos Guillen decided to do his pose watching his HR later in the game to which Weaver went head hunting on Alex Avila… Now THAT deserves a suspension (for Guillen AND Weaver, IMO), but this is a non issue. He didn’t hit anyone, there wasn’t jawing before hand so there was no premeditation shown, this is just been part of baseball since the Bob Gibson days… now you media cats feel the need to TMZ it up, and cause drama.

  2. mcs7584 - Aug 22, 2011 at 9:48 AM

    Joe West was involved? Imagine that.

    • kopy - Aug 22, 2011 at 9:58 AM

      Indeed. The linked article states that, as crew chief, Joe West instructed the home plate umpire to warn both teams.

  3. The Baseball Idiot - Aug 22, 2011 at 10:02 AM

    There are no automatic ejections. It’s a judgement call, based on what the umpire feels the intent was.

    If later in the game, after warning both benches, a batter was hit, the umpire does not have to eject anyone. If he felt it was an unintentional HBP, he can let everyone stay in the game.

    The purpose behind the warning is there to stop retaliation, not eject every pitcher who hits a batter.

    The umpire doesn’t have the option to warn only one bench. He has to warn both of them. Managers take advantage of that all the time, and make sure their pitcher hits/brushes back a batter on the other team first. Strange how they never seems to get called out for that.

    The umpire might have been right to eject Porcello, and maybe not. It’s a judgement call, and there is a lot that goes on behind the scene that most fans don’t really know about.

    But if people want an automatic ejection for a pitcher hitting a batter, they should also add in an automatic ejection for batters acting like childish pricks.

    • Chris Fiorentino - Aug 22, 2011 at 10:07 AM

      “The umpire might have been right to eject Porcello, and maybe not. It’s a judgement call, and there is a lot that goes on behind the scene that most fans don’t really know about.”

      I agree with your entire comment except this one. Only a moron would think that Porcello was not intentionally throwing at Cabrera. And even the umpire thought it because he warned both benches. See, if he didn’t judge it to be accidental, then he should have thrown out Porcello and THEN warned both benches. Like Craig said, all he did was give the Porcello a freebie.

      • The Baseball Idiot - Aug 22, 2011 at 10:11 AM

        As someone who has umpired a lot of games, I wouldn’t have ejected Porcello for this, but only because, in my opinion, he threw far enough behind him that I don’t think he was actually trying to hit him, just send a message.

        That’s where judgement of the intent comes in, and it has to be done in a split-second. I don’t think Porcello would have thrown at another batter after that.

        If he had him him, I would have ejected him. But I don’t think he was really trying all that hard.

        Just my opinion from years of experience.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Aug 22, 2011 at 10:14 AM

        So it’s ok to throw far enough behind the guy to not hit him? That’s absurd. The umpire screwed the pooch here because he gave the Tigers a freebie plain and simple. There is zero excuse to not throw out Porcello.

      • The Common Man - Aug 22, 2011 at 10:26 AM

        As someone who has not umpired a lot of games, I wish you umpires would react more strongly in situations like this, so that players don’t get hurt and situations don’t get out of control. I’d prefer to watch baseball, not the WWE Royal Rumble.

      • The Baseball Idiot - Aug 22, 2011 at 10:42 AM

        I actually agree with you on that. However, the batters are wearing more armor than an M-1 tank, have had the strike zone continuously reduced over the years, are hitting in bandboxes, and cry every time a pitch is called a strikeout. As well as the stupid arguments after the stupid umpire has the audacity to call them out on strikes when it obviously wasn’t, just because they didn’t swing at it.

        The batter has every advantage in the game. They also have the responsibility to not act like jerks. All the crap going on in Little League games is a direct result of what the batters in the majors do. You don’t want baseball to be the WWE. How do you feel about it turning into the NBA?

        When Hank Aaron hit his 715rh homerun, he ran out of the box right away, looked straight ahead and rounded the bases at the speed some guys hit triples on. If he can do it, the rest of them damn well can also.

      • trigzter - Aug 22, 2011 at 10:58 AM

        Im sorry that every player is not Hank Aaron.

      • Alex K - Aug 22, 2011 at 11:13 AM

        Hank Aaron’s 715th was also to left center where he knew it wasn’t going to be foul. Cabrerra knew the ball had a good chance to be foul, and it was.

      • The Common Man - Aug 22, 2011 at 11:21 AM

        “The batter has every advantage in the game.”

        And yet, offense is in decline. Are you writing this from 2004?

        Again, I think reasonable people can agree that Cabrera wasn’t acting like a jerk. He knew he hit it over the wall, but the only question was whether it was fair or foul. There’s no reason to run until he knows whether he needs to in that case.

        And I really couldn’t care less if a Little Leaguer wants to watch and see how far he hit a baseball. If you have a problem with it, become a coach and tell your players they aren’t allowed to do that.

      • The Baseball Idiot - Aug 22, 2011 at 11:55 AM

        TCM, for someone who is a Twins fan, I am amazed that you feel it’s okay for a player not to run after he has hit the ball. The Twins are the role model franchise for not showboating, and I’ve always admired them for that. Kirby and the Killer just rolled over in their graves.

      • The Common Man - Aug 22, 2011 at 12:16 PM

        I’m saying that, in this particular case, it didn’t make sense to run. And also that I think that kids can be kids without turning every moment of every game into an object lesson.

        The Twins don’t “showboat” after home runs because, historically, they haven’t hit very many of them, so when one goes over the fence, they’re mostly just confused about what to do next. And I don’t think the instinct to watch the flight of a baseball is any more showboating than picking your head up to see how far you drove a golf ball down the fairway.

      • The Baseball Idiot - Aug 22, 2011 at 12:47 PM

        Golfers don’t have to run to the cup to putt if the wind blows the ball back into play.

        Johnny Miller: Are you running? Are you running? ARE YOU RUNNING? There’s no running! THERE’S NO RUNNING IN GOLF!
        Tom Watson: Why don’t you give him a break, Johnny…
        Johnny Miller:: Oh, you zip it, Tom! Arnold Palmer was my coach, and he called me a talking pile of pigshit. And that was when my parents drove all the way down from Michigan to see me play the game. And did I cry?
        Tiger Woods: No, no, no.
        Johnny Miller: Yeah! NO. And do you know why?
        TIger Woods: No…
        Johnny Miller: Because there’s no running in golf. THERE’S NO RUNNING IN GOLF! No running!

  4. Chris Fiorentino - Aug 22, 2011 at 10:06 AM

    “The umpire might have been right to eject Porcello, and maybe not. It’s a judgement call, and there is a lot that goes on behind the scene that most fans don’t really know about.”

    I agree with your entire comment except this one. Only a moron would think that Porcello was not intentionally throwing at Cabrera. And even the umpire thought it because he warned both benches. See, if he didn’t judge it to be accidental, then he should have thrown out Porcello and THEN warned both benches. Like Craig said, all he did was give the Porcello a freebie.

  5. yarguy - Aug 22, 2011 at 10:38 AM

    There is something interesting hidden in the umpire crew for this game. When did McClelland and West start umpiring on the same crew? They were on different crews the first of the week and as far as I can remember have always been? And weren’t/aren’t both West and McClelland crew chiefs? Schreiber had been on West’s crew before the Detroit/Cleveland series, but the 4th umpire, Porter, had been on a third crew. I guess they decided that West’s crew didn’t screw up enough with Hernandez gone, so they had to add McClelland.

  6. mplsjoe - Aug 22, 2011 at 12:15 PM

    OK, so there are two umpiring issues here.

    1. Not ejecting Porcello.

    2. Officially warning the Indians.

    Issue 1, I think, we can agree to disagree about. I’m not necessary in favor of ejecting every pitcher who throws at a batter, which I think is what Porcello did. Sometimes umpires have to let things fly, especially where intent is at issue (again, I think it’s pretty clear what Porcello was doing, but I’m not inside his head so I can’t know for sure).

    But issue 2 is a no-brainer. Why should the Indians’ pitchers be punished because a Tigers pitcher threw at a guy? Makes no sense. The only rationale would be one where the umpire claims that Cabrera “started it” by watching his foul ball. This would be a pretty damn stupid thing for an umpire to do. The ump would have to make the judgment call that Cabrera tried to show Porcello up which is next to impossible to do – see Issue 1. Then, the ump would have to decide that the Tigers, not the Indians, get the last word in the matter. That’s crappy.

    It’s just lazy umpiring. The easiest thing to do is blame everyone and say no more hit batters rather than either letting things play out or actually figuring out who’s at fault – clearly the Tigers – and punishing them.

  7. test2402 - Aug 22, 2011 at 12:20 PM

    At least im not a mets fan.

  8. marshmallowsnake - Aug 22, 2011 at 12:36 PM

    Why is the “P” in his first name silent? That is an odd spelling…

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