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Bobby Valentine rips the umps after yesterday’s loss

Jun 11, 2012, 9:28 AM EDT

Washington Nationals v Boston Red Sox Getty Images

The Red Sox got swept by the Nats over the weekend, which likely put Bobby Valentine in a bad mood. Making it worse: the umpiring. And Valentine used yesterday’s postgame presser to rip the men in blue.

He was particularly mad at what he — and everyone who watched it, PitchFx included — thought should have been strike three to Roger Bernadina, just prior to his hitting the game-winning double that scored Bryce Harper in the ninth. Here’s Valentine after the game:

“Alfredo struck the guy out on a pitch that the whole ball is on the plate, and [Umpire Al Porter] calls it a ball.”
Valentine got more angry in the bottom of the ninth when the 1-1 pitch to Dustin Pedroia was called a strike when it was clearly outside.  That got Valentine out of the dugout and a one-way ticket to ejectionville.  But it wasn’t just those two pitches that had him fuming:

“Good umpires had a real bad series . . . a real bad series,” said a grim, tight-lipped Valentine — attempting unsuccessfully to hide his anger — in his postgame press conference. “It went one way (for the Nationals and against the Red Sox). There should be a review … The game is simple: Throw it over the plate, call it a strike. Don’t throw it over the plate, call it a ball.” said Valentine. “It’s simple. That’s all. That’s all anybody asks. I know it’s been going on for 100 years. I’m not the first one to say it. But this was a pretty lousy series … You’ve got guys busting their butts, battling their butts off, and it’s not right.”

Now, if I had to guess, Valentine will get a one-way ticket to fineville. Or perhaps it’s a roundtrip ticket. And it’s possible he could use Rewards points to purchase it. It’s all so complicated these days.

  1. deathmonkey41 - Jun 11, 2012 at 9:30 AM

    Someone get that man a tissue!

    • recoveringcubsfan - Jun 11, 2012 at 12:00 PM

      And a stopwatch. Bobby wants to tell the umps what to call? Let him signal them to act when his own pitchers take 30 or 40 seconds to make a pitch. I mean – rules, Bobby!!

      • superdoodles - Jun 11, 2012 at 12:28 PM

        That’s a double standard. If you expect Bobby-V to follow the rules, then the enforcers of the rules should too. It’s this attitude that is causing our country to go down the tubes, not just baseball, it has nothing to do with the government. People can’t concern themselves with their responsibilities or making sure others live up to theirs. BV is 100%, somebody has to keep them accountable. MLB has basically made these guys untouchable, and while most games will be decided on performance, all games SHOULD be. I used to think it was just the umps against the team I get to watch all the time, but then I got access to other games and realized it happens all the time. Small things like this affect games more than people know, it shifts momentum, causes friction, and it’s not allowing the spirit of the game to shine through. It’s all about the dumbass umpires that complain about having to work more than 4 hours a day. Whatever happened to personal responsibility in this country? I’m glad somebody has the balls to speak out. If you can’t beat the best at their best without having calls in your favor, then you really can’t call yourself the best. Apparently everybody calling him a whiner missed the point of the lesson, “It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game.”

      • natstowngreg - Jun 11, 2012 at 1:22 PM

        All this complaining about double standards might have merit if there were an actual double standard. The Nats suffered from some inaccurate ball and strike calling themselves, but Bobby V’s team lost. So, with all due respect to Bobby, his whining falls on deaf ears.

      • sabatimus - Jun 11, 2012 at 1:32 PM

        Josh Beckett, anyone? At least they have a (pseudo-) closer who can make it into the game without being fined for being slow.

  2. natslady - Jun 11, 2012 at 9:55 AM

    WAAAAH WAAAAH WAAAAAH, several bad calls to Nats’ hitters also (cf., Morse, Michael). Bobby V trying to ice Klippard–didn’t succeed… Go away.

    • Matt Aromando - Jun 11, 2012 at 10:12 AM

      I could see how someone named “natslady” would have a hard time being objective on this issue.

      • natslady - Jun 11, 2012 at 10:18 AM

        I could see how someone named “Bobby Valentine” would have a hard time being objective on this issue.

      • Matt Aromando - Jun 11, 2012 at 10:23 AM

        Maybe so, but he was. See Craig’s PitchFx link from above.

      • no14mike - Jun 11, 2012 at 10:25 AM

        I wish he would link the Michael Morse strikeout too. Strikes 2 and 3 were way off the plate and Lester got the calls. It happens.

      • Matt Aromando - Jun 11, 2012 at 10:35 AM

        I did look up the 2nd Morse at bat:
        So you certainly have a point with that, but it just illustrates the home plate umpire’s inconsistent strike zone. I’m not a ballplayer myself, but I’m under the impression that all anyone asks for is consistency. Sure batters want a tighter strike zone and pitchers want a wider one, but if they can agree on anything it’s that it’s best if it stays the same size for the whole game. This is clearly the overall issue.

      • natstowngreg - Jun 11, 2012 at 1:29 PM

        Definitely, the ball and strike strike calling was inconsistent throughout the weekend. So Valentine’s comment about good umps having a bad weekend has something behind it. However, would we have heard a peep from him if the Red Sox had won the series? I rather doubt it.

    • natstowngreg - Jun 11, 2012 at 1:24 PM

      His name is Clippard. You should know that.

    • rico7207 - Jun 11, 2012 at 2:53 PM

      OK for the Sox to use steroids to win it all by cheating after trying forever legally with no success. Now they will cry for the next hundred years. Try getting a team first with a real ball park. Pedroia be a .250 hitter in a real park and Ortiz would be with Mo Vaughn, where ever he is, after leaving his little match box to play in. Disappeared real fast, didn’t he. Fenway park is a joke!

      • drewsylvania - Jun 11, 2012 at 3:26 PM

        Go back to Yahoo Comments.

  3. stex52 - Jun 11, 2012 at 10:14 AM

    I don’t want to defend bad umpiring. But I have a strong suspicion the bad calls went both ways. Until MLB decides to do something ( a long time off), it makes more sense to man up and not be a whiner.

    • Matt Aromando - Jun 11, 2012 at 10:25 AM

      But if you think MLB should do something about it, isn’t it a good idea for people like Valentine to talk about it? The squeaky wheel gets the oil.

      • daisycutter1 - Jun 11, 2012 at 10:59 AM

        Isn’t it the case – or is it just the legend – that players and managers who whine about umpiring more often find themselves on the short end of the stick? If so, I’m all for Valentine beating this dead horse some more.

        I also find his whining particularly rich given how umpiring at Fenway has been perceived for years to favor the home team, particularly in late innings.

        I realize that’s not based on scientific analysis, but regardless that’s been the impression around the league for years now. I wonder if anyone has looked at the PitchFX data over time for late innings at Fenway to get a more objective view.

      • stex52 - Jun 11, 2012 at 12:20 PM

        Not going to happen through the press. I am sure they have ways to complain through the system. When you whine to the press, you incite your partisans and bore the other 29 teams.

      • sabatimus - Jun 11, 2012 at 1:37 PM

        @daisy: They get the short end of the stick due to the culture of MLB that doesn’t allow throwing umps (even when not naming them) under the bus. There needs to be umpiring accountability, and the Bob Davidson thing this year (and the Joe West thing when his dumb country album was coming out) are perhaps steps in the right direction.

        But those weren’t balls and strikes punishments. I really don’t understand why it’s so hard to call a ball a ball and a strike a strike (knuckleballs excluded). But then, I think I may have a much better view of the whole thing at home with an HDTV. And therein lies a serious problem.

      • nlfan865 - Jun 12, 2012 at 10:01 AM

        what most of us percieve as whining is probably pretty much exactly that…whinining!!! there are ways to make you feelings known to MLB, to your players, to your fans without hashing it out with the press after the game.Putting on a show and getting ejected from the game is tommy lasorda 101. Everything else is just whining. MLB understands they need to have consistancy and effectiveness from behind the plate and we all know there are things they are doing to ensure that from their professionals in blue…they just choose to handle that in house and i think that is the way it should be…the last thing we need is a media conference after everygame involving the umpires…its bad enough they have an outlet for whining managers and players after the game…if MLB wanted to do itself a favor they would stop the post game circus and let the play on the field stand for itself…speak your peace on the field take your ejection and STHU then let MLB take care of its umpires that are habitually unprofessional….you know they do

    • recoveringcubsfan - Jun 11, 2012 at 11:57 AM

      I’m not sure it is “bad umpiring” if the calls – wherever the strike zone may be for a given ump on a given day – are consistent. As the cliche goes, as long as he does it to both teams, fair warning, etc. Maybe Valentine should spend less time griping and more time telling his hitters to swing the bat at the pitches that are being called a strike? You don’t wait until game 3, ninth inning, to suddenly have a problem with a basic thing like “is that a strike? Whaddaya MEAN, “no”??” If the guy behind the plate has been calling it outside, inside, upside-down all game, then whether or not you think he’s an idiot or a “bad ump,” you swing the bat; and if you’re a pitcher looking for a called third strike, you throw it where it’s been called before. Consistently bad is predictable, as opposed to just plain bad.

      • paperlions - Jun 11, 2012 at 1:25 PM

        If the zone isn’t the zone defined by the rule book, regardless of consistency, it is bad umpiring. Umpires don’t get to decide what is fair or foul, or what is out or safe on a given day….there is no reason they should arbitrarily redefine the zone either.

  4. uyf1950 - Jun 11, 2012 at 10:16 AM

    Someone should tell Bobby V, chit happens it’s part of the game. Balls and strikes are for the most part judgement calls by the ump. BTW, I wonder how much grief Bobby V gave the umps during their Tigers series recently. Where virtually every call went the Red Sox way. Including clearly the foul tip 3rd out that wasn’t called and in fact probably contributed directly to the Red Sox win.

    • deathmonkey41 - Jun 11, 2012 at 10:23 AM

      Stop muddying the story with your silly facts!

      • uyf1950 - Jun 11, 2012 at 10:52 AM

        I’ll try, but no promises when it comes to the Red Sox and Booby V especially.

  5. natslady - Jun 11, 2012 at 10:31 AM

    So, I looked at the PitchFx for Clippard’s 25 pitches in the 9th yesterday.

    He had two pitches that were called strikes that were outside the strike zone.
    He also had two pitches on the black line that were called balls (one right on the border).

    There you are, Mr. V.

    • superdoodles - Jun 11, 2012 at 12:47 PM

      Of the 25 pitches 9 were balls. If it were a starter and two were missed, not a deal at all, but that’s missing more than 20% of the number of total balls called. Nearly 10% of total pitches. Stretch that out over a full game or season, and you can start to see how much that affects the game. It’s not just against the Sox, it’s against any and all teams going into the 8th and 9th innings, the umps are ready to get out of there. It upsets me because they are only out there for less than 4 hours (over 90% of games). Even Americans with part-time jobs work more than that, and I’m sure they are much better compensated for their time. Their supposed to be impartial to teams, players, and situations. It’s not a judgement call made in earnest, in my opinion, if it happens nearly every game.

      • natslady - Jun 11, 2012 at 12:58 PM

        Clip gets a lot of bad calls, in general. I hadn’t related it to his being a late inning reliever (I attributed it more to his “funky” delivery and very active change up). He also throws pitches deliberately out of the strike zone to set up his high fast ball (or his change).

        As a long time Clip-watcher (and fan), it’s been true for a while. His reaction to the bad calls is to just throw another strike (I’ve seen him need five or six to get a batter out, not just foul balls). Some other pitchers on our team let the bad calls get to them, but Clip just walks around the mound, puffs his cheeks and goes on.

        If the umps are in general penalizing late-inning relievers because they want to get outta there, I wish someone would put out a study on the percent of bad calls by inning or by time into the game (3+ hours). It would be a great study.

      • sabatimus - Jun 11, 2012 at 1:50 PM

        Well said, except that I’m not sure you can stretch 25 pitches out to a full season. I know what you’re getting at, but in the absence of actual data over an entire season, with a lot of different umps in a lot of different parks and game situations/lengths, I’m not sure such a stretch is appropriate.

        I DO remember Ron Lucciano (remember him?) being told by his crew chief “The only thing YOU root for is a FAST game!”. According to Lucciano, anyway.

  6. urfinished - Jun 11, 2012 at 10:51 AM

    Valentine throws a fit? No way.
    There were lots of bad calls in this series…for BOTH sides. The team that loses naturally focuses on the “what-ifs” and verbalizes their frustration. Had the Nats lost, the Morse at-bat couldve gotten more attention…if Davey Johnson was the media wh*re Bobby Valentine is of course.
    Some of the irony here is that “star-powered teams” get more calls. There was a study that showed some correlation a couple years ago but I cant recall the source unforunately. Youk, Big Papi, and Pedroia all received better treatment than the average player though. And that really isnt a secret so it is very hard to feel sorry for these guys on multiple fronts.
    You lost…stop crying. This team just screams entitlement issues.

  7. Diane - Jun 11, 2012 at 11:00 AM

    Fire Bobby!

    • 18thstreet - Jun 11, 2012 at 11:10 AM

      I agree!

      Now, what’s this about the Nats’ series?

  8. stevem7 - Jun 11, 2012 at 11:10 AM

    This has nothing to do with Bobby V because in this case he is right. This is more a story of Bud “I FAIL TO DO ANYTHING” Selig, the ineffective and incompetent commissioner who refuses to do anything about the unprofessionalism of a number of umpires who need to be terminated for cause. Everywhere you look nowadays Umpires just can’t get it right. It’s a result of they are too old and been at it too long. Johan Santana awarded a No Hitter on what was clearly a One hitter. Batters getting one swing at bats because umpires are calling strikes on balls that are over the chalk line of the opposing batters box. Umpires like Bob Davidson who ejects people from games with the RAGE clear on his face. Players and coaches everywhere are pointing it out more and more and to blame Bobby V or anyone else who points out sub-standard umpiring is clearly misplaced blame.

    • voteforno6 - Jun 11, 2012 at 11:14 AM

      No, Bobby was wrong when he said that the umpiring was one-sided. It wasn’t. There was a floating strike zone, but both teams got burned by it.

      • superdoodles - Jun 11, 2012 at 12:51 PM

        He’s bringing attention to a bigger issue than this series. When you marginalize you aren’t looking at things fairly, and if you have a problem with Bobby-V then you just need to get over it. This is about baseball, not any player, manager or umpire. If they can’t get the calls right then somebody needs to say something. Look at each and every player that is powerless, and you can see it clearly, because the umpires have the power and control. They are using it for personal gain, and it’s out of control

      • stex52 - Jun 11, 2012 at 2:31 PM

        Personal gain? Interesting accusation. More information, please?

      • nlfan865 - Jun 12, 2012 at 10:16 AM

        ok so the day BV complains to the media about Bad Umpiring and/or Inconsistant Strike Zone immediatelly following a Red Sox close game win…that may give his arguments some level of credibility…until then its just whining

  9. rmfp1978 - Jun 11, 2012 at 11:20 AM

    I think the officials should have to answer to the media after the game. It would make them more accountable for their calls. A few weeks back the official that yadier molina was dsciplined for spitting in his face a year earlier was umpiring a cardinals game and clearly was holding a grudge was calling strikes that westbrook was throwing balls. This is the guys career they’re toying with

  10. euie48 - Jun 11, 2012 at 11:46 AM

    how about a one-way ticket to Palookaville………

  11. bigleagues - Jun 11, 2012 at 11:49 AM

    OF COURSE, Valentine is going to argue the Red Sox case. Why should he do the Nationals any favors? They have Mike Rizzo to administer admonishments.

    Whether or not the calls went against the Red Sox is not really the point. Just as players prepare for the pitcher many are quite aware of who the umpires are – keeping notes or reviewing data on umpire’s strike zones.

    Natslady used the example of Clippard’s 9th Inning – and further made Valentine’s case. Bernahdina gets a redo, but Clippard’s getting freebe’s.

    Maybe the ump privately hates the Red Sox. I don’t care. What I do care about is reviewing the ‘skills’ of a MLB umpire who’s strike zone fluctuates so wildly 1/2 Inning to 1/2 Inning.

  12. canehouse - Jun 11, 2012 at 12:31 PM ooops!

  13. ebergevin - Jun 11, 2012 at 12:53 PM

    The funny thing about this was the pitch that got Bobby ejected for arguing was actually a pretty good pitch. I’m sure it was pent up frustration but arguing balls and strikes will get you the boot just about any time.

  14. mungman69 - Jun 11, 2012 at 1:20 PM

    The umps don’t care if they are right or wrong. That mist be one hell of a strong union. You can’t cry about it cause the umps don’t care. And they also get vacations in the summer. Just what they need after four months off in the winter.

  15. rico7207 - Jun 11, 2012 at 2:46 PM

    The bum still thinks he is in Japan. Blames the umps for every loss. Pedroia’s was a strike and the other was not a strike. The hit after that was a hit, and if the pitcher was any good he’d have got it by the batter , but didn’t. Not scoring enough is the umps fault too. Face it , they are just a bunch of over rated and over paid players. 3 months of games tells the story. Numbers do not lie!

  16. cereal blogger - Jun 11, 2012 at 3:08 PM

    Might as well blame the umps, the players get all defensive & pouty when he rips them….you know, the ones who are actually responsible for the losing

  17. catcher50 - Jun 11, 2012 at 3:09 PM

    By the way, the umpires do care (at least most of them). It’s a matter of pride. Just a couple of things.

    1. The umpires are partly to blame, in that they allow batters to turn to them and complain about balls and strikes. Sorry, the rules say that arguing balls and strikes is an automatic ejection. If the player is saying something, while looking away, fine. If he turns to the ump, he should be tossed. The umpires have lost control. Enforcing this rule would speed up the game.

    2. If you’ve never umpired a major league game, shut up. You simply have no idea what it is like to call balls & strikes. I’ve not done major league games, but I have done pitchers bringing it at 90. It is amazingly hard to get the calls right (most of the guys, that I did, who could bring it that fast, threw absolutely straight pitches, which is why they were doing something else for a living).

    3. The umpires should do what they are taught and wait a beat (ON EVERY PITCH) before calling it, not look to zip a batter up, just as the ball crosses the plate. A good umpire should be able to replay the pitch in his mind, during that one second pause.

    4. Add two more umpires to each crew. That way, when the playoffs come, there will be umpires working the fair/foul lines who will have actually done it, within the last year. The key to this would be to only have two of the umpires work the plate. Some umpires are better at working the plate, than on the bases. Others vice-versa.

  18. John Vincent - Jun 11, 2012 at 3:24 PM

    Reblogged this on Johnny's Baseball Blog and commented:
    Is it me or does it seem like there is more umpire trashing going on this year than in years past ?

    • drewsylvania - Jun 11, 2012 at 3:30 PM

      I guess if it’s acceptable for HBT to find stories (or non-stories), and blog about them to get site hits, it’s acceptable for you to re-blog their blogging.

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