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Bob Davidson screws up a double switch, costs the Cardinals a hitter

Jun 26, 2012, 9:12 AM EDT

bob-davidson-umpire AP

The Cardinals beat the Marlins in extras last night, but umpire Bob Davidson made it all the harder when he screwed up a double-switch made by Mike Matheny which cost the Cards Allen Craig.

The short version: when Matheny put reliever Victor Marte into the game, he signaled “five” with his hands, meaning that he was taking over David Freese‘s position in the lineup, with Freese being the third baseman or the five-position, defensively (he was batting seventh). After a batter had batted, however, Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen came out and said told Davidson that Matheny meant the five-hole in the lineup, which had been occupied by Allen Craig.

Davidson inexplicably agreed with Guillen regarding what Matheny meant, said that the pitcher was supposed to be batting fifth now and that Allen Craig had to leave the game. This later led to the Cardinals having to use a pitcher to pinch hit in extra innings. Which worked out — he got an RBI — but still.

Later the on-field mics picked up Davidson telling Ozzie that he “f****d up,” and that Matheny had, in fact, told him that he wanted the pitcher in the seven-hole. Too late, of course.

Just another day in Mr. Davidson’s neighborhood.

  1. drewsylvania - Jun 26, 2012 at 9:15 AM

    When Ozzie came out screaming, I was about to flame him, but then I saw what happened. The league should consider hocking Bob Davidson.

  2. skipperxc - Jun 26, 2012 at 9:15 AM

    Bob Davidson is incompetent? You don’t say!

  3. danaking - Jun 26, 2012 at 9:16 AM

    Unbelievable. The umpires carry lineup cards on them. Write it down, moron.

    I thought MLB said it took care of this sort of thing when it broke the union several years ago.

  4. proudlycanadian - Jun 26, 2012 at 9:18 AM

    It is time to put Bob out to pasture.

  5. The Common Man - Jun 26, 2012 at 9:18 AM

    That’s some poor “situation handling,” Bob. Have a seat for another game why don’t you?

  6. btwicey - Jun 26, 2012 at 9:21 AM

    What a joke

  7. btwicey - Jun 26, 2012 at 9:21 AM

    Ozzie is a smart guy

    • heyblueyoustink - Jun 26, 2012 at 9:29 AM

      You betcha, anyone who praises Castro while being new on a very public job in Miami must be a total rocket scientist.

    • drewsylvania - Jun 26, 2012 at 10:01 AM

      Maybe, but if he were a D&D character he’d have, at best, Int 12 and Wis 6.

    • Cris E - Jun 26, 2012 at 10:02 AM

      It’s true. If you see a weakness you have to try to exploit it, and Bob Davidson represents quite a weakness…

  8. rooney24 - Jun 26, 2012 at 9:25 AM

    Although, I bet Matheny will make sure to check more closely with the ump from here on out. Davidson screwed up, but would this have been avoided if Matheny had walked out to discuss with the ump and make sure he saw him write it correctly on his score card, rather than just hand signal a number?

    • thefalcon123 - Jun 26, 2012 at 9:30 AM

      Hmm…, I always though Matheny’s job was to manage his team. Not manage the umpire who makes about $150k a year to be correct about these things.

    • hasbeen5 - Jun 26, 2012 at 9:30 AM

      I was thinking this, they usually stop to chat with the umpire on their way to the mound. But then, wouldn’t everyone’s confusion be cleared when Freese left the field instead of Craig?

      If Davidson was not confused when it happened, he shouldn’t have let Guillen change his mind. I think Guillen knew his umpire and figured he could play him. But you know, adjusting to an umpires lineup card confusion is part of the game, it’s what separates minor league managers from big leaguers, human element.

    • doslea33 - Jun 26, 2012 at 10:20 AM

      Matheny did write it correctly on the card in front of Davidson. Apparently Davidson got confused anyway because the number 5 was mentioned in the conversation.

  9. deathmonkey41 - Jun 26, 2012 at 9:32 AM

    Every time Bob Davidson screws up a call, an angel falls from heaven…and Joe West’s chin wobbles.

    • drewsylvania - Jun 26, 2012 at 10:03 AM

      Which chin?

  10. Kevin S. - Jun 26, 2012 at 10:27 AM

    You know how this entire situation could have been avoided? Universal DH.

    What, you think making sure umpires are competent is the solution? Don’t be silly.

  11. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Jun 26, 2012 at 10:29 AM

    I think Bob ejected Craig for balking. It’s what he does.

  12. gogigantos - Jun 26, 2012 at 10:44 AM

    Part of the deal is making your intentions clear. Seems that was done, though that will surely be done more directly and effectively in the future. Umpires may not be totally clear on hand signs beyond a single finger.
    Metheny learns something from the night. Not being played is another part of the job that Davidson has never gotten right. Am sure the guy learned nothing and will not improve at his job, ever.
    Wish I could get away with that kind of job performance.

    • doslea33 - Jun 26, 2012 at 11:03 AM

      I don’t know how Matheny could have made his intentions any more clear. He stood in front of the umpire and wrote it down on the card in the 7th spot, in front of Davidson’s face. Should he have sky wrote it or had it put up on the jumbotron?

      • rooney24 - Jun 26, 2012 at 1:55 PM

        I didn’t see the game in question, but if Matheny had it written on a card, couldn’t he then have showed that card to the ump to clear up the situation and counter Ozzie’s argument? Something doesn’t smell right.

    • Francisco (FC) - Jun 26, 2012 at 5:48 PM

      Umpires may not be totally clear on hand signs beyond a single finger

      Let me guess… the middle one right?

  13. ajcardsfan - Jun 26, 2012 at 10:46 AM

    Bob Davidson could walk into a bar, order a beer, and then get pissed and then try to throw the owner out of his own bar for not bringing Davidson a shot of Jack.

  14. gogigantos - Jun 26, 2012 at 10:54 AM

    You know what, that stopping to chat with the ump thing seems important. Maybe Bob just isn’t fun to chat with.

  15. steve7921 - Jun 26, 2012 at 10:56 AM

    I bet Joe West smiles every times he sees Bob Davidson’s name anywhere….

    • gogigantos - Jun 26, 2012 at 11:08 AM

      Am sure Joe takes pleasure in the misfortune of others, maybe even especially his brothers in arms. Sad man that Joe.

  16. bigleagues - Jun 26, 2012 at 11:02 AM

    This made almost zero sense to me until I went back and reviewed the series of events in context. Ozzie apparently did nothing wrong but I’m not so sure he wasn’t being sneaky.

    1) Mike Matheny DID walk out right up to Davidson and tell him the switch he was making. Davidson then made a notation on his scorecard. I’m not sure when the hand signal for ‘5’ took place – if at all. It appears that it was Davidson that hand signaled ‘5’ to Ozzie – although this wasn’t seen on the Cardinals broadcast.

    2) Ozzie came out in a fluster and protested while the Cardinals were still on the field and after Marte had given up a single to HanRam. Davidson looked lost. Which is funny because . . .

    3a) Freese made the final out in the Top of the 9th, and when Matheny brought Marte in, Freese took a seat, while Daniel Descalso moved from Secondbase to Thirdbase and Tyler Greene came in to play Secondbase.

    b) MLB.TV had all of this correctly notated in its Summary.

    4) The Cardinals TV Announcers were perplexed. They could only surmise that there was a player brought into the game that was not on the lineup card.

    5) After Ozzie complained to Davidson . . . the ENTIRE UMPIRING CREW CONFERENCED, then went to over to Matheny to explain. Matheny then had a protracted and somewhat animated discussion with the umpires. (There was a shot of Cora next to Ozzie in the dugout with a shit-eating grin on his face as this unfolded.)

    Matheny then went back to the dugout. The umpires conferenced again. Then Matheny pulls Allen Craig off of 1B. Tony Cruz goes to 1B. Freese then goes back out to Thirdbase. Matheny then went back out to Davidson to review everything one final time before play resumed.

    (MLB.TV then changes the Summary to reflect the revised substitutions).

    McLaughlin/Hrabosky pieces together what had just transpired and remained flummoxed without an official explanation.

    Ironically, Gaby Sanchez then proceeds to ground a ball to Descalso who Starts the DP to Cruz.

    6) Top of the 10th McLaughlin notes that they sent someone down between Innings to get an explanation . . . only to be told there was none available.

    They proceed to correctly speculate that there was confusion over the 5th spot in the order.

    7) Tyler Greene then scores the go ahead run on a Furcal Double. Holliday HBP. Beltran IBB. Joe Kelly comes to the plate with the bases juiced and legs out an IF RBI single. (NOTE: Joe Kelly is BLAZING FAST).

    8) Bottom of the 10th . . . Rick Horton had gone down to the Cardinals dugout and was told that Davidson wrote down the wrong info . . . and then relayed that wrong info to Guillen. So, Matheny did, in fact, tell Davidson the correct change, but Davidson told Guillen the wrong info.

    Thus BOTH managers were correct in their protests as the controversy lay squarely in Davidson’s lap – although Ozzie may have astutely realized he could selectively misinterpret Davidson’s hand signal in order to get Craig out of the game so he couldn’t bat 2nd in the next half Inning.

    • saints97 - Jun 26, 2012 at 11:50 AM

      This is a much more accurate summation of events than the blog above is.

      The reason that Ozzie got so animated was because Balkin’ Bob tried to undo the mistake he knew he had made. The other umpires had to intervene to let Bob know that he couldn’t do that, and that he had just totally screwed the Cardinals.

      When will MLB hold these guys accountable?

      • drewsylvania - Jun 26, 2012 at 12:03 PM

        We don’t know what goes on behind the scenes, and Davidson has been suspended before. But at times they simply have the wrong guys out there. At some point you have an ump with a track record of being terrible for years. Shouldn’t they be given a deadline to shape up or ship out?

      • bigleagues - Jun 26, 2012 at 1:57 PM


  17. crookedstick - Jun 26, 2012 at 11:32 AM

    I want to know when Bob Davidson turned into Leo Durocher?

  18. bklynrd - Jun 26, 2012 at 1:26 PM

    Why is when the umpire screws up it is almost always Bob Davidson that is causing the problem. Maybe it’s time for Bob Davidson to start thinking about retireing.

  19. bigleagues - Jun 26, 2012 at 2:17 PM

    BTW – how could we forget?!

    This is the second time in 10 days that the Cardinals have been absolutely hosed by an Umpire reversing the call on the field!

    That’s because during the sequence, home-plate umpire Kerwin Danley signaled that Kelly had caught Hosmer’s ball on a line drive.

    “I wanted a call of ‘no-catch’ or ‘catch.’ I was trying to signal, ‘Give me something,'” crew chief Dana DeMuth, who was at second base, explained afterward to a pool of reporters. “Kerwin just gave something without knowing it was a catch. He wasn’t 100 percent sure.”

    But based on that call, the Cardinals had seemingly turned their first triple play since 2005. The entire St. Louis team filtered into the dugout.

    Only, it wasn’t.

    Royals manager Ned Yost sprinted from his dugout to argue that the ball had bounced before landing in Kelly’s glove. That meant that Kelly’s throw to first to get Hosmer should have resulted in just a one-out groundout. Gordon and Getz would have been correct to advance.

    The umpires gathered together on the infield grass to discuss what had transpired.

    “[Danley] realized he didn’t really have a catch, that he didn’t see it,” DeMuth said. “That’s why we got together. Plainly, it was a mistake by us. But we did the right thing by getting it right.”

    DeMuth came out of the huddle and signaled that Gordon and Getz were safe.

    “When [Hosmer] hit the ball, you could see [Kelly] short-hop the ball,” Yost said. “The other umpires saw it. And that’s what we want them to do — we want them to get it right. I applaud them for doing that.”

    Matheny actually agreed with that call — “I think the ball hit the ground, and after I saw it later, I know it did,” he said — but the skipper found the reversal of it to be unfair. That led him out of the dugout and into an impassioned discussion with DeMuth and Danley for several minutes.

    What bothered Matheny was that Danley’s out call could have affected what Kelly did next. By seeing Danley motion that Hosmer was out on a line drive, Kelly believed he was doubling up Getz at first base.

    No camera angle was definitive. In fact there was really on one camera angle and it was difficult to see if the ball short hopped or not. However, the pitchers mound dirt was bone dry and in those instances you look for a poof of dirt in the replay. No such poof of dirt occurred in the replay.

    I believe the ball short-hopped – but did so in the web of Kelly’s glove.

    I’d love to know where the other umps were standing where they could have had a better angle at seeing Kelly field the ball than Danley – who was right in front of the play. How did Danley not see the play unfolding in front of him?

    Never-the-less Matheny is right . . . instead of an inning ending triple-play, they are assigned 1-out because Kelly had gone directly to First thinking he had doubled Getz off the bag – with the runners advancing to 2nd & 3rd.


  20. mf44srq - Jun 26, 2012 at 2:45 PM

    In the famous words of the creature on top of Donald Trump’s head, “Bob, you’re fired.”

  21. leeeroooyjeeenkiiins - Jun 26, 2012 at 5:38 PM

    That’s unfortunate, but at least we can count on Selig to address the issue of Davidson’s continued incompetence by suspending him.

    Lol jk, we all know the only possible action that will be taken is a fine to any coach/player that criticizes him. After all, the only jobs on the planet in which you’re allowed to completely suck at what you do while still remaining employed are that of US politician and professional sports official.

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