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MLB admits the umpires screwed up again last night

May 10, 2013, 12:46 PM EDT

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v Houston Astros Getty Images

Another day, another official statement from MLB admitting that umpires did something wrong.

This time it’s about the weird moment in last night’s Astros-Angels game in which seemingly everyone involved except for Mike Scioscia forgot what was presumably a pretty well-known rule about a pitcher having to face at least one batter before a change can be made.

Astros manager Bo Porter tried to swap out pitchers before a batter had been faced and the umpiring crew allowed it, which led to Scioscia rightfully freaking out … and nothing happening. After the game Porter’s explanation made it very clear he didn’t understand the rule and that’s pretty shocking for a big-league manager, but of course the responsibility for making sure the rules are actually followed falls on the umpires.

MLB’s statement/press release that was just sent out says the rule regarding pitching changes was “not applied correctly” and they’re reviewing the situation further. Ultimately the Angels came back to win, so Scioscia playing the game under protest meant even less than usual, but when combined with Angel Hernandez’s botched home run replay call this has been a rough week for MLB and their umpires.

  1. thefrenchyconnection - May 10, 2013 at 12:56 PM

    Quick question.

    Is it a form of gamesmanship as a manager to have a batter go to the on deck circle to purposefully fool the opposing manager into making a pitching change?

    If yes, should managers of the offensive team be required to send the batter in the on deck circle to the plate?

    Unless I am missing something it seems like the manager of the team on offense has an unfair advantage.

    • gerryb323 - May 10, 2013 at 12:58 PM

      It is gamesmanship/strategy. The rules are what they are, and I’m sure the whole on deck vs. at bat thing has been discussed at some point.

      The opposing manager has to understand that the on deck batter can be pulled back and act accordingly.

      • someguyinva - May 10, 2013 at 1:33 PM

        The managers do understand, and so they wait until the guy in the on-deck circle is announced as the next hitter before making any pitching changes to counter it, because once the guy is announced, he’s in the game.

      • Francisco (FC) - May 10, 2013 at 1:35 PM

        Yeah, I remember something similar in the 2010 NLCS when Bochy had a PH in the on-deck circle but the Phillies were having none of it and eventually the Beard Himself went out to take his at bat.

      • thefrenchyconnection - May 10, 2013 at 2:34 PM

        Ok thanks. I was just wondering if there was a corresponding for hitters where they are required to hit, but I gather from the comments that the manager can switch them out at any point.

    • billybawl - May 10, 2013 at 1:31 PM

      It seems like if you want games to end in under three hours, you have to give an “advantage” to either the hitter or pitcher. It’s not an advantage to either team since the rules are the same for both. So I wouldn’t call it “unfair”.

      And 29 managers know this rule very well and understand that seeing a hitter in the on deck circle doesn’t mean he’s definitely coming up to bat.

      • Francisco (FC) - May 10, 2013 at 1:36 PM

        Well we assume 29 do, in any case if any of them didn’t before they know now!

      • socimediapro - May 11, 2013 at 12:12 AM

        You want games under 3 hours, eliminate the umpires and computerize this stuff. These guys in blue do nothing for the ‘integrity of the game’ except Selig’s croonies and their bookies. The public is being played here.

        You want real advancement and change. The tech is there; we need Selig gone, Torre unemployed and the game brought into the 21st century. Break the umpire union, fire them all and put a Google engineer in charge. My god: 13 inch portable black & whites are the instant replay for a farsighted crusty old dolt. Hell, give all the viewers, fans in the stands a vote and majority stands will be quicker and more accurate.

        It is becoming a joke; 2 in 2 days; gives new meaning to the term ‘old blue’. How many more this season? My over/under is 15 before the ‘all-star’ game. Wait until early October when one of these effects a playoff appearance. Weak is an understatement.

        Selig – everything you presided over is a failure: multiple player lockouts; rampant payrolls, ticket prices; steroids/juicing; questionable player records; jacked up balls/bats; oh and lets not forget that the all-star winner determines the ‘hometeam’ rule too. Why not just make it the MVP of the All-Star game. Makes as much sense.

        Bud Selig your tired, old and we have all passed you by. I mean it is 2013. Step back, step down and take your lapdog Joe Torre with you. We need fresh ideas, a new voice and a new direction.

        Park your horse and buggy so you can hear the fan’s noise over your Clydesdale trot. Strip down, start walking down a long windy, snowy road and never turn back.

  2. El Bravo - May 10, 2013 at 12:58 PM

    Who runs this Bush league?

  3. pdowdy83 - May 10, 2013 at 12:59 PM

    Umps are on a roll this week. Hirschbeck stating Harper “slammed” his helmet and bat down and that was the final straw for his ejection. Except the league didn’t fine Harper for the equipment violation so apparently they didn’t agree with Hirschbeck. Sadly that was the least ridiculous of the umpire issues this week. How 2 crew cheifs (Culbreth and Hernandez) can both screw up calls like they have is beyond me.

  4. gerryb323 - May 10, 2013 at 1:00 PM

    Wondering…could the Astros appeal the ruling allowing them to break the rules? I mean, MLB already admitted it shouldn’t have been allowed. Maybe having an extra pitcher later in the game would benefit them and change the outcome.

    I’m sure there must be some rule against the rule-breaker not being able to benefit like this, but is there?

    • gerryb323 - May 10, 2013 at 1:18 PM

      Well since the protest was technically withdrawn, it doesn’t really matter I guess, but I looked it up. Rule 4.19: “Even if it is held that the protested decision violated the rules, no replay of the game will be ordered unless in the opinion of the League President the violation adversely affected the protesting team¬ís chances of winning the game.”

      Not really that helpful, but I guess since the Angels won, it didn’t adversely affect them enough. Although you could argue that it technically did adversely affect them at the time.

      • jwbiii - May 10, 2013 at 1:50 PM

        What is this “League President” you speak of?

      • jwbiii - May 10, 2013 at 1:55 PM

        Wow. That’s from MLB’s site and it references an office which was done away with in 1999.

  5. billybawl - May 10, 2013 at 1:34 PM

    Is there a copy of the umpires’ collective bargaining agreement floating around on the interwebs, as there is the players’ agreement? I’d be curious.

  6. brums21 - May 10, 2013 at 2:17 PM

    It’s like the replacement refs from the NFL all over again. Unfortunately these are the real umpires….

  7. pacific123ocean - May 10, 2013 at 2:22 PM

    Suspend the umpires immediately!

  8. joestemme - May 10, 2013 at 2:26 PM

    As I posted earlier, why don’t Managers and umpires carry around a mini-Rule Book? I remember even in the pre-internet days Managers would just pull it outta their back pocket and show the rule to the Ump.
    Cased closed.

    (let alone WITH the internet now, there really is no excuse for a quick rules check)

  9. Old Gator - May 10, 2013 at 3:30 PM

    I thought this was the age of knowing how to make things happen.

  10. bucsfan5000 - May 10, 2013 at 4:57 PM

    They forgot to mention the two blown calls against the Rays on Tuesday and Wednesday that got Maddon ejected.

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