Sunday, May 17, 2009

Nice job Bob Davidson

Bob Davidson, the home plate umpire of yesterday's Angels/Rangers game, tossed John Lackey after two pitches.

Yeah both of the first two pitches nearly hit Ian Kinsler, but seriously... did he think he was head hunting?

With Lackey fresh off of the DL, did he think the Angels' plan was "Hey, get your two pitches in and then we'll have the bullpen get 27 outs"?

Way to read the situation, pal!


  1. The Umps think the Fans come to see them

  2. It's not the ump's job to interpret what the Angels' plan is. But if a pitcher throws behind someone and then hits him, then he needs to go. Otherwise the game could get out of hand and someone could get hurt.

  3. Ahhh.... so he was intentionally throwing at Kinsler?

    And why would they do that with a pitcher fresh off of the DL in the first inning?

  4. It doesn't matter what Lackey's or his team's intent was. The umpire can never know that. Therefore, he has to act based on what actually happens on the field of play. And he has to adjudicate consistently.

  5. Why does he have to adjudicate consistently?

    Do you think anyone who goes 56 MPH on the highway should get a ticket?

    Sometimes a ref needs to swallow their whistle late in a playoff game
    sometimes an umpire has to take the temperature of the game.

    Treating a guy fresh off of the DL as if it is Jose Mesa vs Omar Vizquel is asinine.

    An umpire changing the whole tone of the game that was is moronic

  6. I see it like the "tuck rule" in football.

    Since the ref cannot truly know if it was the quarterback's intent to throw the ball or run with it, an objective criterion has to be established to enforce the rule. It may seem like a bogus rule, but it's preferable to relying on the ref to decide subjectively what the quarterback intended to do.

    The same logic applies to Lackey's situation. How can the umpire objectively know what Lackey's intent was? He can't for certain. Therefore we need objective criteria for interpreting what happened on the field. In this case, since Lackey threw behind Kinsler on the first pitch and hit him with the second pitch, Lackey meets the criteria for ejection. In a perfect world this wouldn't happen, but in a game with rules (or a society with laws) it is a necessary evil.

    Also, why is it not a reasonable interpretation that Lackey was trying to take advantage of the situation (who beans the first batter?) to get free payback on Kinsler?

    Your analogy of a 56 mph ticket either supports my argument and/or is not analagous. First, a judge would not throw out a ticket if it were for 56 mph. Just as mlb will back the umpire in Lackey's situation. Second, the proper analogy is whether a police officer would issue a speeding ticket to someone who has every reason not to be speeding. Well let's see. A sixteen year old who just got his license and is driving the family car for the first time would have every reason not to break the speed limit. (...or a 39 year old driving his mother-in-law's car for that matter) Does that mean he's not capable of breaking the speed limit?

    Speed limits are a form of symbolic enforcement. That is, the laws are enforced enough to serve as a disincentive to breaking them. Whereas MLB's rules on ejecting pitchers for throwing at batters are much more consistently enforced and for good cause. I used to think that pitchers like Gibby and to a lesser extent Pedro throwing at hitters was "part of the game." And that MLB's new rules trying to reduce this were lame. Eventually, I changed my mind because I realized that people can end up maimed or worse. MLB is a workplace and has a responsibility to protect its employees from grievous, preventable injuries.

    Thanks for letting me comment.