Don't Get Even, Get Mad

Chris Ello
June 26, 2018 - 7:02 am

Robinson Chirinos of the Texas Rangers swung at the pitch and missed it for strike three. Austin Hedges of the San Diego Padres caught the pitch for out number two. All was going along just fine for the Padres, who held a 4-1 lead, despite two runners being aboard against Craig Stammen in the sixth inning. 

And then, all of sudden, nothing was going along just fine.

Chirinos complained to home plate umpire Tony Randazzo that he foul-tipped the pitch. A fair complaint, albeit in this case, an unfounded one. Texas manager Jeff Bannister lobbied that the foul-tipped pitch hit the dirt before Hedges caught it, thereby keeping alive Chirinos' at-bat. Again, a fair complaint. But again, an unfounded one.

Randazzo then did what umprires in such situations do. He went to his three partners, all stationed about 100 feet or so away from the play, to get their opinions. They thought Chirinos and Bannister were right. They thought their partner, Randazzo, was wrong (he wasn't).

So they changed the call. Instead of "strike three...yer' out!," it became a foul ball, and Chirinos was still at the plate. On the next pitch, Chirinos hit an RBI single, and by the time the inning was over, five runs had scored and Texas had completely reversed the fortunes of the game.

The Padres and Manager Andy Green shrugged.

Shrugged? Wait! You mean nobody came out to argue the umprires (very important) decision? Not a word was spoken? No replay of the matter was called for? Correct. Correct. And correct (although in this situation, no replay is allowed).

The fact that the Padres didn't get mad was what made me maddest about the their latest loss, a 7-4 defeat at the hands of the Rangers on Monday night in sweaty Texas. Would the outcome have been different had the umpires not messed up? Almost assuredly.

But umpires make mistakes. It's part of the game. Understood. But that still doesn't mean that you have to accept those mistakes without some sort of protest. Andy Green has argued before, and he'll most likely argue again. But he didn't this time.

It wasn't a good look.

Stand up for your rights. Stand up for your team. All that stuff. But, in this case, none of it. And so it is that a team that won 71 games a year ago and supposedly is on the rise, has won 35 games exactly halfway through this season. On pace for 70 wins this time around.

That's even though every young player has a bit more experience, and that's even though ownership has bit less money, having forked over more than $140-million to first baseman Eric Hosmer -- who has mostly played well.

It's all enough to make you mad. Or at least, that's what you would think.