On days like today when the Cubs don't play, I get a chance to watch other teams play on Extra Innings. I often find myself choosing which game to watch based on how much I like their announcing team more than the actual players. Thus, I tend to watch the Giants, Twins, Mets, Orioles, Nationals and for the first time this year, Diamondbacks games.
- The big story of the past two days has been the blown replay call on the Adam Rosales home run, which Al has already covered. The question now becomes "Did the Commissioner's Office handle this correctly?" Joe Torre, the MLB VP who got stuck handling this you-know-what storm, admitted the call was wrong, but said there isn't anything they can do about it because it's a "judgment call."
- Ken Rosenthal says that's the wrong decision and that the game should be resumed at the point of the home run. It's a precedent that he's willing to set. Buster Olney agrees and says the integrity of the game, (ESPN Insider Only) or at least the replay system, is at stake.
- So that's two prominent and well-respected baseball writers who think MLB did the wrong thing by doing nothing. Then you've got Jon Heyman on the other side, who argues that blown calls have always been a "beautiful thing about the game." I'll let you decide which writer's argument makes sense.
- In his "explanation" of his call, umpire Angel Hernandez implied that he didn't have access to the same video feeds that everyone else had, but the commissioner's office said that was incorrect and that Hernandez had access to every available camera feed.
- Jon Paul Morosi says the issue is Angel Hernandez, who should never have been the crew chief in the first place. Morosi says this issue could have been avoided had MLB gone to the NHL system with all replays handled in New York. Jayson Stark says that umpires need to be held accountable for these mistakes.
- As it turns out, it seems that people were saying Hernandez was a bad umpire in the minors over 20 years ago.
- Baseball narrowly avoided another umpiring disaster last night when Astros manager Bo Porter was allowed to remove an uninjured relief pitcher before he even faced one batter. Angels manager Mike Scioscia immediately protested, and it's hard to see how the protest would not have been upheld, except for the fact that the Angels won the game anyway. (UPDATE: MLB confirms that the umpires erred in allowing the pitching change. The matter is "under review," whatever that means.)
- Maybe the umpiring situation will get fixed under the next commissioner. Jayson Stark looks at the candidates if Bud Selig goes through with his announced plans to retire in 2014. Stark says the problem right now is that no candidate could get 23 owners votes necessary to get the job. Except for the candidate I think is going to get the job--the mummified remains of Bud Selig propped up on a chair à la Jeremy Bentham.
- The good news is that J.A. Happ was "very fortunate" (in his own words) after getting struck in the head with a line drive. He did not have a concussion nor will he require surgery for the small skull fracture he received.
- That brings up another issue for the commissioner's office: What is to be done to keep pitchers safe? Tyler Kepner in the New York Times says that the technology currently isn't there to make a helmet that would protect a pitcher and not interfere with them doing their jobs. To be fair to baseball, they are working on this issue.
- On the other hand, Keith Olbermann points out that Branch Rickey had all the Pirates pitchers in the 1950s wear helmets on the field. He's got photographs as well.
- I hesitate to link to this piece of character assassination, but Dan Shaughnessy in the Boston Globe wrote a column that has stirred up a storm in Boston after he grilled David Ortiz about accusations of steroid use. David Ortiz has blasted Shaughnessy for what he wrote and pointed out that he engaged in ethnic stereotyping in the article. (He said that Dominicans "fit the profile" of a PED user.) I'd like to say what I think of Shaughnessy as a sports writer and as a human being, but I really can't find the words without violating the terms of service. I'm sure Shaughnessy doesn't care.
- When asked about a player who did get caught using PEDs, Nick Hundley refused to say anything nice about his Padres teammate Yasmani Grandal. (I'm going to point out that Grandal is Cuban, just so that no one thinks there is an ironic connection between this bullet point and the last one.) Admittedly, Hundley and Grandal are competing for a job, so there is that.
- Man, these bullets have been depressing so far. Here's something positive. Matt Harvey has surpassed Dwight Gooden and Tom Seaver as having the best start to a career of any Mets pitcher. But as Jay Jaffe points out in the link, that's merely a warning that Harvey's future could go in very different directions from here. He's also takes a look at almost two dozen young Mets pitchers over their history.
- More good news. The scouts and the statisticians agree: Andrelton Simmons is the most amazing defensive shortstop in the game today. I've said this before, but Simmons is the first player I've ever heard compared to Ozzie Smith in which I didn't just break out laughing at the comparison.
- The Athletics hitting the jackpot with Yoenis Cespedes wasn't just luck, it was the result of years of scouting and research. They won't be alone next time.
- Zack Greinke is due to make a rehab start in the minors tonight. He's a few weeks ahead of schedule.
- Vernon Wells played third base for the first time in his life in a Yankees win. He even made a play. Oh, he had three hits too.
- Scott Miller of CBSSports.com says major leaguers struck out at a record pace in April. He asks why.
- Craig Calcaterra notes that the decline of African-Americans in the game is not as steep as some have argued. The decline is real, however.
- This is likely Todd Helton's last year, but the Rockies are probably better without him in the starting lineup. But it's hard to bench a local legend like Helton.
- Topps made an embarrassing mistake on Hyun-Jin Ryu's baseball card. As the article says, it's not exactly a Billy Ripken-level error, but it's still embarrassing.
- Finally, back to the depressing news, Bloomberg asks why attendance is way down this season. The good news, according to them, is that most of the reasons are likely temporary problems.
- And touching upon that, several Indians players and the front office have taken to giving away tickets on Twitter to get more fans into the stands.
Iowa head football coach Kirk Ferentz told his players that if they want to play night games, they better start winning more games.
And tomorrow will be a better day than today, Buster.