Umpire Bill Hohn is a disgrace

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I missed this previously, but apparently home plate umpire Bill Hohn gave Marlins’ catcher John Baker the rock after the Florida-Atlanta game on Wednesday:

Several Braves players said they were surprised and even “shocked”
to see umpire Bill Hohn bump fists with Marlins catcher John Baker
after the final out of the Braves’ 6-3 loss Tuesday. While other
players and manager Bobby Cox either had no comment or would only
discuss it off the record, third baseman Chipper Jones had a scathing
review of Hohn’s game, including ejections of manager Bobby Cox and
catcher Brian McCann.

Video of the most famous fist-bump since Barack and Michelle can be seen here.
Looks like Baker put it out there first. In Hohn’s defense, maybe he’s
just the kind of guy who doesn’t like to leave a dude hangin’, ya know?

But Hohn isn’t really worthy of a defense, as his ejections of Bobby
Cox and Brian McCann showed far worse form. Basically, Hohn heard
someone shout from the Braves’ dugout — probably McCann, who had
argued balls and strikes earlier — called time, and then walked over
to argue with Cox, who had not left the dugout prior to any of this.
During the argument, he pulled out his lineup card and, according to
the article, told Cox that he was going to eject someone,
but didn’t know who. Cox, taken aback, told Hohn to eject him instead
and he did. McCann was ejected soon after. Video of the whole incident can be seen here.

Are we cool with an umpire stopping the game to walk over and bait one
of the team’s managers into a fight? Isn’t dealing with heckling
players and managers the first thing you learn in umpire school?
Everyone’s talking about the fist bump, but that’s just kind of dumb.
The fact that an umpire thinks it appropriate to get into it like Hohn
did is clearly over the line. And no, this is not the first time Hohn has gotten out of control.

The guy’s a disgrace, and should be suspended at the very least.

Theo Epstein named The World’s Greatest Leader

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Fortune Magazine has put out a list of The World’s Greatest Leaders. Not the greatest business leaders, not the greatest leaders in a given industry, but the Greatest Leaders, full stop. The greatest according to Fortune: The Cubs’ Theo Epstein.

For some context, Pope Francis was third. Angela Merkel was 10th. Lebron James was the next greatest sports leader, ranked 11th. Take Fortune’s methodology with a grain of salt, however, given that it has John McCain above Merkel — what, exactly, does he lead now? — and Samantha Bee in the top 20.

So what makes Theo the world’s best leader according to Fortune?

The Cubs owe their success to a five-year rebuilding program that featured a concatenation of different leadership styles. The team thrived under the affable patience of owner Tom Ricketts, and, later, under the innovative eccentricity of manager Joe Maddon. But most important of all was the evolution of the club’s president for baseball operations, Theo Epstein, the wunderkind executive who realized he would need to grow as a leader in order to replicate in Chicago the success he’d had with the Boston Red Sox.

I don’t want to take anything away from what Theo has done — he’s a Hall of Fame executive already in my view — but I feel like maybe one needs to adjust for the fact that this is a baseball team we’re talking about. They’re the whole world to us and their brands are nationally and even world famous, but as an organization, sports teams are rather small. There are guys who run reasonably-sized HVAC companies with more employees than a baseball team and they don’t get the benefit of an antitrust exemption and a rule which allows them to get their pick of the best new employees if they had a bad year the year before.

Really, not trying to throw shade here, just thinking that being the spiritual father for 1.2 billion Catholics or running a foundation that serves 55 million needy children — like the woman who comes in at number 14 — is a bit of a tougher trick.

But this will make a great framed magazine article on Theo’s wall in Wrigley Field.

 

 

Marcus Stroman named World Baseball Classic MVP

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United States starter Marcus Stroman was named Most Valuable Player of the World Baseball Classic after helping lead the U.S. to its first ever WBC title on Wednesday night in an 8-0 victory over Puerto Rico. Stroman flirted with a no-hitter through six innings, but gave up a double to lead off the seventh before being relieved by Sam Dyson.

Stroman also pitched 4 2/3 scoreless innings against the Dominican Republic in Pool C play on March 11. He struggled in Pool F play against Puerto Rico last Friday, surrendering four runs in 4 2/3 innings.

The WBC MVP award understandably goes to a player of the winning team. However, Wladimir Balentien of the Netherlands deserves special mention. In 26 at-bats during the WBC, he hit a double and had a WBC-high four home runs, 12 RBI, and 12 runs scored while putting up a .615/.677/.1.115 batting line. That’s MVP-esque as far as this tournament is concerned.