MLB to changeup umpire assignments for the World Series

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Baseball has seen enough bad calls and is changing the way it assigns umpires for the World Series:

Stung by a rash of blown calls in the playoffs, Major League
Baseball is breaking tradition and sticking with only experienced
umpires for the World Series.

Longtime crew chiefs Joe West, Dana DeMuth and Gerry Davis, along
with Brian Gorman, Jeff Nelson and Mike Everitt will handle the games,
three people with knowledge of the decision told The Associated Press
this week . . . In 24 of the last 25 World Series, the six-man crew has included at
least one umpire working the event for the first time–baseball likes to
reward newer umpires, plus replenish the supply of umps with Series
experience.

Not that this is a guarantee of anything better than what we’ve seen. An experienced umpire does not necessarily make for a good umpire.  Joe West has been around forever, and for as long as he’s been around, people have complained about him. And he doesn’t take well to complaints: back in 1984 West actually ejected two SportsChannel cameramen when they allowed Mets players and coaches to see replays of a call he blew. And let us not forget that our friend Tim McClelland has been around for over 25 years, and he still made those awful calls at third base on Tuesday night.

But at least it’s something.  Not as good as, say, the limited introduction of replay or — an idea I heard someone suggest yesterday which may be better — simply stationing an umpire in the press box, giving him access to video and a headset and allowing him to serve as a overruling authority in the event something clearly gets blown on the field.

Arizona Diamondbacks, Tony La Russa part ways

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The Arizona Diamondbacks just announced that they are parting ways with Tony La Russa at the end of the month.

La Russa served as the club’s “Chief Baseball Officer” from 2015-16. For the last year he was styled “Chief Baseball Analyst.” That’s a nice way to saying that he was pushed aside when the club fired his hand-picked general manager Dave Stewart and brought in Mike Hazen to run the club a year ago. La Russa was stripped of his powers, but was told he could hang around as an advisor. Most didn’t think he’d actually take the club up on that offer, but he did. By all accounts he was a pretty unobtrusive presence around the team this year, offering counsel and insight when asked but not making things awkward the way having the old boss around might do.

I suppose that can only last so long, however. The Dbacks had considerably more success without La Russa in charge in 2017 than they had with him in charge the previous couple of years. At some point you just part ways. That point is now.