Comment of the Day: blown calls are part of the game

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Our friend Old Gator has made a disturbing (or refereshing, depending on your point of view) transition into lucidity since the season started. This morning he had some interesting things to say about the whole replay thing. The upshot: bad calls by umpires are plays that happen in games just like groundouts and unassisted triple plays. And that baseball is better for it:

In short, the blown call transforms the game from some boring and invariable Newtonian process to a Heisenbergian quantum universe wherein anything can and does happen, sometimes simultaneously. God doesn’t play dice with the universe? Well, it’s been proven that he does. Umpires should inflect our cutting edge knowledge of the universe and play dice with the game.

That quote is a bit cute, sure, but I think Gator is serious in his umpires-are-part-of-the-fabric-of-the-game argument and the couple of paragraphs before the blockquote actually make a pretty good case for it. Not sure if I buy it, but I think what Gator is on about is what people are really referring to when they talk about “the human element.” I usually dismiss that argument, but I think I do that mostly because it’s not a typically well-constructed argument. Gator does better with it.

Brandon McCarthy wins final spot in Dodgers’ rotation

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We learned on Monday that Hyun-Jin Ryu won one of the final two spots in the Dodgers’ starting rotation. Brandon McCarthy has won the other, Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register reports. Alex Wood was McCarthy’s competitor for the spot.

McCarthy, 33, posted a 4.85 ERA across four appearances spanning 13 innings this spring, yielding seven earned runs on 14 hits and a walk with seven strikeouts. Wood, a southpaw, gave up five earned runs in six innings against the Reds on Tuesday, which might have factored into the decision.

Last season, McCarthy made nine starts and one relief appearance, posting a 4.95 ERA with a 44/26 K/BB ratio in 40 innings. In the event McCarthy falters, the club has Wood as well as Julio Urias and the injured Scott Kazmir as potential replacements.

Yankees re-sign Jon Niese to a minor league deal

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The Yankees have re-signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, George A. King III of the New York Post reports. Niese was released on Sunday, but he’ll stick around and provide rotation depth for the Yankees.

Niese had knee surgery last August and got a late start to spring training as a result. In six spring appearances lasting an inning each, the lefty gave up three earned runs on five hits and a walk with five strikeouts.

Niese, a veteran of nine seasons, put up an aggregate 5.50 ERA with an 88/47 K/BB ratio in 121 innings last season between the Pirates and Mets.