Rays-Sox home plate ump was out of control

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Bob Davidson.jpgCarl Crawford and Joe Maddon were ejected in the bottom of the fifth inning in last night’s Rays-Red Sox game after arguing balls and strikes. That’s fine as far as it goes because they know the rule: you can’t argue balls and strikes. Except in this case the far greater wrong was umpire Bob Davidson’s demeanor during the argument.

Watch the video here. For starters, the ball was clearly outside and, as the announcers note, Davidson had been missing that call all night.  But that’s not really important right now.  What’s more important is the course the argument takes.

Watch Crawford. He starts up with some run-of-the-mill beefing. He heats up fairly quickly, however, and it seems apparent to me that he’s heating up because of whatever it is Davidson is saying and, more importantly, how he’s saying it. And Davidson looks animated. More animated than an umpire simply telling the hitter that the ball was a strike tends to get.  There was a little bump in there too — for which Crawford may very well be fined — but Davidson was not exactly backing down.

The real action starts after Maddon comes out.  No, Maddon does not distinguish himself here — he’s obviously hot — but Davidson is leaning in, barking even more than Maddon is.

This is beyond an umpire defending his call. I don’t know what it is, actually, I can’t recall seeing an ump stay in a player’s and a manager’s face like Davidson did. Usually they
at least attempt to back up and defuse the situation.  Here Davidson seemed like the most hostile guy out of the three of them.

Look, I understand the rule about not arguing balls and strikes, but if umpires are going to have that rule, they need to treat their calls like they’re non-negotiable. If the players and the managers insist on beefing about it, fine, let them beef a tad, eject them when they don’t let it go and if they feel like continuing to embarrass themselves stand by, let them embarrass themselves,  and then file your report with the league office.  An umpire should not get into a red-faced spittle-spewing argument with the players or the managers.

Davidson embarrassed himself last night. The league should discipline him.

Twins activated Glen Perkins from the 60-day disabled list

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The Twins announced, prior to the start of Thursday afternoon’s game against the Indians (the first game of a double-header), that reliever Glen Perkins was activated from the 60-day disabled list. Perkins had been sidelined since April 2016, recovering from left labrum surgery.

From 2013-15, Perkins served as the Twins’ closer, recording 102 saves with a 3.08 ERA. He appeared in only two games last season before going down with the injury.

Perkins appeared in the ninth inning of the first game Thursday with the Twins trailing 7-3. It did not go well. He gave up two runs on two hits, one walk, and two hit batsmen before being lifted. Alan Busenitz came in and induced an inning-ending double play from Francisco Lindor.

The Twins will likely ease Perkins back by continuing to use him in lower-leverage situations. Perkins has a club option worth $6.5 million for 2018 with a $700,000 buyout. The Twins picking up that option likely hinges on how Perkins fares down the stretch.

Red Sox owner John Henry “haunted” by Tom Yawkey’s racist past, wants to rename Yawkey Way

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The Boston Herald’s Michael Silverman reports that Red Sox owner John Henry is “haunted” by the racist past of previous owner Tom Yawkey and wants to rename Yawkey Way, the tw0-block street that runs from Brookline Avenue to Boylston Street.

Earlier this year, the Red Sox renamed an extension of Yawkey Way after David Ortiz.

Yawkey refused to promote black players from the minor leagues during the 1950’s despite exceptional performance. The Red Sox became the last major league team to integrate in 1959 when Pumpsie Green was added to the roster. Jackie Robinson, who broke the color barrier in 1947, called Yawkey “one of the most bigoted guys in baseball.”

This comes days after racial tensions in Charlottesville, VA where protesters and counter-protesters clashed over removing the statue of Robert E. Lee. A member of a white supremacist group drove his car into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing one and injuring 19. While President Trump has done little in the way of disavowing these hate groups, various city leaders have taken the initiative to remove Confederate monuments and the various other ways in which those people have been glorified. Baltimore, for example, removed four Confederate monuments early Wednesday morning.

Renaming Yawkey Way has been a long time coming and with the current political climate, Henry has finally been motivated enough to take action. He said, “I discussed this a number of times with the previous mayoral administration and they did not want to open what they saw as a can of worms. There are a number of buildings and institutions that bear the same name. The sale of the Red Sox by John Harrington helped to fund a number of very good works in the city done by the Yawkey Foundation (we had no control over where any monies were spent). The Yawkey Foundation has done a lot of great things over the years that have nothing to do with our history.”

Henry added, “The Red Sox don’t control the naming or renaming of streets. But for me, personally, the street name has always been a consistent reminder that it is our job to ensure the Red Sox are not just multi-cultural, but stand for as many of the right things in our community as we can – particularly in our African-American community and in the Dominican community that has embraced us so fully. The Red Sox Foundation and other organizations the Sox created such as Home Base have accomplished a lot over the last 15 years, but I am still haunted by what went on here a long time before we arrived.”

Henry says if the decision were entirely up to him, he would dedicate the street to David Ortiz, calling it “David Ortiz Way” or “Big Papi Way.”

Though racism is a problem throughout the U.S., racism has been a particular problem in Boston at least when it comes to baseball. Earlier this year, Orioles outfielder Adam Jones had peanuts thrown at him and was called racist slurs by fans at Fenway Park. Red Sox starter David Price said he has been on the receiving end of racist taunts from Boston fans as well. After the Jones incident, other players — including CC Sabathia, Barry Bonds, Mark McLemore, and Jackie Bradley, Jr. — spoke up and said that they had been treated similarly at Fenway Park.

Henry’s sensitivity to the issue is quite understandable. And he deserves kudos for doing the right thing in pushing to rename Yawkey Way, but one has to wonder why this hadn’t been done much, much sooner.