Baseball rarely if ever comments publicly on umpire discipline, so when it was announced that Joe West was being fined the other day that was (a) big news; and (b) evidence that he really screwed up.
What, then, to make of this from Bob Watson, baseball’s director of discipline?
A Major League Baseball official says umpire Bill Hohn will be addressed
“in a very stern way” after a confrontation with Houston pitcher Roy Oswalt.
Sure, you could say that a reprimand, which is what this sounds like, is kind of a nothing punishment. But to think that is to misunderstand how institutional punishments tend to work. You give reprimands — and, more importantly, make statements like this announcing the reprimands — to lay the groundwork for escalated discipline later.
As many noted in the Oswalt thread yesterday, Hohn has had a history of bad behavior. Baseball, it seems to me, is acknowledging that here, and is hopefully setting the stage for more severe action later, when he inevitably messes up and lets his ego run wild again.
Maybe that’s not as satisfying as tying him to a stake, smearing honey on him and letting the red ants run free, but it’s about as much as we can hope from Major League Baseball when it comes to umpire discipline.
It was assumed already, but Mike Scioscia made it official during Monday’s press conference for new general manager Billy Eppler that he will return as Angels manager in 2016.
Scioscia, the longest-tenured manager in the majors, has been at the helm with the Angels since 2000. There was a clause in his contract which allowed him to opt out after the 2015 season, but he has decided to stay put. He still has three years and $15 million on his contract, which runs through 2018.
Jerry Dipoto resigned as Angels general manager in July amid tension with Scioscia, so there were naturally questions today about what to expect with first-time GM Eppler in the fold. According to David Adler of MLB.com, Scioscia isn’t concerned.
“I think we’re going to mesh very well,” Scioscia said. “If we adjust, or maybe he adjusts to some of the things, there’s going to be collaboration that’s going to make us better.”
Eppler is the fourth general manager during Scioscia’s tenure with the team.
After winning the AL West last season, the Angels finished 85-77 this season and narrowly missed the playoffs. The team hasn’t won a postseason game since 2009.
Astros center fielder Carlos Gomez sat out the final series of the regular season in order to rest a strained left intercostal muscle, but there was good news coming out of a workout today in advance of Tuesday’s Wild Card game vs. the Yankees.
This has been a lingering issue for Gomez, who missed 13 straight games with the injury last month. He aggravated the strain on a throw to home plate last Wednesday and was forced to sit while the Astros fought to keep their season alive. Astros manager A.J. Hinch told reporters last week that Gomez’s injury would typically take 45-50 days to recover from, so it’s fair to wonder how productive he can be during the postseason.
Gomez mostly struggled after coming over from the Brewers at the trade deadline, batting .242 with four home runs and a .670 OPS over 41 games.