What you're saying about the Joyce-Galarraga call

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Joyce blown call.jpgThe best thing about this blog are the comments. Sure, there are some knuckleheads that show up here from time to time, but find me any comments section of any major website that has as consistently high-quality conversation and argument as this one and I’ll eat my hat. And if any of you saw me in that video yesterday you know one thing about me: I’m a man who needs a hat.

The quality of HBT’s readership shows up the best when a big controversial thing happens like the Joyce call last night. People obviously disagreed about the replay thing and people disagree about whether Selig should have overturned the call — which he didn’t — but, a couple of those lovable knuckleheads notwithstanding, everyone in the HBT comments had had a pretty sober and insightful take on it. Let’s share, shall we?

On instant replay:

  • JimmyY: If we can see the play on TV within 30 seconds and determine it was a
    bad call instant replay can surely be implemented . . . Getting it right
    and undoing an injustice, that’s what matters not some lame excuses.
  • Josh: If I were an umpire, I would be begging for this. Who wants to be the
    next Jim Joyce / Don Denkinger?
  • Catch 22:
    My father was a professional umpire. Not major leagues,
    but still a professional umpire. As he used to say, the umpires call is
    as much a part of the game as any player on the field. While I am not against the replay system that Mr. Calcaterra is
    recommending, the way a game is called by the umpire is what it is.
  • Andy: No matter if this call is overturned or not, nothing will
    replace the emotion that could have been felt in Comerica Park tonight.
    Nothing will replace the fact that Galarraga walked into a locker room
    with fans booing instead of cheering. Nothing will give him his moment
    back. As someone who was born and raised in Detroit, we are used to rolling
    with the punches. I’ve had enough. Instant replay is needed, and now.
    Five extra minutes could have lead to a spectacular night for a
    pitcher, and an entire city.

On Bud Selig overturning the call and giving Galarraga the perfecto

  • JoeRo23: I’m not in favor of this happening in any other situation, but this is
    that one special, unique, once in a lifetime case, in my mind, in which I
    think MLB should change the call and give Galarraga his perfect game.
    There could not be fewer repercussions than in this situation – he’d
    change (fix is a better word) the outcome of a SINGLE at-bat, and
    nullify the following at-bat (taking an out away from the guy who was
    the eventual 27th out of the game, so he won’t mind).
  • Kirk: It’s ALWAYS amazing to see anyone argue against doing the right thing.
    What’s the point of being the commissioner if he cannot correct errors.
    If not he’s useless and might as well be a sports reporter!
  • Tim J: My sons and I were at the game…as much as I would like to have
    witnessed a perfecto, we feel like we did. I’m mounting the kid’s
    tickets on small plaques for them with text like “Galarraga’s 1-hit
    perfect game”…lol. I felt sick to my stomach after the call but after
    finding out that it was a blown call, I was angry. BUT I don’t think it
    should be reversed. It would be selfish of me to want that. What about
    all of the calls over time that may have robbed someone else of a piece
    of history? At least it was cool to be a part of it all.
  • Matt J: I’m not looking forward to a do-over culture invading baseball. This conversation strikes me as vaguely reminiscent of Little League
    coaches believing themselves to be Earl Weaver and playing a game under
    protest because of a close call at first base in the second inning of a
    game in mid-March. Calls can’t be arbitrarily made “correct.” There is
    integrity (in a limited, sports sense) in making a mistake and
    realizing the result. There is no integrity (again in the most limited
    sense) in changing something the next day.
  • CA: The contention that commissioner intervention to overturn Joyce’s call
    would set some sort of dangerous precedent is overly legalistic. If the
    commissioner has the power to see that justice is served in an obvious
    case like this, then why shouldn’t he do it?

On Jim Joyce having to live with this forever:

  • Kyle S: Instead of a celebration of a perfect game it’s a pity
    party for an umpire. I’m sick of hearing about umpires. He ruined something that would have been huge for a lot of people. It’s his job to get important calls right and he didn’t do his job. I
    have no sympathy.
  • J Rose: I think the the way everyone involved reacted should be used as an
    example of how to handle tough situations with dignity and class. From
    Galarraga to Joyce to the Tigers players, they handled it just about as
    well as anyone could, and much better than the fans are. They are trying
    to set an example, yet the angy mob doesn’t seem to be following their
    lead.
  • doug: The problem with this piece is that Jim Joyce’s feelings
    are meaningless compared to the feelings of Armando Galarraga who,
    through no fault of his own, had his victory stolen in a way that
    frankly appears to be almost intentional. In short: why should we car how Jim Joyce “feels?”
  • Nick: I feel for Joyce because he owned up to the mistake and apologized. But
    no matter what, he will never live this down and that’s unfortunate.
    No one deserves to have one mistake in a freakin’ game define their
    life.

  • Tom: Everyday people must suffer the consequences of bad decisions made on their jobs every day.  Umpires should be no different.  While the apology is nice, it is not enough.  Joyce should be fined or suspended.

Tough crowd, and as often happens, I’m in the distinct minority when it comes to this stuff.  That’s fine. If everyone agrees with me I’m probably not doing my job.

Anyway, thanks for all of your comments, folks. And keep them coming.

Chapman has trouble remembering convo with Cubs management about off-field behavior

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CHICAGO — Star closer Aroldis Chapman joined the Cubs on Tuesday, arriving to a mixed reaction in Chicago and saying he couldn’t remember what management told him about off-field expectations and behavior.

After Chapman’s awkward introductory news conference, Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein insisted Chapman understands what the Cubs expect of him after an offseason domestic violence incident.

When the Cubs announced the trade with the New York Yankees on Monday, the team released a statement from Chairman Tom Ricketts saying they were aware of his 29-game suspension to begin the season under Major League Baseball’s new domestic violence policy.

Ricketts said he and Epstein talked by phone with Chapman before the deal was completed and “shared with him the high expectations we set for our players,” adding that Chapman was “comfortable” with them.

But when asked repeatedly about that phone conversation before Tuesday’s game against the crosstown White Sox, Chapman said through an interpreter that he couldn’t recall details because he was taking a nap at the time the call came in.

The question was asked several more times. A Cubs spokesman once asked the question himself to the interpreter, coach Henry Blanco.

“It’s been a long day,” Chapman said. “Trying to remember.”

Asked again several minutes later during the group interview if he could now remember what Ricketts said, Chapman shook his head.

“I still don’t remember,” he said in Spanish.

Epstein called it a misunderstanding and that Chapman was “pretty nervous” as he faced seven cameras and more than two dozen reporters.

“I was on the call, Tom was on the call, Aroldis was on the call and Barry Praver, his agent, was on the call. It happened and it was real,” Epstein said before the Cubs’ 3-0 loss to the White Sox.

Chapman was accused of choking his girlfriend and firing eight gunshots in the garage of a Florida home in October. The woman later changed her story and no charges were filed.

“You learn from the mistakes that you make,” Chapman said.

The case caused the Los Angeles Dodgers to back out of an offseason trade for Chapman. Cincinnati eventually traded him to the Yankees, and after his suspension, the 28-year-old Cuban converted 20 of 21 save chances for New York.

The Cubs have long boasted of stocking their roster with high-character players, helping earn the “lovable losers” label they’ve carried for decades since their last World Series title in 1908.

But the Cubs (59-40) have retooled their roster under Epstein and have the best record in the major leagues despite Tuesday’s loss in which Chapman didn’t pitch. Chapman, who threw a 105 mph fastball last week, fills perhaps the team’s largest hole as he replaces Hector Rondon as closer.

The Cubs sent four players to the Yankees, including shortstop prospect Gleyber Torres, to get one of the game’s top relievers. Epstein said they wouldn’t have made the deal if not for the phone call he and Ricketts had with Chapman.

“Tom laid out the exact same standards that he lays out to everyone in spring training,” Epstein said. “He said, extremely clearly, `Look, Aroldis, I tell all the players this in spring training and it’s important you hear it and I need to hear from you on this. We expect our players to behave. We hold our players to a very high standard for their behavior off the field. And we need to know you can meet that standard.’

“Aroldis said `I understand. Absolutely, I can.'”

The Cubs activated Chapman before Tuesday’s game and designated left-hander Clayton Richard for assignment.

Reaction to Chapman’s acquisition in Chicago has been tepid. While there were supportive fans on talk radio, the Chicago Tribune carried a front-page column Tuesday criticizing the move. The back of the Chicago Sun-Times tabloid read “Spin City” over a picture of Epstein.

Chapman said he expected a “good reaction” from Cubs fans. He was also asked during the 20-minute meeting with reporters in the visiting dugout at U.S. Cellular Field if we would consider working with organizations looking to prevent domestic violence. Chapman said no.

Cubs manager Joe Maddon defended Chapman.

“He did do a suspension, he has talked about it, he’s shown remorse,” Maddon said. “Everybody else has the right to judge him as a good or bad person. That’s your right.

I want to get to know Aroldis. I think he could be a very significant member and he’s got the potential, yes, to throw the last out of the World Series. And if he does, I promise you I will embrace him.”

Report: Padres working on trading Andrew Cashner

ST. LOUIS, MO - JULY 21: Starter Derek Norris #3 of the San Diego Padres pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals in the first inning at Busch Stadium on July 21, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
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Jon Morosi of FOX Sports and MLB Network reports that the Padres are working to trade starter Andrew Cashner. He notes that a deal may be consummated before he takes the hill for Tuesday’s start in Toronto against the Blue Jays. The Marlins, Orioles, and Rangers have had reported interest in Cashner.

Cashner is 4-7 with a 4.79 ERA and a 61/27 K/BB ratio in 73 1/3 innings. He missed over three weeks between June 11 and July 2 due to a strained neck.

The right-hander is earning $9.625 million this season and will be eligible for free agency after the season.