Mark Bowman of MLB.com explains how Takashi Saito’s bad vision cost the Braves in last night’s loss to the Rockies:
Turns out, the passed ball that gave Dexter Fowler a chance to deliver a two-run single was directly attributed to the vision problem that Takashi Saito experiences during night games. Because of Saito’s limited vision at night, the Braves catchers are unable to call pitches by simply placing a certain number of fingers between their legs.
They are instead forced to signal pitch selection by touching different parts of their body, much like a third-base coach. After McCann signaled for a breaking ball, Saito delivered the fastball that drilled plate umpire Lance Barksdale in the right shoulder and then made its way toward the backstop.
Interesting, but it’s also worth noting that on a per-inning basis Saito has thrown fewer wild pitches in night games (passed balls are attributed to catchers) and has also been every bit as effective as he is during day games.
Saito has appeared in 208 career night games, posting a 2.15 ERA and 262 strikeouts versus just 151 hits in 213 innings. Not bad for a guy who can barely see which pitches are being called.
A Solar Eclipse
by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
In that great journey of the stars through space
About the mighty, all-directing Sun,
The pallid, faithful Moon, has been the one
Companion of the Earth. Her tender face,
Pale with the swift, keen purpose of that race,
Which at Time’s natal hour was first begun,
Shines ever on her lover as they run
And lights his orbit with her silvery smile.
Sometimes such passionate love doth in her rise,
Down from her beaten path she softly slips,
And with her mantle veils the Sun’s bold eyes,
Then in the gloaming finds her lover’s lips.
While far and near the men our world call wise
See only that the Sun is in eclipse.
Over the weekend the World Umpires Association — the umpire’s union — launched a protest in response to what it feels is Major League Baseball’s failure to adequately address the “escalating attacks” on the men in blue. They were specifically upset that Ian Kinsler didn’t get suspended for his remarks in which he said that Angel Hernandez should get out of the umpiring business because he’s terrible. Apparently to umpires truth is no defense. In any event, they wore white wristbands Saturday night as a sign of solidarity or whatever.
Now that’s over, it seems. At least for the time being. The Association released this statement yesterday afternoon:
“Today, WUA members agreed to the Commissioner’s proposal to meet with the Union’s Governing Board to discuss the concerns on which our white wristband protest is based. We appreciate the Commissioner’s willingness to engage seriously on verbal attacks and other important issues that must be addressed. To demonstrate our good faith, MLB Umpires will remove the protest white wristbands pending the requested meeting.”
As many noted over the weekend — most notably Emma Span of Sports Illustrated — this protest was, at best, tone deaf. While officials are, obviously, due proper respect, a player jawing at an umpire is neither unprecedented nor very serious compared to, well, almost anything that goes on in the game or in society. At a time when people are literally taking to the streets to protest white supremacy, Neo-Nazis and the KKK, asking folks to spare thoughts for some people who sometimes have to take guff over ball and strike calls is not exactly a cause that is going to draw a ton of sympathy. And that’s before you address the fact that the umpires are not innocent when it comes to stoking the animosity between themselves and the players.
I wouldn’t expect to hear too much more out of this other than, perhaps, a relatively non-committal statement from Major League Baseball and a relatively detail-free declaration of victory by the umpires after their meeting.