This morning I linked to Amy Nelson’s story about the players wanting a sit-down with the umpires and the league after the season. My take: “This is so manifestly reasonable that you know damn well it will never happen.”
Shows you what I know:
A rare meeting between Major League Baseball players, umpires and
league officials to discuss player-umpire relationships, and possibly
instant replay, is set for Dec. 3.
I’m not sure what will come out of it really, but I see the following two outcomes as the best and worst case scenarios:
Best: Umpires hear what the players are saying about the umps’ attitudes, players get a better appreciation for how difficult and how stressful the umps’ job is, and it results in calmer, more rational on-field disagreements and a new sense of transparency and accountability when bad calls are made, which they inevitably will be;
Worst: The umpires use the meeting to document specific player complaints, thereby allowing them to add to their list of players they intend to screw with bad calls next season.
But hey, this is progress, right?
Yankees first baseman Greg Bird gave his team tons of confidence to hand him the everyday job at first base to start the 2017 regular season, batting .451/.556/1.098 with eight home runs in 51 spring at-bats. But he’s followed that up by hitting .107/.254/.214 through the first month of the regular season.
GM Brian Cashman doesn’t have any intent to demote Bird back to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch reports. Cashman said, “It’s not even an option for me in my mind right now, at all.”
Bird didn’t start Sunday’s game against the Orioles, a 7-4 loss in 11 innings. Lefty Wade Miley started for the Orioles, prompting manager Joe Girardi to put Chris Carter into the lineup at first base. If Bird isn’t able to figure things out, Carter might have an increased role on the team.
Rays starter Chris Archer threw his first pitch to Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista behind the slugger’s back with one out in the first inning of Sunday afternoon’s game in Toronto. Bautista and Archer then had a staredown. Home plate umpire Jim Wolf issued warnings to both teams. Bautista ultimately flied out to right field and he appeared to have a quick word with Archer on his way back to the dugout.
Archer could have been exacting revenge — euphemistically known as “protecting his teammate” — because Jays reliever Joe Biagini hit Rays outfielder Steven Souza in the seventh inning of Saturday’s game. Souza was forced to leave the game and underwent an X-ray, which came back negative. He was held out of Sunday’s lineup. Biagini’s pitch did not appear to be intentional.
The Jays won Sunday’s contest 3-1 with no further incident. The two clubs meet again in Tampa for a three-game series starting on May 5, so we’ll see if Sunday was the last of the bad blood between them.