Wezen-Ball may be the first person to ever post the You Tube video of the opening to Game 3 of the 1989 World for a reason other than the earthquake. He posts it to show a really bad umpire’s call: Dave Parker being called safe at second in Game 2 when he was clearly out by a Buster Poseyian distance.
lar’s point is a good one: no big deal was made of it at the time. Not because it wasn’t an egregiously bad call. It clearly was. But because the means didn’t really exist for people to raise a fuss. It was 1989. The people who had a connection to the Internet then could probably fit in a single-A ballpark. If you wanted to moan about the call, you had to wait until the next morning and do it with coworkers at the water cooler or mimeograph machine or whatever kind of ancient technology populated offices back in 1989.
But I don’t think the lesson to take from this, though, is “there have been bad calls forever, so we should all stop complaining.” The lesson should be that bad calls today are different than bad calls 20 years ago. Not in their nature, but in their effect. The new technology that allows for instant complaining about things that have always happened may be annoying to the umpires and the league, but it has a real effect on fan sentiment. If we get a bad enough bad call — or if they simply continue to pile up like they have been — eventually it will cause fans to question the legitimacy of the competition. Or at the very least the reliability of the officiating. Such a dynamic could cause viewership to erode and the product to be damaged. This, more than anything else, is the argument for expanded replay in baseball.
The San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser reports that Athletics’ right-hander Sonny Gray will not pitch in the World Baseball Classic after failing to meet the necessary criteria for insurance coverage. He missed 70 days on the disabled list with forearm tightness and a back strain in 2016.
According to Oakland GM David Forst, Major League Baseball tried to persuade the insurance carrier to waive the requirements for Gray to pitch for Team USA, but the request was ultimately refused. Without coverage, Gray will be unable to participate in the competition, though Forst adds that the 27-year-old is still in perfect health as Opening Day approaches and should benefit from a slower spring training schedule without the added commitment on his plate.
Injuries complicated a down year for Gray, who pitched to a career-worst 5.69 ERA, 3.2 BB/9 and 7.2 SO/9 rate through 117 innings in 2016. His 1.4 HR/9 and 17.8% HR/FB rates suggested that he felt the effects of the home run spike more than most, capping a disappointing follow-up to his All-Star campaign during 2015.
While Gray works up to a healthy and productive start to the 2017 season, the Athletics will still see two players on WBC rosters next month: right-handed reliever Santiago Casilla, who is scheduled to pitch for the Dominican Republic, and fellow righty John Axford, for Team Canada.
Rangers’ outfielder Josh Hamilton is scheduled for another knee exam on Monday, according to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Hamilton left camp last week after feeling some pain in his left knee and received a PRP injection to alleviate the symptoms. Wilson notes that both Dr. Walt Lowe and Rangers’ assistant general manager Mike Daly noticed little improvement in the days following the injection.
More drastic measures could be necessary if the 35-year-old intends to return to the field this year. MLB.com’s TR Sullivan adds that the Rangers are considering arthroscopic surgery for Hamilton, which would set him back at least 4-6 weeks and eliminate any real chance of his making the Opening Day roster in April. Until they see the results of the surgery, however, the Rangers won’t rule out Hamilton’s potential return to the big leagues in 2017.
Hamilton is looking at his third major procedure since the end of the 2015 season. He missed all of the Rangers’ 2016 campaign after undergoing reconstructive knee surgery last spring and has not seen a full workload in the majors since his 2013 run with the Angels. Should he make a full recovery this season, he figures to see some time at first base/DH or the corner outfield.