I wrote yesterday about how mainstream media members are thankfully beginning to take notice of how aggressively awful and confrontational umpire Bob Davidson has been for years and amazingly he had another “incident” last night.
Of course, given how many “incidents” Davidson has every season the timing of the whole thing probably isn’t that remarkable.
Through his first 92 games as Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson had never been ejected, but Davidson changed that by booting him for arguing about a checked-swing strike call.
Gibson got his money’s worth via a bill-to-bill screaming match with Davidson, who as usual did everything he could to worsen the situation by allegedly trying to goad catcher Miguel Montero into a confrontation earlier in the game.
I’ll let Jack Magruder of FOXSportsArizona.com set the scene:
[Gibson] and home-plate umpire Bob Davidson went lip to lip, as Justin Upton called it, after Davidson called Miguel Montero out on a check-swing third strike in the bottom of the third inning. It was the same call on the same pitch–a low, inside breaking ball–that retired Montero in the first, lighting the fuse. …
Montero was upset after being called out in the first inning, and Davidson appeared to say something to him on his way to the dugout. “I never said anything to him; he said something to me,” Montero said. “I thought he wanted me to say something back, something to throw me out of the game and pay a $500 fine.” After the second strikeout in the third, the D-backs’ dugout was all over Davidson, who ejected Gibson, leading Gibson to run out on the field.
In other words, Davidson made a “questionable” call and then tried to escalate the situation by creating a confrontation. Mission accomplished, I suppose. At least if his mission is “be awful at your job and get your name in every game recap.”
In something of a surprising move, the Chicago Cubs fired their pitching coach, Chris Bosio on Saturday. Bosio had held the job since the 2011-12 offseason.
The Cubs made the NLCS this year, but were nowhere as near the formidable as their 2016 World Series champion iteration. While there were several reasons for that, one was that the pitching staff, which featured multiple, better-than-expected performances in 2016, but took a step back in 2017. Some of that was personnel — Joe Maddon did not have Aroldis Chapman to call on in the postseason like he did last year — and a lot of that was mere regression from veterans like Jon Lester and John Lackey. A lot of it had to do with a much higher walk rate this year than in the past.
Still, there was no chatter during the season or at the time of the Cubs’ playoff exit the other day that Bosio might be a fall guy. The Chicago Tribune reports that it was Joe Maddon’s call and that he had grown displeased with Bosio. The Tribune report suggests that Cubs pitchers will be displeased with the move as they were devoted to Bosio. Coaches, of course, come and go, so I suspect they’ll get over it.
Whatever the case, Bosio likely won’t say unemployed for long. He is widely credited with helping Jake Arrieta transform from a project to an ace and for the considerable and the somewhat unexpectedly successful development of Kyle Hendricks. The Tribune suggests that he’d be a good fit in Minnesota, where his former teammate Paul Molitor is in search of a new pitching coach.
There are several intriguing coaches available at the moment, most notably Mike Maddux, who has been the Nationals pitching coach but whose status is now in flux given the firing of Dusty Baker. Maddux’s brother Greg, of course, is a spring training pitching instructor for the Cubs. The Tribune adds that Maddon may look to his old Tampa Bay Rays pitching coach Jim Hickey or, possibly, even recently fired Red Sox manager John Farrell, who made his bones as a pitching coach.