Bob Davidson has been among the worst umpires on the merits and one of the worst umpires in terms of temperament for years now, and he showed exactly why last night in the Cubs-Pirates game.
Tyler Colvin was called out on strikes by Davidson to end the fifth inning. It was a bad call, but that’s beside the point. Colvin reacted, but he didn’t look at Davidson or walk towards him or anything. His reaction, while sure, likely largely influenced by anger at the call, could have just as easily been construed as anger at himself. Importantly, he didn’t linger at home plate. He turned around and headed back to the dugout.
Except Davidson followed him. Obnoxiously trying to pick a fight. When he didn’t get the fight he obviously wanted, he ejected Colvin.
Then Mike Quade came out and argued the ejection. He wasn’t arguing the called strike. He wasn’t animated. He wasn’t being obnoxious. Watching the video it is clear that he was only trying to protect his player and make a calm case. Davidson, after hearing it for a while turned his back on Quade, shrugged his shoulders dismissively and then ejected Quade.
Umpires should be in the business of giving players the benefit of the doubt in such situations. Let them be angry, but unless they are clearly out of line, let them be. Same with managers. If Davidson had simply stood his ground and let Colvin walk back to the dugout, none of that would have happened and the game would have gone on. Except Davidson has the thinnest skin and the worst disposition and temperament of any umpire in baseball and his ego couldn’t let it go.
He should not have his job. There are dozens who could do it better on the merits and scores who could do it with greater professionalism. He’s a disgrace to good umpires everywhere and a disgrace to Major League Baseball. His continued employment makes a mockery of baseball’s oversight of officiating.
Terrible, terrible news: Christian Moreno of ESPN reports that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura has been killed in an automobile accident in the Dominican Republic. His death has been confirmed by police. He was only 25 years-old. There are as of yet no details about the accident.
Ventura was a four-year veteran, having debuted in 2013 but truly bursting onto the scene for the Royals in 2014. That year he went 14-10 with a 3.20 ERA in 183 innings, ascending to the national stage along with the entire Royals team with some key performances in that year’s ALDS and World Series. The following year Ventura won 13 games for the World Champion Royals and again appeared in the playoffs and World Series.
Ventura was often in the middle of controversy — he found himself in several controversies arising out of his habit of hitting and brushing back hitters — but he was an undeniably electric young talent who was poised to anchor the Royals rotation for years to come. His loss, like that of Jose Fernandez just this past September, is incalculable to both his team, his fans and to Major League Baseball as a whole.
Our thoughts go out to his family, his friends, his teammates and his fans.
Free agent right-hander Tim Lincecum isn’t ready to hang up his cleats just yet. At least, that’s the word from Lincecum’s agent, Rick Thurman, who says the 32-year-old is still “throwing and getting ready for the season” (via Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News).
Lincecum may not be ready to enter retirement, but another quote from Thurman suggests that he’ll be picky about where he pitches next. He doesn’t appear open to pitching overseas, and despite not having a contract for 2017 (or even any serious suitors), the right-hander is set on pitching in the big leagues this year. Whether or not he’s willing to take a bullpen role to do so remains to be seen.
While Baggarly predicts some interest in the veteran righty, there’s not much in Lincecum’s recent history to inspire faith in him as a starter, or even a reliever. He picked up a one-year, $2.5 million contract with the Angels following his hip surgery in 2015, and went 2-6 in 2016 with a 9.16 ERA, 5.4 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 over 38 1/3 innings. At this point, a minor league contract seems like the surest path back to major league success, though he’s unlikely to find an open spot on the Giants’ or Angels’ rosters anytime soon.