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.
Veteran utilityman Reid Brignac is in camp with the Astros on a minor league deal. The 31-year-old is close to being done as a major leaguer as he owns a career .219/.264/.309 triple-slash line across parts of nine seasons. In an effort to prolong his big league career, Brignac is now attempting to become a switch-hitter, MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart reports.
I’m going to try it out this year. It was something that I just thought long and hard about and I was like, ‘OK, I’m going to try and see how it goes.’ I used to switch-hit when I was younger off and on, nothing consistent. I could always handle the bat right-handed. I play golf right-handed, so I do a lot of things that way that feel natural.
I just want to get to the point where I’m trying to stay in games, not get pinch-hit for, not starting games because a lefty is starting. … That could help me stay in the games longer. I’m trying to add a new element. I play multiple positions and now if I can switch hit and be consistent at it, then that can only help me.
As Brignac mentions, he’s also verstile. He’s a shortstop by trade, but has also logged plenty of innings at second base and third base, and has occasionally played corner outfield.
There aren’t any examples — at least that I can think of — where players began switch-hitting late in their careers and actually succeeding in the major leagues. As the saying goes, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. But here’s hoping Brignac bucks the trend.
Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons fell off the map a bit last year due to a combination of the Angels’ mediocrity, Simmons’ lack of offense, and a month-plus of missed action due to a torn ligament in his left thumb.
Simmons is still as good and as smart as ever on defense. That was on full display Monday when the Angels hosted the Padres for an afternoon spring exhibition.
With a runner on first base and nobody out in the top of the second inning, Carlos Asuaje grounded a 2-0 J.C. Ramirez fastball to right field. The runner, Hunter Renfroe, advanced to third base. Meanwhile, Asuaje wandered a little too far off the first base bag. Simmons cut off the throw to first base, spun around and fired to Luis Valbuena at first base. Valbuena swiped the tag on Asuaje for the first out of the inning.