Oh look: Joe West and Angel Hernandez get to umpire the postseason

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Major League Baseball just announced its umps and, to my surprise, fear and — on some strange level amusement — Cowboy Joe West and his notorious crew get to work the Milwaukee-Arizona series.

The whole crew: West, Ron Kulpa, Alfonso Marquez, Bruce Dreckman, and additions Jeff Kellogg and James Hoye for outfield duty. It’s a way better crew now that Angel Hernandez is off it but, you know, West is still there. And Hernandez still gets to ump in the Cardinals-Phillies series.  Oh heck, let’s just look at the rest of them:

  • Detroit vs. New York:  Gerry Davis, Tony Randazzo, Eric Cooper, Dan Iassogna, Ted Barrett and Bill Welke;
  • St. Louis vs. Philadelphia: Jerry Layne, Chris Guccione, Jerry Meals, Angel Hernandez — woot! — Gary Cederstrom and Chad Fairchild.  And remember, Meals is the guy who handed the Braves that win in the 19-inning game in Pittsburgh, so that’s a strong crew there, partner.
  • Tampa Bay vs. Texas: Dale Scott, Mark Carlson, Kerwin Danley, Greg Gibson, Brian Gorman and Marvin Hudson.

Just remember: being an umpire means never having to say you’re sorry. Unless you’re Jim Joyce, who did say he was sorry. And everyone likes him too. And he doesn’t get to ump in the Division Series, so there’s a lesson in that for you.

Clay Buchholz apologized to the Phillies for getting injured

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MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki reports that starter Clay Buchholz is at Citizens Bank Park for Wednesday night’s game against the Marlins. The right-hander recently underwent surgery to repair a partial tear of his flexor pronator mass. The timetable for his recovery is three to five months, but most are expecting him to miss the rest of the season since the Phillies aren’t legitimate contenders.

According to Zolecki, Buchholz apologized to GM Matt Klentak “and others” — presumably other front office staff and/or his teammates — for getting injured. Buchholz hopes to return to pitch in September.

It’s saddening to me, and indicative of the general anti-labor culture in sports, that a player feels obligated to apologize for getting injured on the job. Injuries are nothing new for Buchholz, which might have factored into his decision to apologize. Red Sox fans got on his case quite a bit over the years for his propensity to land on the disabled list. But it wasn’t like Buchholz was taking unnecessary risks; he simply did his job, which entails doing a lot of unhealthy movement with his arm. Buchholz owes no one an apology.

Buchholz isn’t the only player to have apologized for getting injured. Outfielder Hideki Matsui apologized to the Yankees in 2006. Starter Masahiro Tanaka apologized in 2014. Twins reliever Glen Perkins apologized last year. Even Madison Bumgarner sort of apologized for suffering injuries riding a dirt bike on an off-day, saying “It’s definitely not the most responsible decision I’ve made.” Because god forbid an athlete has interests and hobbies outside of his vocation.

Players are brought up in a sports culture that allows exorbitantly wealthy owners to bilk the players — laborers — at every possible turn. They’re mostly underpaid and poorly taken care of in the minors. If and when they reach the major leagues, their salaries are intentionally depressed for six years and their service time is toyed with (just ask Kris Bryant). Buchholz endured that and then endured the criticism that comes with having been a hyped prospect who mostly failed to live up to expectations. He’s gone above and beyond what he needed to do to have a successful career as a professional baseball player, even if it wasn’t as much as fans or front office personnel would have liked.

Eric Thames leaves game with apparent injury

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Update (5:22 PM ET): Thames is dealing with left hamstring tightness. Manager Craig Counsell says it’s “not a big deal,” Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

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Brewers first baseman Eric Thames left Wednesday afternoon’s game against the Reds in the top of the eighth inning with an apparent injury. Thames took his position to start the inning, but was replaced by Jesus Aguilar. Thames had flied out weakly to center field to end the previous inning, so perhaps something happened while he ran that out.

The Brewers should provide an update shortly on the exact nature of Thames’ early exit. Needless to say, losing Thames to the disabled list would be a huge blow to the 11-11 Brewers, as he entered Wednesday leading all of baseball in runs (25), home runs (11), slugging percentage (.929), and OPS (1.411). Thames was 1-for-3 with a single, a pair of walks, and two runs scored before leaving.