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Pirates fans attack a PNC park security guard and police officer; guard loses a finger


Every time some bad fan behavior happens in Philly, someone says “hey, why don’t you ever mention it when some other fans go nuts?” Well, fine. But I’m keeping it in Pennsylvania:

A Pirates security supervisor lost his finger and a Pittsburgh police officer was hurt when a woman’s refusal to leave PNC Park this weekend touched off a fight … “While defending himself, [the security guard] got his left hand caught on the fence, and when he was pulled by both (defendants) his left middle finger was ripped off at the second knuckle and was hanging by a piece of skin,” Detective Rende wrote in the complaint.

Ugh! Apparently the finger was reattached in surgery, so I suppose it could have been worse. But man.

This all started, by the way, because the woman was smoking in her seat at the smoke-free ballpark. As she was being asked to leave, her boyfriend attacked the security guard and then her 50 year-old father joined in, leading to the de-digitization of the poor security guard.

As the woman was being put in a police car, she was spitting and kicking, so the officer used what is referred to as a “palm strike” technique to subdue her, during which he injured his shoulder.

And, yes, the attorney for the fans here is making noises about the police using too much force. Which, in light of the beating/tasing episode at PNC Park last year, is probably something that will have some legs given that that incident at least raised some questions about whether the police properly handled a belligerent fan last year.

But hey, the emo guys still thinks it’s a great ballpark.

(via Big League Stew)

Wild Card, Division series umpires announced

Angel Hernandez
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Major League Baseball just released the umpire assignments for the Wild Card Game and the Division Series. As always, the basis for these assignments is a proprietary, scientific calculation undertaken by Major League Baseball, mixing in (a) skill; (b) seniority; and (c) trolling of baseball bloggers who, unlike 99% of the rest of the world actually know the names and track records of various umpires and who are easily riled.

Which is to say that, while we have no Joe West in the early playoff rounds this year — too obvious, perhaps? — we do get an Angel Hernandez.

Here are the assignments. The asterisks represent the crew chief of each unit. Guys with little up arrows next to their names are regular season crew chiefs in their own right. Print this out and keep it near your television so you know who to yell about before the broadcasters tell you who to yell at:

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Which teams improved and declined the most in 2015?

Joe Maddon

I was curious about which MLB teams changed their fortunes the most this season compared to last year, so I crunched the numbers.

First, here are the biggest win total improvements from 2014 to 2015:

+24 Cubs
+21 Rangers
+16 Astros
+15 Diamondbacks
+13 Twins
+11 Mets
+10 Blue Jays
+10 Cardinals
+10 Pirates

The top five teams on the biggest-improvement list all had managers in their first season on the job, led by Joe Maddon joining the Cubs after tons of success with the Rays. Also worth noting: Of the nine teams with the biggest win total improvement, eight made the playoffs. Only the Twins improved to double-digit games and still failed to make the playoffs.

Now, here are the biggest win total declines from 2014 to 2015:

-20 Athletics
-16 Tigers
-15 Orioles
-14 Brewers
-13 Nationals
-13 Angels
-12 Braves
-12 Reds
-11 Mariners

Not surprisingly, a whole lot of those teams have changed managers, general managers, or both. And a couple more may still do so before the offseason gets underway. Oakland retained manager Bob Melvin despite an MLB-high 20-win dropoff and just promoted Billy Beane from general manager to vice president of baseball operations.