The umpires in the Mets-Braves game are having a tough inning

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And what a surprise…. it’s Dan Iassogna’s motley crew.

In the top of the fifth today in the game between the Mets and Braves in Atlanta, C.B. Bucknor missed a very obvious play at first base, calling the Mets’ Jordany Valdespin out on his attempt for a bunt single. It wasn’t even a bang-bang play; Valdespin touched the bag well ahead of the throw.

Then things got ugly in the bottom of the inning, as second base umpire Bill Miller (safe) and third base ump Dale Scott (out) made conflicting calls on Jason Heyward’s blooper to left with Martin Prado on first. The ball was clearly played on one hop by Valdespin, but Prado, seeing Scott’s call, started to retreat back to first having already touched second. The throw came back in with Prado still trotting back towards first, and Ike Davis tagged him, causing much confusion over whether there should be none, one or two outs in the play.

The umpires huddled after that one and did get it right; Heyward was credited with a hit and Prado was put back on second base, much to Mets manager Terry Collins’ chagrin. Collins, who was already out to argue in the top of the inning, got tossed after coming back out to dispute the decision.

Kyle Schwarber is “probably, arguably” in The Best Shape of His Life

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Joe Maddon just held his annual media availability here at the Winter Meetings. During the scrum he said that Kyle Schwarber “looked great the other day” at a Cubs community event and that . . . wait for it . . . “he’s in, probably, arguably in the best shape of his life.” Maddon went on to say that, if Schwarber looks good in spring training, he might even be the Cubs leadoff hitter in 2018.

Schwarber is only 24, but the former catcher turned outfielder is going to spend most of his career as a DH, with another team obviously, unless he shows the Cubs that he can be a regular defender. The Cubs would love to see him in better shape whether they keep him or shop him, and if it’s the latter, they’ll want to show potential trade partners that he can play defense so as not to limit his market. It’s in everyone’s interests for him to be lean, mean and a bit more flexible once spring training starts.

To that end, according to a recent report, Schwarber “has been on a mission this offseason to transform his body.” And now Maddon is playing up the BSOHL angle. Whether that’s salesmanship or not, all eyes are going to be on Schwarber come February.