Mark Reynolds Getty

Mark Reynolds blasts umpires following ejection

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Mark Reynolds and Orioles manager Buck Showalter were both ejected from last night’s game against the Tigers following a controversial play at first base in the bottom of the fifth inning.

Jhonny Peralta was initially ruled out after hitting a grounder to third base. However, Tigers manager Jim Leyland came out to argue and the call was eventually overturned by home plate umpire Tim Timmons, who ruled that Manny Machado’s wide throw pulled Reynolds off the first base bag. The Tigers didn’t end up scoring in the inning, but eventually pulled out a 5-3 win.

Here’s the video of the play in question:

It’s a lot closer than watching in real time and it appears first base umpire Jeff Kellogg may have had the call right. Timmons was apparently coming up the first base line on the play, but it’s hard to believe he had a better view.

Reynolds didn’t pull many punches after the game, expressing his frustration for the reversed call and for being ejected for throwing his glove into the dirt, which he felt should have only resulted in a fine for an equipment violation. Here’s a sampling of his comments, via Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com:

“Definitely. I’ve never in my life seen someone reverse a call. The guy in Colorado, the guy was off the bag by three feet. And my foot was on the bag and they reversed it. And it’s a shame they don’t have accountability. They don’t have any, if they make a bad call it’s like, ‘Ho-hum, next day is coming.’ If we have a bad couple of games we get benched or we get sent down. They have nobody breathing down their throats. They have nobody, they are just secure in their jobs. And they are probably over there right now laughing about it because they don’t worry about it.  This game is way too important right now, where we are in the season, for these kind of calls to happen. And it’s very frustrating.”

“That’s terrible. Vic [Carapazza] has no authority to throw me out right there. all I did was an equipment violation, it’s a fine. You are supposed to point at it and the league offices decide what to do there. He just threw me out right there. I didn’t do anything wrong. If I go up to him and say something to him, that I shouldn’t say. That’s fine, throw me out there for that. But you can’t throw me out for throwing my glove. What’s the difference between a guy throwing his helmet after a bad call? It’s just part of it and everybody goes on their way. He had no right to throw me out there. There’s just so many words I can’t say on this camera right now.”

“It’s almost like screw the Orioles by the umpires. I mean Jonsie was obviously safe at first base the other day, cost us a run against Boston. There’s got to be some kind of replay for this. It’s to the point where all these calls that get missed, cost people runs, cost people outs. Cost [starter Tommy Hunter] extra pitches.  I can’t say how I really feel but it’s pretty obvious.”

Hoo-boy. Reynolds certainly has a strong case here, but he will likely be getting a call from MLB and a fine for speaking his mind.

Jackie Robinson: “I cannot stand and sing the anthem. I cannot salute the flag”

FILE - In this April 11, 1947 file photo, Jackie Robinson of the Brooklyn Dodgers poses at Ebbets Field in the Brooklyn borough of New York. Robinson's widow said Major League Baseball has yet to fully honor her husband's legacy. "There is a lot more that needs to be done and that can be done in terms of the hiring, the promotion" of minorities in the sport, Rachel Robinson said Monday, Jan. 18, 2016 during a Q&A session with TV critics about "Jackie Robinson," a two-part PBS documentary airing in April.  (AP Photo/John Rooney, File)
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One more bit of baseball via which we may reflect on the Colin Kaepernick controversy.

In 1972 Jackie Robinson wrote his autobiography. In it he reflected on how he felt about his historical legacy as a baseball player, a businessman and as a political activist. A political activism, it should be noted, which favored both sides of the aisle at various times. He supported Nixon in 1960, supported the war in Vietnam and worked for Nelson Rockefeller. He did not support Goldwater and did support the 1964 Civil Rights Act. He supported Humphrey against Nixon in 1968. He was no blind partisan or ideologue. When you find someone like that you can usually rest assured it’s because they’re thinking hard and thinking critically in a world where things aren’t always cut-and-dried.

As such, this statement from his autobiography, describing his memory of the first game of the 1947 World Series, is worth thinking about. Because it came from someone who spent a lot of time thinking:

There I was, the black grandson of a slave, the son of a black sharecropper, part of a historic occasion, a symbolic hero to my people. The air was sparkling. The sunlight was warm. The band struck up the national anthem. The flag billowed in the wind. It should have been a glorious moment for me as the stirring words of the national anthem poured from the stands. Perhaps, it was, but then again, perhaps, the anthem could be called the theme song for a drama called The Noble Experiment. Today, as I look back on that opening game of my first world series, I must tell you that it was Mr. Rickey’s drama and that I was only a principal actor. As I write this twenty years later, I cannot stand and sing the anthem. I cannot salute the flag; I know that I am a black man in a white world. In 1972, in 1947, at my birth in 1919, I know that I never had it made.

Colin Kaepernick is not Jackie Robinson and America in 2016 is not the same as America in 1919, 1947 or 1972. But it does not take one of Jackie Robinson’s stature or experience to see and take issue with injustice and inequality which manifestly still exists.

As I said in the earlier post, the First Amendment gives us just as much right to criticize Kaepernick as it gives him a right to protest in the manner in which he chooses. But if and when we do, we should not consider his case in a vacuum or criticize him as some singular or radical actor. Because some other people — people who have been elevated to a level which has largely immunized them from criticism — felt and feel the same way he does. It’s worth asking yourself, if you take issue, whether you take issue with the message or the messenger and why. Such inquiries might complicate one’s feelings on the matter, but they’re quite illuminative as well.

(thanks to Kokujin for the heads up)

Former Dodgers owner Frank McCourt is a sports owner once again

File photo of Frank McCourt leaving Stanley Mosk Courthouse after testifying during his divorce trial in Los Angeles
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There aren’t many major league ownership reigns which ended more ignominiously than Frank McCourt’s reign as Dodgers owner. He was granted access to one of business’ most exclusive clubs — one which being a convicted criminal or even a Nazi sympathizer cannot get you kicked out of — and somehow got kicked out. The clear lesson from his saga was that saddling your team with debt, using it as your own private piggy bank and exercising bad judgment at every possible turn will not get you drummed out of baseball but, by gum, having it all go public in a divorce case sure as heck will.

McCourt landed pretty safely, though. By sheer luck, his being kicked out of ownership coincided with the vast appreciation of major league franchise values and the expiration of the Dodgers cable television deal. He may have left in disgrace, but he also left with a couple of billion dollars thanks to the genius of capitalism. At the time it was assumed he’d ride off into the sunset, continuing to make a mint off of parking at Dodgers games (he retained a big piece of that pie) and not get his hands messy with sports ownership again.

Such assumptions were inoperative:

The soccer club has suffered from poor financial decisions in recent years. So I guess it was a match made in heaven.