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.

Former outfielder Anthony Gose is throwing 99 m.p.h. fastballs in the minors

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Anthony Gose played for five seasons as an outfielder in the big leagues. He never hit well enough to be a regular, and a series of altercations with his minor league managers and coaches didn’t do too much for his future either.

His fastball, however, may eventually make up for all of that.

Toward the end of spring training it was reported that Gose would begin work as a pitcher. Given that he was a highly regarded high school pitching prospect with a plus fastball, it wasn’t a crazy notion. When Tigers camp broke, Gose stayed in Lakeland in extended spring training, throwing bullpen sessions and stuff.

Now he’s seeing game action. As the Detroit Free Press reports, Gose threw an inning for the Class-A Lakeland Flying Tigers against the Palm Beach Cardinals last night. He allowed one run on one hit with one strikeout and one walk, lighting up the radar gun at 99 m.p.h. This is the tweet from Lakeland’s assistant general manager:

The Free Press says that the Tigers’ vice president of player development, Dave Littlefield, is “very optimistic” about Gose’s progress.

Given that he’s still only 26 and he’s a lefty it wouldn’t shock me at all if he makes his way back to the bigs someday soon.

There is no need to lament the loss of “The Great Hollywood Baseball Movie”

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Today in the New York Times Jay Caspian Kang writes about what he calls the loss of “The Great Hollywood Baseball Movie.” About how there are few if any big baseball movies anymore. Movies which traffic in baseball-as-metaphor-for-America with Jimmy Stewart (or Kevin Costner)-types playing characters which seem to transcend time, elevate our emotions and rack up the dollars at the box office.

It’s a bit of meandering column, with just as much time spent on Kang’s seeming dissatisfaction with modern baseball and baseball telecasts as his dissatisfaction with baseball cinema, but he winds it up with this, which sums his argument up well enough:

Baseball’s cinematic vision of Middle America no longer means what it once did. The failing family enterprise and the old, forbearing white — or Negro Leagues — ballplayer now remind us of an extinct vision of the country and the growing distance between Middle America and the coasts. The attempts to update the archival, sun-kissed, Midwestern vision — whether on last year’s “Pitch,” the Fox TV show about a woman pitching in the majors, or “Million Dollar Arm,” the 2014 Disney movie in which Jon Hamm goes to India to convert cricket bowlers into pitchers — are canceled or bomb at the box office.

You won’t be surprised that I take a great deal of issue with all of this.

Mostly because it only talks about one specific kind of baseball movie being AWOL from cinemas: the broad works which appeal to the masses and which speak to both the past, present and future, often with a hazy nostalgia in which love of baseball and love of America are portrayed as one and the same.

It’s worth noting, though, that such films are extraordinarily rare. There was a brief time when such things existed and did well at the box office — the 1980s had “The Natural,” “Field of Dreams,” “Bull Durham” and “Major League” in a relatively short period of time — but that’s the exception, not the rule.

Baseball movies are almost always niche flicks. Biopics made of recently deceased stars like Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. Weird slices of life like “The Bad News Bears” or “The Sandlot.” Quirky comedies that are baseball offshoots of larger cinematic trends like “Little Big League,” which was just the latest in a series of “kids doing adult things” movies popular at the time. Or “Rookie of the Year” which is essentially baseball’s version of one of those body-switch movies that come and go. Or “Mr. Baseball” which was just a fish-out-of-water comedy like any other.

We still get those kinds of smaller baseball movies fairly often. They’re still pretty decent and still do pretty decently at the box office, even if they’re no one’s idea of a blockbuster.

“Moneyball” was done well and did well, not as a mass appeal movie, but as one of many business/Silicon Valley flicks that have popped over the past few years. “Sugar” was a great movie, but a small movie, exploring a culture about which most people aren’t aware and basically serving as a character study. “42” is just an updated (and much better) version of those old biopics of baseball stars. “Everybody Wants Some” may be the quintessential niche baseball movie in that it’s a story about characters which just happen to have a lot of baseball in their lives. “Bull Durham” was like that too, but it just came along at the right time to become a massive hit. As many have noted, baseball was more background than plot in that movie, even if the background was amazingly well done. I’d argue that most good baseball movies use baseball like that rather than put it squarely in the foreground.

There will likely always be baseball movies, but they will almost always be smaller ones, not large blockbusters or Oscar bait with an epic sweep. Most baseball movies are like baseball itself in that they lack a grand consensus. Baseball is not The National Pastime anymore — it’s just one of many forms of sports and entertainment available to the masses — so it follows that the movies which deal with it will likewise not have that massive cross-market appeal.

I think that’s a good thing. Smaller baseball movies more accurately reflect the sport’s place in the culture. To portray baseball as something larger than what it actually is opens the door to a lot of artistic and cultural dishonesty and runs the risk of creating some really bad art.

I mean, have you seen “Field of Dreams?” Bleech.