Jim Joyce, two other umpires named new crew chiefs

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Everyone makes mistakes, even umpires. The key is (a) how often you make them; and (b) how you handle it when you do. There’s no better example of that than Jim Joyce. He may have had one of the more memorable screwups in umpiring history, but he handled it well and, more importantly, doesn’t make such mistakes often. Indeed, in poll after poll of major leaguers, Joyce is named the best or at least one of the best umps in the business.

That’s being rewarded today. From MLB:

Major League Baseball announced today the changes to the Major League Umpiring staff for the 2013 regular season. The changes include three new crew chiefs and three new full-time Major League Umpires. The three new crew chiefs are veteran Major League Umpires Jim Joyce (25 years), Ted Barrett (16 years) and Fieldin Culbreth (16 years).

Out are umpires Derryl Cousins, Ed Rapuano and Tim Tschida, who are retiring and/or are moving into supervisory roles. Promoted to full-time umpiring: Vic Carapazza, Manny Gonzalez and Alan Porter, who are 33, 33 and 35 years-old, respectively, and who worked their way up from the minors, like all of ’em do.

Congrats, farewell, and congrats, you guys. For better or worse, we’re all watching.

Derek Norris signing with the Rays

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Yahoo Sports’ Tim Brown reports that Derek Norris is signing with the Tampa Bay Rays.

Norris was released by the Nationals nine days ago, made redundant by the Nats’ signing of Matt Wieters and by everyone sliding down a notch on the depth chart below him. Norris hit only .186/.255/.328 with 14 home runs and a .528 OPS for the Padres in 2016.

Still, there always seems to be a place for a backup catcher. For Norris that place is Tampa Bay.

The Braves are banning outside food. And they’re probably lying about why they’re doing it.

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Here’s a thing a lot of people don’t realize: there are a lot of ballparks that allow you to bring in outside food.

Not all of them, but a lot do. They don’t publicize it, obviously, because they want you to buy their expensive food, but if you go to the concessions policy page on most team’s websites, you can get the scoop. It often lists “soft-sided coolers” under “permitted items,” which is code for “yes, you can bring your own food in.” Some may specifically limit THAT to sealed plastic water bottles, but for the most part, if you can bring soft-sided coolers into the park, that means it’s OK to bring in grandma’s potato salad and a few sandwiches. They may check your coolers, of course, to make sure you’re not bringing in alcohol or whatever.

The Atlanta Braves have always allowed food into the ballpark. But thats going to change in shiny new Sun Trust Park. The AJC reports that the Braves have announced a new policy via which ticket holders will not be allowed to bring in outside food. Exceptions will be made for infant food and for special dietary restriction items.

Which, OK, it’s their park and their rules. If they want to cut out the PB&J for junior and force you to buy him a $9 “kids pack” — or if they want you to forego grandma’s potato salad to buy that pork chop sandwich we mentioned yesterday — that’s their choice. Everything else about the Braves new stadium has been about extracting money from fans, so why not the concessions policy too?

My beef with this is less about the policy. It’s about their stated reason for it:

The changes are a result of tighter security being put into place this season throughout the league, said the Braves spokesperson.

This, as the French say, is horses**t.

We know it is because not all teams are prohibiting outside food. If there are tighter security measures across the board, other teams are implementing them without the food restriction. Even the Yankees, who take security theater to extreme heights as it is, are still allowing fans to bring in their own food.

The Braves, I strongly suspect, are using these measures as an excuse to cut down on competition for their concessions. Which, like I said, go for it. Just be honest about what you’re doing and stop blaming “tightened security” for your cash grab.