Last June the Dodgers found themselves in last place, nine games out of first. The media had Don Mattingly on the Super Chief out of town and back home and was wondering how $200 million in payroll could result in such a dud of a team. Then all they did was go on a near-historic surge and win the NL West going away.
Fast forward to 11 days ago and the Dodgers were flailing again. They stood nine and a half games back of the Giants — who had the best record in baseball — and were once again subject to early obituaries in the press. Even Don Mattingly resumed his role as pessimist, telling reporters to ask the players why they stink because he didn’t know.
Since then, the Dodgers have won eight of 11. The Giants have lost eight of 11. In that time L.A. has gone from 9.5 games behind to 4 games back.
It’s like it’s Déjà Vu all over again.
Major League Baseball has announced the umpiring crew for the World Series. John Hirschbeck is the crew chief. It’s his fifth World Series assignment, third as a crew chief.
A surprising name on the crew is Joe West. It’ll be his sixth World Series overall, but first since 2012. There had been chatter for several years that Major League Baseball was making a more concerted effort to get its best umpires into the World Series more often while minimizing the appearances of its weakest umpires. Most assumed West’s absence from the Fall Classic in recent years, despite his seniority, was a function of that. Maybe they’re still making merit a priority and maybe West has just improved? I’ll leave that for you to judge.
Anyway, here is the lineup of umps for Game 1. They will rotate after that, of course. If the series goes six games, Cowboy Joe will be calling the balls and strikes:
Home plate: Larry Vanover
1B: Chris Guccione
2B: John Hirschbeck
3B: Marvin Hudson
LF: Tony Randazzo
RF: Joe West
Replay Official for Games 1-2: Sam Holbrook (with assistance from Todd Tichenor)
Replay Official for Games 3-7: Larry Vanover (with assistance from Todd Tichenor)