Getty Images

UPDATE: MLB determines the Tigers did not hit umpire Quinn Wolcott on purpose

36 Comments

UPDATE: Major League Baseball has just released a statement, saying it has determined that the Tigers did not hit umpire Quinn Wolcott on purpose on Wednesday:

“MLB takes seriously the safety of on-field personnel — players, coaches and umpires alike — and has thoroughly reviewed the incident. Upon completion of that review, Chief Baseball Officer Joe Torre has concluded that no Tigers player intended for the pitch to hit Umpire Wolcott, and therefor no discipline will be issued.”

10:36 AM: On Wednesday afternoon, during the Tigers-Indians game, home plate umpire Quinn Wolcott ejected Tigers catcher James McCann and then ejected manager Brad Ausmus over their arguing of balls and strikes. At one point the argument got a bit pointed, with Ausmus suggesting that Wolcott was caught up in the Indians winning streak and giving them preferable calls. That’s gonna earn you your ejection, obviously.

With McCann gone, backup catcher James Hicks came into the game.  A few pitches later, a Buck Farmer pitch sailed on Hicks, he missed it entirely and it hit Wolcott, shaking him up. While a few people — including analyst Dallas Braden — speculated online that maybe Hicks let the ball get through in order to intentionally hit Wolcott, Ausmus dismissed that as “ridiculous.” For my part, it just seemed like a pitch with an unusual amount of action on it, missed by a catcher who was unexpectedly inserted into the game moments before. An accident.

The Associated Press is reporting this morning, however, that Major League Baseball is investigating the matter, in an effort to determine if it was, in fact, intentional. I suspect this is being done at the instigation of Wolcott or the umpire’s union because, as the AP reports, as he was being examined by a trainer, he said “They didn’t do it on purpose, did they?”

Judge for yourself here:

 

Bryce Harper will not be discussing his impending free agency with the media

Getty Images
3 Comments

Bryce Harper is entering his walk year and it is widely expected that the Scott Boras client will, indeed, test out free agency next fall rather than engage in any substantial way with the Washington Nationals about a contract extension. There were some “casual conversations” between the parties in the early fall of 2017, but the Nats came away from that, quite reasonably, believing that Harper, who stands to land the largest contract in baseball history, will shop around.

For his part, Harper met the media on his first day of spring training workouts and let everyone know that, no, he does not plan to answer questions about his potential free agency every day between now and November. From MASN:

“Just want to let you guys know I will not be discussing anything relative to 2019, at all,” said Harper. “I’m focused on this year. I’m focused on winning and playing hard, like every single year. So if you guys have any questions about anything after 2018, you can call Scott and he can answer you guys.”

Makes sense. The alternative would be for Harper to give the same canned “I’m only focused on our next game” responses in front of his locker 150 times this summer, and that doesn’t serve anyone.

Thinking back to any other impending free agent’s comments about his free agency, I can’t remember a story along those lines which was worth much of anything. The genre generally consists of headlines which oversell an innocuous or offhand comment from a player as a means of guessing where his head is at with respect to his current team. I can’t think of any story in which a player, during his walk year, said something that concretely and definitively signaled his intensions in free agency one way or the other.

Reporters covering the Nationals who are curious as to how Harper feels about his current team at any given time would be better served just observing and inferring, with particular attention paid to how Harper and his teammates view the Nats’ competitive position as the season goes on, how they react to trades and stuff like that. There’s a lot of guesswork in all of that, but it sure beats trying to get a media savvy player like Harper to admit, after going 1-for-4 against the Phillies, where he plans to spend the next seven to ten years of his professional life.