More umpires gone wild: Bill Hohn ejects Roy Oswalt

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Roy Oswalt ejection.jpgSomeone at Major League Baseball needs to stage an intervention because the umpires are out of control. Last week we saw Joe West and Bob Davidson decide that the game was all about them. Yesterday it was Bill Hohn’s turn.

The scene (which you can see here): the Astros-Nationals game. Hohn was behind the plate and had been rather erratic with the balls and strikes.  After Roy Oswalt registered his disgust with a call — with his back turned to the plate, mind you, so he wasn’t barking at Hohn directly — Hohn comes out from behind the plate, takes his mask off and seems more interested in confronting Oswalt than officiating a ballgame.

Maybe the lip-readers among you can tell me differently, but to me it looks like Oswalt, when he noticed Hohn approaching, said “I’m not talking to you.”  Apparently telling an umpire that you’re not berating him is enough to get you ejected now, because that’s what Hohn did to Oswalt.  In doing so he changed the complexion of the game, caused the Astros to unnecessarily tax their bullpen and likely affected the outcome of the next couple of Astros games.

Every single person in a position of authority, be they a boss, a teacher a judge or whatever is taught that to maintain respect and control you have to maintain your composure and be the more mature actor. Somehow the umpires never learned that lesson, because they seem to be picking fights right and left these days.

If Bill Hohn wants to make a point about his strike zone, the way to do it is to keep calling his game the way he wants to and let the complaints of others roll off his back. They’ll get the message quickly. Instead he decided that his ego was more important than his authority and he wrongfully inserted himself into the game.

It was yet another shameful display by an umpire. Baseball had better do something about it quickly.

Brewers to give Mike Moustakas a look at second base

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The Brewers reportedly signed third baseman Mike Moustakas to a one-year, $10 million contract on Sunday. While the deal is not yet official, MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy reports that the Brewers plan to give Moustakas a look at second base during spring training. If all goes well, he will be the primary second baseman and Travis Shaw will stay at third base.

The initial thought was that Moustakas would simply take over at third base for the more versatile Shaw. Moustakas has spent 8,035 of his career defensive innings at third base, 35 innings at first base, and none at second. In fact, he has never played second base as a pro player. Shaw, meanwhile, has spent 268 of his 4,073 1/3 defensive innings in the majors at second base and played there as recently as October.

This is certainly an interesting wrinkle to signing Moustakas, who is a decent third baseman. He was victimized by another slow free agent market, not signing until March last year on a $6.5 million deal with a $15 million mutual option for this season. That option was declined, obviously, and he ended up signing for $5 million cheaper here in February as the Brewers waited him out. Notably, Moustakas did not have qualifying offer compensation attached to him this time around.

Last season, between the Royals and Brewers, the 30-year-old Moustakas hit .251/.315/.459 with 28 home runs and 95 RBI in 635 plate appearances.