At this point I’m thinking that there had to have been a memo sent out to all the umpires that acting all insecure and combative is the new thing to do because it happened again yesterday, this time involving home plate umpire Mike Eastabrook.
Zack Grekine threw a pitch that both he and catcher Jason Kendall thought was a strike (and, based on the video looked like a strike). Kendall obviously said something, but it’s not like he made a scene about it. Catchers and umps go back and forth on this stuff all the time.
Estabrook, however, didn’t appear too comfortable with that because he walked around Kendall — who was back in his crouch — bent over and started to jaw with him in a manner that suggested he was giving Kendall the “you talkin’ to ME?” thing. Kendall didn’t take the obvious bait. At that point Ned Yost came out to protect his catcher, got into it with Estabrook and was ejected with about 57% more theatrical flourish than you normally see in such situations.
Kendall after the game: “He got in my face, and it was unprofessional what he did.”
“The catcher will say something but he never turns his head back, and
the umpire will usually jaw back and stay right behind him. And that’s fine. That’s how they handle things. But to step out in
front and make a bit of a scene isn’t right . . . I’ll never let an umpire show up one of my players, and that’s exactly
what he was doing.”
I’m 100% on Yost’s and Kendalls’ side here. I have no idea why umpires have been acting out the way they’ve been lately, but they’re making utter fools of themselves.
Make a call. Stick with it. When someone jaws at you about it, simply say “That’s my call. Now let’s play ball.” How hard is that?
(thanks to reader Richard D. for the heads up)
The Rays lost 4-1 to the Yankees on Monday night, which clinched a postseason berth for the Athletics just as they began their own game against the Mariners. For the 94-62 A’s, it’s their first postseason appearance since 2014 when they lost the AL Wild Card game to the Royals.
Major League Baseball celebrated the Athletics’ achievement by tweeting this fact: The A’s are the first team since 1988 to make the postseason with baseball’s lowest Opening Day payroll ($66 million).
John J. Fisher, who has owned the A’s since 2005, has a net worth approaching $3 billion. The Athletics franchise is valued at over $1 billion. Yet the A’s have never had an Opening Day payroll at $90 million or above and have consistently been among the teams with the lowest payrolls. The cultural shift towards embracing analytics has allowed the A’s to get away with investing as little money as possible into the team. Moneyball helped change baseball’s zeitgeist such that many began to fetishize doing things on the cheap and now the league itself is embracing it.
What the fact MLB tweeted says is actually this: John J. Fisher was able to save a few bucks this year and the A’s still somehow made it to the postseason.
The Athletics’ success is due to a whole host of players, but particularly youngsters Matt Olson, Matt Chapman, Sean Manaea, Daniel Mengden, Lou Trivino, among others. All are pre-arbitration aside from Manaea. When it comes time to pay them something approaching what they’re actually worth, will the A’s reward them for their contributions or will they do what they’ve always done and cut bait? After reaching the postseason in 2014, the A’s traded away Josh Donaldson, Brandon Moss, Jeff Samardzija, and John Jaso. Each was a big influence on the club’s success. Athletics fans should be happy their favorite team has reached the postseason, but if the team’s history is any precedent, they shouldn’t get attached to any of the players. Is that really something Major League Baseball should be advocating?