The Mattingly mound visit: MLB says the umps were wrong; umps disagree

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I’ll admit that I was rather confused about the Don Mattingly mound visit thing the other night.  After my initial post yesterday I was mostly persuaded by others that even if the umpires were following the letter of the rule regarding Mattingly making two mound visits, they weren’t following the spirit of the rule because Donnie Baseball wasn’t trying to either waste time or play games with matchups or whatever reason managers aren’t allowed to make two visits before changing the pitcher.

But it seems I wasn’t even right that the umpires were following the letter of the rule. Major League Baseball said otherwise yesterday:

Because Mattingly disobeyed the umpire’s warning, the rule calls for
Mattingly to be ejected and for Jonathan Broxton to face the next
batter, then be removed. MLB has told the umpires this interpretation
was the correct one.

Instead, the umpires ruled that Broxton had to be removed immediately.
Mattingly brought in George Sherrill, who didn’t have a chance to warm
up in the bullpen.

To be fair to the umps, it was a highly unusual situation regarding a less-than-crystal-clear rule and they had Bruce Bochy yelling at them about it all while they tried to work through it.  Even if they were ultimately wrong about it I’m willing to cut some slack under the “everyone’s human” rule.

Not that this clears anything up:

Crew chief Tim McClelland did not agree with MLB’s interpretation.

“I am not of the opinion [that’s the way the rule should have been
applied],” McClelland said. “The league is of that opinion. It’s a
difference of opinion in a situation that’s not covered.”

I think it’s safe to say that if, more than a day later, the umps, the league and parties involved still can’t agree on what should have happened, we’re dealing with a rule that desperately needs an overhaul.