Veteran umpires Jerry Crawford, Chuck Meriwether, and Mike Reilly retiring

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MLB announced today that Jerry Crawford, Chuck Meriwether, and Mike Reilly are retiring after combining for more than 80 years as big-league umpires.

Crawford has been on the job since 1977 and became the game’s senior umpire when Ed Montague retired last year. Reilly became an MLB umpire in 1983 and Meriwether, who missed last season due to an injury, was hired in 1993.

According to the Associated Press their replacements are Scott Barry and Brian Knight. Last year Rob Drake, Chad Fairchild, James Hoye, and Adrian Johnson joined the roster when veterans Montague, Randy Marsh, Rick Reed, and Charlie Reliford retired, so the stable of MLB umpires has gotten significantly younger and less experienced in the past 18 months. Which, given some of the criticisms lobbed at the umpires’ performance in recent years, may not be such a bad thing.

Anthems, first pitches and other ceremonial stuff

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The World Series is not just about the baseball. It’s about the bigger-than-usual stars singing the National Anthem, the more-famous-than-usual people throwing out the first pitch and all of the assorted to-do which surrounds the ballgames. Here is that sort of stuff for Game 1 and Game 2 in Boston.

First pitches:

  • Carl Yastrzemski will throw out the ceremonial first pitch for Game 1. Yastrzemski also threw out the first pitch of Game 1 in 2004, 2007 and 2013. The Red Sox won each of those games and each of those World Series so, yeah, go with what works, right?
  • Members of the 2004 World Series Champions will throw the ceremonial first pitch of Game 2. It doesn’t say which members, so maybe my dream of Manny Ramirez doing it will work out after all. Hey, he played for the Dodgers too, so let’s make this happen, OK?

National Anthems:

  • Singer-songwriter James Taylor will perform the National Anthem prior to the start of Game 1. This morning Peter Gammons tweeted that Taylor’s family helped build Fenway Park. Let’s file that under “interesting, but not so interesting that it’s really worth tracking down to confirm, so why not believe it?” Sweet dreams and flying machines in pieces on the ground.
  • For Game 2 the National Anthem will be performed by the Boston Pops, with the Tanglewood Chorus and the Boston Symphony Children’s Chorus doing the singing. The Boston Pops are conducted by Keith Lockhart, who was a career .287/.354/.425 hitter in 37 postseason games with the Atlanta Braves. I mean, at least I’m pretty sure it’s the same Keith Lockhart. Again: not interesting enough to check so, like Gammons’ thing about James Taylor, let’s assume I’m right about this.

Play ball.