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.
Christian Yelich simply can’t be stopped. The Brewers outfielder (and defending NL MVP) entered Saturday’s game with a league-leading 11 home runs after swatting two against the Dodgers on Friday night, then clubbed another two homers in the first six innings of Saturday’s game.
The first came on a 2-1 pitch from the Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu, who lobbed a changeup toward the bottom of the strike zone before it was lifted up and out to center field for a solo home run in the third inning.
While Chase Anderson and Alex Claudio held down the fort against the Dodgers’ lineup, Yelich prepared for his second blast in the sixth inning — this one a 421-foot double-decker on a first-pitch curveball from Ryu.
Yelich’s 13 home runs not only gave him a stronger grip on the league’s leaderboard, but helped him tie yet another franchise record, too. Per MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, he’s tied with Prince Fielder for the most home runs hit by a Brewers player in a single month, and sits just one home run shy of tying Álex Rodríguez’s 2007 record for most home runs hit within any club’s first 22 games of the season.
It may be far too early to predict which players will finish first in the MVP races this fall, but there’s no denying Yelich has already set himself apart from the competition. Through Saturday’s performance, he’s batting .361/.459/.880 with a 1.329 OPS and MLB-best 31 RBI across 98 PA so far.