And what a surprise…. it’s Dan Iassogna’s motley crew.
In the top of the fifth today in the game between the Mets and Braves in Atlanta, C.B. Bucknor missed a very obvious play at first base, calling the Mets’ Jordany Valdespin out on his attempt for a bunt single. It wasn’t even a bang-bang play; Valdespin touched the bag well ahead of the throw.
Then things got ugly in the bottom of the inning, as second base umpire Bill Miller (safe) and third base ump Dale Scott (out) made conflicting calls on Jason Heyward’s blooper to left with Martin Prado on first. The ball was clearly played on one hop by Valdespin, but Prado, seeing Scott’s call, started to retreat back to first having already touched second. The throw came back in with Prado still trotting back towards first, and Ike Davis tagged him, causing much confusion over whether there should be none, one or two outs in the play.
The umpires huddled after that one and did get it right; Heyward was credited with a hit and Prado was put back on second base, much to Mets manager Terry Collins’ chagrin. Collins, who was already out to argue in the top of the inning, got tossed after coming back out to dispute the decision.
The Pittsburgh Pirates have hired Ben Cherington as the team’s new general manager. They do so after the general manager meetings ended, but better late than never.
Cherington served as GM of the Boston Red Sox for four years, winning the World Series in 2013, but resigned during the 2015 season after Dave Dombrowski was named Boston’s new president of baseball operations. Which was a defacto demotionn for Cherington who, until then, had the final say in baseball decisions. Dombrowski, of course, was fired late in the season this year. Cherington went on to work for the Toronto Blue Jays as a vice president, but was seen as biding his time for another GM position. Now he has one.
Cherington takes over in Pittsburgh for executive vice president and general manager Neal Huntington, who was fired after a 12 years at the helm. Also fired was team president Frank Coonelly. Travis Williams replaced Coonelly recently. While the Pirates experienced a few years of contention under Huntington and Coonelly, they have slid out of contention in recent years as the club has traded away promising players for little return, all while cutting payroll. There’s a very big rebuilding job ahead of Cherington.
The first move he’ll have to make: hire a manager, as the team still hasn’t replaced Clint Hurdle since he was dismissed in the final weekend of the regular season.