Jake Peavy rips umpire Dana DeMuth, calls the game-ending play “a joke”

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You mad, bro?

Yeah, Jake Peavy is definitely mad about the game-ending obstruction call last night. Speaking to reporters in the clubhouse after the game, the Red Sox’ Game 3 starter was incredulous, calling home plate umpire Dana DeMuth’s ruling that Allen Craig would have scored cleanly from third base but for the obstruction of third baseman Will Middlebrooks “a crying shame” and “a joke” and asked how DeMuth was going to sleep last night:

“Two teams are pouring their hearts out on the field and that’s the call you make … It’s a joke. I don’t know how he (DeMuth) is going to lay his head down tonight … it’s just amazing to me that it would end on a call like that, that’s not black and white. I don’t know what else to say …”

Peavy went on, trying to make this out as some sort of pattern of incompetence on the part of DeMuth and claimed that the only people who could possibly be happy with the call were Cardinals fans:

…He (DeMuth) has already proven that he can not see things correctly in Game 1. (He missed) a pretty obvious (call) 4 feet in front of him … I hope he rests well tonight in his hotel room knowing what he did. That is a joke, an absolute joke. I’m sorry. Go to talk to him and ask him if he feels good and right about his call to end a World Series game on a diving play… it’s just beyond me … I don’t know how anybody can say, ‘Yeah, that’s how it should have ended.’ Go find me one person that’s OK with that call, other than Cardinals fans, because they won the game.”

Sorry, but Peavy is the one who is a joke after these comments. Based on the sentiment of everyone I spoke with at the ballpark last night, everyone weighing in on the call online and on television and, more importantly, based on the clear reading of the applicable rules and reviewing the pay on video over and over, DeMuth did make the right call. He should have slept perfectly well last night.

What’s more — to use Peavy’s construction of the notion — the only people who I can find saying that no, the game should not have ended on that play — the only ones not OK with that call — are Red Sox fans because they lost the game.

Should they be 100% satisfied? No. It is hard to take a game ending on a play like that. But not because it was wrong or controversial, only because it doesn’t jibe with what we usually expect in terms of game flow. No clean RBI base hit. No pitcher retiring a batter. No one pumping their fist and going out for high fives. There’s a weird dissonant feeling when games don’t end the way they usually do and thus Red Sox fans having a bad taste in their mouths is totally understandable. But there was no miscarriage of justice here.

I’d ask Peavy to put the shoe on the other foot and ask how anyone besides Red Sox fans would feel if the call were made differently. If DeMuth ruled that Allen Craig was out even though he was interfered with by the fielder. To be sure, that is the call Peavy is disputing: the judgment that Craig would have scored but for the collision at third. That was DeMuth’s judgment call (third base umpire Jim Joyce called interference, and Peavy isn’t disputing that with these comments).

If that were the case it’d be close to intolerable. Both because it would clearly have been wrong — a gimpy Craig almost scored cleanly as it was — but because there would have been no way to fix the call to anyone’s satisfaction. Are Joe Torre and Bud Selig going to overturn it the next morning and retroactively award Game 3 to the Cardinals? Hardly. For P.R. purposes having a World Series game decided from a hotel suite in Downtown St. Louis at 2AM Sunday morning would have created an uproar and Selig would never have had the guts to do it, even if it would be the only way to truly fix the error. No, they would have stopped short of that and we’d be left with a clearly blown call standing and, possibly, deciding the outcome of a World Series.

It was less than satisfying aesthetically, but justice was done here. Dana DeMuth’s call was not a “joke.” And by the light of day this morning, I would expect that Jake Peavy — the emotion of the moment having passed — will realize that he was out of line with his comments last night.

The Padres owners try to explain why they aren’t spending money

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There was an interesting article in the San Diego Union-Tribune over the weekend about the Padres, their owners and their finances.

The article purports to be a rare look into the finances of a big league club. And yes, the owners opened their books, to a degree, to the writer of the story, talked about the team’s financial position, its debt and its approach to team payroll, past, present and future. The upshot: the team has had lots of debt, has had to do a lot of work to get out of that situation and now, with some restructuring out of the way, the club looks forward to spending more on players. Eventually. Like, maybe in 2020 or 2021.

On the one hand, yes, it’s actually got some good information in there! Some details about team finances you don’t often see. Which is totally cool as far as that goes. The problem is that the article doesn’t go nearly as far as it may seem and, in the end, is just a far more elaborate than usual excuse from a team about its failure to spend money.

The tell here comes from what is not mentioned as opposed to what is. For example, while it talks about how much is being spent on various things — baseball salaries, operating, marketing, etc. — nowhere does it talk about the owners’ own take. Rather, it leaves you with the impression that the owners haven’t seen a dime from the team in the several years that they’ve owned it. Color me extraordinarily skeptical about that. As we’ve seen with other clubs — most notably the Marlins, but most do it — broad categories such as “baseball operations” or “non baseball operations” often include substantial payments to owners in less-than-obvious line items. Payments to LLCs and partnerships for “consulting” or “management fees” or what have you. Do the Padres have similar expenditures? We can’t tell from this article, but it’s telling to me that they have spent about as much on front office/miscellaneous baseball ops stuff as player salaries over the past several years. A lot of that has been at building a strong minor league development system, but I’m guessing not all.

Similarly, there is an awfully large portion of the article aimed at telling the tale of the clubs’ massive debt and its restructuring. Yes, debt service can be a killer for liquidity, but it doesn’t really talk too much about the debt for its own sake. Such as the fact that (a) the current owners knew full-well of the debt they were inheriting from the previous owner, John Moores, when they bought the team; and (b) that by assuming the debt, their purchase price for the team was lowered, as it always will be in transactions that involve a lot of debt-assumption. The current owners have had the team since 2012. I don’t recall them telling the public then that there would be a near decade’s worth of swimming against the current of debt before they started paying for players. That’s never been in the season ticket brochure.

It’s also worth noting that, for as much as the debt restructuring is talked up in the story, it is saving the Padres only $8 million a year. They’ve been at least $60 million below the luxury tax threshold for several years now. It’s more than the club’s debt keeping them from spending money. It’s largely been a choice.

Again, none of which is to say that the article is not interesting in its own right. It certainly is. There is certainly more information here than one typically sees in an article about a team’s finances. But it is just partial information. Moreover, it seems to be aimed at justifying another year or two of non-contention to fans without satisfactorily explaining all of the many years of non-contention which preceded it. The Padres famously went all-in and spent some money on players in 2015. Why did that make sense then if this debt problem has been there all along? Why did they give Eric Hosmer over $100 million last year? The article wants to portray ownership as sober and responsible and prudent and use that to explain why the Padres have stunk on ice for a good long time, but it is not very convincing in communicating some consistent, rational thread from ownership.

That all of this comes at a time when clubs are being criticized for not spending money is no accident, I suspect. As such, I am choosing to read the piece for some interesting information it conveys while understanding that it has a pretty significant P.R. component to it as well.