MLB is not pleased at the release of the Terry Collins-Tom Hallion argument video

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Earlier this week a video went viral depicting then-Mets manager Terry Collins getting into a heated argument with umpire Tom Hallion after Noah Syndergaard was ejected from a game for throwing behind a batter. We didn’t do a post about that video for its own sake because (a) it was from May 2016, so it wasn’t exactly current; and (b) it contained about 50 F-bombs in it and, while we’ll occasionally drop some PG-13 language here, we try to keep things relatively clean. Standing alone, it was just a funny video of a mic’d-up argument with some blue language. If I wanted to make content out of that I’d just post the Earl Weaver Manager’s Corner video twice a week. Which, well, maybe I should, but I like having a job.

The video, however, has become a bit more newsworthy in the past 24 hours because, we learned yesterday, Major League Baseball is trying to make it disappear:

That’s a pretty legitimate reason, actually. The purpose of such recordings is for Major League Baseball to evaluate umpires’ handling of confrontations, not for public release. Yes, the video was fun — I imagine you can still find it bouncing around the web with a cursory search if you haven’t seen it — but, really, if your bosses and you had an agreement about such things, you’d expect it to be honored.

We’ll leave the unauthorized release for MLB and its security apparatus. For now, given that the thing is back in the news, I have two takeaways from the video, which I’ll explain in a way that makes sense even if you haven’t seen it.

First, the confrontation itself. It was super heated, and for a pretty good reason actually. Syndergaard was tossed because he threw behind Chase Utley. You’ll recall that Utley, the previous postseason, broke Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada’s leg with a hard/dirty slide. The Mets were mad about this for a long time. Probably still are. This was their first shot at retaliation. I’m not condoning the retaliation, but this is what that was.

The thing about it, though: Collins did not really back down a bit from admitting it. When Syndergaard got tossed, Collins made a very brief and not-convincing attempt to argue that there was no warning to his pitcher or whatever, but Hallion noted that “we all know the situation here” or words to that effect. Collins came off his denial and, quite passionately, argued that it was crap for Syndergaard to be tossed because Utley had not been punished by the league and his guys should get their shot. Hallion acknowledged that he knew where Collins was coming from, but that he couldn’t allow that kind of retaliation to stand.

It was really an enlightening exchange. Partially because of the insight into how a guy in Collins’ position views such things and again, quite passionately, advocates for his players and their own particular sense of justice. It was also enlightening because of just how well Hallion handled the situation. He didn’t get confrontational himself and he allowed Collins to vent, but he likewise did not back down from his position. You could imagine this going one of two ways, each of them bad, with either Hallion himself getting all huffy at Collins or, perhaps, him being dismissive and taking an unimpressed “are you done yet?” approach that, while not itself aggressive, likely would’ve still pissed Collins off. Hallion, who was umping first base that night, likewise ran interference when Collins initiated things with the home plate umpire, protecting his crewmate. I have no idea how MLB actually evaluates umps for these sorts of situations, but in my book that was some A+ handling on Hallion’s part.

The second part is a bit more fun.

In a phrase that is quickly going viral itself, Hallion tried to explain to Collins that, while he got where he was coming from, his crew had to toss Syndergaard because if they didn’t they themselves would be in trouble. The specific phrase — and here’s some of that PG-13 language — was, “our ass is in the jackpot if we don’t do something here.”

The meaning of the phrase is pretty obvious, but the particular phrasing — ass in the jackpot — is absolute magic. It’s not one you hear very often if at all, but it just works, perfectly, in that way pithy little phrases like that work. Baseball is great for that, by the way. Little phrases guys use freely amongst themselves but which the outside world doesn’t really use that often or, in some cases, even know that well. The broadest example is the term “horse s**t.” Most people use the bovine, not the equine, variety in that case, but in baseball it’s always “horse s**t.” There are a lot of others, most not as obscure as “ass in the jackpot.” Not that “ass in the jackpot” is going to be obscure for long. I’m assuming 25% of all fantasy teams have been renamed to something like that by now already.

Anyway: good luck to Rob Manfred in his search for the leakers. I’m a little sad that this video can’t be featured far and wide at legitimate outlets because it’s so good, but as a pro-union guy I get that he has to police this for the good of labor relations. It’s a hard case, but I understand.

One thing that’s totally clear, however: the ass of whoever leaked it is gonna be in the jackpot if they get caught.

Bonds, Clemens left out of Hall again; McGriff elected

John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports
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SAN DIEGO – Moments after Fred McGriff was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, almost two decades after his final game, he got the question.

Asked if Barry Bonds belonged in Cooperstown, a smiling McGriff responded: “Honestly, right now, I’m going to just enjoy this evening.”

A Hall of Fame committee delivered its answer Sunday, passing over Bonds, Roger Clemens and Curt Schilling while handing McGriff the biggest honor of his impressive big league career.

The lanky first baseman, nicknamed the “Crime Dog,” hit .284 with 493 homers and 1,550 RBIs over 19 seasons with six major league teams. The five-time All-Star helped Atlanta win the 1995 World Series.

McGriff got 169 votes (39.8%) in his final year on the Baseball Writers’ Association of America ballot in 2019. Now, he will be inducted into Cooperstown on July 23, along with anyone chosen in the writers’ vote, announced Jan. 24.

“It’s all good. It’s been well worth the wait,” said McGriff, who played his last big league game in 2004.

It was the first time that Bonds, Clemens and Schilling had faced a Hall committee since their 10th and final appearances on the Baseball Writers’ Association of America ballot. Bonds and Clemens have been accused of using performance-enhancing drugs, and support for Schilling dropped after he made hateful remarks toward Muslims, transgender people, reporters and others.

While the 59-year-old McGriff received unanimous support from the 16 members of the contemporary baseball era committee – comprised of Hall members, executives and writers – Schilling got seven votes, and Bonds and Clemens each received fewer than four.

The makeup of the committee likely will change over the years, but the vote was another indication that Bonds and Clemens might never make it to the Hall.

This year’s contemporary era panel included Greg Maddux, who played with McGriff on the Braves, along with Paul Beeston, who was an executive with Toronto when McGriff made his big league debut with the Blue Jays in 1986.

Another ex-Brave, Chipper Jones, was expected to be part of the committee, but he tested positive for COVID-19 and was replaced by Arizona Diamondbacks President Derrick Hall.

The contemporary era committee considers candidates whose careers were primarily from 1980 on. A player needs 75% to be elected.

“It’s tough deciding on who to vote for and who not to vote for and so forth,” McGriff said. “So it’s a great honor to be unanimously voted in.”

In addition to all his big hits and memorable plays, one of McGriff’s enduring legacies is his connection to a baseball skills video from youth coach Tom Emanski. The slugger appeared in a commercial for the product that aired regularly during the late 1990s and early 2000s – wearing a blue Baseball World shirt and hat.

McGriff said he has never seen the video.

“Come Cooperstown, I’ve got to wear my blue hat,” a grinning McGriff said. “My Tom Emanski hat in Cooperstown. See that video is going to make a revival now, it’s going to come back.”

Hall of Famers Jack Morris, Ryne Sandberg, Lee Smith, Frank Thomas and Alan Trammell also served on this year’s committee, which met in San Diego at baseball’s winter meetings.

Rafael Palmeiro, Albert Belle, Don Mattingly and Dale Murphy rounded out the eight-man ballot. Mattingly was next closest to election, with eight votes of 12 required. Murphy had six.

Bonds, Clemens and Schilling fell short in January in their final chances with the BBWAA. Bonds received 260 of 394 votes (66%), Clemens 257 (65.2%) and Schilling 231 (58.6%).

Palmeiro was dropped from the BBWAA ballot after receiving 25 votes (4.4%) in his fourth appearance in 2014, falling below the 5% minimum needed to stay on. His high was 72 votes (12.6%) in 2012.

Bonds has denied knowingly using performance-enhancing drugs, and Clemens maintains he never used PEDs. Palmeiro was suspended for 10 days in August 2005 following a positive test under the major league drug program.

A seven-time NL MVP, Bonds set the career home run record with 762 and the season record with 73 in 2001. A seven-time Cy Young Award winner, Clemens went 354-184 with a 3.12 ERA and 4,672 strikeouts, third behind Nolan Ryan (5,714) and Randy Johnson (4,875). Palmeiro had 3,020 hits and 568 homers.

Schilling fell 16 votes shy with 285 (71.1%) on the 2021 BBWAA ballot. The right-hander went 216-146 with a 3.46 ERA in 20 seasons, winning the World Series with Arizona in 2001 and Boston in 2004 and 2007.

Theo Epstein, who also served on the contemporary era committee, was the GM in Boston when the Red Sox acquired Schilling in a trade with the Diamondbacks in November 2003.

Players on Major League Baseball’s ineligible list cannot be considered, a rule that excludes Pete Rose.