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The umpire REALLY wanted to make sure Todd Frazier stepped on the plate yesterday

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Todd Frazier hit a walkoff homer to give the Mets a victory over the Miami Marlins in the first game of their doubleheader yesterday. Walkoff homers are big deals! They excite people! When they happen, the player’s teammates all come out to the home plate and mob him when he scores!

Another thing that often happens is that the guy who hit the walkoff homer takes a big leap onto home plate into the celebratory mob. Maybe that’s not the best idea — Kendrys Morales likely has some opinions about that — but it happens a lot.

It didn’t happen in the Mets game, though. Home plate umpire Tom Hallion made sure of that. Watch him and his positioning when Frazier is about to cross the plate:

In case you missed it:

I don’t have any strong negative feelings about Tom Hallion. Indeed, earlier this year I noted that he handled a pretty dicey situation involving the Mets — the famous “ass in the jackpot” argument with Terry Collins — pretty darn masterfully. As such, I have no reason to believe that he was trying to turn this into an ump-show or to show up Frazier here. No one seems to have asked him, but I imagine if he was asked he’d simply say he was there to make sure home plate was touched, to make Frazier’s game-winning run officially count. He does look down at Frazier’s foot at the end, after all.

Still, I’ve never seen an ump get that up-close and personal in those situations. Often times they’ll just offer a glance from a few feet away and let everyone have their dog pile. I guess Hallion just wanted to cross the t and dot the i here. You know, so as not to get his ass in the jackpot.

Astros owner Crane expects to hire new manager by Feb. 3

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HOUSTON (AP) — Houston Astros owner Jim Crane expects to hire a new manager by Feb. 3.

The Astros need a new manager and general manager after AJ Hinch and Jeff Luhnow were fired Monday, hours after both were suspended by Major League Baseball for a year for the team’s sign-stealing scandal.

Crane said Friday that he’s interviewed a number of candidates this week and has some more to talk to in the coming days.

Crane refused to answer directly when asked if former Astros player and Hall of Famer Craig Biggio was a possibility for the job. But he did say that he had spoken to Biggio, fellow Hall of Famer Jeff Bagwell and former Astros star Lance Berkman in the days since the firings.

“We’ve talked to all of our Killer B’s,” Crane said referring to the nickname the three shared while playing for the Astros. “They’ve contacted me and they’ve all expressed that they would like to help. Berkman, Bagwell, Biggio have all called and said: ‘hey, if there’s anything I can do, I’m here for you.’”

“So we’ll continue to visit with those guys and see if there’s something there.”

Crane says his list is still rather extensive and that he hopes to have it narrowed down by the end of next week. He added that he expects most of Hinch’s staff to stay in place regardless of who is hired.

Crane has enlisted the help of three or four employees to help him with the interview process, including some in Houston’s baseball operations department.

“We compare notes,” he said. “I’ve learned a long time ago that you learn a lot if four or five people talk to a key candidate and you get a lot more information. So that’s what we’re doing.”

Crane’ top priority is finding a manager with spring training less than a month away, but he said he would start focusing on the search for a general manager after he hires a manager. He expects to hire a GM before the end of spring training.

“We should have another good season with the team pretty much intact … so I don’t know why a manager wouldn’t want to come in and manage these guys,” he said. “They’re set to win again.”

The penalties announced by MLB commissioner Rob Manfred on Monday came after he found illicit use of electronics to steal signs in Houston’s run to the 2017 World Series championship and again in the 2018 season. The Astros were also fined $5 million, which is the maximum allowed under the Major League Constitution, and must forfeit their next two first- and second-round amateur draft picks.

The investigation found that the Astros used the video feed from a center field camera to see and decode the opposing catcher’s signs. Players banged on a trash can to signal to batters what was coming, believing it would improve the batter’s odds of getting a hit.

With much still in flux, Crane was asked what qualities are most important to him in his next manager.

“Someone mature that can handle the group,” he said. “Someone that’s had a little bit of experience in some areas. We’ve just got to find a leader that can handle some pressure and there’s going to be a little bit of pressure from where this team has been in the last few months.”

Despite his comment about experience, Crane said having been a major league manager before is not mandatory to him.

“We made some mistakes,” he said. “We made a decision to let that get behind us. We think the future is bright. We’ll make the adjustments … people think we’re in crisis. I certainly don’t believe that.”