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Glad to See Bud Selig Is Keeping Up with the Instant Replay Times

Outside of the brilliant pitching of Cliff Lee and CC Sabathia (add Rivera to the list?), the biggest topic of the MLB postseason has been the horrendous umpiring. Things started with Phil Cuzzi’s blown call on a Joe Mauer leadoff double against the Yankees in the ALDS. Then C.B. Bucknor blew a few calls in favor of the Angels against the Red Sox at first base in the ALDS. After that, the umps blew about three calls in Game 4 of the ALCS between the Yankees and Angels. Considering the egregious nature of these calls and the indisputable evidence from the instant replay we saw on TV, you figure the logical step would be to allow the umpires the opportunity to review their call when they make such a bad **** up. But not under Chief Selig’s watch:

“I’ve talked to a lot baseball people about this recently — that includes on the field and executives,” said Selig, explaining his position at length. “Believe me, they have a lot of trepidation about expanding it. [Angels manager] Mike Scioscia put it very well: The umpires get it right 99 percent of the time.

“Times change, but I’m still in favor of keeping the human element as a part of it, and I’m also very concerned about pace. I think there are other ways we can make corrections. During the offseason we’ll review everything. I’ve made my position clear, and by the way, I think it’s the position of most people in baseball. You have to be very careful when you tamper with a sport.”

Dude, we’re not saying get rid of the human element and have pitch tracker call balls and strikes, we’re just saying take the freaking five minutes to let the umpires see how badly they effed up with the Joe Mauer call or when Mike Napoli tagged out both Yankees at third base. That would go a long way towards preserving the purity of the game. Wait a sec, did I say purity? This is Selig we’re talking about. Why would I expect anything different? Still, MLB has to do something to correct this issue.

Frank McCourt Sends Ex-Wife Jamie Cold-Blooded Termination Letter

Frank McCourt Jamie McCourtThe moment the news broke that there was a shakeup with the Dodgers power couple owners, Frank and Jamie McCourt, the Boys in Blue became that much more likable. I always could tell that the two were putting on an act with their marriage and now it’s been confirmed. What’s also been confirmed is what a cold blooded jerk Frank can be. Not only did he fire his wife last week from her position as CEO, but he did so with a pretty ruthless termination letter. Check out the text of the letter via TMZ and Deadspin:

Dear Jamie — This is to inform you that your employment with and positions as Chief Executive Officer and Vice Chairperson of Los Angeles Dodgers LLC, as well as any and all of the positions that you hold … are hereby terminated effective immediately.

“Because your employment is held at-will, the Organization is not required to have cause to terminate your employment and may do so for any reason or no reason at all.

However, your actions, including, but not limited to, your insubordination, non-responsiveness, failure to follow procedures, and inappropriate behavior with regard to a direct subordinate, have made this decision necessary.”

How jacked up is the whole “at-will” reasoning? We can just fire you whenever we want? What’s up with that? I also love the underlying reason for the termination — insubordination. The same way they say “there aren’t enough basketballs” for two ballhogs on the same team, the organization wasn’t big enough for these two power hungry people. This is great news for anyone who’s sick of ticket and parking prices skyrocketing while the payroll gets slashed. Count me as one.

Who’s the ‘Retard’ Now, Brett?

Philly blog The Fightins caught a priceless moment on TV and was nice enough to share it with the entire internet world. We thank them for their efforts because it allows us to post this classic moment of Brett Myers getting shutout in his NLCS celebration attempt at a kiss. Classic:

Incidentally Myers wasn’t even on the Phillies’ NLCS roster. At least he was around to cheer the team on — there’s something to be said for that. I hear Myers might even be on the World Series roster which would probably be good news for either the Angels or Yankees. Anyway, insert Myers wife beating joke here.

Scioscia Probably Cost the Angels John Lackey in Free Agency

John Lackey removed by Mike SciosciaOne of the most controversial moments from Game 5 in Anaheim on Thursday night came when manager Mike Scioscia removed starter John Lackey from the game in the 7th. Considering Darren Oliver came on in relief and gave up a 3-run double to Mark Teixeira on his first pitch and a game-tying RBI single to Hideki Matsui, the move by Scioscia looked awful. Making matters even worse was Kevin Jepsen who gave up a two-run triple to Robinson Cano to make it 6-4 Yankees within four batters of Lackey leaving the game. As if Lackey wasn’t already pissed off enough about being taken out of a game where he had a shutout going, seeing the bullpen blow the lead had to rip his heart out.

Non-Angel fans may have simply seen the move as what it was: John Lackey being pissed he was taken out of a shutout by his manager and the bullpen blew it. Angel fans will tell you that that move had much deeper repercussions; John Lackey is going to be a free agent after the year and being removed from his shutout could very well be his lasting moment with the team. Do you think he’ll be eager about going back to the Angels and a manager that didn’t trust him enough to get the final out of the 7th in the ALCS? I know a lot of people will say that Lackey was losing it and that going to Oliver was the right move, but once I saw that fire in Lackey’s eyes I would have given him another batter. The guy is a bonafide competitor and when you see that look coming from him you have to let him settle his score. Or maybe that’s just me speaking from the perspective of a former pitcher who’s said to his manager “This is mine, this is mine.”

I really hope that’s not John Lackey’s last moment as an Angel — it would be an utter shame. I rather see him pitch in Game 1 and Game 5 of the World Series and re-sign with the team. They’d have a tough time repeating without an ice like him.

Umpires Officially Are Screwing the Angels in ALCS vs. Yankees

Mike Napoli Tags Posada, Cano
Photo Credit: Getty Images

Either the umpires here in the playoffs are screwing the Angels or they’ve been instructed to give the Yankees as many calls as possible. The horrible calls to go the way of New York in the playoffs started in the division series with Phil Cuzzi calling Joe Mauer’s double down the left field line a foul ball when it wasn’t even a close call. That was pretty darn egregious. Then it continued in I believe Game 2 of the ALCS when the second base umpire didn’t give Erick Aybar the phantom tag at second when he was trying to turn a double-play. Yes I’ll admit that Aybar never tagged the bag but that’s never been an issue for umps — it’s always been accepted. Unfortunately that call was only small potatoes compared to the two horrendously blown calls by the umps in Game 4.

In the top of the 4th, Scott Kazmir tried to pick off Nick Swisher at second with a spin move. The throw from Kazmir to Aybar was spot on and they easily had Swisher, no doubt about it. Swisher was called safe and he later advanced to third after Jeter was walked to load up the bases. The Yankees should have gone up 4-0 on Johnny Damon’s fly out to left field but the Angels appealed that Swisher left third base early and the umpires gave them the call, ending the inning (see the images at The Replacement Refs via Deadspin). If that wasn’t a makeup call I don’t know what is. Then the very next inning the umpires were up to their same tricks and this might have been the absolute worst call of the series.

Nick Swisher Picked off

In the top of the 5th, the Yankees had Jorge Posada on third and Robinson Cano on second with one out. Nick Swisher hit a grounder to Darren Oliver who threw home, getting Posada caught in a rundown. Mike Napoli chased Posada back to third and tagged both Posada and Cano out (Cano had headed towards third). For some unknown reason, the third base umpire called Posada out and Cano safe. Yankee fans will point to the fact that no runs were scored because of this mistake so it doesn’t matter. Problem is every extra out you give a lineup like the Yankees will kill you. What’s better to start an inning, Melky, Jeter and Damon or Jeter, Damon, and Teixeira? It’s a huge difference when you’re talking playoff baseball.

The Yankees are so good and playing so well they would probably advance to the World Series regardless. Facing CC Sabathia and that murderer’s row is tough enough as is; the Angels shouldn’t also have to overcome the umpires. This is embarrassing.

Angels Need Some to Watch Some of Those Tom Emanski Videos

erick-aybar-maicer-izturis

The Angels are on one of the biggest stages possible and coming close to embarrassing themselves. They’re now down 0-2 in the ALCS to the Yankees and they’ve committed five errors, three in Game 1 and two in Game 2. The most egregious error ended Game 2 in the 13th when Maicer Izturis tried to turn a double play on a ball in the 3-4 hole and he threw it away. I really don’t have that much of a problem with Maicer trying to go to second on that play (they needed both outs desperately) but he needs to set his body up more before making that throw. And how about Chone Figgins? Anyone else notice that if he picks the missed throw up cleanly he can probably get Jerry Hairston Jr. out at the plate? Maybe it’s just me. Figgins also made a throwing error in the 6th on a ball hit by Mark Teixeira. Coupling that with Chone’s 0fer in the playoffs and you could tell it wasn’t his October (until the 11th inning).

The only excuse for the Angels is that the Yankees committed three errors including botched grounders by Jeter and Cano on easy plays, suggesting the crappy weather conditions affected everyone. Even if the conditions have been awful, all the Angels’ mistakes from Game 1 can’t be excused. How can you make that many screwups? Erick Aybar and Figgins let a popup drop between them after Juan Rivera had made a throwing error in the 1st, Torii Hunter wasn’t able to field a Jeter hit to center, and John Lackey threw away a pick off attempt. This was the exact same charade put on by the Angels in Boston last year in Game 2 where they made two errors and let a popup drop in center that allowed a rally to happen. The Angels couldn’t hit CC Sabathia in Game 1 but didn’t give themselves a chance to win with all their mistakes. In Game 2 they couldn’t hit with runners in scoring position and got some bad calls from the umps but it was their fielding errors that directly cost them the game. Arrggghh, so frustrating. Good thing is it’s a best of 7 (which only means they have two games to commit more errors!).

Charlie Manuel Is the New Grady Little with Pedro Martinez

91847725JR074_Philadelphia_Grady Little has been crucified by miserable Red Sox fans for keeping Pedro Martinez in a playoff game too long. Charlie Manuel is now drawing the ire of miserable Phillies fans for pulling Pedro too early in a playoff game. Oddly enough, I’ve been on the opposite side of the 20/20 hindsighters both times. I went down with Grady using his reasoning — Pedro’s the best guy Boston had and there wasn’t another pitcher I’d rather see in there with the game on the line. Sox fans were only so bitter because blowing the lead encapsulated 85 years of losing to New York. Exactly six years later Charlie Manuel pulled Pedro from a two-hit shutout against the Dodgers and went to the bullpen. The Phils blew the 1-0 lead and now people are now criticizing Manuel the same way they did Little, but I support his decision.

Pedro hadn’t pitched since September 30th prior to Friday’s outing against the Dodgers. The Phillies should have just been thanking their lucky Liberty Bells they got such a strong start out of a guy who hadn’t pitched in a game in almost three weeks. Secondly, Pedro was coming up to bat in the 8th and there was a man on in what was only a one-run game. Don’t you want to give your team a good chance at padding the lead with a pinch hitter? Additionally, Pedro hurt himself swinging against the Braves a month ago. Do you really want to see him injure himself again? Lastly, Chase Utley makes a routine throw on a double-play ball and we’re probably not even talking about this issue (we’re probably talking about a blown save in the 9th).

At the same time that we’re crediting Pedro for a stellar start we also have to credit Nicaragua’s own Vicente Padilla for a strong start. He kept the Dodgers in the game by allowing just the one run, making the comeback easier. I back Charlie on this one and Pedro does too.

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