Like a lot of folks, I took some time off this weekend. It was nice to recharge and refresh heading into tournament baseball. From an umpiring perspective, two stories have dominated.
The first was the ejection of Bryce Harper by umpire Marvin Hudson.
Here is the clip:
Couple of thoughts: while writers want to jump on the #umpshow bandwagon and decry Hudson for the act, Harper was certainly not blameless. As a matter of black letter law, you cannot argue balls and strikes which both Harper and Williams were certainly doing. Also, when asked to get in the box, sticking only a toe in was clearly showing the umpire up. He is smart enough to know how this would end.
As to Hudson, he does look like the aggressor in this situation after ripping his mask off. No matter what happened before or after, he was going to come off looking boorish. Umpires are taught to shut down sniping quickly, so I don’t blame him for his actions.
The thing that cracks me up is all the people out there saying umpires should “expect” the treatment and “knew what they were getting into”. Bologna. You can argue in a civil manner. Players know the line and the consequences. Harper choose to leave the game by his actions.
Harper actually learned early some of the things he cannot do to umpires.
I thought Rob Neyer’s article was the most reasoned look at the situation.
The other big story is the second ejection of a pitcher for using a rosin/sunscreen mixture to improve grip.
The rules say you cannot apply a foreign substance of any kind. Offenders face ejection and suspension. There is a groundswell to change this rule to allow a substance that improves grip without being able to effect how a ball moves. Either this or a new type of ball will probably be employed soon.