April 18, 2017

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle:

A place to discuss the sports stories that aren't making news, share links that aren't quite front-page material, and diagram plays on your hand. Remember to count to five Mississippi before commenting in anger.

posted by huddle to general at 06:00 AM - 7 comments

A guy holding a sign offers some inspiration for Boston Marathon runners.

posted by rcade at 01:27 PM on April 18

I love that photo. Maybe "3rd - 2:12" will become the new "John 3:16" in placard land.

The other tweets also gave me a chuckle, at least the ESPN part of it.

posted by beaverboard at 02:15 PM on April 18

Ronaldo's entire body was offside on that goal. Criminy what a blown call.

posted by rcade at 04:57 PM on April 18

Attention all baseball fans!

CB Bucknor gave a demonstration tonight (in the Nationals/Braves game) of what would happen if an umpire closed his eyes on every pitch and just guessed (by sound) if it was a ball or a strike.

From Twitter: Seven individual calls by CB Bucknor that home plate umpires across the league make "0%" of the time.

One

Two

Three

Four

Five

Six

Seven

Here is a map of every called pitch (no swings). Red ones are called strikes (they should be inside the boxes), green ones are called balls (they should be outside the boxes).

Jason Werth struck out in this at-bat without swinging his bat even once.

This was called a "foul-tip" by Bucknor.

The winning team's radio play-by-play guy tears into Bucknor's calling ability.

posted by grum@work at 12:19 AM on April 19

Should we trade Howard to the National League for Bucknor, draft choices, cash, and a player to be named later?

With the provision, of course, that Howard remain in touch with us.

If we dumped Bucknor's contract upon arrival, his salary would only count against the SpoFi cap for 2017.

posted by beaverboard at 03:25 AM on April 19

The ball from call 5 should have been set aside for the Hall of Fame. An entire foot off the plate and called a strike!

posted by rcade at 11:50 AM on April 19

This was called a "foul-tip" by Bucknor.

It's unclear from the video whether or not the ball was caught cleanly by the catcher or was "trapped" after hitting the dirt. If the latter, the call would have been a foul ball, not a foul tip, assuming the bat had actually contacted the ball. The difference between a foul tip and a foul ball is that the ball remains in play after a foul tip, but is dead (no more play) after a foul ball. It is obvious from the video that there was no contact between bat and ball. It it possible that Bucknor heard something that sounded like bat and ball contact, but the audio on the tape was not good. If you watch enough baseball, sooner or later you will hear what I mean by that, when on a swing and miss there is something that seems to be the sound of contact, but is something else.

I have been screaming at Bucknor's "inconsistency" behind the plate for many years. He does not do well there. In a 9 inning game, any plate umpire will miss as many as 5 or 6 pitches. It's to be expected, and players and managers will accept it, but some of the strikes he has called would not be strikes in a middle school game. In about 2 1/2 hours I will be behind the plate in a middle school game, and I really hope to do a better job than that. I limit myself to middle school because I am really too old to try to keep up with the varsity kids. I am adequate for middle school, but my performance on a varsity field, especially when it comes to moving to get into position to make a call, would be substandard. The New Hampshire Baseball Umpires Association does all of the varsity and JV high school games in the state. The members have to pass through an apprentice program before being assigned to games, Then their performance is reviewed, usually by the other umpire on the field and occasionally by an observer, and they are assigned to higher levels (i.e. larger schools) as they improve. The important consideration here is that it is the umpires' association that is responsible for quality control. The MLB umpires' union needs to adopt some sort of quality control program that includes suspension for poor performance.

I would last for about half an inning on an MLB diamond before it became apparent that I was over my head. Calling the balls and strikes , believe it or not, is not the physically most difficult part, although it takes perhaps the most skill, judgement, and concentration. High school and middle school ball use a 2-man system, and that means that both umpires will do a good bit of running in the game. That's where my problems begin, since at the age of 76 I am not as fast as I once was, and even in my prime I was not at all fast. Next time you have the opportunity to watch a major league or high minor league game, watch the umpires. Even in the 4-man system there is a lot of running involved especially with runners on base and a ball hit to the outfield. One of the umpires will go out to cover the ball, leaving a base uncovered. That means that the other umpires must adjust to be sure there is coverage in case of a play in the infield. The standard 4-man mechanics take care of this, as each umpire will understand what the others are doing and what he must do. Add to all of this the situational understanding, coverage of runners tagging up after a caught fly ball (who watches which runner), making sure bases are touched by runners, backing up the plate umpire on checked swings, not to mention the times when a ball is tipped and the catcher picks it off the ground, or a batted ball contacts the batter in the box and rolls into fair territory, looking like a fair ground ball, and the plate umpire can't see it. I cannot completely criticize Bucknor because of the many, many things an umpire must deal with on every pitch. His ability when calling balls and strikes must be considered, however.

posted by Howard_T at 01:03 PM on April 19

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