FanDuel - WFBC

June 18, 2008

Pitcher really don't like an ump? Have your catcher duck and hit him in the face!: On a high fastball, high school catcher ducks as the ball hits ump right on the mask (youtube link).

posted by jmd82 to baseball at 01:09 PM - 25 comments

Great stuff. Not saying I condone this sort of behavior but hey, if the catcher's saying he crossed plays with the pitcher, then he crossed plays. On that note, I don't believe them for one second. This was an intentional strike to the umps grill.

posted by BornIcon at 01:48 PM on June 18

I hope these guys and their coach get the book thrown at them. This is one of the worst examples of poor sportsmanship I've ever seen. I used to catch a little in college. Although I may have gotten crossed up, I can't remember it ever causing me to drop to my knees and duck.

posted by BikeNut at 02:29 PM on June 18

Heh, heh, heh. Seemed intentional for sure. Like BI, I wouldn't condone it, but I sure had fun watching it. Thanks for the post jmd.

posted by BoKnows at 02:31 PM on June 18

Ha! I love it, and I *do* condone it (a little). I've always fantasized that if I were a pitcher, I'd be tempted to do just this for a questionable ump. The pitcher at least should be aces; there's no clear evidence- clear evidence, mind- that he was trying to hit the ump (and if so, he's got great aim). The catcher, however, is an absolutely terrible actor. He could have missed the ball and still made it look real... set up a little outside, slightly late reaction and a misjudge of the ball. One person in the youtube comments says it looks like the ball ticks the batter's helmet, which in slo-mo it does appear to change direction a tiny bit. That still doesn't explain the diving for the curve and ducking your head.

posted by hincandenza at 02:49 PM on June 18

I watched it several times, it does look like it hits the batters helmet. It could explain the catcher's actions, as if the ball is going to hit the batter you might back away to ensure that it doesn't take a odd bounce and hit you. However, why would the catcher have not said that, instead of claiming to have crossed plays? I think these guys watched The Longest Yard the night before! If it comes out that the coach called this play, he should be banned from coaching. If the players are good enough, they'll find teams to play on.

posted by dviking at 03:42 PM on June 18

Ump: Uh, any chance you might catch this one, or should I duck now? Hill: Depends. Is it going to be a strike? me: still laughing. The article says the ump got a lawyer. Thats almost a stereotype move.

posted by irunfromclones at 04:00 PM on June 18

This umpire has a solution to the problem. You don't say a word to the catcher, but all of a sudden the Cartersville pitcher has a strike zone the size of a dime, with 9 cents change on every pitch. Sooner or later either the catcher or coach will start complaining, at which point, the offender is tossed for arguing balls and strikes. In NFHSAA rules, an ejected player or coach is ineligible for his next game. Two such ejections in a season, and you are out for the remainder of the season. Any coach or fan who would condone a player deliberately striking an umpire, either with a ball, bat, or fists deserves to be banned from the game.

posted by Howard_T at 04:27 PM on June 18

Ump should have moved

posted by thatch at 04:46 PM on June 18

Great stuff. Not saying I condone this sort of behavior but hey, if the catcher's saying he crossed plays with the pitcher, then he crossed plays. On that note, I don't believe them for one second. This was an intentional strike to the umps grill. posted by BornIcon at 1:48 PM CST on June 18 This is kind of contradictory. At first you say you believe the catcher, then you say you don't. Which is it? To me, there's no way that the catcher was crossed up. He intentionally ducked the ball. The only player with any kind of plausible deniability is the pitcher. He could have just thrown a high fastball and the catcher saw it as an opportunity to get even. (I'm not sure I buy the pitcher being totally innocent, though.) thatch: There's no way he could have moved in time. When you're an umpire, you're expecting the catcher to catch or block the ball and you have to watch it all the way to his glove. The ball was about 2 feet away from the umpire's face when the catcher dropped his glove. He wouldn't even had time to think, "Oh, Shit!"

posted by cabuki at 04:59 PM on June 18

I can't see how they can create a reasonable excuse for what happened. Crossed plays? Bullshit. I have never seen a catcher duck and not even attempt to grab a pitch like that. That was an obvious shot at the umpire.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 05:15 PM on June 18

Then some payback came for Hill, who was planning to walk on at Gordon College in Barnesville, Ga., next season. He got the word from Gordon coach Travis McClanahan, who said, Forget it, we don't want you. "I've seen catchers get crossed up before," says McClanahan. "But he appeared to be blocking a curveball in the dirt. I was shocked. I've never seen that happen. I've never heard of a player even suggesting doing that." So, how has pulling an asshole move like that paid off for you, son? Nice work. Hope you enjoyed your time when you used to play baseball. Thanks youtube.

posted by THX-1138 at 05:39 PM on June 18

Here's a link to several stories regarding the incident. http://www.ajc.com/metro/webservice_client/webservice_clientClass/inform/landing.jsp?subjectName=Georgia+High+School+Association&informSiteId=6801&cxntlid=inform_arts Seems that players from both teams, including the pitcher that threw the bean ball, play on a summer league team together. They've moved on. Hill has an academic scholarship to the school, so he's probably still going. My bet is that he'll get a chance to play if they need him. Time heals a lot of wounds, and coaches are very quick to forget the sins of good players, just look at the ranks of felons (convicted or not) that are in college and professional sports.

posted by dviking at 06:00 PM on June 18

Then some payback came for Hill, who was planning to walk on at Gordon College in Barnesville, Ga., next season. He got the word from Gordon coach Travis McClanahan, who said, Forget it, we don't want you. "I've seen catchers get crossed up before," says McClanahan. "But he appeared to be blocking a curveball in the dirt. I was shocked. I've never seen that happen. I've never heard of a player even suggesting doing that." Well, Travis, I guess you haven't been around much. I wouldn't say this is common, but I've seen it at least twice in high-school games. Both times I was working the field, and yes, both times the plate umpire was squeezing the holy hell out of the pitcher. In the first instance the catcher did a lousy acting job pulling his mitt out of the way, but the pitcher did a worse job and fired it over the top of the ump's head. The second time I saw, the catcher just leaned outside and the pitcher drilled the ump in the chest. In neither case were there any consequences because the plate ump didn't realize what had happened. I did make a point between innings to go in and tell the pitcher's coach to instruct his players that if I saw anything even remotely similar, I would toss the catcher, the pitcher and the entire coaching staff, resulting in a forfeit. The first case I didn't get ever get a clear-cut answer, but in the second instance the catcher eventually told me they were throwing at the umpire. This was a year or so later, and he swore it was the pitcher's idea and that the coaches had no involvement. It's tough to make a judgment call about this at the time because there's really no way to prove the charge -- but in this case, had I been the field umpire and had a clear view, I would have tossed them both. Pretty blatant, but they may have held their tongues in a championship game so as not to alter the outcome, especially when the offending team was already getting their just desserts.

posted by wfrazerjr at 06:58 PM on June 18

frazer, I also think that this game stands out because it was recorded. Very few high school games are filmed from a center field perspective. It wasn't until the league was able to view the replay that any disiplinary action was taken. I know that you've called a ton more games than I have, so I'm not surprised to hear that you've witnessed this type of behavior.

posted by dviking at 08:18 PM on June 18

Then some payback came for Hill, who was planning to walk on at Gordon College in Barnesville, Ga., next season. He got the word from Gordon coach Travis McClanahan, who said, Forget it, we don't want you. "I've seen catchers get crossed up before," says McClanahan. "But he appeared to be blocking a curveball in the dirt. I was shocked. I've never seen that happen. I've never heard of a player even suggesting doing that." I seem to remember a player throwing a bat at an umpire and he's already back in the league...Kids do stupid shit and they should pay for it, by being suspended for a few games or whatever, but to take away their future is just an over-the-top reaction. He made a mistake, luckily umpires wear all that gear, so nobody was hurt. They just showed on sportscience that even if you get hit directly in the head (wearing a helmet) with a 95 mph fastball, it will not cause any concussive damage. They guys life wasn't at risk. I'm not saying by any means that the kids actions were justifiable, buy I am sure that almost everyone has done something when they were a kid that they regret now. I flipped off a referee in a basketball game before and got 3 techs. When I look back at it now it makes me cringe to think that I took a game that seriously...

posted by docshredder at 09:33 PM on June 18

This thread has taken the odd turn of defending (to some degree) the reprehensible behavior of two athletes who should have been better guided by their coaches. Should what they did go unpunished? A "severe warning"? That ought to do it. Right. I am in no position, obviously, to mete out punishment for this utterly classless and gutless act, but I know what my gut tells me when I see that video. How do they learn if they are not expected to have to face consequences for their actions? And then one day they, or someone who has seen this, becomes a major leaguer and does something that is morally objectionable or illegal because they see that they will be given a pass or slap on the wrist and we'll all come back to SpoFi and complain how there are two different sets of rules for elite athletes and the rest of us.

posted by THX-1138 at 09:58 PM on June 18

THX: I don't see anyone saying they should go unpunished. Rather, I think it's that their entire future shouldn't be sunk for one stupid decision. Complain how there are two different sets of rules for elite athletes and the rest of us. I gave up complaining about it a long time ago...I'm at the point where I consider it a fact of life and just move on.

posted by jmd82 at 11:33 PM on June 18

This is kind of contradictory. At first you say you believe the catcher, then you say you don't. Which is it? If you actually read what I wrote and not just copied and pasted it, you would see that nowhere did I say that I believed the catcher being crossed up like you insinuated. What I did say was that the catcher said that he got crossed up and if that's what he said then that's what he said but IMO, I don't believe him and I think it was intentional. Does that answer your question?

posted by BornIcon at 07:11 AM on June 19

I don't think anyone can say for sure the pitcher intentionally threw at the umpire and the catcher ducked on purpose. It will be very hard to prove in court. I would like to find out if the umpire had any history of incidents with players or coaches that stand out from the norm. If I was defending these players in court I would ask these questions to the jury. Why would a pitcher throw a curveball if he was trying to hit the umpire, especially considering the pitcher is right handed facing a right handed batter which is the hardest possible way to hit the umpire as the batter is in the way. Also I would show that the curve ball, which might not have curved as much as hoped, appears to either hit the helmet (not known for sure) or come close to the batters head causing him to duck which could have caused the catcher to think the ball was going to glance off and possibly hit him, causing him to duck. If you look at the video the catcher is still trying to catch the ball, and is on his knees as you would expecting a curveball to prevent it from getting by with a runner on base, just before it gets close to the helmet. I've seen catchers duck and turn their heads fearing getting struck with balls that are not over the plate. It would be hard to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the catcher intentionally ducked with plans to hit the umpire. The curve ball and close location to the batters head makes this a reasonable explanation. The catcher saying what he did makes sense if he was expecting a curve that he thought could have hit the batters head and then him. Another item of doubt is the pitcher is worried about the runner, looking back at him, which makes no sense if he is going to hit the umpire with the pitch. For the umpire to get an attorney over this makes me wonder about his attitude as well. If this goes to trial, only the attorneys will make money. Both sides will lose money. IMHO

posted by Hillerby at 09:53 AM on June 19

I don't think anyone can say for sure the pitcher intentionally threw at the umpire and the catcher ducked on purpose. It will be very hard to prove in court. No way. The catcher ducking is obvious. You can infer intent based on their actions. Maybe the pitcher could tell a story that he just threw what the catcher asked him and had no idea, but who knows if that would even be credible. This is a losing proposition because the umpire suffered a headache, but finished the game anyway. How much money can he possible expect to get for suffering a headache?

posted by bperk at 10:22 AM on June 19

jmd--I never said anyone here said they should go unpunished, I was saying that some folks were defending, to an extent, the actions of the two players. I just thought that getting a severe warning was like doing nothing. And as far as their entire future is concerned, why does it have to be baseball? I've done just fine without being a professional athlete. And I've been pretty successful in my chosen profession by trying to be a decent person. If these two players are going to have that type of disregard for the officials of the game, why do they deserve a future in baseball? Yelling and arguing and throwing a fit are one thing. Throwing a baseball at someone's head, deliberately mask or not, is borderline criminal. How much money can he possible expect to get for suffering a headache? I'm no lawyer, but I think if he saw a doctor within 24 hours of the incident he may have a case. Hell, depending on how shady the ump was, he could start saying stuff like his vision is starting to go blurry or that he has trouble remembering things. But that sort of thing wouldn't teach the two ball payers anything.

posted by THX-1138 at 11:19 AM on June 19

I hardly think rescinding an offer to a WALK ON catcher is taking away his future. He would've been a #5 catcher and catching bullpens for his 2 years in college. If you want to spin it that way though, he took the opportunity away from himself when he joined in the little plot to hit the ump. Kids (and many adults) need to learn that there are consequences for their actions. I applaud Coach McClanahan for his decision. No one else even punished the kid.

posted by fastball32 at 03:08 PM on June 19

To me this just sounds like a pitcher and catcher that were tired of a small strike zone trying to get even. Not saying it was right but in the end its nothing compared to the pithcer who beaned the kid in the on deck circle because he thought the kid was tryin to steal signs.

posted by jda at 03:08 PM on June 19

I played baseball from the time I was 9 years old up through High School as a pitcher. I do know that once in a while I would lose control of a toss and I would earn an error. My specialty was the curve ball and I had control of it when I was in Jr. High. By the time I was in High School I had good aim and could throw to the target, the catcher's mit. I admit that I did not always agree with the Ump, but I didn't try to bean him in the noggin, which is directly tied to the coach. My coach would pull us if we started to lose our cool, because he know we weren't of any use if we could concentrate on the game or our pitches. These kids were frustrated and I would have been also losing at that point of the game. The ball the kid threw was a curve ball but was thrown too high. I think the penality they earned is appropriate. The Umpire though, if all he got was a headache, should be glad that it wasn't a fastball and about 2-3 inches lower. I'm not agreeing to what the kids did which is obvious when watching the catcher who started to put his mit up but quickly pulled it down when he dropped to his knees. I would focus on the coach not the players. My old coach wouldn't have placed us on the bench permanently for trying to hurt someone, rather he would have kicked us off the team. Did the coach try to cool down the little hot heads or let them be because they were Star-players? If he did nothing and just let things be; he should be coaching T-Ball, not High school baseball.

posted by JFWest at 06:31 PM on June 19

If you were trying to hit the umpire why would you throw a curveball to a right handed batter from a right handed pitcher with the umpire standing behind the catcher's left shoulder. That is ABSOLUTELY the hardest possible combination to get to the umpire's head. The easiest way to hit the umpire, if you were trying, would be to do it with a left handed batter at the plate. That way the batter is not in the line of a right handed pitcher, the umpire will be looking over the catcher's right shoulder making the line to the umpire the most open and a fast ball could be thrown. It makes no sense to do it the way it is claimed.

posted by Hillerby at 10:46 AM on June 22

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