And, of course, the Astros lose.
But first, Happy Memorial Day – and thank you to all Americans who fought in our wars since the country began to give us the right to keep the rights we now have (and yes I most certainly DO know that SOME of us didn’t have no rights a tall for a long LONG time – but hey, the entire IDEA of a country founded on the idea that there would be no state religion and each person was entitled to HIS beliefs – like I said – SOME of us, was like a completely new thing in world history as we know it. And like babies have to grow, so do countries…) including the right to grouse bitterly about our horrible baseball team…
It was a few years back that I wrote an article for The Hardball Times, discussing the rapidly increasing propensity of umpires to do their best to make themselves into more than who they should be – namely, an impartial arbiter whose job it is to equitably enforce rules as well as call balls and strikes. The Rule Book clearly defines the strike zone – and nowhere does it say that each umpire may design his own personal zone and enforce it arbitrarily.
MLB has decided to punish Joe West – Probably because he was the one who publically complained about the length of Yankees/Red Sox games and the endless stepping out/stepping off, etcetcetc – you just can NOT put down the money franchises, even though you would be in trouble if you even THOUGHT of enforcing the batters box rule/the time to home plate rule, etcetcetc. Yeah, I know it was ostensibly over some balk thingy, but I’m not fooled here.
I know that before – oh, maybe Eric Gregg and his infamous strike zone the size of his belly – that except for guys who made big time national TV egregious mistakes (Don Denkinger – and I remember his name and it’s been, what, 25 years?) you didn’t know one umpire from another – which is the way it should be.
This HP ump’s name – Bill Hahn – for some reason rang a bell, and so I looked it up – and he’s the guy who tossed Bobby Cox and Brian McCann, then hi-fived the Marlins’ catcher after they had won the game. And MLB did absolutely NOTHING. I know that all ML umps are under the MLB, not the League jurisdiction, but they had darn well better do something as this hysteria by the umps has gotten greater and greater by the year. I understand that MLB might could not want to openly punish/fine umps for egregious misbehaviour (remember Mike Winter instigating a fight with Milton Bradley a couple years back? Winter got a slap on the wrist, Milton got a severe hit to his rep…)
Anyway, I checked both Gameday as well as the replay and there were 3 strikes that were called balls (per gameday) and 3 more by my eyeballs. On the replay, Roy was FURIOUS – both body language and action. But when he pointed to the ump (one too many balls on Willingham) he said – and I quote – “I’m not talking to you” he was INSTANTLY tossed. Not a word about a ball, strike, or mothers… This was, of course, right after the Adam Dunn bases clearing double which gave the Ex-Spos a 4-1 lead (in other words, the ballgame and another L for Roy-O) when he SHOULD have been out on strike 3, not Ball 2.
I VERY clearly remember the last time Roy got tossed from a game – he hit Michael Barrett – and YES, on purpose. It was AWESOME. And Roy standing up to The Baggy was teh KEWL, too. THAT kickstarted the 04 Astros amazing September run to get the WC – ahhhhh, those were the days. Heaven knows if/when us Astros fans will evah see that again.
Why on earth Drayton/Tal/Fast Eddie just absolutely refuse to cut bait and go ahead and trade off basically everyone and bring up some youngsters, I do NOT know. I hear tell that the Angels want Lance – bad as he’s been looking (and today, he looked bad BAD – getting picked off second yesterday, striking out on a ball in the dirt to end the game today) and a WHOLE lot of clubs want Pence and same thing with Roy – don’t nobody want Clank THIS year, not that he’d go.
And speaking of go – Chris Sampson needs to Go on the DL because something is really REALLY wrong with him. And every time he’s gone from unhittable to BP pitcher, it has been because he was hurt. As for Fulchino, not sure why he went from very good last year to sukc this year.
Only 3 good things with THIS horrid game – Chacin hit a home run (and WHY was he pulled after only 2 innings?), Bourn hit an RBI triple off the mopup man and some maroon ran onto the field – up Tal’s Hill – in the umpty run 7th. Was the only excitement. Actually, I was hoping he’d run to the MOUND and say gimme the ball, you uck-say, and I can get some outs.
And of course, the Nat’s pitcher is some guy up from the minors who hadn’t gone longer than 5 innings until he had the great luck of facing the Astros.
Which reminds me –
what makes me the absolute MOST irritated about this game is that the ump had the same micro strike zone for that Nats rook. BUT the Astros hitters didn’t have the sense to not swing at the first or second pitch – seeing as how prolly half of them were gonna be called balls, too.
Tomorrow night, we face 26 year old righty Craig Stammen, who has a lifetime 5+ ERA – doesn’t walk many (like that matters with THIS team) or give up too many homers (ditto) but I’m sure we will make him look like Uvaldo Jiminez. Visiting teams can’t WAIT to face the Lastros these days.
Oh yeah – and I hope all yall had a great Memorial Day Weekend. Outside of the Astros, we did. We went to Galveston (Husband’s VERY favorite place except his own House) and enjoyed the great weather – and no, there is no awl on the beach – and had our cookout listening to the game (TV – no way will I agree to listen to da CLOUNZZZ on KTRH) – well, sort of because it was tough to hear over the music. And yes, Jana Brattain Dog and Dog Pappas enjoyed the sea air and the ride down…