The day started out so well. It was sunny outside, people seemed happy…even Chase Utley was smiling on the field during warm-ups. Anyone who follows this team knows what a rare moment that is. It just seemed like a good day where a sweep of the Marlins was totally possible. Heck, there was even breakdancing during the game! It was all going well until the 9th inning…
Before that frightening 9th inning, starting pitcher, David Buchanan pitched very well, allowing only 1 run on a solo homer through 6 1/3 innings. Although, he did almost have his head taken off while attempting to bunt, which was a bit scary.
But baseball carried on and the Phillies racked up hits, stolen bases and Ryan Howard even showed patience at the plate, drawing a walk in the 4th inning.
I finally got to see Maikel Franco play in person. He had an interesting day that included a broken bat RBI single where he was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double. He also had this play at third where he bobbled the ball, recovered and still got the out:
By the 9th inning, the Phillies had a 4-1 lead. But then Jonathan Papelbon came into the game. Granted, he has been mostly good all season. And anyone can blow a save…it happens (unless it is 2008 and you are Brad Lidge). When one blows a save however, that person should expect to get boo’ed. In fact, that person should boo themselves for sucking on that occasion. Instead, Papelbon decided to look into the crowd as he walked to the dugout and grab his crotch demonstratively in reply to the boo’s. After the game, he said he was “adjusting” himself. Really? And he could not wait 10 more steps to do so? I am not buying it.
His attitude just sucks. And his response was way out of line. After ejecting Papelbon for the gesture, umpire Joe West grabbed Papelbon by the shirt and shoved him. I cannot wait to see the blow back from that…stay tuned.
So the Phillies will ride this smelly, stinky 4-5 loss all the way across the country to San Diego where they start a 4 game series with the Padres tomorrow. For now, here is the Photo Album from today’s game which includes the happier moments.
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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
When the umpires become the big story of a game, something is very wrong. But that is what happened in tonight’s Phillies – Nationals game starting immediately in the first inning of an eventual 4-3 Phils loss.
With the Nats 19-year old newbie at the plate in the 1st, the home plate ump gave him a walk on a check swing that was not a check swing. Even without replay, you could see that Bryce Harper’s bat did cross the plate.
Understandably, Charlie Manuel was upset. Because not only was the strike obvious, but there was NO umpire at third to call it due to Joe West being ill. As a result, the remaining 3 umpires were on the defensive right away. Manuel had barely yelled a few words from the dugout when the home plate umpire tossed him from the game without hesitation.
So the Phillies lost their manager in the 1st inning and the umpire disgrace rolled further downhill after that. With Shane Victorino on 2nd base in the 7th, Carlos Ruiz smashed a ball right over the 3rd base bag that should have been an RBI double. But again, with NO umpire at third, it was ruled a foul ball. Seconds later, Victorino stole 3rd base and was called out even though he was never tagged. Remember, there was NO umpire to see this so I guess they just tossed a coin.
Ruiz singled right after that, but no run scored because Victorino had been called out erroneously. Essentially, the umpires robbed the Phillies of the same run twice!
With 3 huge blown calls, the manager ejected and an RBI taken away from the Phillies, the umpires were not done yet. Because during the next 1/2 inning, the idiot who called Victorino out was seen vehemently defending himself to Victorino as he ran out to center field. He actually appeared to be yelling at Victorino as he waved his hands around for emphasis. Seriously? YOU blow a bunch of calls and have the nerve to yell at the player? Disgusting.
Calls started going against the Nationals too, although not game-changing. With the exact same situation as the 1st inning and Harper at bat again, he was called out on a check swing in the 7th. This time, he actually did not swing.
My question is this: WHY can MLB not afford an extra umpire for when this happens again? If someone gets sick, you have a replacement. If not, he can sit in the booth and HELP by watching replays on close calls. Give the umpires earpieces or radios and have the 5th ump call down with the correct call.
Because isn’t the most important thing to get the call right? Or does MLB think catering to umpire egos is more important? And if they don’t like the 5th umpire idea, then you HAVE to allow replay. Blown calls should NOT be affecting the outcome of a game in the modern era. Was no one paying attention when Jim Joyce cost a kid a perfect game with a blown call?
I hope these idiot umpires go back and watch film of this game and see everything they screwed up. But I guarantee you this; none of them will feel anywhere near as badly as Joyce did after his blown call. That man at least had the class and humanity to admit his mistake. But aside from Joyce, when no one is held accountable for their actions, this will never change.
Granted, you cannot put all the blame for this loss on the umpires. The Phillies offense squandered chances. But they should have had a 4-3 lead going into the 8th inning. Instead, they took a 3-3 ballgame 11 innings, blew out their bullpen and lost the game once reliever Michael Schwimer had gone 3 innings and his arm was ready to fall off.
There is always tomorrow, of course. But that does not make this one suck any less.
Game 2 – Saturday, 1:05pm.
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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
Well, there went five hours of my life I wish to forget. The Phillies said goodbye to SunLife Stadium in Miami today with a gut-wrenching 14-inning 5-4 loss to the Marlins, played under protest from the Phillies. It was another wasted Roy Halladay start.
The big controversy began when umpire Joe West decided to make up the rules as he went along. In the 6th inning, Hunter Pence hit a double that should have left the Phillies with two men on base and no outs. Instead, West decided to use instant replay on a ball that he himself ruled a double. Replay, according to the baseball rules, is only to be used on potential home runs.
West came back after 13 minutes of “reviewing” and ruled Pence out due to fan interference. While those idiot fans did attempt to interfere, the play should not have been reviewable in the first place. The other problem is that West assumed the ball would have been caught had the fans not intruded. But on the video replay, it is far from a sure thing that outfielder Bryan Petersen would have caught it. In fact, his glove was already closed by the time the ball reached him.
The Phillies then announced a formal protest of the game and manager Charlie Manuel was ejected for arguing. After the game, Manuel stated the same point, that the ball would not have been caught (per Ryan Lawrence, DelCo Times). West claims Manuel asked for a replay; Manuel sternly denies this.
So now it is a game of he said (Manuel), she said (West, running from the press afterwards ;o). If MLB determines that a rule was broken by West, the game could be restarted with the Pence double at a later date. But seriously, odds of that happening are like ZERO. MLB has refused to hold umpires accountable for anything and I do not see that changing now, sad as that may be.
The rally was killed after that call, but the Phillies did score two runs on a Ryan Howard single in the 7th to take the lead. That lead was promptly erased as rookie Michael Schwimer got tossed into the fire at the bottom of the 7th. I feel sorry for Schwimer; this was not a situation where a rookie should have been sent in to hold a slim 4-3 lead after all the drama of the previous inning. The pressure had to be immense and Schwimer wound up giving up the tying run.
What happened next is what the Phillies should really be ashamed of. They played seven straight innings of scoreless baseball, dragging the game through 14 innings. As a team, the Phillies left 11 men on base, went 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position and totaled only 10 hits in 14 innings.
Worse than that, the bullpen kept them in the game and the offense did nothing to support them. The biggest victim was David Herndon, who imploded on Saturday night and handed the game to the Marlins. But tonight, he pitched almost four full innings with an amazing effort. He worked in and out of jams and kept pitching tough even as he tired. Herndon escaped bases loaded jams twice, five intentional walks and a badly fielded ball at third that would have shortened his outing.
Still, Herndon persisted and redeemed himself from Saturday’s disaster. That his offense could not score him one single run during all that was ridiculous. Chase Utley went 0-for-7; Pence ended 0-for-6, although he was robbed of a double; Shane Victorino had only one hit and a walk in six at-bats. And most of that was against the Marlins sub-par bullpen. Yuck :O(
The game ended with another bases loaded jam for Herndon who walked the winning run in just as his arm was about to fall off. And that happened after some questionable calls from the home plate ump who seemed to decided that 14 innings were enough for him.
While all that really sucked…a lot…tomorrow is a new day and the Braves are coming to town. These next three days are the time for the Phillies to drop the hammer on the NL East. So perhaps the offense tonight was saving up the hits for the Braves? Hope so….game 1 begins at 7:05pm Monday night!
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Herndon Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography, West photo by MLB.com
The umpiring this entire post-season so far has been horrific. So bad in fact, that the sports league known well for its lack of interest in getting anything right the first time, has finally made a change. No, there are still no consequences for bad umpiring. That change may be another 3 or 4 decades down the road. But in breaking a tradition that has been in place for 24 of the last 25 World Series, the umpiring crew will not include a first-timer for the 2009 Series.
Each year, the league has rewarded at least one umpire who never called a World Series before. In the last two years, there were 3 new umpires involved in each. But after a string of blatantly awful calls this post-season, only veteran umpires with World Series experience will be put on the field. Those umpires are Joe West, Dana DeMuth, Gerry Davis, Brian Gorman, Jeff Nelson and Mike Everitt. The first 3 have at least 25 years MLB experience and all have worked at least one World Series.
But the question still remains, why all the bad calls? I have a few theories:
– Manny has his own t-shirt; the umpires felt left out.
– Constantly asked, “Are you blind?”, these umps finally realized that being blind = free government disability benefits. Awesome.
– If players can get away with using steroids, cheating on and beating on their wives and setting bad examples for children everywhere, why shouldn’t the umpires able to blow a few calls? No biggie.
– More instant replay = same pay, less work. May as well have a robot call the balls and strikes. The ump can just supervise.
– Chicks dig bad boys.
So forget about those missed hit by pitches, the double play that wound up being only one out or that guy who called a runner out for leaving base too soon when he never even looked at the runner; these umpires are clearly on a mission. And everyone loves a good controversy. So umps, you go on with your bad selves! We all cannot wait to see what you pull out of your back sides next. I just hope it is not a yellow penalty flag, because that is totally the wrong sport. Best of luck to ya!
Manuel photo by Jenn