Saturday, August 21, 2010

JAFO Weighs In

As a follow up to "You Wanna Go?" earlier in the month, JAFO had a really a really good comment, agreeing in part with my comments, but adding a critical wrinkle to the mix. I wanted to share with you all. Straight from JAFO:

Yes but.........contained in the MLB rules is this gem: "9.02(a) Comment: Players leaving their position in the field or on base, or managers or coaches leaving the bench or coaches box, to argue on BALLS AND STRIKES will not be permitted. They should be warned if they start for the plate to protest the call. If they continue, they will be ejected from the game."

So, to take the umpire's position for a moment, this is an automatic, and his hands are essentially tied.  I am sure that Kulpa was not taunting Hunter, but expressing surprise and disbelief that Hunter would even begin to argue a ball/strike call knowing the penalty for doing so.  And this in the 8th inning of a game in which Hunter's team was in firm command.  Why argue something un-winnable at that point?  

This does not negate your comments and conclusion that Kulpa could have shown more respect, but does it at least raise the question about what responsibility the player had in all of this.  By backing the umpire into a corner, was Hunter showing respect?

A most excellent comment from one far more educated than I am about baseball.

My answer to the last question posited is a resounding "no" and JAFO is right that respect is a two sided coin. By Hunter arguing after the fact, and knowing better, he did put Kulpa in a corner that he had to do something. Ignore, argue back, eject ... None are great alternatives for Kulpa, or the game. Point well taken JAFO.

It lead me to a follow on thought, to be covered tomorrow soon, about "automatic" v. "discretionary" sanctioning and when you must use one versus considering using the other. Something about having enough rope to choke yourself ...

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