Tuesday, May 21, 2013

120' Toss

So take a peek at this clip generously provided by MLB. There is quite a bit going on.

So we have Bryce Harper (stats) in the 1st inning of the Nationals v. Pirates the other week. A check swing that was appealed by the Pirates catcher, and was called a 3rd strike by 3rd base umpire, and crew chief, John Hirschbeck (bio).

Based on the account here, Harper gave him the "stink eye" and dropped his bat. From the video Hirschbeck obviously reacted, in an ... unorthodox manner.

It was actually quite clever as it gave Harper the opportunity for pause and just walk away as (in Hirschbeck's words) "... he was trying to show me up."

From there, there were (2) subtle management pieces going on. First was at :12 of the video when the home plate umpire engages Harper from reacting any more than he did already by dropping his bat, it would seem in protest.

Also, at :16, you can see Hirschbeck walk toward home plate, and stop for the 3rd base coach and send him to talk to his player.

From there Harper throws his helment (for the 2nd time this year) and was ejected.

A staggering analysis can be found here at the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League.

So there was good and bad for me in this one from all sides.

Harper was wrong to "show up" Hirschbeck through his actions, and was properly ejected for it, full stop.

Hirschbeck was unorthodox, some say inflammatory, in his actions by raising his hands, and may have done better to just yell and point (being 120' away makes some of this tough), and his action may have been a way to try and bridge that distance. It may have also been an attempted technique that went wrong. (These guys don't get AAA games to try new tactics out remember)

Hirschbeck was still justified to send Harper for his conduct, that was even after being spoken to by the home plate umpire, and 3rd base coach.

Closing comments go to Harper as in looking at the interview here, I though Harper came off a lot better personally ... and in the big leagues folks (future MLS and FIFA guys take note), this stuff matters a bunch.

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