Sunday, June 14, 2015

Pic of the Week

Torii Hunter made a better throw with his jersey
Wednesday night than he did when he returned the ball
to the infield after a Jorge Polanco error.
Nobody should have been surprised Friday with the two-game suspension levied on Torii Hunter after his Wednesday meltdown. Once he started pelting the infield with his equipment and clothing, a suspension was guaranteed.

Unlike Ron Gardenhire, Paul Molitor is not particularly prone to histrionic confrontations with the umpires. It's possible that Gardy would have gotten out there faster and gotten himself ejected rather than Hunter. Or it's possible that all that Gardy would have accomplished is getting himself tossed out as well as Hunter. (Which happened with Molitor).

Hunter immediately appealed the suspension, then dropped the appeal Saturday.

Since we're on the subject, let's delve into another aspect of the Torii Tantrum:

The umpire, in his first year as a full-time major league ump, is Mark Ripperger. As detailed by the Pioneer Press' Mike Berardino, Ripperger has racked up a pretty impressive list of ejectees in his young career, including two Hall of Fame  players-turned managers, a former Cy Young winner and a couple of big-name outfielders.

Which suggests two possibilities:

1) Stars and managers are trying to bully a young ump (hardly unusual);
2) Ripperger is weak on balls-and-strikes (also hardly unusual).

The technological tools are available to improve the umpiring on those calls. If Ripperger is weak on them, he can, and should, get better. (For all the Internet demands for "#RobotUmpsNow", I don't think there's a way to get a ball or strike called mechanically fast enough for use on a 3-2 pitch with the runner going. The catcher can't wait for a PitchFx ruling before throwing or holding.)

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