May 26, 2012
Jays should let bats do the talking
By Bob Elliott, QMI Agency
Enough is enough.
Brian Burke could not win a war of words with Don Cherry.
And the truculent 25-man Blue Jays roster will never ever win a fight against the 68 umpires who will work the major-league games.
As the saying goes, they don’t hide the good umpires in Arlington, Tex.
And the rest of the old line goes “I know why, because there aren’t any good umps to hide.”
Look at the sixth inning of Friday’s 14-3 debacle with Eric Cooper working the plate.
Derek Holland throws a called strike to Jose Bautista.
Next thing you know the Jays bench was chirping, manager John Farrell was saying “I didn’t say anything,” his team in an 8-0 hole.
After a foul ball, Bautista was called out on strikes. Bautista, who has displayed bad body language after most called strikes in the month of April, debated the issue but respectfully.
The next hitter Edwin Encarnacion slumped after called strike by Cooper. He didn’t say a word but hit the 3-2 pitch to left for a homer.
Which is the best way to react to a call on the corner?
Were they strike?
Maybe not to you or I, but they were the only man in the building who mattered.
And then there is Brett Lawrie.
Lawrie apologized to plate ump Bill Miller deep in the bowels of the Rogers Centre the night after throwing his helmet and hitting Miller in the right hip on May 16 on a called third strike. Crew chief Dale Scott explained the apology seemed sincere.
When Lawrie returned to play he slid past second on a hit-and-run, play and did not re-touch as he returned to first Tuesday at St. Pete’s.
After the Tampa Bay Rays appealed ump Rob Drake make the out signal. Lawrie, now back at first, sprinted to second to argue.
Imagine you are Rob Drake for a second ...
Here’s a guy built like a brick mail box running at you as if he’s on special team’s punt coverage and Drake has called for a fair catch.
And on yeah this is in his second game back after winging a helmet at a fellow ump to earn a four-game suspension.
Lawrie stopped in time and Drake waved him off.
The Rays series featured Yunel Escobar and Farrell jawing with the umps.
We’ve read where the some fans and players think that the Jays are in the midst of feud with the umps.
This is not a feud. Not yet.
But it has a chance.
Joseph Norbert Brinkman ruled a ground-rule single on Ernie Whitt at Yankee Stadium in September of 1985 and manager Cito Gaston thought they were wronged that night, and subsequent games by either Brinkman or his crew. It was that case until Gaston was fired in 1997.
Now, 1985-to-1997, that covers some ground.
That was a feud, rather real or imagined, with Gaston saying long after Whitt’s departure “someone should tell Brinkman, Ernie Whitt isn’t with us anymore.”
Either general manager Alex Anthopoulos or Farrell has to nip the anti-ump attitude which shows as a lack of maturity.
I remember a player telling me how he was rung up in his first game by a veteran ump.
Next time up, the ump told him son “you have to earn respect here, we don’t give it and you can’t demand it.”
The player told the story at his Hall of Fame induction.
Someone has to take some of these players aside and tell them they are fighting an uphill battle they can’t win.
If not there will be another new logo for next season.
Maybe one with a Jays bird squawking, moaning and complaining ... as if it’s still in the nest.
Boo-boo on Yu: At least one club -- not the Jays -- now admits it missed the boat on free-agent Japanese right-hander Yu Darvish.
“Our stuff on him was wrong,” said one executive. “We thought he’d come over and have excellent control like most pitchers from Japan. Well, he’s struggled with his control the few times I’ve seen him.
“His stuff though ... his stuff is outstanding. We thought he was maybe a No. 4 or a No. 5. He’s impressed me. If he gets his control figured out he’s going to be a No. 1. We were wrong on him.”
Listen close if you are seated in the 200 Level during the next home stand at Rogers Centre.
The usher showing you to your seat could be Murray Eldon. Eldon was the Jays P.A. announcer from 1978 until 2004, working games at Exhibition Stadium and SkyDome.
Eldon was upset he didn’t get a World Series ring in either 1992 or 1993. The Jays made the decision that they were not giving rings to part-time employees.
After being let go, then CEO Paul Godfrey arranged for George Bell and Gaston to presented Eldon a 1993 Series ring in 2005 in a pre-game ceremony.
Besides working for CKFM from 1979-1988, plus working in marketing and intellectual properties for Wi-Lan Inc., Eldon was in his booth each and every home game -- missing only five during his tenure.
Now, he’s back at Rogers Centre as an usher.
“I always say 27 years, 2,300 games, 63 million people,” Eldon said.
And that’s as an announcer, he hasn’t tallied how many people he’s seated.