May 28, 2012
Jays vs. MLB umpsToronto would have a much better relationship with the umps if it would just keep quiet
By BOB ELLIOTT, QMI Agency
TORONTO - Maybe a hand-written apology on an authentic, game-worn, autographed Blue Jays jersey?
Possibly tickets for 68 and a guided tour of the Hockey Hall of Fame?
Long-time observers of the Blue Jays say they have seen calls go against them each and every inning since the Brett Lawrie helmet toss.
Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees fans would probably say the same about the umps.
The fact is the Jays and the four-man blue team are not on the best of terms.
What’s the next step before calling in a UN peace-keeping mission?
“Stay quiet and don’t complain about strike calls,” said Omar Vizquel, one of the wisest men in the Jays clubhouse.
“Stay in the game, don’t get kicked out. If an umpire calls a pitch a strike that you think is a bad pitch, don’t even turn around. You don’t even ask ‘where was that pitch?’ ”
Vizquel is in his 24th year in the majors.
He has seen it all, experienced it all.
Where does the Jays recent stretch rank in his 24 years of playing with the Cleveland Indians, Seattle Mariners, San Francisco Giants, Chicago White Sox and Texas Rangers?
He knows a short hop with the chance for a bad hop.
Since Lawrie tossed his helmet on May 15 we have seen:
“Edwin never complains,” Bautista said. “If you ever see Edwin complain you know something is terribly wrong.”
Henderson Alvarez was ejected by plate ump Marty Foster following back-to-back-to-back homers and an inside 1-2, hip-high pitch to Ian Kinsler on Saturday. Earlier in the game, Lawrie’s throw to second pulled Vizquel off the base at second. Jeff Kellogg stared down Lawrie. Lawrie didn’t bite.
You walk through the clubhouse, after listening to the radio and you wonder are the umpires really against the Jays?
Inside manager Buck Showalter’s office, the Baltimore Orioles manager asked broadcaster Joe Angel why Jim Leyland didn’t come out to argue a play late in the game Monday afternoon. Angel explained Leyland had been ejected in the second inning.
Tigers’ Doug Fister thought he’d struck out Mike Aviles to end the second with Gerald Laird catching the ball. Plate umpire Jeff Nelson called strike three on Aviles, but first base ump Bill Welke adjudged Aviles had fouled the ball into the dirt.
Aviles, Daniel Nava and Dustin Pedroia then had two-out, RBI hits.
“There shouldn’t have been a second-inning rally, Leyland told writers. “There were three outs. I’ve been in the game a long time. You guys need to write something and hold people accountable.”
The umps are against the Tigers too ... and the other 14 teams who lost Monday.
“One of the things we talk about regularly is how we deal with frustration,” manager John Farrell told reporters. “That’s going to be present whether you are hitting .350 or .150,” Farrell said how the game is based on some negativity.
“How we deal with negativity individually and collectively, how we respond to frustration is the part we have control over,” Farrell said. “That’s why we continually stress staying with what we control. That’s our attitude, that’s our approach any given game.”
Well, this young team is still working on that approach.
“We’ve had a lot of different levels of frustration,” Farrell said. “In some cases it’s been handled very well, in some cases, I think well publicized, it hasn’t gone as well as we intended.”
We remember covering the Montreal Expos and after watching Rodney Scott get called out on so many bang-bang plays asking an ump how come he was always out?
“Well,” said the ump, “it might help if he wasn’t going into his slide screaming ‘call me safe you no good ...”
Personally, we think the umps do their best every night.
Like every other profession some nights are better than others.
You can’t win an argument with an ump.
“We have to show some maturity,” said an experienced voice in the Jays clubhouse. “We have to dial it down a notch, those guys are doing their job. We have to shut up for a month and there will be another team they can be angry with.”