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Recent Stories Putting Black Eye on the Face of MLB 3

Posted on August 30, 2010 by Don Spieles

For as much as Bud Selig tries to make sure that Major League Baseball always puts its best foot forward, sometimes people just can’t seem keep from tripping him up. Here are four recent stories that make baseball look less then wonderful, one that centers on Selig, himself!

Nationals Handling of Steven Strasburg

Washington Nationals starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg throws against the Florida Marlins during the fourth inning of MLB National League baseball action in Washington in this August 10, 2010 file photo. According to the team's website, Strasburg has a significant tear in his ulnar collateral ligament will likely require Tommy John surgery, the team announced in a conference call on August 27, 2010. Picture taken August 10, 2010.  REUTERS/Larry Downing (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)As a friend said to me recently, “Well, that was short-lived.” He was, of course, speaking about Strasburg’s time on the MLB stage. Many (including your truly) predicted that Strasburg would not see the big show this year at all. Now that the young ace is scheduled for Tommy John surgery and will be missing possibly until the 2012 season, perhaps the Nationals brass is wishing that those predictions had proven accurate.

You certainly don’t have to look far to find success stories related to what is perhaps the most well known surgical procedure after a tonsillectomy. Some notable names who have made the papers after the procedures include Kenny Rogers, Tim Hudson, Chris Carpenter, John Smoltz, and Mariano Rivera. There is no reason to be overly pessimistic about Strasburg’s furture.

The bottom line is that his career need not have started with this setback. They monitored his pitches, innings, and all of that. But what was not taken into account (or so it would seem) is that there is a huge difference in throwing in front of 5,000 fans in a minor league game, and then throwing in front of 50,000 fans on a national stage. Especially when the pitcher in question throws as hard as Starsburg does. Read the rest of this entry →

More of the Same From “Cowboy Joe” 0

Posted on May 27, 2010 by Don Spieles

Here’s a name you should not know but probably do: Joe West

Aside from his aspiring (or is it perspiring) country music career, Joe West is the best known umpire currently in the major leagues.  But pay attention to that sentence because best known is very different from being the best, or even generally good at his job.  Most talking heads agree, Joe West is an average to below average official.  More importantly, he refuses to fade in to the background of the games he calls as a good umpire should.  Instead, West enjoys his stage and, on occasions like Wednesday’s White Sox game, he demands center stage.

West called Chicago’s Mark Buehrle for two balks in the first three innings of their game against the Indians.  Buehrle, known for an exceptional move to first, didn’t like the first one, and his manager, Ozzie Guillen, came out of the dugout, argued with West, and got himself tossed.  Now, Ozzie getting tossed is not even really news worthy, although most observers seem to agree that what Buehrle did in the second inning was not a balk.  In the third inning, West called Buehrle for another balk that was not a balk.  This time, when Buehrle dropped his glove on the ground in disgust, West tossed him.  It did not appear that Buehrle yelled anything at West prior to his ejection, and it was clear that West was waiting for any excuse.

Is Joe West a Good Umpire?

  • Whatever skill he possesses is overshadowed by his showboating (39%, 7 Votes)
  • He's average (28%, 5 Votes)
  • He's lousy (22%, 4 Votes)
  • Yep, He calls 'em like he sees 'em (11%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 18

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Now, balks are a dubious thing at best – most fans I know can’t even explain clearly what constitutes one.  The real issue here isn’t balks, however, it’s roles. Life is much nicer when you and the folks around you know what roles they are in and play them.  Joe West’s role is supposed to be, to steal a line from Full Metal jacket, “In the rear with the gear.”  The is most assuredly not where Joe West wants to be.

Read the rest of this entry →

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