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March 13, 2007

Does Carl Need To Plead To Officer Krupke?

Some say that umpires like to think that they are part of the overall baseball on-the-field fraternity - along with the players. And, that the umps also like to think that they're as macho as the players and carry the same on-the-field tough-guy code-of-conduct mindset.

Believing this to be true, and remembering something from last week, and seeing part of last night's Yanks-Sox game, I am now wondering about something in regard to Carl Pavano.

It was reported that home-plate umpire Jerry Crawford had a tight strike zone for Carl Pavano during Pavano's first start of this spring. And, watching the game last night, I thought that home-plate umpire Fieldin Culbreth was squeezing Pavano a bit as well.

Are the umpires trying to play fraternity cops here, with Pavano, in response to (or punishment for) the way Carl has gone about his 'business' the past couple of years? Are they sending a signal to him, telling him that he's going to have to work for every quarter that he earns?

Or, could it just be that the umps, in the case of Pavano's two starts this spring, are just getting into game shape (with their eyes) - the same as the players? After all, umpires would never take it upon themselves to police the integrity of on-the-field effort, right? Hmmmm....

Well, it is just two starts. But, it's something to keep on the radar. Perhaps Pavano not only has to win back the respect of the Yankees organization, and it's fans, but, also, the men in blue as well?

Pavano may be feeling pretty this spring, in his own mind, but, perhaps he should also start to be concerned about 'what the man in blue is gonna do' - based on his first two starts in exhibition games.

Posted by Steve Lombardi at March 13, 2007 12:37 PM


If the umpires are doing that ("sending signals to Pavano"), then they deserve to be fired.

Was the zone tight for the other pitchers as well, or was it done only for Pavano? I only saw a small part of the game last night.

Posted by: Raf [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 13, 2007 01:45 PM

Do you really think the umps have it in for Pavano?

Why would the umps care how Pavano conducts himself unless his actions affect them?

I thought you could have come up with a better conspiracy theory than this.

Posted by: RICH [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 13, 2007 01:52 PM

Raf - I only saw Pavano and Wakefield throw yesterday. It looked like only Pavano was getting squeezed.

Rich - I'm not sure if the umps care. That's why I'm questioning if it could be possible - and not stating that it's a fact.

Posted by: Steve Lombardi [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 13, 2007 01:56 PM

Not having seen any of the games, I can't possibly say. Though if only Carl is getting squeezed, Torre needs to bark at the umps -- even at the cost of getting tossed (it is only spring training, and it'll do Mattingly good to get some managing experience)/

Posted by: rbj [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 13, 2007 02:45 PM

Speaking as a New York Rangers fan, a league-wide officiating conspiracy is entirely possible.

Posted by: Jen [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 13, 2007 03:20 PM

everytime i see a Yankee called out on a bunt for 'running outside the baseline' (which happened a few games ago), i think back to the 97 LDS, when Posada gunned the ball into Travis Fryman's back (who was clearly trying to impede the throw), and knoblauch pointed at it, allowing 2 runs to score. after that, you'd expect one of those to go the Yanks way, but i cant remember it. it even killed us again in the LDS vs. anaheim 2 years ago, with Cano, remember?

anyway - the so-called 'human factor' in officiating all sports (not just baseball) should be 'computerized' asap. i'm sick of umps calling balls and strikes differently depending on the pitcher or hitter. e.g. the best hitters (Bonds, Ortiz, Giambi) always get the benefit of the doubt on close pitches, and vice versa for the pitchers. if they're so good, why do they need any help? why not use ESPN's K-zone or questec ot actually call strikes. not to mention the bang-bang plays (or some form of instant replay). but i have way too many thoughts on this topic to write them all here.

re: Pavano, i just watched his outing. i saw about 5-6 pitches where he was squeezed. Wakefield had a few too though. But they also had close calls go FOR them too.

i've seen most of the close calls go against pitchers this spring, so i'll assume it's the umps ST too.

Posted by: Travis G. [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 13, 2007 03:34 PM

I agree that human error has become a nuissance, especially in important games. I see no reason why each manager shouldn't be allotted one instant replay challenge per game - other than the fact that Yanks-O's games would probably go four AND A HALF hours, as opposed to the standard three-forty-five.

Posted by: brockdc [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 13, 2007 04:10 PM

i understand the desire to make games shorter, but i feel if computers call the ball & strikes BY THE BOOK, it will make games much shorter. the low strikes are called pretty fair, but the high strike is supposed to be at mid-torso (letter-high). but umps never call anything higher than the belt.

another reason is that getting the call right is paramount. for the current game, there should be unlimited replays on fair/foul hits, HR/off-the-wallers, and plays at the plate. it will be much shorter than the NFL version because there's less subjectivity to it: did the WR have 'control'? very subjective. MLB: was he out or safe? objective.

another double standard umps have: they're far more willing to call an outside corner strike than inside. e.g. a RHB takes a strike on the outside corner, but if the pitcher makes that exact same pitch to a LHB (now on the inside corner), it's probably called a ball. a strike is a strike.

Posted by: Travis G. [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 13, 2007 07:03 PM