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Harry Wendelstedt was a great umpire

August 9, 2009

Gardenhire sounds off about ump after ejection – MLB News – FOX Sports on MSN

I’m not sure about Hunter; I haven’t been impressed with what I’ve seen of him, but there are other umpires who force themselves on the game more. I didn’t see this game, but from the description here, it sounds like he was right about the balk. Of course, I don’t know what a balk is; I don’t think Gardenhire knows either, because nobody knows what a balk is. All we know is that it’s not “an attempt to deceive the baserunner” anymore. But a quick pitch isn’t a balk from what I know.

The problem isn’t that Wendelstedt got the call wrong. The problem is that he let the bench get to him, and then did a little baiting, telling Gardenhire he’d run him if he kept complaining. Now, coming onto the field or changing position to argue balls and strikes is grounds for ejection (though everybody does it). Arguing balks from the dugout is not. In general, the only reason to eject someone from the dugout is if they’re using abusive language, which doesn’t seem to be the case here. If the manager and bench are just griping, you really have a duty to take it. Gardenhire wasn’t showing Wendelstedt up or slowing down the game. He was just being annoying; that he was being wrongfully annoying doesn’t enter into it. It doesn’t matter, under these circumstances, that the call was right. Wendelstedt should know that, running an umpire school and all.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 9, 2009 12:13 pm

    I disagree with your post. Rule 9.02(a): “Any umpire’s decision which involves judgment… is final. No player, manager, coach… shall object to any such judgment decisions.” So we’re already dealing with a gray area here. Umpires, of course, allow argument on judgment calls all the time. They also have limits on how much and what type of argument they will tolerate.

    I attended Mr. Wendelstedt’s school, and one morning’s drills involved dealing with managers and/or players complaining from the bench. They wanted to give us an idea of what’s reasonable and what isn’t.

    One thing we can say with near-certainty is that Gardenhire left the bench with the intention of getting ejected.

  2. Grst permalink
    August 9, 2009 5:55 pm

    “It’s a quick-pitch,” Gardenhire explained afterward. “Our guys in the dugout started yelling. He (Wendelstedt) took his mask off and yelled, ‘I’m going to throw you out if I hear one more thing!’ I said, ‘I haven’t said a word.’ He says, ‘I’m going to throw you out if you whatever.’ I walked out, and he threw me out. He says, ‘How do you like that?'”

    If it actually happened like that, it’s indefensible. Just another thin-skinned umpire that thinks he is part of the game.

    Nobody pays money to go to a baseball game and see a wanna-be tyrant throw his weight around.

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