Wednesday, October 12, 2005

White Sox plus Eddings 2; Angels 1

**UPDATE 4**
I'm moving this one to the top, because you need to read this entry with this post in mind, so click the link, read the post over at BTF, then read the rest. Or don't, it's up to you. The Chronicler with a great post detailing other similar situations throughout the game. In a nutshell, on every single at bat that ended in a bounced third strike, Eddings waited until the batter had been tagged out to pump his fist. Also, it details how Eddings is a liar. Now, back to the original post.

Well, it's a shame it had to end that way. The White Sox were given this game by Doug Eddings. It's a shame that incompetence has to decide such an important game, but such is baseball. What makes this tough to take is that 1) You hate to use your bullpen up, have them pitch lights out, and have the game stolen from them, and 2) Eddings blew the call not once, but TWICE! He not only missed the fact that the ball didn't bounce, but he made the out call! He pumped his freaking fist!

A well pitched game on both sides, with it's share of close calls, this was one exciting baseball game. Buehrle was as good as most people expected him to be, and Washburn really gutted out a great performance under the circumstances. His error in the first inning proved costly, as it allowed the Sox to get on the board first. Poor coaching by Joey Cora cost the Sox a run in the second when he sent Rowand, who had doubled and advanced to third on a misplay by Vlad. Quinlan retrieved the ball and fired it to the plate where Jose Molina tagged out Rowand, just barely, preserving the one run deficit. Eddings had a large strike zone all night long, and both pitchers benefitted, perhaps Wash a little more than Buehrle. Admittedly, he called Konerko out on a bad called when he said Konerko swung at strike three. He didn't, and Eddings didn't even ask for help, a running theme for him tonight. Quinlan repeated his heroics of September 9th, when he homered off of Buehrle to tie a game the Angels eventually won, repeating the feat tonight. The Angels had an opportunity with Davanon on second, but Figgins continues to fail in crucial situations, and Cabrera's deep fly ball wasn't quite deep enough. The White Sox threated as well, getting Crede to second with one out before Uribe lined to left. Crede was caught off second and doubled off on a great throw by GA. The play wasn't without controversy, but the replays appeared to show he was out.

Escobar was terrific, pitching three innings and striking out five, inlcuding the play that will be talked about all series. Granted, the third strike to Pierszynski was close, but replays pretty clearly showed the ball didn't hit the dirt. Eddings called strike three, then, and I can't stress this enough, pumped his fist indicating "out". We all watch a lot of baseball, and we all know that umpires DO NOT MAKE THE OUT CALL until the runner has been tagged on a dropped or bounced third strike. Inexplicably, Eddings must have forgotten that. He allowed Pierszynski to reach first, Ozuna ran and took second on the slow working Escobar, and Crede, coming up big again, lined in the winning run.

Another coupla things about this play that seemed strange, and for which I'm sure we'll hear no explanation. First, do you ever see catchers not tag batters on dropped or bounced third strikes if there's any chance it hit the ground. Usually it's automatic. I think that's a clear sign that Paul knew he caught it. Second, EVERY SINGLE BALL that comes into contact with the dirt is removed from play these days. Seriously, watch a game and look for this and you'll notice it if you haven't already. Eddings could very easily simply gone and checked the ball. This isn't unprecedented. Umpires occasionally do this looking for shoe polish if a batter claim he was hit in the foot. All he had to do was walk out and look for the scuff mark. He froze. He screwed up not once, but twice, and when he could have taken corrective action, he failed to act. It's inexcusable, and he shouldn't work another post-season game. Fortunately, he'll be on the foul lines for the next couple of games, but that job requires a close eye on balls in the dirt, and I'm not sure he's up to the task. I know one thing, he ought to be thanking his lucky stars the next game is Anaheim. New York, Boston, or God forbid Philly, and he'd be ducking D-cells all night long. Hell, even in Anaheim, I might beg off for fear of my own safety if I were him.

I'm not sure what the rule is in this situation. Judgment calls are not protestable (a perfectly cromulent word), but in this instance, I'm not sure if the Angels can protest the game on the basis of their reliance on Eddings call of out. He can't even really claim that he changed his mind at that point. It's one thing to start making a call of out, then change it to safe when you see a ball drop, or a foot come off the bag, or something similar. It's still within the flow of the play. But imagine a bases loaded situation, a batter grounds out, the first baseman catches the ball, the ump calls out, the players leave the field, and the runners keep running for some reason. An ump couldn't very well change his mind a minute or two after the fact. I don't know, maybe he was just pumping his fist because he liked the organ music or something. If I'm Scioscia, I lodge my protest, and I let Major League Baseball tell the world that they're fine with incompetence. Again, I'm not talking about an error or difference in judgment. I'm talking about a team's reliance on the call made by an umpire.

Coincidentally, the Arkansas Travellers, the Angels AA affiliate, lost their championship this season. The game ended when the final batter struck out, AFTER four balls had been thrown. The ump lost track of the count, called the batter back to the box, and called him out on the next pitch. Shoddy officiating and out and out incompetence is one thing in AA. But this the ALCS. Eddings joins a select group including Don Denkinger, and probably some other people I can't remember right now. The sad thing is that Josh Paul, who did nothing wrong, get's charged with the error that leads to the Sox second unearned run. And I don't care John Kruk says. He can take that ball and shove right up his chute. Josh Paul caught the ball, on the fly, and the umpire signaled out. It's really that simple. When he called strikes, he stuck his right arm out.

But that's baseball. That's why we watch. You never know what's going to happen. Certainly the Angels didn't deserve to win, but they didn't deserve to lose either, and they DEFINITELY didn't deserve to lose like that. It's unfortunate, and it puts the Angels really in a must win situation in game three. They have arguable their best pitcher going. He'll be on full rest. And they're facing a guy they've hammered this season and over his career. But Chone Figgins needs to show up. Vlad needs to show up. Somebody with a bat needs to show up.

We'll see ya Friday night.

**Update** after replays, Doug Eddings is a flat out liar. The man is a bald faced liar. If he is claiming he didn't call AJ out, he's a liar. You can watch every strike out. His strike call is to flex his right arm out, almost like a one handed safe call with his right hand. To make the out call, ALL NIGHT LONG, he pumped his fist. He called AJ out. And great job by Harold Reynolds and the baseball tonight crew to point this out. The fact is, the Angels were robbed. Like I said, they didn't deserve to win, but they didn't derserve to lose like that. FWIW, the one Sox fan I've talked to tonight (my law school roommate) agrees with me. If I were him, I'd take it. Lord knows the Angels have benefitted from bad calls this season. But this is really an embarrassment. Doug Eddings should be removed from the crew. First, he's not a very good ump. Second, he's a liar. I have a lot more respect for umps that suck, but stick by their calls. Anyway, I'm clearly bitter right now, and I didn't write a lot of things that I wanted to. The guys at South Side Sox have been nice enough to link over here, and hey, I like the traffic, so I'm trying to seem fair, although one of the reasons they've linked here (I can only imagine) is to show the Angels fan side of things. So Sox fans, if I'm way off base, feel free to say so in the comments.

**UPDATE 2** Apparently there's some discussion about reliance on the call. Paul may have tossed the ball back before Eddings made the call. Two things. First, replays are incoclusive, but there may be some merit to that. I see the fist pump, then I see the ball come into the screen. Regardless, if there was any doubt, Escobar could have been there to pick it up and throw AJ out. It's not just Paul's reliance that I'm speaking about. It all of the Angels infielders. And they all saw it. Second, none of us know what he said, if he said anything, or if he ever says anything. There's no way to tell on this point.

**UPDATE 3** If you have the chance, watch the strikeout of Bengie Molina in the 6th. One argument being made is that the fist pump is his strike call, not his out call. Couple of problems for this. If this is the case, he didn't signal out on a strikeout all night. 12 guys walked back to the dugout without being signaled out. Second, watch that Molina play, it's the smoking gun. Bengie swings and misses, and the bat goes flying. AJ catches it. Eddings makes the no contact sign. Then he waits. He had a rhythm to the two arm motions all night long. Not this time. He waited until AJ tagged Molina before making the fist pump. If he's claiming that he never made an out call, he's a liar.

The other side: Exile in Wrigleyville; South Side Sox.


Anonymous said...

expobill here!

awesome reweiw ...... just complete awesome!, that is the first time is used that word.

we will get them in our house, umps or not!

ummm I have never seen Vlad so unproductive in his career that I have followed since 1996, (ex-expo fan) he will wake up!

shouldn't Erstad be on the next currency bill?

Anonymous said...

From MLB Rule 9.05 (concerning umpires):

"Wait until the play is completed before making any arm motion."

Nuff said. Eddings owes the Angels one game.

Anonymous said...

I'm not a psychologist by any stretch, but as you watch eddings wave his arm to his right he is already backing up, then, he raises his arm with his hand in a fist for the out call, he is still moving away from home plate, one foot is actually in the air.

eddings is actually moving away from the play and paul is near the dugout.

all that said, his whole body movements lend me to believe that he called out.

now, he's saying, "I'm watching Paul to see what he does..." while moving backwards!! When have any of us ever seen an umpire move away like he did?

He lied on television to all of us.


Anonymous said...

Suck it up ladies.

Flynn said...

Disclosure time: I'm a Sox fan.

That having been said, there are a few points here (some of which were brought up on Baseball Tonight) that lend credibility to what happened.

First, the hand signal is *not* the definitive call. The audible call is. A.J. was behind the plate all night with Eddings all night, for many strikeouts. He clearly noticed something different in the way that Eddings finished that at bat. Even though he pumped his fist (which he maintained in the post-game interview was his method of calling a strike out), do we know that he didn't *say* "you're out" after all the others, regardless of whether he pumped his fist?

Second, if the arm motion *is* the key, shouldn't Paul, and every other catcher for that matter, have to turn around and look to make sure the batter was called out rather than running off the field?

What few people have been mentioning is that the replay on the super slow-mo shows the ball heading down and then popping *up* into Paul's mitt. No, they didn't check for dirt, but Paul had already thrown the ball on the field at that point, and it could have been scuffed then. Checking wouldn't have mattered.

It sucks to see such a close game decided by this play, but the argument that he flat out blew the call is ridiculous. There's clearly enough here to raise a doubt, and even *after* Eddings pumped his fist, he followed the play to watch what happened. Erstad even mentioned that as a sign that something was up.

Anonymous said...

eddings didn't let the sox steal a base, or give up an RBI double, or only manage one run through 9 innings of play. eddings helped put one guy on with a questionable call; the angels did everything else to lose the game.

Fragile Freddy said...

Red Sox fan here, I know what it's like to get screwed on a bad call ('75, '99). In my experience, a bad call hurts you only if you let it though. Was it a horrendous call? Yup. No question. However, if Paul throws out Ozuna stealing or if Escobar doesn't throw a cookie on an 0-2 pitch then it doesn't matter.

Marty McKee said...

I don't think anybody outside of Chicago believes Eddings didn't blow this call. The replay clearly shows the pitch going into Paul's mitt. The ball could not have possibly touched the dirt, because Paul's mitt is on the dirt. The pitch goes into the mitt and bounces up from the webbing into the palm of the mitt. This is clear on the videotape, as is Eddings' making a fist and calling the batter out. No one can deny these facts.

Seitz said...

Flynn: I disagree. I think the center field cam clearly shows that the ball never hit the dirt. And Paul didn't fire it into the ground at 90 MPH. I don't think his little toss, which may not even have hit the dirt, would leave a mark. And try getting a catcher's glove and making a sno-cone catch. Rarely happens. The roll at the top of the webbing and the pockey nature of the webbing makes the natural motion of the ball move into the deep part of the webbing. When the glove it turned up, the natural motion of the ball is to run down. When the glove is turned down, the natural motion of the ball is to run up.

Let's say you're right that the arm pump is not the definitive out call. Why, on EVERY SINGLE BATTER where the ball was in or near the dirt, did he wait for the batter to be tagged before making that call. This includes the batter right before AJ. He either got it wrong all night long and got it right once, or he fucked up, and he lied about it to cover his ass.

I don't agree that there was clearly enough to create doubt. The doubt was created by Eddings' indecision, and exacerbated by his lying.

Anon: who is saying he did?

Anonymous said...

First, replays are incoclusive, but there may be some merit to that. I see the fist pump, then I see the ball come into the screen.

This coming from a guy who's hysterically saying that you can tell that Paul caught the ball? WHAT?

That may have been a wrong judgement call by the ump... but it's baseball, for Christ's sake, that happens.

Why aren't you screaming about how much you hate Josh Paul? That is flat-out a horrendously amateurish mistake that most little leaguers would know not to make.

Or how about the stolen base he allowed? Or how about Escobar's 0-2 pitch that got shot to the left field wall.

Yeah, you're right, blame Eddings. You probably believe that Steve Bartman caused the Cubs to not make the World Series, too, right?

Seitz said...

This coming from a guy who's hysterically saying that you can tell that Paul caught the ball? WHAT?

I'm telling you exactly what I see on the screen. It appears he tossed the ball before the fist pump, but as they aren't both on camera at the same time, I can't say for sure.

Why aren't you screaming about how much you hate Josh Paul? That is flat-out a horrendously amateurish mistake that most little leaguers would know not to make.

Because Paul didn't do anything wrong. He caught the third strike. The inning was over.

That is flat-out a horrendously amateurish mistake that most little leaguers would know not to make.

You can't run on a dropped or bounced third strike in Little League.

Or how about the stolen base he allowed?

That Paul allowed? Alright, you've pretty much lost all credibility here. I'm no more a fan of Josh Paul than anyone else on the Angels, but Escobar cannot hold runners, and if you had any clue, you'd know that. There was no way Paul was going to throw Ozuna out on that play. He could be the greatest defensive catcher of all time and he wouldn't have thrown him out.

Yeah, you're right, blame Eddings.

I blame Eddings for screwing up a call that affected the outcome of the game, not once, but twice, then lying about it afterward. I don't need to blame Escobar. There's an L next to his name in the boxscore. I think that's a pretty good indication of blame.

Joe said...

Just a question I'm asking Angel fans and bloggers:

If the White Sox win the pennant/World Series, will you hold a grudge against them and not credit them with the pennant/championship?

Seitz said...

Tough to say. I doubt it. Still a lot of baseball left.

Kyle said...

He clearly noticed something different in the way that Eddings finished that at bat.

Gotta disagree with this one. I don't think there's any way to know this. From what I see, he headed toward the dugout and then turned around and ran to first. AJ just saw an opportunity and took it. Eddings didn't necessarily do anything different.

Anonymous said...

Flynn said,

"First, the hand signal is *not* the definitive call. The audible call is."

Where is that in the rulebook?

The fielders usually can't hear the ump and have to use his hand signal. His hand signal was clear and it threw off the fielders.

Anonymous said...

Sox fan here. I can fully admit it was a blown call, there's no doubt about the fact that he waited for the 'fist pump' until a tag was applied in previous instances, and should have done so here. However, Paul caught that in the dirt, he should have tagged AJ to be sure - immediately jogging to the bench and throwing the ball away was dumb. What AJ did was smart. The smart play won the round.

But, that didn't lose this game for the Angels. We had a runner on first with two outs. That's hardly a guaranteed victory. Ozuna stole second uncontested, and on an 0-2 count, Crede gets an extremely hittable pitch, which he took full advantage of. That's what won this game.

Even if that call was not made, all it meant was that we were heading into the tenth with a bullpen that hadn't been touched and all our regulars in, against a bullpen that had been used since the fifth and the backup catcher playing.

Who knows what the outcome would have been, but the advantage would still be to the Sox in that situation.

uselysses said...

t is amazing to me how people have focused on two aspects of this story: whether the ball bounced and Eddings arm movements afterwards. Both are immaterial.

The ball may have bounced and it may have been caught cleanly. Anybody who says they can look at the video and say inconclusively one way or another are lying or deluded. The play was close. Uncertainty over a clean catch on a third strike happens all the time because of the traditional position of the umpire. It's hard to see.

But it is usually unimportant because catchers are
usually careful to make sure the batter is called out
(a call made after the strike 3 call) and, lacking
that call, will tag the batter out.

How do the catchers know whether the batter has been called out? Certainly not by hand signals. Their backs are turned. They hear the ump call the batter out or they don't. Pierzinski and Eddings both say there was no 'batter out' call. That's why Pierzinski, a catcher who had tagged a couple players out after third strike calls, ran.

Paul talked about how some umpires will say something about the play still being live on a ball in the dirt, but this is non-standard and I would argue (though not here)a corruption of the rule. He rolled the ball out to the mound after hearing strike three. That is the cue the rest of the players used for leaving the field.

In any case, all this did was prevent a tenth inning.
It did not take away a victory from the Angels.

Seitz said...

They hear the ump call the batter out or they don't.

There's a more recent post on this. Eddings has admitted that on similar occasions during this game, he emphatically signaled "no strike". He did not do so on this play.

In any case, all this did was prevent a tenth inning.
It did not take away a victory from the Angels.

No one is saying it did. It most certainly stole an opportunity to win from the Angels.

uselysses said...

actually a lot of people are saying that it took a victory away from the Angels but few of them are here to your credit.

However, I don't have information that Edding was using the 'no catch ' call duting that game. In the press conference, a reporter said that Josh Paul said that the umps 'usually' say no catch on a ball in the dirt. (Transcript on the Southside Sox site.)

Mike Port, baseball's vice president of umpiring, told The Associated Press on Thursday that Eddings did nothing wrong and that umpires are not required to audibly call "No catch."

uselysses said...

in re little league- we have 11 and 12 year olds playing the same dropped third strike rule as the majors. And Josh Paul grew up aqround here

Seitz said...

I don't have information that Edding was using the 'no catch ' call duting that game.

Right here. "Eddings admitted he called a dropped third strike more emphatically earlier in the game."

Mike Port is a hack, and has always been a hack. And he continues to lie to back up Eddings, saying his motion was consistent. It wasn't. I don't want to write it all out again, but go here and read subsequent posts on the subject.

Seitz said...

in re little league- we have 11 and 12 year olds playing the same dropped third strike rule as the majors. And Josh Paul grew up aqround here

That's not Little League® then. Either that, or they aren't using the official rule book. Little League® does not have a dropped third strike rule.

uselysses said...

A little further down in the article you linked..."When asked if Eddings' actions behind him had no bearing on his decision to roll the ball to the mound, Paul said, "That's correct."

That eliminates all the hand signal bullshit. Paul made the decision to roll the ball to the mound, for whatever reason, without a oral or any other out call. That's a mental error. If Eddings WAS making a more emphatic dropped strike call, Paul should have waited for it or tagged Pierzinski. There was a close call, the ump may or may not have gotten it wrong, but Josh Paul blew it.

I'm sure know that more kids play in 'little leagues' that are not Little League tm than the actual one. Under Babe Ruth, Cal Ripken and others. Not only that, my 12 y.o. son played in state tournaments this year with the full dropped third strike call. Some kids got it wrong but most handled it.

uselysses said...

In re hacks

if you want to argue that the whole umpire establishment is a farce, you'll get no argument. As I've argued, I think there's case for shifting substantial responsibility onto Paul. These guys can't even make that case coherently and actually shoot themselves in the foot every time they open their mouths, And at the core of all of this is the variation they allow in the calling of the game which seeks to make a spectacle of the umpiring. They should have standardized procedures for calling and signalling the game like other sports

Seitz said...

Right, but I don't believe I've claimed that that fist pump confused Paul. I believe it confused Escobar and Erstad at the very least (who could have still be in a position to make the play). I've claimed it confused the fielders, and that Eddings has lied and continues to lie about it. Paul has said that because there was no "no swing" call, as Eddings said he did earlier in the game, that confused Paul.

So he was inconsistent with his vocal cues, and with arm gestures, the latter of which he continues to lie about, as does MLB (Palermo and Port specifically).

If Eddings WAS making a more emphatic dropped strike call, Paul should have waited for it or tagged Pierzinski.

Exaclty how long exactly is he supposed to wait? The umpire can't sit back there and twiddle his thumbs while a guy is running down to first. Or is he suppose to tag every batter? He can't tell if an ump thinks he's seen the ball hit the ground. Paul didn't hear the verbal cues that Eddings admitted he gave earlier in the game. The mental error wasn't Paul's. It was Eddings'.

uselysses said...

He doesn't have to wait. he just tags they guy

uselysses said...

he should never do anything without hearing the out call. If it missing,he need to tag the runner or throw down to first.

In re the fielders, I doubt thay watch the umpire. Their cue is Paul

Seitz said...

In re the fielders, I doubt thay watch the umpire. Their cue is Paul

On this point you're wrong. At least as it relates to this play. Everyone saw Eddings do it. If you watch a tape of it, Erstad and Escobar specifically say to Eddings that he made the motion (you can say them making the gesture). So in this case, they watched the ump.

uselysses said...

I call Dave Mason

Good luck to you and the Angels