Monday, June 23, 2003

One thing is clear from my first few days in Florida: The state has two entertaining baseball teams.

The Marlins have Lowell and Willis and now they have Miguel Cabrera to go along with some good young pitchers. The Marlins will frustrate quite a few contenders for the rest of the season.

The Devil Rays first of all have Lou Piniella managing and add Baldelli and Huff and this pitcher who is pitching tonight: Zombrano. A Devil Ray named Roll (Samari?) has hit two homers against Clemens and Zombrano has outpitched Roger.

But then again, the Yankees look flat tonight which seems understandable since the won a long and emotional extra inning game last night and then had to travel to Tampa. You can tell a team is flat when several of its players swing at 57 foot sliders.

I think Torre is asleep too as a situation happened that cost the Yankees a run. The Yankees had aman on first and third and Matsui was up. At the time, the Yanks were two runs down. Matsui smashes a double to centerfield and it hopped over the fence for a ground rule double. One run scored and usually, the umpires make the runner from first stop at third. But there was a catch this time as the Yankees had the runner on first in motion when the ball was pitched. That being the case, the run should have counted. Torre didn't even question it and apparently, even his braintrust didn't wake him up about it.

I hate the kind of rules that are considered discretionary and the umpires take the lazy, easy way out and always make the call the same way. The rule is discretionary because if a ground rule double is hit and it appears the runner would have scored, then by gum, the runner should score!

I'm pretty fed up with umpires in MLB anyway. The Devil Rays broadcast mentioned that Tampa is one of the cities that is using the system to test umpires. The announcer mentioned that Dale Hirschbeck (sp?) was angered that the system showed that 30+ of his ball and strike calls were wrong. He discredited the system as being flawed. A real man would take the report seriously and look for patterns that can be improved upon. The real truth is that the strike zone is seriously flawed in MLB.

Another beef is umpires that look for confrontation instead of backing away from it. The best umpires I've ever seen will just ignore a player or manager who complains and usually the person making the complaint will back off if his arguments aren't getting anywhere. When will today's umpires learn that a great called game means that no one noticed the umpires at all.

I'm starting to worry about Buck Showalter down there in Texas as the Rangers have lost a ton of games the past thirty days. I don't think they've won five of their last thirty games. They have the batting but just not the pitching where it needs to be. I sure hope that Showalter won't be the scapegoat.

The Blue Jays scored over eleven runs again today. They are unbelievable lately. It will be interesting to see if the Jays can stay in the race all summer. With the mashers that team has, I find it hard to believe they will have much of a slump as a team.

I'd like to thank Steve W. and his family today for their hospitality after I had some lunch over there today. I showed Steve's great kids all about blogging and I think they were excited enough to want to start something themselves. I hope they have as much fun as I'm having.

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