Basebrawl Comerica: The umps got some splainin’ to do

Gary Sanchez---second from left, who'd taken one on the hip an inning after he homered yet again against the Tigers---is restrained by teammate Clint Frazier after Miguel Cabrera and Austin Romine's skirmish opens the first of three bench-clearing brawls Thursday afternoon.

Gary Sanchez—second from left, who’d taken one on the hip an inning after he homered yet again against the Tigers—is restrained by teammate Clint Frazier after Miguel Cabrera and Austin Romine’s skirmish opens the first of three bench-clearing brawls Thursday afternoon.

If baseball government intends to investigate the Thursday afternoon riots on the Comerica Park field in Detroit, they should begin by calling home plate umpire Carlos Torres to account and asking him one question. The question is, “What on earth were you not thinking when Michael Fulmer drilled Gary Sanchez in the top of the fifth?”

Heartbreak Hill

Rich Hill, pitching what proves the hardest-luck loss of his major league life.Pour up a couple of ice cold Cokes, Jim Maloney and Pedro Martinez, and lift a toast to the memory of Harvey Haddix and Hippo Vaughn. Because nothing in Rich Hill’s roller-coaster pitching career prepared him to join that group of pitchers who took no-hitters or better into extra innings and lost them.

For 98 pitches Wednesday night in Pittsburgh Hill was almost perfect. Heeven shook it off when third baseman Logan Forsythe stumbled on Jordy Mercer’s leadoff grounder in the ninth and erased the next three in order, prompting Dodger manager Dave Roberts—trying to make up to his man for pulling him after 89 perfect pitches last September—to send him out for the tenth.

Methinks thou didst protest not enough

So much for that protest. Major league umpires took to white wristbands last Saturday, protesting Tigers infielder Ian Kinsler’s public rip of umpire Angel Hernandez, proclaiming they’d wear the white bands until baseball government addressed if not cracked down on verbal abuse from players. The protest lasted all of one day. The core issues won’t go away that fast.

Umpire James Hoye wearing the white wristband his colleagues used to protest "escalating verbal attacks" going unpunished---unaware or unconcerned that Ian Kinsler was fined five figures for criticising Angel Hernandez in the press.

Umpire James Hoye wearing the white wristband his colleagues used to protest “escalating verbal attacks” going unpunished—unaware or unconcerned that Ian Kinsler was fined five figures for criticising Angel Hernandez in the press.

Baltimurder remembered: Rangers 30, Orioles 3, 22 August 2007

30-3. 22 August, 2007. Camden Yards. Who'd have thought?Ten years ago today, the Texas Rangers and the Baltimore Orioles played a game in Camden Yards. It was more like police brutality—the final score was the Rangers 30, the Orioles 3. Even the Rangers couldn’t believe what they’d just accomplished no matter how badly either team’s seasons were going at the time.

I wrote this essay the following day for a journal that no longer exists; I republish it here on the sad anniversary of the game about which Rangers reliever Wes Littleton—who got credited for a save despite protecting a 24-run lead, because he pitched the final three innings of the massacre—now remembers, “I got a lot of crap the next day. ‘Nice save, Wes.’ ‘Easiest save in the world’.”

Molina’s heartbreak of a glove story

This used to happen to the Red Sox, didn't it?

This used to happen to the Red Sox, didn’t it?

One of the rarest things in baseball, for a decade and a half, almost, is sucking to be Yadier Molina. You can count on half a hand how often that’s happened. At least until this week in Boston.

Tuesday night—Molina kills a fourth-inning no-out rally by grounding into a 5-4-3 triple play, an inning before the Red Sox drop an eight-spot on the Cardinals. Molina probably wanted to find the nearest mouse hole to hide in after the 10-4 shellacking.

Ken Kaiser, RIP: Only fools rush out

"He said he wanted to punch me. I said, 'Go ahead, you midget, you'll hit my knee'."---Ken Kaiser (right), on a debate, shall we say, with Earl Weaver (left).

“He said he wanted to punch me. I said, ‘Go ahead, you midget, you’ll hit my knee’.”—Ken Kaiser (right), on a debate, shall we say, with Earl Weaver (left).

The late umpire/raconteur Ron Luciano considered Ken Kaiser, who died today after a long battle with diabetes, a friend and protege who came up and did things the hard way. Unfortunately, Kaiser’s career ended the same way, when he tied his dinghy to the leaky ship of the old Major League Umpires Association, and its executive director Richie Phillips sank it.

Laugh, clowns, laugh

West, docked three for a wisecrack about Adrian Beltre.

West, docked three for a wisecrack about Adrian Beltre.

In 1999, umpire Tom Hallion got himself a three-day suspension when he bumped inadvertently into Rockies catcher Jeff Reed during a beef with pitcher Mike DeJean. The Major League Umpires Association, a month before the infamous mass resignation that torpedoed it, was outraged, but “[n]ot as outraged as they’d be,” the Society for American Baseball Research’s Doug Pappas wrote, “if a player wasn’t suspended for bumping an ump.”

One of the umps among the mass resigners (he was reinstated in due course in a 2004 settlement), Hallion swore he wasn’t trying to bump Reed. Players who inadvertently bump the umps swear likewise and still pony up fines and serve suspensions.

Don Baylor, RIP: Simple and to the point

Baseball writer Claire Smith, accepting her J.G. Spink Award at the Hall of Fame, paying tribute to Don Baylor during her speech.

Baseball writer Claire Smith, accepting her J.G. Spink Award at the Hall of Fame, paying tribute to Don Baylor—holding a painting done by her father—during her speech.

Claire Smith, who was inducted into the writers’ wing of the Hall of Fame at July’s end, tells a charming story about Don Baylor, who died Monday at 68, after a long battle with multiple myeloma. As an Angel, Smith remembers, Baylor once threw a postgame fit and leveled the clubhouse spread. Not because he himself was upset after a hard loss, but to draw the press away from a rookie Angel who’d had a worse game.

Darren Daulton, RIP: Not so crazy after all those years

Darren Daulton (right) congratulates Curt Schilling after Schlling's 1993 World Series shutout in Game Five.

Darren Daulton (right) congratulates Curt Schilling after Schlling’s 1993 World Series shutout in Game Five.

When reviewing William C. Kashatus’s Macho Row: The 1993 Phillies and Baseball’s Unwritten Code, Darren Daulton figured large in both the book and the review. And, indeed, Kashatus himself respected Daulton just enough to make the catcher for those Philthy Phillies—who died Sunday at 55, after a four-year battle with glioblastoma, an insidious brain cancer—the book’s lead chapter.

The Dodgers think, “Yu Wonderful Yu”

Darvish and Roberts after Darvish's first night's work as a Dodger finished.

Darvish and Roberts after Darvish’s first night’s work as a Dodger finished.

Perhaps as an unintended omen, Sandy Koufax took a walk through the Dodgers’ clubhouse at Citi Field Friday night, before the Dodgers sent their new toy, Yu Darvish, out to face the Mets. But maybe the Dodgers didn’t need a Hall of Fame omen for Darvish to manhandle what’s left of this year’s Mets.

About the only thing anyone disagreed upon after Darvish shut the Mets out with seven scoreless en route a 6-0 win was whether or not Darvish finished his night’s work by wrapping Dodger manager Dave Roberts in a big bear hug.