Bucknor’s strike four; or, immune umps versus vulnerable players, continued

C.B. Bucknor, Jayson Werth

C.B. Bucknor (far left, next to Nationals manager Dusty Baker) can’t be held accountable for his malfeasance, but Jayson Werth (far right) could have faced a fine or suspension if he’d criticised Bucknor by name after strike four Tuesday night.

Try for a moment to imagine you could be reprimanded or prosecuted for criticising a Supreme Court justice, for whatever reason you saw fit. Of course that’s absurd, because you can’t be reprimanded or prosecuted for criticising a justice. Or a judge, so long as you don’t do it in open court.

Two different ex-Mets become two different Braves

The Braves get a pitcher/acrobat by signing Bartolo Colon (lower left) . . .

The Braves get a pitcher/acrobat by signing Bartolo Colon (lower left) . . .

The rebuilding Braves decided a little senior leadership on the mound was what their budding pitching corps needs. So they signed the two oldest active major league pitchers this week. R.A. Dickey, the knuckleball specialist and erstwhile Cy Young Award winner (2012), signed for one year and $8 million guaranteed. And Bartolo Colon has signed for one year and $12.5 guaranteed.

Both signings ensure the Braves’ younger arms will be mentored by former Mets. If they happen to win some games while they’re at it, that’s a plus. But you won’t find two pitchers who left the Mets in more differing conditions when they did leave.

Breaking and unbreaking the Mets’ backs

"As soon as I hit it," Cabrera (13) said after his three-run bomb won it for the Mets, "I knew it was gone." So was the memory of the game-winning three-run bomb robbed from the Mets Wednesday. Maybe . . .

“As soon as I hit it,” Cabrera (13) said after his three-run bomb won it for the Mets, “I knew the ball was going to be gone.” So was the memory of the game-winning three-run bomb robbed from the Mets Wednesday. Maybe . . .

There are times when entire baseball seasons or championships are believed to turn, for better or worse, on single acts at the plate, on the mound, or in the field. Marshal the appropriate evidence and those beliefs can be either upheld or obliterated.

Tuesday night at the races

Sliding home safe with his first major league homer---an inside-the-park job padding a very temporary Braves lead Tuesday . . .

Sliding home safe with his first major league homer—an inside-the-park job padding a very temporary Braves lead Tuesday . . .

How Tuesday ended with one National League club all but eliminated from the postseason, another contender setting some home run records, a third contender showing a couple of vulnerabilities that might prove fateful come postseason time, and a couple of crazy (and heretofore unlikely) American League wild card sharps getting a little crazier . . .

Fredi’s dead

Fredi Gonzalez, fall guy

Fredi Gonzalez, fall guy

The Atlanta Braves have thrown out the first manager of the season. Apparently, their patience expired with an 8-5 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates Monday night, sending the Braves to a 9-28 record. Since the rebuilding Braves didn’t seem to expect to be that bad over most of the first third of the season, Fredi Gonzalez finally had a date with the guillotine.

What a difference five years makes.

Milt Pappas, RIP: Infamy, tragedy, and beyond

Pappas during the perfect game that wouldn't be. It's said that when he didn't get the call his rage at ump Froemming included half his tirade (curses included) being in Greek.

Pappas during the perfect game that wouldn’t be. It’s said that when he didn’t get the call his rage at ump Froemming included half his tirade (curses included) being in Greek.

When Tigers pitcher Armando Gallaraga* lost his perfect game to Jim Joyce’s blown call at first base in 2010, he had a sympathiser from baseball’s not too distant past. Milt Pappas’s cell phone blew up, Pappas having lost a perfect game in the ninth on a ball call.

The Braves, the Red Sox, get fleeced

Braves fans cringe even further now that the Angels pried Simmons out of them . . .

Braves fans cringe even further now that the Angels pried Simmons out of them . . .

The Braves and the Red Sox got fleeced in broad daylight last week. The Angels and the Padres made out like bandits by comparison.

That’ll teach the Braves. They thought they could swap Andrelton Simmons, maybe the best defensive shortstop in the National League, to the Mets, who could use an upgrade in the middle infield, for either Matt Harvey or Jacob deGrom.

A nasty hiccup in the Harvey plan shaken off, somewhat

So the Mets regrouped and whacked the Braves 4-0 Monday night. With the Nationals’ interleague set against the Orioles postponed, it pushed the Mets’ magic number to clinch the National League East to seven. Will it be enough to erase the sour taste of Sunday?

That was when manager Terry Collins went with the prudent course the Mets chose with and for Matt Harvey. Lifted him Sunday after five innings, seventy-seven pitches, one hit, and a 1-0 lead against the Yankees, with whom the Mets had split the weekend set coming in.

Williams’s Nats looking booked and cooked

Matt Williams, to whom the Book is too sacred when it needs to be set aside . . .

Matt Williams, to whom the Book is too sacred when it needs to be set aside . . .

Let’s not be too polite about it. The team every expert on earth picked in spring to win the National League East, with no few of them picking them to go all the way to a World Series ring, is doing its level best to make chumps out of every one of those experts. That’s because manager Matt Williams seems to be doing his level best to make sure they don’t even get to the wild card play-in game.

There’s just a little ill in these trade winds . . .

Spending at at least a year and a half as the subject of trade speculation, while insisting he really didn’t want to leave Denver, Troy Tulowitzki—swapped to the Blue Jays this week, for former Mets shortstop Jose Reyes—says he was blindsided almost completely by the deal. Apparently, he had a gentleman’s agreement with Rockies owner Dick Monfort that he wouldn’t be dealt without his prior knowledge and approval. Until he didn’t, of course.