Tagged: Ozzie Guillen

White Sox Implosion Watch

Wow, the AL Central sure is entertaining even when the team being so darn entertaining is mired below .500.  

First, we have rising tensions between the general manager and the field manager, tensions that have been attributed to the team’s slow terrible start.
The slowness terribleness of the start have the White Sox looking to deal according to a number of sources, including MLB.com, USA Today, and Rob Neyer.
Now, why exactly anyone would think that the White Sox wheeling and dealing will smooth over the frayed edges of the relationship between Ken Williams and Ozzy Guillen is beyond me.  
The question for me is whether the White Sox will be willing to make management-level changes and not merely turn personnel over.
On the other hand, when they took in a bunch of ex-Royals wasn’t anyone else tipped off that they kind of were punting on 2010?  

The Umpires Strike Back–Joe West & Bob Davidson Out of Control (Updated)

Someone needs to be on hand at Major League games to give out-of-line umpires the heave.  I have never even thought this before, always thinking that the umpires had to be respected and obeyed without question or else the game is unplayable.

However, Joe West’s increasingly diva-like behavior is an affront to the game.  Whether it is intentional or not, he is constantly trying to grab the spotlight.  The most absurd instance, of course, was his whining about the length of games.  Hey, Joe: call the strike zone as it’s written and it will make games shorter.  In other words, he talks and whines about a perceived problem without accepting any responsibility for his contribution to the problem.
It’s not merely West’s hair trigger.  It’s not simply his attention-craving behavior.  It’s not just that he seeks confrontations and visibly puffs up as if he’s getting off on ejecting people.  It’s all that and much, much more.  He’s awfully thin-skinned for a guy who looks like he actively baits player and managers.  There are words to describe that king of behavior, words I can’t use here.
The two balk calls he made on Mark Buehrle mean that pretty much no left-hander–and certainly not either Andy Pettitte or Cole Hamels–can throw to first anymore to hold a runner on.  If every other umpire makes the same call, then Buehrle, Pettitte, and Hamels will have to be perfect in every start–as in perfect game perfect–or risk having the opposition steal bases with impunity.
West called two balks on Buehrle on moves that mirror pretty much every other move to first that I’ve Buehrle make.  He ejected Ozzie Guillen following the first balk in the bottom of the second, and then Buehrle himself in the bottom of the third. As a Twins fan, I’ve seen Buehrle a lot over the years and those calls were terrible.  
For once–and you have no idea how much it hurts my brain and soul to write these words–for once, I agree with Ken Harrelson.  (God I feel dirty.)
As a Twins fan I’m not exactly in the habit of defending the White Sox, but West’s behavior was out of line. Whether or not “he’s really had it in for the White Sox” is up for debate, but he clearly went out of his way to call multiple balks against Buehrle–it’s the first time a White Sox pitcher had two balks called since 1993 and Buehrle had a grand total of one balk called against him in the past three seasons–and then changed the entire complexion of the game (and Chicago’s next couple games) by kicking the starting pitcher out of a 0-0 matchup in the third inning.
Joe West needs some counselling or something.
UPDATE: The account of the event at MLB.com.
UPDATE 2: Bob Davidson, home plate umpire for Tuesday night’s Red Sox @ Rays game, also displayed hair trigger reflexes (in nuclear strategy talk, it’s called “launch on warning” and it means the Apocalypse is impending).  Both Craig Calcaterra and Jason at “It’s About the Money, Stupid” call Davidson out of control, providing links to the video and truthful, reasonable observations about (1) how truly terrible that call was, and (2) Davidson’s confrontational and abusive behavior, as he flew immediately into a rage and did most of the cursing and screaming in his, uh, discussions with Carl Crawford and Joe Maddon.  Inexcusable.  
Calcaterra wrote:
This is beyond an umpire defending his call. I don’t know what it is, actually, I can’t recall seeing an ump stay in a player’s and a manager’s face like Davidson did. Usually they at least attempt to back up and defuse the situation.  Here Davidson seemed like the most hostile guy out of the three of them.
Jason wrote:
Bob Davidson, the ump in last night’s Rays/Sox game, went so far over the line in his actions, response, demeanor, it should be used as a training video on how NOT to act as a professional umpire.

Those “Barely Managing”

Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports give us a list of those who are “barely managing” in the Majors.

Jerry Manuel and Lou Piniella both make the list, but that’s no surprise (though the GMs and some other team execs probably need the boot in those two organizations as well).  Also unsurprising are the presence of Dave Trembley (BAL) and John Russell (PIT).  Don Wakamatsu is on the list, but the offense the Mariners game him is so wretched as to make me wonder about how apt that is.  A. J. Hinch of the D-Backs is there, but is it really his fault his bullpen stinks to high heaven?  Ozzie Guillen makes the list..no comment on that one.  Ken Macha (MIL)…maybe, but he’s got a totally one dimensional (read: hitting) ballclub; no one was deluding themselves into thinking that the Brew Crew could actually prevent runs, were they?    Fredi Gonzalez?  Don’t know about that, though his “feud” with Hanley Ramirez could spin out of control.  Finally, Ron Washington’s name only belongs on this list if he’s doing coke again, since the Rangers aren’t bad, and will likely get better.  
Overall, about 50/50 on the list.