We had an ump show lastnight

I’m not going to lie.  I turned off last night’s game as the score started to settle into a blow out, and very nearly missed a nice comeback toward the end.  I also managed to miss one of the stranger ejections of the season.  Deadspin has the story.

MLB is lucky last night’s Royals-Blue Jays game was a victory for the Jays, because if the Royals had pulled ahead late and Troy Tulowitzki hadn’t been there to bat in the bottom of the ninth, all of Canada would be calling for home plate umpire John Hirschbeck’s head.

Between the seventh and eighth inning, Hirschbeck busted out one of the stranger ejections you’ll ever see, running Tulowitzki from the game as the shortstop was taking his position in the field. The two had a brief argument over a called third strike during the previous half inning, but it didn’t look like there was much else to precipitate the ejection:

I think most of us can agree the line for ejecting a player usually gets pushed a little more loosely during the playoffs, and it should take something pretty egregious or at least obvious to remove a player from a game with so much on the line.  From the video it appears that not only was Tulo on the more innocent side, but Hirschbeck actively perused a confrontation.  We obviously don’t know who said what to whom, but it seems like Tulo was likely complaining to a teammate, on the other side of the field, something we’d likely all do, and was doing so in a manner that was not showing up the umpire at all, when John decided he had enough.  We’ve talked about it many times before, umpiring has become increasingly confrontational lately and it’s a problem that is not going away.  MLB really needs to address this and to address it soon.  One more food for thought.  Remember that umpires are generally selected by seniority, not overall performance.

In the end, I suppose we should all just be glad the field didn’t end up covered in trash.

10 thoughts on “We had an ump show lastnight

  1. I’m leaning toward cutting Hirshbeck some slack, mostly because he’s not Joe West. Unlike Cowboy Joe, he does not have a long and inglorious history of making bad calls and then instigating confrontations. We don’t know what Tulo said, either at the plate or in the field. We also don’t know if Hirshbeck had told Tulo to cool it when he argued the strike call at the plate (remember that, by rule, Hirshbeck could have ejected him then and there).

    We also will never know for sure, but it would be unsurprising if the events from game 5 of the ALDS affect how the umps are thinking in Toronto now too.

    Lastly, you are right, seniority appears to be the primary qualification used in picking the umps for the playoffs. However, so far, there’s been no Cowboy Joe and no Angel Hernandez behind the plate. Let’s hope it stays that way.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. All fair points – but while there are a lot of things we dont know, there is one thing we do know for sure. Hirshbeck was standing 120 feet away from Tulo when he ejected him and it was between innings, i.e. nothing was being held up.

      Hirshbeck was to umpiring last night what Cueto was to pitching. Horrible job last night, and deserves to catch flack for it

      Liked by 3 people

        1. I was not referring to balls and strikes when i said Hirshbeck was lousy – I meant the ejection. Kind like Matt Williams managing a great game – expect for that one screw up when he let Papelbon pitch after he assaulted a fellow player. Sometimes one screw up negates everything else

          Liked by 1 person

      1. I wouldn’t cut him any slack.

        He wasn’t part of the conversation, it was between innings, he had no business starting an altercation with a player over 100 feet away. You can’t argue balls and strikes, but there is no rule about players discussing calls with each other in between innings.

        This was 100% about Hirshbeck’s ego. He made a good call on a pitch and was too insecure to trust his own abilities and had to screw up the situation by inserting himself in a conversation that he wasn’t part of or invited into.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. If Angel Hernandez shows up, the only thing good that would come from it would be Chipper complaining on Twitter all night about how much he sucks. LOL

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Makes you wonder if there’s inside politics going on. Regardless I kept talking to the TV last night. “Shut up, Russell. He’ll kick you out,next.”


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