Updated Sep 14, 2011 - 11:19 pm
Umpires get it wrong in tossing Dodgers' Kershaw against Diamondbacks
Major League Baseball got it wrong Wednesday night.
In the sixth inning of a 2-0 game Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw was ejected for hitting Arizona Diamondback Gerardo Parra.
No other player had been hit by a pitch in the game. No warnings were ever given. Kershaw hits Parra and is gone from the game. (I could go bad business decision with this in an entire column -- but I'll save that for another day.)
The Cy Young candidate was in the middle of a one-hit shutout against the likely National League West Champions.
This all started Tuesday night when Parra hit a home run and decided to admire it.
Diamondbacks television play-by-play announcer Daron Sutton had this to say about Parra's admiration.
"Parra not moving at all. He watched that one for a long, long time."
Analyst Mark Grace added, "And I don't blame him."
You know what, I didn't blame Parra either. Earlier in the at bat when he showed to bunt he nearly took a Hong-Chih Kuo pitch between the eyes.
Parra took that personal. He got back at Kuo with that home run. He then took it a step further by not stepping out of the batter's box fast enough.
That's when he put his team in a tough position. It's baseball. Kershaw was seen yelling and hollering from his dugout. Not going to act like I know his exact words but I have a guess it was something about getting around the bases quickly and that he was pitching the following night. He was backing and protecting his team.
Parra, manager Kirk Gibson and hitting coach Don Baylor were all shown on television to be saying stuff back towards the Dodgers' dugout. The coaches were backing and protecting their player. Perfect.
Gibson said as much on Arizona Sports 620's Burns & Gambo earlier on Wednesday.
"The way [Parra] chooses to go around the bases is his business, we're all held accountable for our actions," Gibson said. "I've been up there I've been thrown at my head so I can relate to that side of it."
Once that happened all eyes turned to Parra's at-bats against Kershaw, if Parra were in the lineup.
This is where I believe Gibson made, yet another, brilliant move in putting Parra in the lineup Wednesday night. I guarantee he was very well thinking Kershaw would throw at Parra, get ejected and put his team in a tough spot.
IF Major League Baseball and the umpires warned both teams prior to the game about batters being hit then I could see Kershaw's ejection being justified. This was not the case. At least not directly, from what both teams said after the game. Dodger manager Don Mattingly reacting the way he did and eventually getting himself tossed makes it hard to believe that was the case.
Regardless, at that point Mattingly had to back his own team.
That is why I think baseball got it wrong. You simply, absolutely cannot throw a pitcher out of a game unless you are 100% convinced he has intentionally thrown at someone. Even if that's the case it's iffy unless he specifically went head hunting.
It's a 2-0 game. Kershaw had just thrown the first pitch for a strike. He was in the middle of a one-hitter and going for his 19th win.
Grace could not believe what he was watching. Both him and Sutton were stunned Kershaw was being thrown out of the game.
"Maybe the game has passed me by," Grace said in amazement.
It's the unwritten rules of baseball. It's part of the game.
I'm guessing (but certainly do NOT feel like I'm going out on a limb here) the Diamondbacks, Gibson and fill-in-the- blank pitcher would have handled the situation exactly the same. Same goes for 28 other Major League teams.
Right or wrong of Parra from the night before (remember, I said I didn't blame him), you have to think and anticipate something happening the following game. It's just the way baseball works.
The umpires needed to either make the situation very clear prior to the game or let it play out and take action as needed AFTER they felt it was getting beyond their control.
Baseball players police and take care of things themselves between the lines. Umpires should worry about ball or strike, fair or foul, safe or out. That's it.
Both teams took it in their own hands to protect their teammates. Exactly what teammates and coaches should do.
What I learned this week…
I'll be in New York in less than 10 days and, among many other things -- including TWO Yankees-Red Sox games --, I will be visiting the National September 11 Memorial, which just opened for the first time this past Sunday on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks (I remember watching the TV that morning with my mom. We watched the second tower get hit live. Most uncanny moment of my life). I was in Lower Manhattan in August 2003. Interested to see it now.
Tweet of the week…
First 7 minutes of NFL Network's special on Bill Belichick airing tomorrow night. Pretty tremendous stuff: http://t.co/wpgl7Bmh
This will have so many of my favorite things. Very much looking forward to it.
A very successful person in a leadership role. Seeing and going places we usually aren't allowed. Involves a sports team. Can't wait.
Suggestion of the week…
This is just a good laugher. Technology at its finest. Humans at their finest.