What's Making Me Talk: You're Out! Umpires Making Waves

Nino Colla@TheTribeDailySenior Writer IJune 1, 2009

CHICAGO - MAY 27: Carlos Zambrano #38 of the Chicago Cubs argues with home plate umpire Mark Carlson #48 after a play at the plate in the 7th inning with Zambrano and Nyjer Morgan of the Pittsburgh Pirates on May 27, 2009 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Cubs defeated the Pirates 5-2. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

I often dream of what it would be like to play baseball. I never got the chance to even play like a sliver of organized ball. It was soccer for me from the age of five to 18, a little bit of basketball till high school, and now nothing. I’m just a college student who talks about sports.

I'm quite fine with that. I knew I was never athletic enough or gifted to be anything in any of the sports I played.

But wouldn't everyone love to blow up at a major league umpire? I mean that looks fun as all get out, and if you have a personality, whoa man, who knows what kind of wacky things you'll do.

Carlos Zambrano did something you've seen in a basic umpire slash player or manager argument. The one thing is, he actually did the ejecting, not the umpire.

Well the umpire did eject him, but Zambrano responded by ejecting the umpire.

I don't believe the umpire actually left the field.

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Anyway, let's do some important talking about what Zambrano did.

The ejection was funny and it gave us all a laugh for a second, but I think The Big Z went a little too far.

The childish destruction of the Gatorade machine, the throwing of the ball into the bleachers, the firing of the glove into the ground, all of that was a little bit over the top.

The punishment fits the crime though; he got a fair suspension for the temper tantrum he threw. What ticks me off about Zambrano doing what he did though is what I'm about to go off on in the next little section.

You see, I like to think that the umpires can do what they want as long as they enforce the rules justly and don't make themselves the story.

I hold that same respect for the players.

A little entertainment is fun, that's partially why some of the managers do it. Not exactly entertainment, but rather the excitement and the spark and the, "YEAH HE JUST DID THAT! LET'S GO BEAT THEIR FACES IN NOW!"

Not beat their faces in actually, but like, beating them on the baseball field.

Not beating them, but like, actually, winning in the game of baseball. Just need to clear that up.

Anyway, as I was saying, Zambrano's little ejection was funny and cool. But he made himself more of the story than he needed to when he fired the ball into the outfield. Not only is that kind of dangerous, even though I'm sure the fans had plenty of time to see, but you never know. It was just childish.

It sends a bad message. When you argue with an umpire, you can argue with him and do something on the field like kick dirt or turn your hat backwards or throw your glove in the dugout.

But don't throw a ball into the stands and don't break a Gatorade machine the way Zambrano did.

However, major props to Ryan Dempster for the fantastic commitment on the Gatorade machine to the disabled list bit though.

Todd Tichenor, Umpire At-Large

I don't know what that means actually, but if you didn't hear about this story, well, damn.

Todd Tichenor isn't a regular umpire; he's a fill-in at the major league level. You see, he isn't good enough to be on a regular crew. But he is good enough to get a lot of the fill-in work when other umpires are unavailable for whatever reason.

Anyway, last year, Tichenor threw out manager Bud Black for not understanding that he made a double-switch. Later in the same game he threw out Black's replacement, Craig Colbert, for pointing.

I'm not sure if he was thrown for pointing, but it wouldn't surprise me.

Fast-forward to this season and last week. Mike Redmond disagreed with a call at home plate, a call he's actually right about, and when he went over to Tichenor to disagree with him, almost immediately Redmond was thrown from the game.

Ron Gardenhire ran out to defend his catcher, who's never, ever, ever, ever been ejected from a major league game before Tichenor tossed him. Gardenhire had a little say and then Tichenor tossed him, rather boringly, if that is a word.

Oh no, it gets better though. Tichenor had an encore in the bottom of the same seventh inning.

On a call, to me that looked pretty close, close enough to be a strike at least. Jason Varitek turned around to argue the call with Tichenor. Well yeah, you can guess what happened. He got ran and then Terry Francona came out to his aid.

He got ran too. And for the fourth time, Tichenor's tossing looked rather bland and he did it as if, "Oh man, I've gotten myself into some deep crap, I don't really want to throw them out, but I have to, because I'm bigger than the game."

It's sad really. This umpire should probably not ump another game until he's shown he can handle himself properly. What he did to the two starting catchers and the two managers in one inning was flat out wrong.

I think Francona and Gardenhire probably wanted to get tossed, but that wouldn't have occurred had Tichenor not been so quick to pull the trigger on Varitek and Redmond.

I had a joke to end this, but it included a dictator named Stalin and I think that would be taking it a bit too far. But mentioning it doesn’t seem to take it too far, so I’m going to mention it.

I mentioned it. But no, Tichenor isn’t comparable to Stalin. His actions really bite though.

You can say what you want, but...

You can say what you want about Livan Hernandez, but he is a innings eater to the max for any team that signs him for the first half of the year. He did it for Minnesota last year and now he's doing it for the Mets this year.

In 69 career starts in the month of May, he's pitched in 478 innings with 11 complete games. Just eye-balling the numbers the past few years, he puts up some quality starts in April and May, even June.

Memo to teams out there that have a starter coming off Tommy John surgery next year and won't have him until the second half: sign up Livan Hernandez.

Notebook Scribbles

Here are my thoughts that aren't long-enough to drag out or just too stupid for someone to even think of. They are randomly scribbled notes in my notebook, duh.

—Well deserved contract extension for Joe Maddon this past week.

—Memorial Day was pretty wild with tons of crazy games. Here are some notes that I've gathered.

—Start with the big comeback by the Tribe. Down by double digits, they came back, thanks in large part to a seven run ninth. The Indians are known for these types of large comebacks and this was the third time in the last 25 years the Tribe came back from at least 10 runs.

—The entire major leagues have only had five of those comebacks in the past 25 years, so what the Tribe has done is pretty remarkable. But another team that Memorial Day did something special as well. The Rockies joined the Indians as the only two teams to come back from at least six runs in the eight inning mark on the same night.

—11 teams scored at least eight runs, two games had four of those teams. Is it me or is that a lot of runs? Memorial Day fireworks indeed.

—One last note and this has nothing to do with big offenses or large comebacks. It has to do with the remarkable pitching duel that occurred between Yovani Gallardo and Chris Carpenter. They combined for just four hits, four walks, 16 strikeouts, and no runs in 16 innings.

—Eric Gagne is back! Well not really. He signed with a Canadian-American team, the Quebec Capitales, if you didn't hear. He still has major's aspirations.

—Rick Porcello becomes the fourth starting pitcher to get five wins in a row before the age of 21. He joins CC Sabathia, Kerry Wood, and Rick Ankiel.

—Eric Milton picked up his first win since August 8th, 2006. Yes that's a long time.

—Zach Greinke did it again earlier this week, but he struggled, for Greinke's standards, on Sunday. Its okay, a 1.10 ERA is not that bad.

—Ben Francisco officially owns Andy Sonnanstine, like he's got the deed to his house type of stuff. He continued that dominance last week and is now 8-for-9 with five home runs and 12 RBI.

—Randy Johnson, win number 299. Jamie Moyer, win number 250. 'Grats.

—Matt Wieters tripled in his second game, went 0-4 in his debut. Heck with that, I'll take this Nolan Reimold guy. Home runs were hit in three consecutive games last week for the Orioles rookie.

—Or you could just have Luke Scott, who homered in four straight games, with two games in a row being two-homer games. That's six home runs and 14 RBI in four games. All fresh off the disabled list as well.

—Owner Tom Hicks is thinking about selling the Texas Rangers, but not the Dallas Stars? Okay then. Wild speculation on my part, would President Bush be interested in re-acquiring his old team?

—Braylon Edwards took batting practice with the Cleveland Indians last week. He hit a "400 foot home run" according to sources. These sources, they um, yeah I don't know them.

—Here's my bad defensive note of the week. It doesn't top the Mets debacle last week, but the Nationals made like three misplays in the outfield in one inning. They didn't commit three errors, but a bad pitching staff becomes worse with bad defense. Just letting you all know, in case you didn't know.

—Chris Davis had a bad day on Friday in the double header with the Athletics. He had eight plate appearances, one walk, and six strikeouts. This my friends is how he's leading the majors in whiffs.

—Successful debut for Daniel Schlereth, son of Mark Schlereth, Super Bowl champion offensive lineman and ESPN analyst. It isn't the first father-son combo to play football and baseball. Yogi Berra had a son that played football and JT Snow's dad played football. There's a few more as well.

—Poor Rocco Baldelli hurt again, no really again, again. Baldelli sat out a few games with some issues, hit a two-run home run in his first at-bat, and in a couple innings later hurt himself trying to make a catch in the outfield.

—David Price started on Memorial Day, the game the Rays choked away. But he got another start on Saturday and the training wheels were off. He got to throw 100 pitches and he made the most of them, with 11 of his 17 outs recorded by the strikeout.

—CC Sabathia pitches pretty well against Cleveland. Carl Pavano pitches well against New York.

—Ryan Howard hit a grand slam against Shairon Martis earlier this year. He did it again on Saturday. Duh.

—Andy LaRoche is hitting .299 on the season. Far better than the .254 he was hitting at the end of April and the .243 he was hitting at one point in May.

—Antonio Bastardo makes his Phillies debut this week. Commence school-girl laughing.

—Ichiro, 24 game hit-streak. Yearly occurrence, I'm serious.

—Non-MLB related note. 25 innings for Texas and Boston College Saturday Night/Sunday Morning? Ridiculous.

—Trevor Hoffman is still pitching perfect, in case you didn't notice.

—How about the Adam Kennedy pickup for the Athletics? .390 and 15 RBI since coming over from Tampa Bay.

—Yunel Escobar is always on my bench when he has a good game. Just thought you should know. I also dumped Fausto Carmona in all my leagues. I'm so gullible.

These Are My Links, You Shall Click Them

Behold, the story of Jamie Hoffmann. He was the eighth overall pick of the Carolina Hurricanes and an undrafted free agent in the MLB draft. He's now a Major Leaguer.

Mr. T threw out the first pitch and sung the national anthem on Memorial Day at the Chicago Cubs game. When I say sung, I really mean, grumbly scream it. I pity the Pirates. Scott Van Pelt's impression is spot on and Peter Gammons actually said he looked like Ray King when he threw the pitch.

Carlos Marmol has a secret.

Can you explode on queue Lou Piniella? If so, make sure you do it so the Cubs don't think you are doing it because Jeff Passan told you to.

When all is said and done with the Carlos Zambrano blow-up, it was pretty funny. I enjoy a good tirade. Here are the top ten assembled by ESPN.

MLB.com's video highlight search isn't working right now or I'd link the awesome catch by Reds outfielder Chris Dickerson.

The Rays have now lost 17 straight games in Cleveland, thanks to their latest four-game sweep at the hands of the Tribe. Joe Maddon has a theory. Something about ectoplasm. Their words, not mine.

Round About of Randomness

The disabled list is growing again, this has gotten crazy.

Joining it this week: Grady Sizemore, Carlos Quentin, Jose Reyes, Jason Bartlett, Joey Votto, Brett Myers, John Buck, Kaz Matsui, Nick Punto, Matt Harrison, Khalil Greene, Nomar Garciaparra, Brian Brunney, and Rafael Betancourt. Akinori Iwamura is also officially out for the year.

Milton Bradley is saying something again. I've tried to ignore him, but he makes it impossible. He sounds like a flat-out lunatic with this latest theory.

“I just think it’s a lot of ‘Oh, you did this to my colleague,’ or ‘We’re going to get him any time we can. As soon as he gets two strikes, we’re going to call whatever and see what he does. Let’s try to ruin Milton Bradley.’ ’’

Luckily Reed Johnson sat him down and set him in his place. I doubt he stays in his place long though.

The struggles of David Ortiz have put him in the sixth spot in the batting order. I legitimately feel bad for the guy at this point. The Red Sox actually did a big shuffle on Sunday though that ended up putting Pedroia up to the leadoff spot, Youkilis into the three hole, and Jason Bay into the cleanup spot. I'd keep Bay there, he's been a monster run producer this year.

Some pretty rotten stuff by the MLB on the Trey Hillman suspension if you ask me. Hillman was ejected in Monday's game for getting into an exchange with an umpire. There was a rather quick turnaround on the suspension, it came Wednesday a few hours before game time and Hillman was forced to serve it.

I'm not sure how fair that is, without giving him the chance to appeal it or anything like that. Not only that, they didn't ask his side of the ordeal according to Hillman. Not cool on the MLB's part.

Another managers note, and this one could have been a big time topic, but I don't think there is much to say. Clint Hurdle was fired by the Colorado Rockies this past week. Hurdle is a good baseball guy, not a bad manager; Colorado has been giving up though.

What are you going to do? Hurdle should find another job somewhere. He might have to be a bench coach for a year or two, but he's a good guy and I think he did a great job in Colorado when they were young and making waves.

Joe Torre said Manny Ramirez should sit out the All-Star game if he makes it. I think Manny wouldn't have a problem with that idea. But I don't think the fans are silly enough to vote him in when he will have missed 50 games of the season.

Now, Joe Mauer missed a month, but he went on a crazy rip and there is only really one other catcher that has been better than him in his league. But there is also the principle of the thing that Manny actually got suspended.

Mark Teixeira says that Joe Girardi is the best manager he's ever played for. Let me laugh for a second. Hahahahahaha. This comes from someone who played for the great Bobby Cox.

That's a slap in the face if you ask me. He might be trying to say nice things about his current manager, but that is just a silly comment.

Nino Colla is Talking every Monday of the baseball season, or whenever time needs to be wasted, provided objects don't get thrown.