Sunday, May 5, 2013

MLB Ejection 027: John Hirschbeck (1; Bryce Harper)

3B Umpire John Hirschbeck ejected Nationals LF Bryce Harper for arguing a check swing (swinging) strike three call in the top of the 1st inning of the Nationals-Pirates game. With two out and none on, Harper
Hirschbeck, in mid-ejection mechanic.
attempted to check his swing on a 3-2 curveball from Pirates pitcher Wandy Rodriguez. Replays indicate regardless of Harper's attempt to strike the ball (he did offer at the pitch), the pitch was located thigh high and over the inner half of home plate (px .155, pz 1.643, sz_bot 1.500), the call was correct on both accounts.* At the time of the ejection, the contest was tied, 0-0. The Nationals ultimately won the contest, 6-2.

This is John Hirschbeck (17)'s first ejection of 2013.
John Hirschbeck now has 4 points in the UEFL (0+2+2=4).
Crew Chief John Hirschbeck now has 3 points in the Crew Division (2 Previous + 1 Correct Call = 3).
*UEFL Rule 6-2-b-6-a: "Quality of Correctness is governed by the (in)correctness of the call made, not by the quality of reasoning given for such a call." The correct call of strike three was ultimately made.

Still frame of Harper's check swing.
This is the 27th ejection of 2013.
This is the 13th player ejection of 2013.
This is the Nationals' 1st ejection of 2013, T-1st in the NL East (ATL, PHI, WAS 1; MIA, NYM 0).
This is Bryce Harper's first ejection since August 29, 2012 (CB Bucknor; QOC = Y).
This is John Hirschbeck's first ejection since September 19, 2010 (Ron Gardenhire; QOC = N).

Wrap: Washington Nationals vs. Pittsburgh Pirates, 5/5/13
Video: After HP Umpire Bob Davidson appeals to 3rd, Hirschbeck rings him up, throws him out (WAS)
Video: Following the TV break, MASN recaps Harper's helmet toss, Hirschbeck's heave-ho (WAS)

45 comments :

Gil Imber said...

Hirschbeck got the swing call correct, Harper did go around. But this ejection was absolutely ridiculous. I think Bryce Harper's reputation hurt him here. John Hirschbeck instigated this incident and was looking for a reason to toss him. All harper did was toss the bat aside as it was the third out of the inning. I criticized Fairchild when he ejected Cody Ross two weeks ago but that bat had som velocity on it and Braun's bat toss was very high. Harper's toss was a light toss towards his dugout as almost everyone who makes the third out does. Like I said in the other thread, I am not a huge Bryce Harper fan but this was a poor ejection.

Gil Imber said...

Here is a video of it... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0M9TFAYSXac

Gil Imber said...

How can the call be ruled correct as a strike when Bob Davidson didn't call it a strike?

Gil Imber said...

Look at Bob Davidson being the voice of reason and trying to play peacemaker. It didn't work as Hirsch did look like he was picking that fight but that's an amazing turnaround for Bobby after the suspension re: Charlie Manuel. Great to see.

Gil Imber said...

It shouldn't be. Seems like a rather illogical rule if that's the case.


The QoC should be on the check swing, not if the thrown pitch was a strike or not (since, you know, Davidson did not rule on the pitch).

Gil Imber said...

Feel its hard to determine QOC without the shot from the dugout. From CF its hard to tell one way or the other and I would have to error on the side of Hirshbeck until I see otherwise.

Gil Imber said...

Hirsch tried to save him by telling his coach at third to go save him...can't blame the umpire for the demonstration that Harper exhibited.

Gil Imber said...

Love this site! Looking back at Harper's last ejection, he got thrown out then after throwing his helmet to the ground. Sounds like that happened today too. Reputation?

Gil Imber said...

I agree the call was correct, because I feel it was a swing. However, I disagree with the reasoning you used to determine the QOC. This was clearly a dispute over the check swing, not whether the pitch should have been a strike anyway. It is faulty logic.

Gil Imber said...

Ok then... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rAlTOfl9F2w

Gil Imber said...

Think of the children! L-O-freaking-L.

Gil Imber said...

Looks like a good call, but Hirschbeck seems to instigate this. I thought that it was some poor commentating though.

Gil Imber said...

Because I could not definitely tell whether Harper went around from the angles provided, I challenge. I also think that this is a horrible ejection.

Gil Imber said...

I went to this game. I also went to the game yesterday. Hirschbeck was vocal in between innings with both teams yesterday. Had a feeling this was coming. As far as the call, now that it has been "challenged," I'll wait. But I was sitting roughly 17 rows behind John and had a pretty good view, myself.

Gil Imber said...

"Third base umpire John Hirschbeck determined that Harper didn't hold
up his swing quickly enough on a Wandy Rodriguez curveball, and ruled it
a strike. Harper responded by throwing his arms in the air with his bat
still in his hand.

Hirschbeck imitated Harper's arm movement and started walking down
the third base line towards home plate. Harper stared out at Hirschbeck,
and according to Hirschbeck, Harper first threw his bat and then his
helmet to the ground, which constitutes an equipment violation. After
the helmet toss, Hirschbeck ejected Harper from the game.

"I didn't like that he put his hands up with the bat," Hirschbeck
told a pool reporter after the game. "That's kind of what I yelled at
him. He continued and threw his bat. I kind of pointed like, 'That's
equipment.' And then, he still continued and slammed his helmet down.
That's when I ejected him."

The way Hirschbeck sees it, he was cutting Harper a break by not ejecting him right after the initial hand gestures.

"I was actually just being nice," Hirschbeck said. "Even the hands up
in the air is showing me up, to me. I could have ejected him right
then. I was nice enough to leave him in the game. And then he slammed
his bat down. And then on top of that, he slammed his helmet. I had no
other recourse, really.""

Gil Imber said...

Just saw the side replay of the swing. Definitely an attempt and a correct call by Hirschbeck. A little agressive from the looks of it. But I wasnt there.

Gil Imber said...

The only person showing up John Hirschbeck was John Hirschbeck. He kept on even after Davidson had diffused the situation.

Btw, that was a beautiful thing Bob Davidson did there. Stepping in non-aggressively and conversing with Harper to prevent a incident. Too bad Hirschbeck didn't get the memo.

Gil Imber said...

I agree that was a great piece of game management officiating by balkin bob there

Gil Imber said...

I love the comment about the kids almost as much as saying Hirschbeck tossed him from 120 feet away. HIrsh was well down HP side of the 3B line at that point...less than 90 feet, much less than 120 by my math.
Here's what you show/tell the kids...the umps umpire; players play. When players try to tell umpires how to ump, they get kicked out. It's disrespectful and not necessary. No player argument is necessary. Umps make so much less money than ballplayers--you don't think pro leagues have evaluated and administered psychological tests to these guys to know they aren't there to be glory hogs? Maybe they should do psych evals on players or--better yet--tv announcers!

Gil Imber said...

Compensation has nothing to do with this dispute. Hisrchbeck went after the player which is wrong. It's an emotional game and umpires should defuse situations rather than exacerbate them.

Gil Imber said...

This ruling has been challenged and is under review by the UEFL Appeals Board.

Gil Imber said...

So, this is a bit off topic, but did anyone else notice that Fielden Culbreth was wearing the old style, pre-2010 uniform behind the plate tonight? It was the style with the white striping on a more curved collar, as opposed to the all black, straighter collar. Just a random detail, but it jumped out at me, because we haven't seen that uniform in a few years. Anyone have any speculation on why he was rocking the old style?

Gil Imber said...

If you want it this way, then how about an announcement when an umpire screws up. Right now, if an umpire is punished, no one knows about it - unless someone just happens to notice that an umpire is missing for an extended period (see Bill Hohn).

So you're telling me when Bill Hohn missed an obvious strike right down the middle that eventually cost the Braves a game in 2009 that Eric O'Flaherty should've just kept his mouth shut? You're a freaking idiot.

Gil Imber said...

Interesting article related to this ejection... http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130505&content_id=46738600&vkey=news_mlb&c_id=mlb

Gil Imber said...

These comments are a joke....NO ONE IS HERE TO SEE YOU! Hirschbeck should be fined and suspended. I can't wait for a fan to sue an umpire for throwing out a player for absolutely no reason.

Gil Imber said...

Let's get a few things straight.... John Hirschbeck has umpired over 3300 MLB regular season and post season games..... He is a professional through and through. Every action has an EQUAL and opposite reaction. So i ask those critizing Hirschbeck AGAIN... Who flung his arms into the air. Who also was STILL yelling at the umpire after throwing equipment AND with another umpire trying to keep him in the game? It appears to me that a player was doing so. He needs to go END OF DISCUSSION. Next Case.

Gil Imber said...

Bear in mind Russ this is professional baseball not amateur and these displays by players shall NOT be tolerated. Hirschbeck will be commended for his actions not condemmed! It is NOT at all a poor EJ.

Gil Imber said...

Not a fan of this ejection, but to each his or her own...Seems more salf-aggrandizing than necessary here. (Again, MY opinion.)

Gil Imber said...

tmac are you Tim McClelland? You sure seem to know a lot of stuff/

Gil Imber said...

If you agree with the ejection that's fine. But how do you feel about Hirschbeck throwing his arms up after Harper does? Because I think it looks unprofessional. Again just my opinion but he could have handled the situation better even if it still ended in an ejection. Harper flailing his arms was probably not appropriate but I don't think the bat or helmet toss were bad enough for an ejection.

Gil Imber said...

Hirschbeck might be commended for the ejection, but he certainly will not be commended for "his actions." His actions including losing his temper, wildly gesticulating, and generally making himself guilty of the same behavior for which he ejected Bryce Harper. That is anything but commendable, and, in this regard, it matters not which level of baseball we're discussing.

Gil Imber said...

And yet what good does it do for a player to run his mouth. How does that improve things for him or his team?

Gil Imber said...

Not true. I go to MLB games mainly to watch the umpires. So "NO ONE" is inaccurate.


Such a tired, old canard. The umpires work for the league and they're paid to uphold a standard of player/manager behavior. Fans may not like it, but ejections keep happening -- MLB has no problem with most of the ejections that ML umpires have, it would seem.

Gil Imber said...

In re 027 Hirschbeck 1

After review, the Original Ruling has been affirmed in a unanimous 5-0-0 decision by the UEFL Appeals Board. Five Appeals Board members voted to confirm the Original Ruling.

Per Curiam Opinion:

The Board finds that evidence conclusively confirms Harper offered at the pitch and the ruling of "swing" was correct. However, the Board split philosophically on the grounds that Harper, had he checked his swing, would have still been correctly ruled out on strikes due to the pitch being located in the strike zone.

The Board agreed that the pitch was located within the strike zone, but because Harper appeared to exclusively argue the check swing call, the Board split on QOC for the hypothetical situation in which Hirschbeck's swing call would have been wrong (had Harper checked). The first faction argued that QOC would still be correct though the calling umpire would be HP Davidson, as Harper was correctly retired by virtue of pitch location (called vs swinging notwithstanding, the end result was the same). The second faction argued that QOC would be incorrect because the hypothetically incorrect check swing call was the impetus for ejection, even though the pitch was located within the strike zone.

Concurring Opinion, RichMSN joined by BT_Blue:
My first philosophical problem with UEFL rules in two years on the appeal board. In this case, it's not a problem. Harper offered, so Hirschbeck is right. But what if the pitch was a strike, Davidson calls ball, and Harper obviously doesn't offer?

To me, that a problem. I've never known, "No, but it caught the corner" to be an answer to "Did he go?" Had Harper not offered, I would've probably abstained completely. Two wrongs don't make a right. An incorrect call followed by another incorrect call should never result in a correct QOC.

So I guess I'm confirming, but not cause I agree with the thinking or the rule.

Concurring Opinion, Jeremy:
Had B1 blatantly not swing, the issue would be a little more complex, but the fact is he should have struck out one way or another and under current rules if the call is correct it doesn't matter how we get there. Something to review at the summit? Quite possibly.

Therefore, the Board affirms the Original Ruling.

Confirmed: Jeremy, tmac, RichMSN, BT_Blue, Turducken
Upheld: -
Overturned: -
Deferred: -
Abstained: Gil (posted Original Ruling), yawetag (owns Hirschbeck)

Gil Imber said...

If no one is here to see umpires, then why are you monitoring and posting on an Umpire Ejection Fantasy League board?


I'm with RichMSN on this - I actually go to MLB games to watch the umpire crew in action, as I spend the majority of my spring, summer and portions of my fall on a baseball/softball fields officiating games. So....I'm constantly watching the umpires and could care less about the players other than without them, we don't have a game either.


That being said, I'm not particularly crazy about Hirschbeck throwing his arms in the air and mimicking Harper's outburst. However, the rest of this ejection was dead-on textbook including giving Harper's base coach a chance to help his player out and giving Harper some verbal 'instruction' to get back to the business of playing ball. Harper clearly didn't care and wasn't going to be told what to do. Fine - there's the exit....go use it.


Just because you were an amateur phenom and walked into the MLB doesn't give you license to be a whining cry-baby and throw a tantrum (and..throw gear, for that matter). You have to earn respect. The way to do it is to take your hacks, make your plays, play the game and let your work do the talking.


Was Hirschbeck absolutely on top of his emotions? Nope. But after that many years in the league and having the resume' that Hirschbeck has, you earn a little latitude. Harper has a long way to go before he gets that level of respect.


Incidentally, while not directly related, I'm surprised I didn't see any comments here comparing this to the Fielder beef with Barry (unless I missed them in my haste to type this).


Gil - think we can have a case study on the two situations, like the MLB put up?

Gil Imber said...

Yea i don't see him losing his temper.... I think some are drawing an illogical conclusion based on NEVER being on a professional field. Would I flail my arms to imitate a player? No. However you can see Harpr either say "that's &*^%'n terrible" or you're &#%$'n Terrible" From that distance I'm sure Hischbeck had a general idea what was going on. However, you should not confuse frustration with "losing his temper"

Baseball has changed dramatically over the last 20 years....
Arm flailing used to be a no-no.... Some would have run him right there (the plate guy's job) Bob wants so bad to stay out of trouble and not get into a situation. So Hirschbeck handles it. Here's my point and i keep beating this drum. If Harper doesn't begin the arm flailing none of this happens. 2nd year player who shows little respect to umpires will ALWAYS and SHOULD always have the attention of an umpire until proven otherwise. Young players do NOT do that to veteran umpires much like young umpires don't show up vet players. That's the old school approach that many in the ESPN generation don't really get.

Gil Imber said...

unfortunately that is not how things work. AAA call-ups can not behave the same as a 3,000 game vet.

Gil Imber said...

Clearly they need to do more tests on guys like Joe West then. Glory hog much, Cowboy Joe?

Gil Imber said...

Tmac, this is absurd. I've treated tens of thousands of patients in my life, and I've never been sued or chastised. By all accounts, I'm a professional's professional. However, if I walk into my clinic tomorrow and make a bum out of myself, I can't hang my hat on my reputation. In other words, a professional person can act unprofessionally at times.

No one is saying that John Hirschbeck is chronically unprofessional. I AM saying that his actions in this situation were unprofessional.

As to the "action and reaction" argument, that's silly, in my opinion, as well. I don't know if you're simply using that verbiage to say that Hirschbeck's response was validated or you actually believe that the Newtonian principle applies here, but in either case, it's specious. If I push you, you are under no physical obligation to push me back. If I over-react to your call by gesticulating wildly, you are under no obligation to gesticulate wildly in response. Hirschbeck lost his cool (not to Balkin' Bob vs. Charlie Manuel level, though), and he made it look as though he'd lost control of his own actions.

Final point, as I noted previously: Harper was ejected, and perhaps justifiably. I am not saying that Hirschbeck was obliged to allow Harper's behavior. He was, however, duty-bound to eject Harper while maintaining professional dignity and decorum.

I'm not impugning Hirschbeck's character or reputation. He is, by most accounts, a "professional through and through." However, he was emphatically not displaying professionalism in his response to Harper. That cannot be reasonably disputed.

Gil Imber said...

Harper was thrown out for a valid reason. It might have been a bit quick (that's debatable), but he was showing disgust for an umpire's decision, which is grounds for ejection.

Gil Imber said...

That's absolutely ridiculous. If an AAA umpire does the same thing, he would face the same criticism. Get a grip.

Gil Imber said...

That was a well thought out intelligent commentary, but it is also a false equilvency. Let's stick to baseball. I don't think you and i are too far off of our opinions of the situation. However there comes a time when you go after a chronic offender (insert umpire here) and let someone who was instigated slide (Hirschbeck). Harper instigates. Let us for a second put the shoe on the other foot. Let's say Hirschbeck just started coming towards harper flailing his arms then you'd be entirely justified and i'm sure there would be a lot of people roasting Hirshbeck. It's clear to me that on the points we've gone back and forth we'll have to agree to disagree. I think the most interesting thing about this situation is the plate guy needs to get Harper out of there and unfortuneatly it's Bob Davidson who is now the calmest human on earth.

Gil Imber said...

I appreciate the discussion, though I'm not sure I'll stipulate to a false equivalency. I truly believe that John Hirschbeck is a professional umpire who generally behaves professionally but failed to do so on this occasion.

Beyond the gesticulation, I think his general demeanor served to inflame the situation rather than calm it. I think it would have been perfectly legitimate to toss Harper and leave it at that. And for the record, I have no problem with Harper's ejection.

I further do not believe Hirschbeck when he said he was "nice enough to keep him in the game." I strongly suspect that Hirschbeck knew this would end in an ejection, right from the "git-go," so to speak, but I cannot prove it.

Tmac, thanks for your points! I think we'll end up agreeing to disagree, but I appreciate the cogent discussion! And yes, when Bob Davidson is playing peacemaker, we'd better look around to make sure it isn't raining toads.

Gil Imber said...

So essentially...The original call of "swing" by Hirschbeck is correct. Everything else is dicta, and there was no reasoning that earned a majority.

I like the rule that exists, but to apply it to check-swing situations seems inappropriate. As Jeremy said, definitely something to review at the Summit.

Gil Imber said...

These guys do NOT work in a vacuum, nor are they - unlike officials in a sport that rhymes with 'NFL" - emotionless robots. Things sometime get a touch heated out there! This is NOT Championship Tiddly Winks!

But to the point, Hirschbeck DID give him some rope - a LOT of it. Arguing balls and strikes is supposed to be an automatic EJ....so is making a gesture....so is dumping your hat, and especially slamming the bat. Harper did all FOUR. How would you handle it? "Gee Mr Harper, please be nicer next time, will you?" ??? or "Golly, Mr Harper, I keep forgetting that millions of kids like to watch you play, so I guess, even though you broke 3 or 4 Rules of Conduct. I'll let you keep playing!"

NO - you teach those kids that even a Bryce Harper can't yell at an ump and call him names. JH gave Harper EVERY chance to shut up and calm down.

Here is what I perceive to be the order of events:

Harper's check swing, Balkin' Bob appeals, JH rings him up

Harper probably goes to the effect of 'you f^$&)#) kidding me?

JH sends the 3B coach to get Harper's butt in the dugout but...

Harper continues to drop F- and G and S bombs at JH, while gesturing

JH starts screaming at him "What are you doing this for (raising his arms) - get your a@@ back in the dugout!"

*already JH has had TWO chances to dump Harper, but hasn't*

Harper continues his rant, while slamming his helmet down

*THIRD chance for Hirschbeck - and all he does is warn him*

Harper finally slams the helmet , and Hirschbeck FINALLY dumps him.

For all of those who SAY they are umpires, and still say Harper shouldn't have been EJ, please tell me again WHY?

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