Thursday, August 1, 2013

Fleeing the Coop: When an Umpire is Burned by AJ Pitcher

After pitcher A.J. Burnett disagreed with umpire Eric Cooper's call of "ball" Tuesday, gesturing his disapproval toward the veteran home plate umpire, Cooper pantomimed Burnett's actions before sternly and passionately warning Burnett for the perceived unsportsmanlike act of "showing up the umpire."

Cooper chastises Burnett for arguing the zone.
Replays indicate the pitch was located knee high and off the outer edge of home plate (px 0.859), the ball call was correct. As Cooper walked toward the pitcher's mound (the umpire appeared to walk several yards onto the infield grass while Burnett remained within the 18-foot dirt circle surrounding the rubber while jawing toward home plate), Pirates catcher Russell Martin interceded before Manager Clint Hurdle walked with Cooper back toward the dirt circle surrounding home plate.

Meanwhile, 3B Umpire and crew chief Jeff Kellogg walked toward the pitcher's mound before being waved away by Burnett, who met with Martin halfway toward home plate.

Bad title puns notwithstanding, Rule 9.05's General Instructions to Umpires contains the following instruction:
You are the only official representative of baseball on the ball field. It is often a trying position which requires the exercise of much patience and good judgment, but do not forget that the first essential in working out of a bad situation is to keep your own temper and self-control.
Also relevant are rules 9.01(d) and 9.02(a) Comment, regarding disqualification and ejection for arguing:
9.01(d) Each umpire has authority to disqualify any player, coach, manager or substitute for objecting to decisions or for unsportsmanlike conduct or language, and to eject such disqualified person from the playing field.
9.02(a) Comment:  Players leaving their position in the field or on base, or managers or coaches leaving the bench or coaches box, to argue on BALLS AND STRIKES will not be permitted. They should be warned if they start for the plate to protest the call. If they continue, they will be ejected from the game.
PBUC/MiLB has also adopted "use of histrionic gestures...toward an umpire" as grounds for ejection, as are actions by team personnel "specifically intended to ridicule an umpire."

Video: Burnett shows displeasure at first pitch ball call; Cooper shows displeasure of Burnett's actions (PIT)
Video: A compilation of the odd inning, including an incorrectly ruled dropped swinging third strike (PIT)


Gil Imber said...

That was certainly interesting. Got screwed over by the umpire, got screwed over by the catcher, and then has a borderline call go against him. On back to back pitches. Not sure I really blame Burnett for losing some of his cool, but I actually thought he did a good job of keeping his composure for the most part, although because they don't show the replay, it's unclear if he really said anything other than "where was that?". Cooper really should have kept his mouth shut, although at the same time, you've had the pitcher barking at you, or "showing him up" on back to back pitches as well, so maybe he just lost his cool a bit. If that runner scores from second though, AJ and or Hurdle would have been booted pretty quick. Not a good situation for either party to be in really.

Gil Imber said...

This reminds me of what Scott Barry did in 2011 to Ryan Howard. Umpires need to be above the confrontational and contentious bullshitzen. Seriously.

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