Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Handling a Bench Clearing Incident - Battle of Texas

Benches cleared in Houston after a pitch thrown behind Rangers batter Mike Napoli, spurring HP Umpire and Crew Chief Gerry Davis into an abbreviated exercise of situation handling.

Benches clear and get physical in Houston.
With two out and none on in the top of the 6th inning of Monday's Rangers-Astros game, Napoli took a first-pitch 97.7-mph fastball from Astros starting pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. for ball one. Replays indicate the pitch was thrown significantly inside (behind Napoli's back) and approximately shoulder-high. Following the pitch, Napoli began walking toward the pitcher's mound and was intercepted at the edge of the dirt circle by HP Umpire Davis as pitcher McCullers walked about half the distance from the pitcher's plate to home plate before stopping.

Despite Davis' plea for the Rangers to remain in their dugout, no such peace transpired as both benches—and bullpens—cleared, and the two teams engaged in physical interaction with each other along the infield amongst Davis and his crew of Pat Hoberg (1B), Rob Drake (2B), and Tony Randazzo (3B).

No ejections resulted in the aftermath of the Houston altercation, though Davis ultimately issued warnings.

Tim Timmons intervening in a 2011 incident.
This bench-clearing incident in which umpires unsuccessfully attempted to prevent the teams from encroaching upon the playing field brings to mind Tim Timmons' 2011 ejection of former Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano for throwing at Chipper Jones and the situation handling demonstrated by Timmons and crew—yes, there are circumstances under which preventing brawls and physically hostile bench-clearing events can be accomplished through game management and situation handling techniques.

During the Zambrano-Jones play, Timmons forcefully ordered the Braves dugout to remain off the field, assisted by 1B Umpire and Crew Chief Jeff Kellogg, who was quick to pick up on Timmons' command, and 3B Umpire Mark Carlson, who contained the visiting dugout with the assistance of 2B Umpire Eric Cooper.

Cubs broadcaster Len Kasper, in describing Timmons' actions, stated:
We can debate whether or not [Zambrano] should have been tossed, but I think Tim Timmons handled this well because the Braves were coming out of the dugout, and we had a bench clearing situation that was about to start, and he stopped it. And that's the goal for an umpire.
Joe West handles ATL; Holbrook takes Harper.
As for the specifics of batter-pitcher animosity, Joe West in 2013 physically restrained Braves catcher Brian McCann as plunked Nationals batter Bryce Harper jawed with pitcher Julio Teheran while 1B Umpire Sam Holbrook ran to intercept Harper. 2B Umpire Adam Hamari concurrently ran interference between the Nationals' and Braves' respective dugouts and bullpens to prevent a physical altercation while 3B Umpire Rob Drake took Teheran.

Heads Up: Two Astros had been hit by pitches earlier in Monday's game; it was the first meeting of 2017 for the two Lone Star State ball clubs. Napoli's previous at-bat resulted in a home run.

Video via "Read More"


Post a Comment