Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Puppy Love

Tom Boswell writes today as if Frank Robinson were a puppy. Frank has spent the last two weeks (or longer) making doo-doo all over our carpet, chewing our shoes to shreds, and peeing on the couch.

Now, the little puppy is behaving, sitting there nicely -- doing exactly what he's supposed to be doing. It's time for his treat.

Boswell writes that the sheer force of his will and the intimate knowledge of the rules are the reason that Brian Jordans homer turned-strike was overturned.

Were I 80 years older, my retort would be, "Hogwash!"

Boswell is giving him credit for something that 90% of managers would do. All managers would go out and argue the close call. But, as Boswell observes, not all would go out calmly.

Boswell says that his calmness stems from him knowing how to deal with the umpires having worked in the league office. I suppose that's possible (although I remember him going all apeshit on an ump at least twice this season resulting in ejections).

But, isn't it more likely that he just didn't see the play, and didn't really have a basis for arguing? He even went out to speak to Marlon Byrd first to get his take on the ball.

All Frank did was ask for a second opinion. He didn't ask the umpires to reveal the secrets of everlasting life.

Asking for a second opinion on those kinds of plays is standard now. I know it's probably been hard for Boz to follow baseball for the last 30 years or so, but it's nothing new, and asking the umpires to conference isn't windmill tilting anymore.

Remember game 6 of the ALCS last year? Mark Bellhorn of the Red Sox hit a long fly ball to left off of Jon Lieber that smacked a fan in the front row in the hands before falling back to the field. Initially it wasn't ruled a home run. Terry Francona calmly asked for second opinions and the call was overturned. In that same game, the umpires conferenced and overturned the ARod/Arroyo ball-slapping play, too.

Yes, Frank deserves credit for standing up for his players and for being active and involved, while not going overboard. But, that's the guy's job. Give him a 'well done', but don't literarily fellate the guy in a 1,000-word column.

At least until he shares the secret of everlasting life.

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