For the sake of argument

umpire callA runner slides into second base.  A call is made.  The runner is punched out, but in all actuality, he is safe.  The inning is over, the rally ends.  The manager sprints out to argue, incensed and adamant that the umpire blew the call.  He did… but what’s the point, really?

Before we continue, please do not mistake this as another plea for instant replay.  Sensible baseball fans understand replay will come in due time, or in other words, once Bud Selig retires.

This is about talking to a wall, like arguing against your girlfriend in a fight you just can’t win.

Never in the history of mankind, or at least Major League Baseball, has an argued call been overturned, at least not to my knowledge.  When’s the last time you remember seeing a manager argue with an umpire and the umpire saying “Ya’ know what, Dusty?  You were right.  Let me just change my mind and reverse this call.”  Never, that’s when.  They’d have better luck finding a Chick-Fil-A open on Sunday.

Sure, as fans, we enjoy the days when Sparky Anderson, Earl Weaver or Lou Piniella would turn beet red, going nose to nose with whichever umpire they felt had just robbed their team of an opportunity but even those guys, the best arguers of all time, couldn’t get an ump to change his mind.

It hasn’t happened since then either.

People say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result, yet managers still fruitlessly charge the field, gunning after umpires, with literally a zero percent probability rate of getting them to change their minds.

umpire manager arguingSo why do they still do it?  When a base runner is called out, why would a manager bother arguing a call when there’s no chance of it being overturned?  To speak his mind?  To let his team know he has their back?  For a brisk workout?  Or just to blow off steam?

When a customer walks into my bar and complains about a drink I made poorly (which rarely happens), I quickly diffuse the situation by making them another drink 100% of the time.  Managers never get their replacement drink.

Don’t get me wrong.  Managers going tete a tete with umpires is one of the most colorful parts of our national pastime but logically, it’s pointless.  As entertaining as it is to see a manager blow his top, just once I’d like to see a manager get jobbed on a call and just wave his hands dismissively from the dugout, understanding that running out to dispute said call is an exercise in futility.

At least that would make more sense.

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34 Replies to “For the sake of argument”

  1. Managers tend to show their emotions thinking it will gee up their players . But as you say, more often than not , the action in arguing a call is to their detriment and leads to their ejection . Noting more noting less .

    tophatal ………

  2. Just out of curiosity, What’s the cutoff for a returned drink? One sip, a gulp ,or would just the ice cubes being returned be enough for a do-over? If so, I’ll be there soon.

  3. a fellow bartender?
    i knew i like you
    although i disagree with the girlfriend analogy… because — although they won’t change their mind — an umpire will actually listen to what you have to say

  4. MLB managers arguing a blown call are definitely entertaining, but for my sports entertainment, nothing can ever compare with John McEnroe arguing a call with a tennis umpire. “SuperBrat.” You gotta love him.
    1984. Pure Johnny Mac:
    After questioning a call made by the chair umpire, McEnroe demanded, “Answer my question! The question, jerk!” McEnroe then slammed his racquet into a juice cart beside the court. He was suspended for 21 days for exceeding a $7,500 limit on fines that had been created because of his behavior.

    John McEnroe made this phrase world famous: “You cannot be serious.”

  5. Al…

    I don’t know that I’ve been to a professional baseball game where the manager has been ejected but I’d have to agree, that’d be pretty fun to watch.

  6. Not even close. Ryan Harrison couldn’t hold Tatum O’Neil’s cotton pony. McEnroe had legitimate gripes with the umpires. Harrison just played shitty and threw a hissy fit. Finally, Harrison will never be regarded as one of the greatest tennis players of all time.

  7. NBA players need to read this and stop acting like each and every foul called against them was as shocking as 9/11.
    As much as I respect Tim Duncan (Yes, without question, he’s the best PF of all time), he’s the worst at giving the “I can’t friggin believe you just called a foul on me” amazed look to the zebras.

    I’ll be rooting for San Anton the rest of the way because I pretty much always pull for the Western Conf, but that old sea turtle twin needs to admit his hacks every once in awhile. He’s approaching Danny Ainge/Vlade Divac level.

    Now on to a real man’s sport…GO LA KINGS!!!

  8. Snake…

    I wasn’t referring to the Harrison video.

    I was merely, fondly reminiscing over the Johnny Mac video towards the bottom of that post.

    Hey, apparently Jimmy Connors has a new auto-biography out that’s supposed to be pretty good.

  9. Bleed…

    You have to admit, what Pop and the Spurs did to the Grizzlies was pretty gangsta.

    They basically said, we’re going to shut down your two best players… and they did.

    Let’s travel back in time one week, shall we? Many people were saying if there was a team out there that could beat Miami, it was Memphis.

    The only problem is that they had to go through San Antonio to do so and they weren’t very hospitable.

    They held Randolph to 30% shooting for the series whereas he shot 46% from the floor on the season.

  10. Agreed Rev.
    The Spurs rolled the young team most picked to beat em in 6….Swept em aside like they were cubs, not full grown Gizz. Made Jerimiah Johnson proud. Most impressive indeed. Every time the pundits try to write off the Spurs, they Pop-ovich em in the mouth and teach them to respect their elders. I’ve said it for years now. I think they are the second best franchise in the NBA. Best drafting, that’s for sure.

    I hope they do the same thing to the Heat…or God willing, the Pacers.

  11. Bleed…

    I think it’s time to stop calling the Grizz young and inexperienced as if that’s some sort of excuse. Sure, they’re no Spurs but Gasol has been around, here and internationally and Randolph is no spring chicken.

    I hate to use the whole “out-coached” thing but that was certainly part of this series, We also need to seriously start talking about Tony Parker as one of the best point guards in the game.

    And I think the Heat will take down San Anton in six.

  12. Reasons why managers argue in vain.
    #1 Human nature
    #2 Vent
    #3 Try to intimidate for the next call
    #4 Take the heat off of the player to keep him in the game.

    Chris and all you pro bartenders and consumers here’s another recent cocktail waitress horror story.
    Setting: Sportsbook at a major casino
    Me: “Young lady, a double CC neat with with a bottle of water please.”
    Rookie Waitress: “Sir, we are not allowed to serve doubles.”
    Me: “Mame, they’ve been serving me doubles forever. Ok, bring me a shot.”
    She returns with a double(half CC half water). She insists that it was poured right outta a gun. I’ve been drinking this stuff over 40 years. Thinking she’s doing me a favor, returns immediately with another similar drink and insists it’s not diluted. OK Chris, I took your advice and made a scene. I called Security and told them some foreign substance was in my drinks. Aha, results. The guard and the waitress returned with a PURE quadruple shot. I offered Security a $5 toke but regs wouldn’t allow him to accept. I pulled out a dollar instead and gave it to the little hustler.

  13. Nice, dude!

    Squeaky wheel, brother.

    That’s why, like I said in the post, it’s not worth making the customer, i.e. the person who pays your rent, unhappy.

    If they want a double, give ’em a damn double and move on.

  14. Chris

    Noting also like watching Joe Maddon tee off on an ump !

    My Spurs were pretty dope against Zebo and the Grizzlies . I got a great deal of joy and some financial adage out that series` win . I bet a lawyer buddy of mine , $500-00 (money going to te Wounded Warriors Project) that Timmy and the guys would come away with a victory in five games or less . You could see that the Grizzlies were spent emotionally and physically , after that series win over the Thunder .

    tophatal …………………

  15. Al…

    Joe Maddon is definitely one of the best ones out there these days. I think he thoroughly enjoys getting tossed from games. I mean, with that shitty bullpen, who in their right mind would want to watch his team relinquish another lead?

    Nice work on betting on your Spurs. That’s probably one I would have stayed away from.

  16. Nice job Tophat. WW Project worthy cause for these kids coming back deformed. When I got out early 70’s they spit at us and labeled us “baby killers’. Today, the enemy knocks down a couple of our buildings and those same MF’ers are calling “SUPPORT OUR TROOPS”. Different war but us guys were just following orders. Besides, we were coerced to serve. The National Guard and other weekend warrior outfits were filled by “specially connected” sons.

  17. Adding…….read Colin Powell’s book “My American Journey”. He reiterates how the priviledged were given special National Guard and other Reserve slots while John Q Public Jr fought in Nam.

  18. Spot spot on my friend. It is an exercise in futility and isn’t as entertaining as it once was. Perhaps what MLB could do is whenever a manager wants to argue a ball, the lights go out a spot light is 1 Round 30 second fight to determine who is right and wrong with the PA announcer calling the play by play. Ya that could be fun.

  19. Ronbets

    I served in Ireland during the early eighties when the IRA decided they would use us for target practice as well part of land mine exercises . Lost a number of comrades as well as platoon commander . Saw the same idiocy also serving in the Horn of Africa (Ethiopia , Eritrea , Morocco and Tunis ) . And this was long before the rise of Taliban and Al Qaeda .

    I`m really impressed with the incompetency of Rutgers and their new AD hire of Julie Hermann . So they went from a racial trowing nut job in Mike Rice , to someone who is said to be is equal , but only in this case her animus aimed towards females . Damn !


    The Rays` inconsistency will the death of the team Rays if they can`t their act together .

    speak-no-evil-see-no-evil-and-hear-no-evil/Speak no evil , see no evil and hear no evil


  20. Bets….

    I never served but many of my uncles and cousins, not to mention my grandfather, have.

    Anyone American who ever disgraces those who served should, as Jack Nicholson suggests, pick up a rifle and man a post.

  21. Al…

    Rutgers is a mess and it’s pulling Chris Christie down with it, which is always entertaining and he gears up for his eventual run at president.

    And the Marlins are a good cure for a struggling team. Good thing the Rays scheduled ’em when they did.

  22. Cris

    Who the hell can pull down Chris Christie ? have you not seen the size of the guy ? LOL ,LOL ,LOL !!!

    Rutgers spent $70,000 in the use of hiring an executive search company to hire Julie Hermman , whose resume` makes former Rutgers` basketball coach Mike Rice seem like a damn choirboy . Damn !

    For $70 K I could have found out everything about their prospective ire including her tendencies for being insulting to athletes , lying to law enforcement officials and her penchant for being less than honest . Yet somehow this all escaped Rutgers` President Robert Barchi ? Now you have the state governor backing the university President again , in spite of what could well turn out to be another major controversy . Chris Christie needs to more than watch his cholesterol level , because is brain isn`t working right .

    The Bills Kevin Kolb insists he joined the team to become a winner . Kolb has never won anything and it has been fourteen years since the Bills were in the postseason . What has the player missed in all of that ? Or is it just me ?

    Christie is Presidential material ? Really ? Palin will be is running mate , no doubt ? LOL,LOL !!! Or simply a mate of some kind ? Mind you , if Dubya (George W Bush) can ascend to the White House , then why not Chris Christie ? I mean far worse has preceded and then succeeded that chain of events .

    Dropped the following .

    Speak no evil , see no evil and hear no evil

    tophatal …………..

  23. Cris

    Buckeyes` President E Gordon Gee is off on another one of his rants , haranguing the SEC , ACC, Notre Dame , Catholics and anyone he believes is beneath Buckeye Nation . Shouldn`t he be more concerned with the fact that his school`s program is still thought of as tarnished because of Jim Tressel ?

    E. Gordon Gee’s comments aren’t the most offensive thing about him and his kind

    By Dan Wetzel , Yaoo Sports

    Ohio State president E. Gordon Gee’s entire existence is centered on money (raising and spending) and attention (drawing it in from adoring crowds and dishing it out on wealthy alums). There is little else.

    There’s no denying he’s brilliant at it. The guy is a walkin’, talkin’, back-slappin’, joke-tellin’, bow-tie-wearin’, Orville Redenbacher-lookin’ (his description), down-to-earth academic who can and will charm you, Mr. and Mrs. Potential Donor, right out of your checkbook. Seriously, he’s easy to like.

    It’s why seemingly half the schools in America have hired him, including Ohio State, twice. And it’s why he’ll almost assuredly keep his job despite his latest wild comments – that ranged from “joking” about “damn Catholics”, illiterate Southerners, the sub-standard “integrity” of universities in Kentucky and even the hard-wired greed of Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany.

    The comments weren’t what you’d normally consider the material of a university president, but when did that ever matter with Gee?

    The man craves attention and through the years has proven he’ll pretty much say or insult anything and anyone (including himself) if he thinks it might get an extra chuckle, especially if that might one day lead to an extra donation or positive word in the media.

    “The comments I made were just plain wrong,” Gee told the Associated Press after a tape of him speaking to the OSU athletic counsel in December materialized. He’d already been called in front of the school’s trustees in January and given a “remediation plan” as penance.

    Click on link to read in full .


    Gee is like a demented Strom Turmond or Trent Lott , but without the racial bigotry .

    And by the way E Gordon Gee , doesn`t think much of SEC academics and the graduation rates of their student athletes , which he believes to be vastly overrated and inflated . Your thoughts on that and E Gordon Gee ? I know you`re a Florida grad , so rip away , all you want on Gee .

    tophatal …………….

  24. Al…

    I see stomach stapling in Christie’s future. America is not ready for a fat president. He certainly wouldn’t have Dr. Oz’s vote.

    Kolb a winner in Buffalo? That’s pretty funny. He may be saying the right things but not even the most positive-thinking Bills fan can possibly believe that.

    And Gee’s making a habit of snarky soundbites, huh? Perhaps he should consider staying away from microphones for a bit.

  25. it’s the same in al sports and worse when the players do it (soccer) and the referee does nothing to stop them. In rugby any dissent is usually followed by the player being sin binned or managers sent to the stands, although that’s difficult to do with baseball I’d love to see a manager forced away from the game for disputing a call

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