Speed Read: MLB Ump Fist Bumps Marlin Catcher

This mustache belongs to the most hated man in Atlanta, MLB umpire Bill Hohn:

Bill Hohn

(”No, you listen to me, I’m telling a ‘you might be a redneck if…’ joke and there’s nothing you can do about it.”)

Hohn has been a bit suspect (to say the least) with his calls in games involving the Braves this year. As BLEACHER REPORT details, Hohn seems to operate with an entirely different strike zone when Atlanta is pitching, which resulted in a huge scene earlier in the year in Boston, in which Bobby Cox, Chipper Jones, and pitcher Eric O’Flaherty were ejected from the game on the same play for arguing balls and strikes.

On Wednesday night, the Braves and Hohn butted heads again over his strike zone, resulting in yet another ejection for Cox — one that he was baited into when Hohn told Cox he had to eject someone and then pulled out his lineup card to “decide” who to toss. Cox volunteered himself, and then threw up his arms in disbelief when Hohn did it. Moments later, Brian McCann was tossed for asking Hohn to admit he missed a call during his last at bat.

Even so, as egregious as Hohn’s mistakes may have been, it’s easy to dismiss Atlanta’s protests as just your average sour grapes. But then something happened on Wednesday night. When Marlins catcher John Baker caught the final strike in Florida’s 6-3 win over the Braves, he turned around and extended his fist toward Hohn, to which Hohn obliged with a response. Yeah, you heard it right, an umpire actually fist-bumped a player. Here’s the evidence, in animated GIF form. A screenshot of the bumping moment:

Bill Hohn fist bump John Baker

No word on whether or not Hohn “blew it up.”

Hohn likely didn’t realize how that would look, as Baker was probably just telling Hohn he did a good job (as players will sometimes do after games), but on a night when Hohn ejected the opposing manager for arguing about the strike zone, that was a pretty poor decision. One that probably should earn Hohn a game or two off.

The Braves were steaming when word got to them about the bump. Chipper says he’s never seen such a thing in his entire career, and all but accused Hohn and fellow ump Jerry Meals of having it out for his team. This a day after LaTroy Hawkins raised eyebrows for claiming the umps wanted the Cubs to beat his Houston team.

Still fuming, the Braves shook it off last night and beat the Marlins 6-3 on a 10th inning homer by McCann.

Bill Hohn

Your 2009  trade deadline is just hours away, ladies and gentlemen. J.P. Ricciardi continues to hold firm on a steep price for Roy Halladay, and we’ll see this afternoon just how serious he is about making a deal. Many teams have been in the hunt, but all seem to be unwilling to give up the one key prospect the Jays covet. And since Ricciardi can hold on to Halladay and do this all over again next year, he doesn’t feel that dealing him is a necessity.

Late last night, FOX’s Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi wrote that the Rangers might be the last team that will take a crack at Halladay, but seem reluctant to part with pitcher Derek Holland, who dominated the Mariners last night.

If Halladay doesn’t go anywhere, we might be headed for a dud of a deadline headlined by such blockbusters as Orlando Cabrera going to the Twins and/or Nick Johnson going to the Marlins.

Orlando Cabrera

(If Nick Punto was your shortstop, this guy would seem like a great option)

The Red Sox are going to to everything they can, though, to shake things up and land either Victor Martinez or Adrian Gonzalez. Gonzalez would be a huge coup for the Sox, as he’s signed through 2010 at about $2.5 million, and his option for 2011 is a very reasonable $5.5 million. I’m not sure, in fact, why the Padres would want to trade him unless they were getting a ton in return (something like Clay Buchholz, Jed Lowrie, and of Boston’s other top two or three prospects, and even that might not seem like enough). Not surprisingly, Jon Heyman has been told the Sox prefer Gonzalez over Martinez. Martinez has a team option for next year at $7 million, is four years older than Gonzalez, and doesn’t OPS anywhere near .929.

Either way, the Sox would have a huge jam with Mike Lowell and Kevin Youkilis competing for time at third base, while the new player would vie for time at first with Adam LaRoche.

Adrian Gonzalez

(Just like Big Papi, but a little less ‘roidy)

• A historic baseball stadium in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, is under water right now due to massive flooding. The COLLEGE BASEBALL BLOG has pictures of the mess.

• CNBC’s Darren Rovell says that one indication that our economy might be heading the right direction is that golf manufacturer Callaway’s stock price is on the rise on forecasts that club sales may be picking up.

• Alright, I’m pretty sure this is the final nail in coffin for the “grill” phenomenon:

Ryan Lochte grill

 • Tiger Woods has never missed consecutive cuts in his PGA career, so his 96th-place standing after day 1 of the Buick Open doesn’t bode very well.

• Eight year olds, dude: Dustin Pedroia’s brother sentenced to only one year in prison (and eight on probation) for sexual contact with a minor.

DeWayne Wise’s big week continues, as he singled in the winning run in the ninth inning of a 3-2 victory over the Yankees last night.

• Screw that whole east coast bias, the Pac-10 thinks it’s huuuuuuge in China. Good thing, since that’s where all the Harris Poll voters seem to live.

• Oh, Sarge (h/t AWFUL ANNOUNCING)

• I’m sure you’ve wanted to punch someone in the face during a game of Monopoly, but somebody finally went through with it. The victim’s crime? An apparent unwillingness to sell Park Place and Boardwalk.

• The Cubs beat the Astros 12-3 yesteray afternoon, and by early evening both starting pitchers from the game were no longer with their teams. Kevin Hart was among those traded by the Cubs to the Pirates for John Grabow and Tom Gorzelanny. Meanwhile, Houston put Russ Ortiz out of his misery.

• The guys at KISSING SUZY KOLBER think they’ve figured out who got in the way of the Reggie Bush-Kim Kardashian relationship. Shockingly, it’s a model, and her name is Carmen Ortega:

Carmen Ortega

Is today’s trade deadline going to deliver?

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DeWayne Wise Saves Perfect Game, Gets Booze

In the 134-season history of major league baseball in this country, there have been a total of 388,502 (and counting) attempts to pitch a perfect game; that is, there have been 194,251 games (and counting) and each game has presumably started with two opposing pitchers facing eah other. Of those 388,502 opportunities, only 18 of them have resulted in a perfect game. Put it this way - when you sit down at a bar or in your living room to watch a baseball game, there is only a .0093% - one nine-thousandth of one percent -  chance that the game you watch will result in an elusive perfect game.

Mark Buehrle DeWayne Wise Crown Royal XR 1

And yet, there I was last Thursday afternoon, sitting in my home office on Chicago’s north side watching Comcast SportsNet as Mark Buehrle inched ever closer to the near-impossible. At some point in the 7th inning, I hit the record button on the DVR remote…you know, just in case. By the end of the 8th inning, I was beginning to think it might actually happen. And then, in the 9th inning, Gabe Kapler hit a deep fly ball that seemed destined to bring everyone back to reality, when DeWayne Wise made the catch of the year that kept the perfection alive. Two short outs later, Buehrle had done the unthinkable, and I had the same thought in my head as millions of people across the country did later that evening as they saw the highlights - “dude, Buehrle owes Wise BIG-TIME.” So…what exactly is saving a perfect game worth, anyway?

Read more…

Fake White Sox Fan? Obama Botches Player Name

You really have to give Barack Obama for sticking to his claim of being a diehard White Sox fan. Most guys might back off a little bit after botching the name of the home ballpark where the team called home for 100 years. But Obama was back on the bandwagon on Friday, crowing this to a crowd after Mark Buehrle’s no-hitter:

“Today everybody is a White Sox fan. I was up on the North Side and all these Cubs fans were all like what about Buehrle. And I was like that’s right. That was extraordinary. I spoke to Buehrle on the phone, on the Air Force One, one of the privileges of Presidency. You can call up a guy after he pitches a perfect game. I told him that he had to buy a big steak dinner for that center fielder Weiss because he saved that perfect game.”

Notice anything in that last sentence? Read more…

If There’s One Racist In Sports, It’s Ozzie Guillen

When we last heard from Ozzie Guillen, he was sporting some threads from Chicago Cubs fans, that legendary bastion of maturity. And by that, of course, we mean a shirt that says “Ozzie Guillen Mows Wrigley Field.” Sure, it was based off of a different racist shirt perpetrated against Cub Carlos Zambrano, but this would be a prime example of that whole “two wrongs” thing.

Ozzie Mows Wrigley
(What could be wrong with this? It’s just innocuous fun for racists everyone.)

Anyway, to Ozzie’s credit, he was able to laugh it all off. We all figured that was because he was above all the racism stuff, but could we have been wrong? Could it be that Guillen’s not only racist, but he hates everybody who isn’t black?

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