Ask the Reports: ATR Answers Your Baseball Questions – May 20th, 2012

Sunday May 20th, 2012

Jonathan Hacohen:  Posted every Weekend: Your top baseball questions from the past week are answered. E-mail all questions to, message us on Twitter, post on our Facebook Wall and leave comments on our website! There are many ways to reach us and we will get to your questions from all social media outlets!

Let’s get to your top questions of the week:

Q:  I watched the replays of the 3-1 and 3-2 count with Brett Lawrie batting in last nights Blue Jays game.

As far as I’m concerned, Bill Miller missed two calls. Brett Lawrie was entirely justified in his outrage.

Ok, you gotta throw him out when the helmet hits the ump, but there’s no outrage if Miller makes those calls right.

It infuriates me that umpires are so go**am arrogant and they have so little tolerance for a player objecting to a bad call.

The 3-2 pitch was farther out of the strike zone that the 3-1 pitch, and it looked a lot like Miller called it a strike since, apparently in his mind, he’d been shown up by Lawrie  after the previous pitch. I’d like to see a 3-day suspension for Miller, and any ump who’s that arrogant.       John

JH:  Before we start this discussion, let’s go to the video replay and see what happened in Toronto the other night:

John, I feel your frustration. I hear where you are coming from. But let’s get this straight. Firstly, Lawrie lost his cool and crossed the line. He didn’t just cross the line, he buried it. Regardless of whether he agrees or disagrees with a call, he clearly acted in a manner that was not professional and put the umpire and himself at risk. Lawrie got a 4-game suspension…and he should consider himself lucky. It could have been much worse.  Look again at how the helmet was thrown- Lawrie threw it in a manner that the helmet made contact with the ump. I have long detested when players start trotting to first base during an at-bat before hearing the call of ball/strike from an ump. In my estimation, that shows up the ump and is more likely to result in a strike call. I am not defending Miller though. He was not on his game and clearly made some terrible calls. The league should have periodic reviews of umps (report cards), with specific instances of issue to be addressed when incidents arise.

Given the nature of the two blown calls, I would not have an issue of Miller going before a reviewer to discuss the incident. I would not suspend him in this instance, but a warning and discussion would be in order. Where an ump shows up a player and acts in a manner that is detrimental to the game, then suspensions could be in order. I agree that the whole process of umpire accountability is somewhat of a mystery and should be more transparent. We should have a better idea on the scale that umpires are graded, reviewed, rewarded and reprimanded. Lawrie had to be accountable for his actions- but where is Miller’s part in the process? That is unclear. Umpires should hold power given what they role in the game is. If that power is taken away, the very state of how the game is played and called could be severely damaged. But we don’t want umpires abusing their role and power. The Lawrie incident in Toronto was not pretty and accountability should be required from all involved. Again, I don’t see a suspension coming for Miller. But without dealing with this incident properly from the start, there is no guarantees that it won’t happen again.

Q:With the Nets in Brooklyn will there be a baseball team coming to Brooklyn (expansion)?  The A’s should relocate to Brooklyn. There is such an enriched history there plus new york can easily support a 3rd team. Come on MLB, it’s time to bring baseball back to the place it should have never left. 2015 Brooklyn Athletics must become a reality. Phillip

JH: Hello Phillip! We had the baseball in Brooklyn question posted in a couple of different places, once as an expansion team and the other as a relocation. I suspect that you were behind both and thank you for writing in. To give you the simple answer, I do not see Major League Baseball coming back to Brooklyn. I would love it (as would many fans), but there are too many roadblocks in place. Firstly, I cannot see the Yankees and/or Mets agreeing to the move, whether it come as a relocation or expansion. Territorial rights are very important and while the existing NY teams can’t stop it on their own, they are very powerful to the point that they will not let it happen. Why lose fans and dollars to another team? Something neither the Yankees or Mets will want. I agree that the A’s need to be relocated as soon as possible. I think the feeling is that they are staying out West, with San Jose still being the most likely landing spot.  I am right there with you in campaigning for baseball in Brooklyn. I love the old-school feeling for such a team and I can see it being a hit. But politics are the biggest roadblock. Also, there are many other cities in the running for a MLB team (Portland, Memphis, Durham…etc). Even if Brooklyn was in the running, it would still face some stiff competition. Sadly, when the Dodgers left Brooklyn, they took the hope of Major League Baseball ever returning to the area. I hope that I am wrong…but I doubt it. Let’s hope for the best but expect the worst in this one.

Q:  I find it to be a sad commentary on the underlying incompetence of the Phillies FO to be in such a feeble position with their star pitcher now and in the future. There was no foresight or well thought plan after 2008; they just threw out their $$$ on the immediate present, gambled and lost. It’s not the first time that this has happened in Phillies history; this is an organization that threw away Ferguson Jenkins, Ryne Sandberg, Jorge Bell, Julio Franco, and others that have scarred the organization. Now, Cole is added to that list.  Dino

JH: Wow Dino. One of the most powerful messages that I have read in some time. I feel the emotion in this one and thank you for reaching out. I am very torn on the whole issue of the Phillies roster and team management. Yes, the team has given up a ton of talent over the past few years. But they have also brought in a ton of talent back. This is a team with a WS ring and a NL title as well. So the team has made it far and won a great deal of games. As far as previous moves/blunders go, I don’t know if I would put them in the same category. Franco was moved in a package deal for Von Hayes in 1982. Looking back, it wasn’t the best move. But Hayes was a huge prospect at the time and the Phillies had no clue what they had in Franco. George (Jorge) Bell was lost in the rule 5 draft to Toronto. Sandberg was traded for Ivan DeJesus in 1982- again, the team did not know what they were trading. When Jenkins was traded, he was not yet a starter. Do you see a common theme? Great players, 2 hall of famers- and the Phillies traded them without knowing that they had moved potential stars. Teams make bad moves all the time, and the Phillies are no different. But it is much different to lose a star player to free agency than to lose a player that blossoms after the fact. Losing all the players you named is a result of bad scouting and management. Losing Hamels would be simple economics of the game. 

The Phillies in recent years have moved their share of prospects. Gavin Floyd. Michael Taylor. Kyle Drabek. Travis d’Arnaud. The list goes on and on. All of those trades were for players that we knew were top prospects, but the team was loading up for a playoff run. The past moves that you indicated were not built on the same principles- those were moves were built on moving what the team considered to be extra parts. Blame computers, television, advanced scouting- whatever. Fewer and fewer stud prospects are slipping through the cracks and the Phillies should not be losing the kind of talent that they did in the past. But look- the team has done what it needed to do. It won the big one and came close to a second title. Think how badly Cubs fans would trade places with you. So while it may look like the team is spending money and mortgaging the future- it is true, but it is with a purpose. They won a World Series. Say it. They won it. Everything else is gravy. The title came at a cost, with growing pains coming. But the team knew what it was doing at this point as compared to the past. Future pain for present gain. I still think that Hamels though is staying put. Even if he leaves, the Phillies got 7 years out of their stud pitcher. Hamels will only leave if the Phillies cannot afford to keep him. Remember, your team still has Doc and Lee. From a pitching standpoint, losing Hamels will hurt but not kill the team. The lack of offense on the other hand presents bigger problems. Enjoy Hamels in 2012 for what he’s worth. But at least when he leaves, you will know why and there will be no mistake as to what the team is losing. The move is calculated by the team. Hopefully it will  pay off in another championship.

 Q:  Can you guys tell me and update on the cities in the lead for expansion teams and when it may happen?  John

JH: Wow, MLB Expansion is a popular topic around the MLB reports hallways! Unfortunately, there has not been any topic of expansion coming soon. MLB just went through an expansion of the playoffs to an extra set of teams and realignment is coming with the Astros moving to the AL West next season. Adding 2 more teams to the picture would make an even 16/16 teams between the leagues. But it would also likely mean more realignment. With baseball being so slow to change, these changes are at least 5 years…10 or more years away. Portland has come up quite often. Same with Nashville/Memphis, Durham, San Antonio and Brooklyn. Maybe Montreal, Vancouver, or as far as Mexico City. If 2 expansion franchises were to be awarded, my guess that it would be between Nashville, Durham and San Antonio. But without anything concrete from baseball, it is all mere speculation. Expect it to happen, but not anytime soon.

Q:  I love the NL and I’m so glad Rockies play in NL. It’s a better game. As Crash Davis said “outlaw Astroturf, Designated Hitter”.  Steve

JH:  Steve- one of my favorite readers on Twitter. Thank you for the comment. I have to admit that even though I live in an AL city (Toronto), my heart belongs to the NL as well. There is something about the designated hitter that just doesn’t feel right. Adding the pitcher to hit makes the game more interesting, with in-game moves and decisions becoming a bigger factor. I know about the talk of the pitcher being an automatic out and all of that- but again, that is just a part of the game within the game. A remember watching a Dodgers game last year when the team was up by one run in a crucial series.  There were two outs, bases loaded and Kershaw came up to the plate. It was the 6th inning and he was cruising, having only given up one run. I believe that Kershaw was pulled and the team scored. Great decision from an offensive standpoint, but now you lost your pitcher for the game. Decisions…decisions…decisions. Love it. Had the Dodgers left Kershaw in and the team didn’t score, they might have blown their only offensive chance of the game. As far as Astroturf goes…don’t get me started. The game is meant to be played on grass. You can put in the best turf in the world, it doesn’t matter. I want grass. Give me the real stuff. Keep the turf for putting zones. Baseball is meant to be played on grass. 

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Jonathan Hacohen is the Founder & Lead Baseball Columnist for MLB reports:  You can follow Jonathan on Twitter (@JHacohen)


About Jonathan Hacohen

I practice daily yoga. Most foods are organic. If you catch me in the supermarket, it will be in the produce aisle. Warrior 1 Yoga was born from my wish to help people be healthy and happy. I preach the 4 key's to life: nutrition, exercise, water and sleep. This is my journey - I am hope to meet you along the way to share a similar path!

Posted on May 20, 2012, in The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. mlbs gotta get rid of that arguing with the ump it looks terrible. It makies me cringe

  2. hey I was watching the mlb all star I was wondering since when does having a kiddy nick name mean you getting into the starting line up for the all star game. I hope I’m not alone on this but if the fans are gonna pick pablo sandoval over david wright cause of his kung fu panda nick name then I don’t think the fans should be allowed to vote starters in the all star game. P.S I think the mets got shafted at the all star game what do you think?

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