Valentine: If umpires can't make the right call, time for a change

789316.jpg

Valentine: If umpires can't make the right call, time for a change

MIAMI -- Bobby Valentine wasn't happy with the umpiring in the Red Sox series over the weekend at Fenway, and when the topic was re-introduced Monday at Marlins Park, Valentine picked up where he left off.

"I don't like barking at the umpires," said Valentine, who objected to ball and strike calls Sunday. "I'd like to see a ball called a ball and a strike called a strike. Just play the game. I don't like that idea (of yelling at umpires)."

Valentine went on to hint that it might be time for Major League Baseball to find other ways -- beyond umpires -- to call balls and strikes.

"From the time that people pay hundreds if not thousands of dollars to teach their kids to play this great game of ours," said Valentine, "the No. 1 thing they do is they teach their pitcher to throw it over the plate; they teach their hitter to swing at strikes and take balls.

"When I did the Little League World Series (for ESPN), I thought it was the most criminal thing I ever saw, I wanted to cry, when a kid, in the sixth inning with the bases loaded and his team down by one run, was called out on a strike three that was six inches outside. He couldn't reach it with his bat. I cried for him. And that kid is scarred for life, playing our game, by an injustice.

"And then someone says the most ridiculous words that I ever hear: 'But we like the human factor.' It was criminal that we allow our game to scar a young person like that. And then it continues on. I think, in 2012, it should not be part of the process. I don't think it should be."

When asked if he was advocating the use of cameras to call pitches, Valentine demurred: "I want a ball called a ball and a strike called a strike. Let the humans do it, somehow . . . Our game is not someone else's strike zone; our game is what the book says. And that's how it should be played, from Little League to Cooperstown. To make it fair, to make it right."

Reminded that humans are bound to make mistakes in whatever job, Valentine responded: "Don't make it their job, then. The rule book doesn't say that the game will be played and arbitrarily ruled."

Valentine said umpires are "well-trained and very good at what they do. But I think it's almost impossible to do what they do. So why do we ask them to do the impossible?

"If in fact you can't see the ball the last five feet and now pitchers are throwing pitches that are moving in that zone . . . if you can't see it, why are we asking them to call it? They can't see it. They're humans. We're asking humans to do a feat that a human can't do."

Young, Vazquez homer for Red Sox in 9-2 win over Twins

Young, Vazquez homer for Red Sox in 9-2 win over Twins

BOSTON - Chris Young hit a three-run homer and Christian Vazquez homered for the first time in more than a year as the Boston Red Sox routed the Minnesota Twins 9-2 on Tuesday night in a game delayed twice by stormy weather.

Drew Pomeranz (7-4) pitched five innings, three after a 1 hour, 16 minute delay between the second and third as a thunderstorm slowly passed over Fenway Park. Despite the interruption, Pomeranz held the Twins to one unearned run and four hits, struck out seven and didn't walk a batter.

Dustin Pedroia had three hits and scored twice and Xander Bogaerts had two hits and scored twice for the Red Sox as they won consecutive games for the first time in nearly two weeks.

The two rain delays totaled 2:06.

Drellich: MLB could explain umpire rulings more often

Drellich: MLB could explain umpire rulings more often

BOSTON — We know that Red Sox manager John Farrell did something wrong. In the absence of any sort of formal announcement otherwise, we’re left to assume the umpires did everything properly — but there’s room for MLB to make that clearer.

If the NBA can put out Last 2 Minute reports, why can’t MLB provide more regular explanations or reviews of contested calls?

Farrell on Tuesday said he’d like to see more public accountability in the umpiring realm, hours before the manager was to sit out Game No. 77. Farrell was suspended one game for making contact with crew chief Bill Miller on Saturday night as manager and umpire rained spittle on each other over a balk call that went against the Sox.

Well, was it a balk or not? Did Miller do anything wrong as well?

“I don’t know if there was anything levied on the other side,” Farrell said. “I don’t know that.”

But would he like such matters to always be public?

“I think there have been strides made in that way,” Farrell said. “I guess I would. I think everyone in uniform would prefer that to be made public. Whether or not that happens, I don’t know, but that would be a choice I would make.”

The league has a thorough internal review system. But it is just that: internal. Most of the time, any way.

On most every night at Fenway Park, there is someone on hand watching just the umpires and reviewing them.

MLB, to its credit, has announced suspensions for umpires in the past. The league has made public acknowledgments when calls have been made incorrectly. More of that seems viable — even if it’s an announcement to reaffirm that the call was made and handled properly, and here are the reasons why.

“I haven’t received any further determination or review of what transpired,” Farrell said. “My position, my stance, remains steadfast. I still firmly believe that time was called [before the balk call was made]. I wasn’t arguing the balk. I was arguing the timing of it. As I reiterated today to those that I spoke with, I still stand by my side of the argument. Unfortunately, there was contact made.”