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Sunday, August 18, 2019

Has Gardy found the secret sound that drives umpires mad?

One of the most reprehensible pro wrestling villains of my youth was Hans Mortier, a Nazi thug in a mortician's cap who cravenly attacked opponents before the opening bell, who cheated at every turn, and who would often lift an unconscious rival's shoulders up from the mat, merely so he could dole out more punishment. He lived not to win, but to hurt people. I loved the guy. 

One of the best part's of Hans' act was that he had a weakness. He hated the roar of the crowd. He'd cup hands over his ears - he had tender ears - and fall to his knees, writhing from the pain. This could change the course of a match. The more you clapped - it was like saving Tinkerbell - the more Hans fell apart. Often, he'd end up wringing out his hands and pleading for mercy. (Though you could never trust him; he was a rotten, slimy snake.) It was a great act.

Which brings me to Brett Gardner, the Yankee Clapper. I don't know what it sounds like to be standing 30 feet from a guy who is repeatedly slamming his bat into the dugout roof, but I gotta believe it's the stuff of migraines. So yesterday, for the second time in a week, the home plate umpires of Major League Baseball - without announcing anything publicly - began enforcing a new "rule:" No jabbing bats against the dugout roof (which, on replay, looked to be breaking apart from the effort.) Twice now, Gardy has been ejected without barely saying a word. It was the jarring, industrial sound - that torturous BAM-BAM-BAM that has home plate umps launching a crackdown on noise. It won't work, of course. The more Hans Mortier begged for quiet, the louder the crowd roared. Gardy is onto something. The umps hate one particular sound. It's going to be a long summer for them.

But here's the rub: I'm not sure that's a good thing. Now and then, I hear fans and pundits clamoring for the automated strike zone, which would eliminate human mistakes from home plate umpiring. The Yankees - particularly Aaron Judge - have had their share of bad balls and strikes this year. It's not fantasy to believe that machines could do a better job. The truth is, we know they could. We know a computer could make the correct call on every pitch. What we don't know is what that would do to the game.

I've always believed the art of pitching is fooling not just the hitter, but the ump. A pitch that seems to touch the outside corner - but actually doesn't - is a work of art. It's the hallmark of great pitchers. Take away those pitches, and who knows how it will affect the game? We might see home run records demolished by mid-August, or .400 batting averages become commonplace. Or it could go in the other direction - where nobody hits .300 - and scoring becomes like soccer. We just don't know. An automated strike zone would bring the biggest change in the history of the game, and it might not be for the better.

So, for the sake of entertainment, I still remember Hans Mortier with a smile. Yeah, he was evil. Yeah, he was a thug. But without villains, there is no pro wrestling. And without umps, there is no human factor. The Yankees don't need to pick fights with these guys. In the long haul, it's a bad idea. Gardy simply needs a new sound. A clicker, maybe?


tentigers said...

Gardner needs to grow up. As a Yankee fan, I am embarrassed by his titty baby antics. Cashman needs to sit down with the boy because, obviously, Boone condone's that shit.

Rufus T. Firefly said...

Greg Maddox would have been a sub .500 pitcher without help from the umps.

Rufus T. Firefly said...

I'm not embarrassed by Gardner. At least he cares about winning (and being cheated out of an at-bat). The umpires are embarrassing with their horrible consistency and thin skins. Let them get better (or get reprimanded for horrible calls -- looking at you Joe West), or develop thicker skins.

Anonymous said...

First of all...

Gardner needs to cut that crap out.

After he got thrown out the first time he gave a little speech about how the thing that upset him most was that he prevented Judge from getting the day off. The next time Judge got a day off... he did it again! That screams,"Putz!" to me.

But then again he is a guy who put hot sauce on the teams after game cookies because it's "funny" so... "Double Putz."

Seriously, he needs to control himself. Does he have rage issues? What causes that?


Which doesn't mean that the quality of umpiring doesn't suck. It clearly does. Especially on Judge.

Yet, I don't know about robo-umps. I've mentioned before about hacking and was mocked. But I have to tell you... the possibility exists and it's more likely than not.

Gambling on MLB games (and soon at bats) continues to grow. It's possible that the lords of baseball, realizing that the attention span for games will not make it into future generations will begin to focus on the "game within the game".

We're already seeing so called fans be more interested in their own teams than the home teams. When individual ABs have a dollar value and robo-umps control the strike zone the value of changing calls increases. There is no safe computer system. None.

While any given ump can screw up any given call, at least it's an honest mistake having a systematic league wide way of altering calls to the benefit of a few is problematic to say the least.

Just sayin'

Doug K.

JM said...

I've been on the fence about this for awhile. But I never considered Doug's argument. That's a new wrinkle for me.

For most of baseball history, we've had umps because vthere was no other way to call balls, strikes, safe or out, fair or foul, home run or just close or fan interference or anything. That's the only reason umps had jobs. Now that we have sensors and computers and a gazillion camera angles, umps are largely unnecessary.

Does that mean they should go? I don't know. Sports themselves aren't really necessary. So I guess that's not the right question. But I'm not sure what is. Is it more important to get calls right, or to be the NFL?

Maybe I lean robo. Umps can screw up an at bat, an inning or a whole game due to their mistakes. Pitchers will still fool batter's. They'll just have to do it on their own.

Anonymous said...


It's food for thought. That said, today's guy behind the plate is a vote for roboumps.

Doug K.

JM said...

How can some umps be so bad and keep their jobs?

JM said...

Oh yeah. It's CC.

JM said...

4 of his usual 5 given up already.

Rufus T. Firefly said...

Umpires still suck.

Yankees are enabling them by swinging at ball four.

TheWinWarblist said...

Mike Ford could bloody well lean into an inside pitch the way he's been hitting. It's not like he doesn't have any padding, the chubby not-hittin'-in-the-Bigs sucker!

Fuck you Hal. Fuck you. You are to blame for Clevinger's brilliant performance.

Carl J. Weitz said...

LOL...Hans Mortier. I remember him well. Also his brother Max Mortier with whom he did the tag team wrestling. They claimed that they were here to "avenge the nazi losses of WW II." They would taunt their opponents by rolling their abdominal muscles daring them to get free shots in on their stomach.
Every match started with Hans (or Hans and Max) doing some cheating to hurt their opponent who would ultimately stagger around. Then Hans or the brothers would put their hands in the air so their enemies could get free punches to the stomach. After hit number one the other wrestler would look at his painful wrist in disbelief; then shot number 2 and the same bewildered look.
Shot number 3 would be a fake to the abdomen but actually a last second shot to the ears. That shook Hans. Shot number 2 would make the boys stagger even more. Shot 3 was always stopped short by some illegal move such as a kick to the crotch. Shortly after that, Hans/Max would use their signature submission move which was some behind-the-back full nelson type of maneuver. It might have been a "Grapevine" move. In any event, their manager, Wild Red Berry would have to come into the ring and take the hook end of his short cane and pry the Mortier's fingers apart due to one of them applying the move too hard on their victim's neck.

Thanks for bringing up that name which I completely forgot. Great memories of Saturday morning childhood memories.

13bit said...

Gardy is problem chewing monkey glands and other mood-altering substances in a bid to get another year and HIS victory lap. When these guys suddenly turn angry, it's hard not to think "roids rage."

In the meantime, umpires might suck, but if we don't pitch and can only hit homers, we are goners.

TheWinWarblist said...

Ginger flavored, crystalline sugarcoated monkey glands. Here here!

JM said...

Cessa is our best pitcher tonight.

Yeah, we're going down.

JM said...

I spoke too soon.

JM said...

Still going down.

Rufus T. Firefly said...

Rut ro rorge. Paulie is doing math!

JM said...

John thought it had a chance, but...caught. Feh.

Beauregard Jackson Pickett Burnside said...

Gardner is awesome. No more illegal than the drummer at some other stadium. Keep it up.

Anonymous said...


Because the drummer is so much fun to sit next to... :)

Doug K.

Mike Fan Cessa said...

The Master eschewed the "It Is Far" and cut straight to the IIc on our local AM feed. Sorry to have missed The Warrior calculating sums; must have been a trip.

Mike Fan Cessa said...

And thank you Duque for the Hans Mortier profile. I never saw wrestling until it was on TV in Rochester on Sunday nights in the early '80s. Sammartino was around but just announcing I think. I always wanted the bad guys to win...never saw Gorilla Monsoon wrestle but he announced capably and went to school with a neighbor of mine and so I liked him. I came along too late, the era of Mean Gene and Lord Alfred Hayes and Bobby Heenan. On the other hand, I bailed when Hulk Hogan turned sorta nice, so maybe I didn't miss much.

smurfy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
smurfy said...

Great idea on the clicker, as an effective counter-move after they ban the bat bumps. Effective, but as you said, in the long run, no. Except in starting a civil war with the umps. The ump who explained at the dugout rail, by motioning with his hands why Gardner was ejected, was Pauzzi (?), a most empathetic fella.

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