Thursday, June 19, 2008

Ump Hit By Pitch Controversy

Like many of you, I saw a clip on youtube about the Georgia high school Class AAA championship game. In the clip Stephens County was losing to Cartersville 9-1 early and the pitcher, Cody Martin threw what looks like a high fastball. Problem is the catcher, Matt Hill didn't catch it. In fact, by the looks of it he ducked completely out of the way and it hit the Ump square in the face.

If you haven't seen the clip check it out here. When I first saw it I thought for sure it was a plot against the Ump, and after looking into it more I found out the pitcher's team had 9 of their batters strike out... in a row. This looks even more damning against the pitcher and catcher.

But after I looked at the video over and over again, it looks like the path of the pitch changes, either his fastball dips right over the plate or it grazed the batters helmet. That might explain the catcher ducking if he thought the ball was going to hit off the batter helmet. I put might in italics because even so, a decent catcher should still try and catch it or at least watch wear it caroms.

One thing that doesn't add up with that theory is that the batter doesn't even motion towards first. You would think he would know right away if it hit him, especially in the head.

The worst part about the clip is that it's been by over 500k people and it's already had bad repercussions for the players involved. The catcher, Hill was told by his would be baseball coach next year at Gordon College, to not bother joining the team. To be honest, I feel bad for the kid, I have done stuff on par with this in high school games, but luckily my skill level prevented me from actually accomplishing what I would have liked. Also, good thing no one taped our games and youtube wasn't around.

Not that an Ump would ever deserve to get beaned (he has hired a lawyer and will most likely sue for damages) but I am interested in what is the likelihood a team strikes out 9 in a row. I haven't been able to find out if they were mostly swinging or looking, or if this pitcher was a high draft pick or is looking to be one, but the whole deal seems shady.

In all honesty, I kinda hope that while the Georgian High School League does their investigation they find out the other team paid off the Ump.

My inspiration for this little post comes from Rick Reilly's ESPN column found here. He stands on his soap box and is quick to judge these high school kids and potentially have a big impact on their lives by writing this for millions of people.


haasertime said...

the catcher is setting up for a high fastball, but then ducks down like is going to be a breaking ball in the dirt. Maybe he got fooled or thought the signs got crossed. it's really hard to judge one play out of the context of the whole game.

but yeah, this is the old argument about what we media members can and cant cover/analyze about high school kids.

Daymonster said...

I dunno, because he keeps his glove up high until the last second, if he thought it was going to be a breaking ball wouldn't he lower the glove to the dirt.

What do you think about the possibility it grazed the batters helmet.

Watch it again in slow-mo.

haasertime said...

thats tough. look at his arm motion, it looks like hes trying to throw a breaking ball, but it didn't break.

it would be much easier to make a judgment on this if we knew the pitchers pitches and how bad the catcher is.

but at any rate, i still wouldnt call the kids out in a national column unless i was absolutely sure, rick reilly.

TwinsWin83 said...

It was on purpose. Look at the way the catcher drops his head along with his glove and body when the pitch arrives. He is trying to get out of the way of it.

Now I can understand the frustration level of a pitcher and team when things arent going their way but throwing at an ump is on a different level then throwin at a batter, which is the "acceptable" option in baseball circles when retalation is needed.

Now I have thrown at my fair share of batter in my day (and Troy will vouch for that fact if he reads this) but you never throw high or near the head because the goal isnt to seriously hurt the person, only to make a point. I know the ump has a mask on but masks arent flawless in pertecting someone and the throw came at his head, where serious damage can be done if it hits the right spot. I suppose that is my only real issue with this plot.

The ump sure popped up pretty quick though after so maybe he shouldnt be suing.

I enjoyed the fans clapping the background after it happened.

RM said...

This was definitely, 100 percent done on purpose by the pitcher and catcher. When a catcher gets crossed up, he almost always at least makes a last-ditch effort with his glove to catch the ball and prevent the runners from advancing (once he realizes what pitch is actually coming). This catcher did the exact opposite - he moved his glove away from where the pitch was actually going at the last second; he obviously knew what was coming.

No matter how good or bad an umpire might be, this is just about the biggest d-bag moves anyone can pull on a baseball diamond, and sucks every last ounce of integrity out of the game. Those kids deserve every bit of punishment they receive; I'm glad Reilly was able to bring this to the public eye.

Daymonster said...

Oh yeah because the millions of people that saw the video, and the numerous articles in news papers accross the country wasn't enough.

They needed rick reilly to make brash accusations to bring it to the public eye.

RM said...

Hey, I'm an umpire activist - anything that helps them is okay in my book. Hopefully this will teach kids everywhere not to mess with the ump!

Daymonster said...

Yes, RM, let's make an example out of these criminals. Send them away for life.

That will teach the .00005% of kids that have ever messed with an ump.

Caroline Miniscule said...

Unfortunately, this will have minimum consequences. Give it a year to die down, and next year Cody Martin and Matt Hill will be playing...and if they're any good, they'll make it to the majors, regardless that they've just shown their character as thugs who should be BANNED from the game.

But then, so should Albert Haynesworth, several hockey players, Pacman Jones, etc. etc. But because these guys have the talent to play at a major league level in whatever sport, any type of grotesquerie they get involved with will be forgiven.