August 19, 2010

What was going through Eric Cooper’s mind when Gonzalez threw behind Jeter?

I’ll be honest, when I was at the game last night it was hard for me to pick up on the altercations that went on between the managers and home plate umpire Eric Cooper. But now that I’ve seen replays and read the stories, I’ve reached a few conclusions.

When Enrique Gonzalez threw behind Derek Jeter in the eighth inning, it was as obvious as it gets. It came right after Jim Leyland was ejected for arguing why Chad Gaudin should’ve been tossed for hitting Miguel Cabrera. So why didn’t Cooper run Gonzalez out of the game? I think because he didn’t throw out Gaudin, he was scared he would’ve been ridiculed for throwing out a Tiger but not a Yankee (to answer the question in the post title).

You’re also probably thinking, why didn’t Joe Girardi come out of the dugout to talk to Cooper about ejecting Gonzalez like Leyland did for Gaudin? Because the Yankees were winning. It wouldn’t have done any good. In my history watching Girardi, he tends to pick fights with umps when his team is behind (rightfully so, in my opinion).

Bean balls are, and always have been, a part of this game. It’s probably my least favorite part of the sport, but it’s not going away. When warnings are issued, both catchers have to factor that into their pitch selections, especially when working with a wild pitcher.

What I dislike most about bean balls are the way umpires deal with them. They’re inconsistent. Some have short leashes, and others are too scared to make the right call (like Cooper last night).

Let me digress quickly. Umpires also have inconsistent strike zones. Some like low pitches, some like high. Some are tight, some give the veterans pitchers off the black. Ask any major leaguer and they’ll agree with me.

I remember when I played on my American Legion team last summer and I was asked by my coach, an ex-pitcher in the majors, to intentionally throw at a player if the other team threw at one of our players.

Thankfully, I never was put in a situation where I was told to throw at a batter, but, it’s real, as my coach would say. And I don’t doubt him for a second.

If it were up to me to revise the current ejection and suspension policies for this, mine would be a lot harsher.

As I wrote this post, the Yankees dismantled the Tigers in the series finale, 11-5, to take the series.

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