• Backstop Babies Fight Over Who Throws Ball To Pitcher

    Posted by on May 31st, 2012 · Comments (14)

    Via Marc “The Mad Hatter Twitter King” Carig

    Yankees catcher Russell Martin lashed out at home plate umpire Laz Diaz after last night’s 6-5 victory over the Angels. After the two had earlier argued over balls and strikes, Martin said the umpire refused to let him throw the ball back to his own pitchers whenever a new ball was put into play.

    “He told me I had to earn the privilege,” said Martin, a seven-year veteran, three-time All-Star and Gold Glove winner. “Even at the end of the game after I get hit in the neck. I’m like, can I throw the ball back now? He’s still like no. I’m like you’re such a (expletive). Like for real. Unbelievable. I even told him like when there’s guys on base, I like to keep my arm loose. No. I’m not letting you throw a ball back. That’s pretty strange to me.”

    When informed that his choice of words wasn’t printable, Martin said “I wish it was.”

    Then, he helped come up with suitable alternatives before leaving the clubhouse.

    Diaz was not available for comment.

    “That was strange,” Martin said. “I was kind of mystified. I really didn’t get that. He was punishing me.”

    Typically, Martin said umpires grant his request to throw the ball back to his pitcher, which he likes to do just to keep his arm loose during games. Even after arguments, he said no umpire had ever denied him the request until last night, when Diaz told him he hadn’t earned the right.

    “Now, thinking back, I should have shown him the gold Rawlings sign on my glove,” Martin said.

    Though Martin bit his tongue and didn’t call Diaz any names on the field, the catcher said he took the umpire’s actions as an attempt to goad him into an ejection.

    Martin wants to keep his arm loose? That’s weak. A catcher makes 12 to 40 throws back to the pitcher per inning. Not being able to throw the ball back to the mound when a new one comes into play is not going to make the difference between staying loose or not. On the flip side, Diaz is being a hump by insisting that he throws the ball to the pitcher. What’s the need for that? Outside of vanity, I can’t think of any reason why the ump needs to make a throw. It’s not like he’s saving the ball from being doctored or something.

    This whole thing is a couple of guys acting like babies. Grow up guys…geesh.

    Comments on Backstop Babies Fight Over Who Throws Ball To Pitcher

    1. G.I. Joey
      May 31st, 2012 | 11:49 am

      I know that umpires and catchers usually keep their differences under the radar, but I don’t see how Russell Martin mentioning this after the game makes him a baby.

    2. #15
      May 31st, 2012 | 11:57 am

      Here’s a different take…

      In my over 50 league, I have a 57+ pitcher that can barely read my signs at times. I’ve got to use more overt signs (shin guards, mask, etc…), which are easier for opponents to pick up and decode over time. For night games, I’ve worked out a method with him by which I indicte fastball/curveball/change on the next pitch, by how I return the ball to him. Then I give him a bunch of BS signs just to muddy up the water.

      Hopefully Martin isn’t using a similar system. That being said, I would think an ump would honor the catcher’s request. It falls into the catagory of the umps dissappearing into the background as much as possible.

    3. May 31st, 2012 | 1:19 pm

      G.I. Joey wrote:

      I know that umpires and catchers usually keep their differences under the radar, but I don’t see how Russell Martin mentioning this after the game makes him a baby.

      Sub the name “Saltalamacchia” for “Martin” in the story. Would you then say the catcher was not being a baby?

    4. May 31st, 2012 | 1:27 pm

      @ #15:

      Ever think of pumps/flashes of the fist in the place of fingers?

      One flap of the fist is a fastball, two flaps is a curve, etc.

    5. G.I. Joey
      May 31st, 2012 | 2:57 pm

      Steve L. wrote:
      Sub the name “Saltalamacchia” for “Martin” in the story. Would you then say the catcher was not being a baby?

      I’d like to think that my disdain for ego-maniacal umpires a la Joe West would supersede my dislike of Beantown backstops, but I will concede that I can’t say for sure.

    6. jay
      May 31st, 2012 | 3:06 pm

      Not being able to throw the ball back to the mound when a new one comes into play is not going to make the difference between staying loose or not.

      This is 100% false. I play in men’s wood bat league and I catch, and I absolutely need the throws back to the pitcher to keep my arm regular and loose. When someone steals second, I’m expected to get the ball there in ~1.5 seconds. You can’t do that if your arm isn’t loose. In fact, when I’m on base to end an inning, and someone warms up the pitcher for me, I ask the ump for a few throws back to the pitcher so *I* can get loose before my throw down to second to start the inning.

      Also, ever notice how many times a ball is changed out? Pretty much if it touches anything – the ground, the bat on a foul tip, whatever – they change it. And then sometimes the pitcher just wants a new one.

    7. May 31st, 2012 | 3:26 pm

      @ G.I. Joey:
      You are an honest dude! I salute you.

      @ jay:
      Martin makes it sound like, without the requested throws, he would be stone cold. I contest that being true, that’s all. I think the non-new ball throws should be enough to keep warm.

    8. #15
      May 31st, 2012 | 4:26 pm

      @ Steve L.:

      Been there and been crossed up too many times. The lighting on some of our fields is pretty bad. White out failed. Pumps, sometimes works, sometimes not. Pound the glove, hit or miss. Some of it is the guy. Really good ballplayer, but the only time I’m sure I’ve got his undivided attention is when I’m throwing the ball back to him.

      High arc toss back, curveball. Hard and straight back, fastball. Side arm… the change-up. Only hard part was getting used to making the call in my head before I returned the ball.

    9. May 31st, 2012 | 4:33 pm

      @ #15:
      If his eyesight is that bad, I fear for him on a comebacker.

    10. redbug
      May 31st, 2012 | 6:14 pm

      I think the ump is wrong. He’s not playing the game. If Martin wants to throw the ball to the pitcher, the ump shouldn’t argue. It seems pretty simple to me.

    11. MJ Recanati
      May 31st, 2012 | 8:12 pm

      I don’t see how Martin is a baby here. Umps are there to call balls/strikes, safe/out, fair/foul, etc. They’re not there to be seen by the fans, they’re not there to engage players in any measurable way. An ump should do his job and, if need be, behave like the bigger person. Laz Diaz behaved like an obnoxious, petty, childish jackass which, if you know anything about him, is perfectly within his character and reputation.

    12. Raf
      May 31st, 2012 | 11:11 pm

      Steve L. wrote:

      If his eyesight is that bad, I fear for him on a comebacker.

      As long as he doesn’t pitch the batter away, he’ll be ok :)

      #15 wrote:

      Been there and been crossed up too many times. The lighting on some of our fields is pretty bad. White out failed. Pumps, sometimes works, sometimes not. Pound the glove, hit or miss.

      You don’t think that can be picked up either?

      In the leagues I played in it was pretty much a given that you were going to get a fastball, especially if you were a smaller guy. The bigger guys would get breaking pitches, and some fastballs, but a lot of pitchers couldn’t get their secondary stuff over so we were sitting fastball anyway.

    13. jay
      June 1st, 2012 | 9:02 am

      @ Steve Martin makes it sound like, without the requested throws, he would be stone cold.

      I’m not reading where he’s saying that at all. He said he likes to use the throws to keep his arm lose. I understand exactly what he means and he’s exactly right. Diaz is wrong here.

    14. MJ Recanati
      June 1st, 2012 | 9:32 am

      jay wrote:

      I’m not reading where he’s saying that at all. He said he likes to use the throws to keep his arm lose. I understand exactly what he means and he’s exactly right. Diaz is wrong here.

      Agreed. Moreover, even if Martin is completely full of crap it still doesn’t excuse or explain the umpire’s behavior.

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