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Sunday, September 27, 2009

StL Today: Cards get umps to check mounds

There’s plenty of Pauls…but no Peters.

Dissatisfaction over a seeming discrepancy between the visitors bullpen mound and the Coors Field main mound caused Cardinals manager Tony La Russa to seek an umpires’ review of the two following Friday night’s loss and led to an animated exchange with the Rockies grounds crew Saturday.

Cardinals starting pitcher Chris Carpenter complained to La Russa and pitching coach Dave Duncan after the first inning Friday, noting that the main mound was much steeper than the one on which he had warmed.

Carpenter made it through seven innings, allowing only one run, but complained of having little command of his curveball while having to make an adjustment to account for the mound’s steeper face.

“When a pitcher like him says something about it, what are you supposed to do, forget about it?” Duncan said.

The umpiring crew measured the two mounds Saturday and found no discrepancy. The finding didn’t prevent La Russa and Duncan from a testy back-and-forth nearly four hours before first pitch with Rockies head groundskeeper Mark Razum.

 

Repoz Posted: September 27, 2009 at 04:24 AM | 52 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cardinals

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   1. Anonymous Observer Posted: September 27, 2009 at 05:44 AM (#3333747)
Cards get ups to check mounds

However, the Cardinals found Almond Joys to be satisfactory.

AO
   2. Sleepy supports unauthorized rambling Posted: September 27, 2009 at 06:10 AM (#3333751)
On the night the cardinals clinch the division, THIS is the article that gets posted?

Booo.
   3. Snowboy Posted: September 27, 2009 at 06:17 AM (#3333753)
Commissioner bselig declined comment on the affair, but was overheard saying "I don't care if the groundskeeper is a cad...bury the story."
   4. puck Posted: September 27, 2009 at 07:08 AM (#3333764)
On the night the cardinals clinch the division, THIS is the article that gets posted?


I was surprised they kept Wainwright in so long. Looking at his gamelogs, it seems unusual (8 IP, 36 batters, 130 pitches). Does TLR fear his middle relief, was it some kind of pre-playoff test of Wainwright's mettle? He definitely pitched a good game but didn't seem so dominant that the long outing was the only way to victory.
   5. bjhanke Posted: September 27, 2009 at 08:30 AM (#3333770)
My guess is that it was the Cy Young award. Wainwright has just this start and one more to get to 20 wins, which is his best bet to get a credential that will win over Lincecum's ERA in fewer innings. The Cards were tied until Jason LaRue's homer. Managers think about this stuff because it helps clubhouse respect if your players think that you will take their personal achievements into account. From a point of view of just winning one more game this year to clinch the division, there is no reason to leave Adam in that long.
   6. Alex meets the threshold for granular review Posted: September 27, 2009 at 08:52 AM (#3333772)
The thing that's always said about Wainwright from the Cards' organization is that Wainwright, from his time in the bullpen in 2006, learned to warm up more efficiently than most starters - taking 10 or 20 less warmup pitches than the other starters, and as a result has been able to go deeper into games because his arm is more rested after the same number of actual game pitches than it would be for another starter. There's no way to know if this is at all bogus or not but Wainwright has been a horse in his brief career and I'm not terribly worried about it. Not to mention, given the emotion he showed tonight, I'm pretty sure that TLR would have drawn back a bloody stump had he tried to take the ball from Wainwright after the 7th inning...

If this were a non-Pujols universe, Wainwright would probably be my favorite player. There's nothing to not love about him from a Cardinals' point of view.
   7. Best Regards, President of Comfort Posted: September 27, 2009 at 12:30 PM (#3333789)
The finding didn’t prevent La Russa and Duncan from a testy back-and-forth nearly four hours before first pitch with Rockies head groundskeeper Mark Razum.
Gotta love baseball people. LaRussa and Duncan were wrong, and provably so, yet they didn't just refuse to apologize to the groundskeeper, they keep arguing with him.
   8. Downtown Bookie Posted: September 27, 2009 at 12:37 PM (#3333791)
Gotta love baseball people. LaRussa and Duncan were wrong, and provably so, yet they didn't just refuse to apologize to the groundskeeper, they keep arguing with him
.

Well, LaRussa is a lawyer.

DB
   9. 1k5v3L Posted: September 27, 2009 at 12:59 PM (#3333792)
Am heading over to Twitter to find out what TLR has to say about this.
   10. The_Ex Posted: September 27, 2009 at 01:05 PM (#3333793)
It could be due to the rarified air, maybe they could put the mound in a humidor before the game
   11. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: September 27, 2009 at 01:37 PM (#3333803)
If LA finishes with the best record it's a Colorado vs. St. Louis matchup in the first round. If St. Louis overtakes LA same thing.

So Tony is laying the groundwork (no pun intended) for demanding action even if all the information points to no action being required.

It would not be surprising if they drag the St. Louis groundskeeper out to Colorado to get the Cards to shut up.
   12. salvomania Posted: September 27, 2009 at 03:11 PM (#3333842)
If this were a non-Pujols universe, Wainwright would probably be my favorite player. There's nothing to not love about him from a Cardinals' point of view.

Impressive note about Wainwright's second half: his season ERA has gone down in 17 of his last 18 starts.....
   13. CFBF Is A Golden Spider Duck Posted: September 27, 2009 at 03:44 PM (#3333855)
Well, at least we got that one great year out of JD Drew.
   14. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: September 27, 2009 at 03:52 PM (#3333859)
The finding didn’t prevent La Russa and Duncan from a testy back-and-forth nearly four hours before first pitch with Rockies head groundskeeper Mark Razum.
Gotta love baseball people. LaRussa and Duncan were wrong, and provably so, yet they didn't just refuse to apologize to the groundskeeper, they keep arguing with him.


That's Tony LaRussa in a nutshell, right there. In 20+ years of watching him, I don't think I've ever seen him admit to being wrong.

No wonder he and George Will get along so well.
   15. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: September 27, 2009 at 04:06 PM (#3333865)
I really don't want to get into the habit of defending Tony LaRussa, but measuring the mounds on Saturday does not invalidate the theory that the mounds were different on Friday night.
   16. Tracy Ringolsby Posted: September 27, 2009 at 08:14 PM (#3333994)
Interesting tid bit is that Mark Razum, groundskeeper at Coors Field, was hired from Oakland, where he developed a friendship with former A's manager Tony La Russa and pitching coach Dave Duncan.
Now, here's the real question. Could Duncan and La Russa be suspicious becuase of anything they might have been involved with in the past?
   17. Justin T., Director of Somethin Posted: September 27, 2009 at 08:33 PM (#3334000)
If LA finishes with the best record it's a Colorado vs. St. Louis matchup in the first round.

Go Braves!
   18. Harold can be a fun sponge Posted: September 27, 2009 at 08:55 PM (#3334005)
Gotta love baseball people. LaRussa and Duncan were wrong, and provably so, yet they didn't just refuse to apologize to the groundskeeper, they keep arguing with him.

How do you know that?
   19. Tuque Posted: September 27, 2009 at 09:19 PM (#3334021)
If LA finishes with the best record

They're trying hard not to, though. They are now 3-3 in the last six games against the worst two teams in the league, including today's epic meltdown of errors and wild pitches and backfiring intentional walks.
   20. Tracy Ringolsby Posted: September 27, 2009 at 09:34 PM (#3334027)
If LA finishes with the best record


Actually it is if Philadelphia finishes with a better record than St. Louis, and Rockies were to claim the wild-card, Phillies and Rockies would be the first round.

The Dodgers-Cardinals record enters into it if Atlanta is the wild-card. Then Atlanta plays whichever team between Dodgers and Cardinals has best record.
   21. God Posted: September 27, 2009 at 09:41 PM (#3334032)
Mounds can be the same height but have differing slopes. I wonder whether they measured that also, or just the height.
   22. Good cripple hitter Posted: September 27, 2009 at 09:52 PM (#3334035)
I don't know if he can be considered an authority on this, but Derek Zumsteg's The Cheater's Guide to Baseball contains the following:

Even though both the bullpen and field mounds are inspected, pitchers frequently complain about the difference, particularly in height, between the visitor's bullpen and the actual mound. A pitcher warms up in the visitors bullpen, and gets his stride and motion down, then finds the real thing is a little wider, steeper, or softer.


It makes sense, too, if a team is looking for an edge. Take this case. A pitcher complains about the difference after a game on Friday but the umpires only inspect the mounds on Saturday. That gives the groundskeepers have plenty of time to adjust the bullpen mound. And if they do get caught, what would happen? A fine and maybe some closer scrutiny? It's certainly worth trying.

Edit: Zumsteg also mentions that one of the problems with altering the pitcher's mound is that free agency and trades are more common now, so there's more opportunities to players and teams to betray each other. So ballfan's point about LaRussa's relationship with the groundskeeper might be on the mark.
   23. God Posted: September 27, 2009 at 10:01 PM (#3334039)
Zumsteg also mentions that one of the problems with altering the pitcher's mound is that free agency and trades are more common now

Are there numbers on that? I'm calling BS on the "trades are more common now" part.
   24. Downtown Bookie Posted: September 27, 2009 at 10:02 PM (#3334040)
Interesting tid bit is that Mark Razum, groundskeeper at Coors Field, was hired from Oakland, where he developed a friendship with former A's manager Tony La Russa and pitching coach Dave Duncan.
Now, here's the real question. Could Duncan and La Russa be suspicious because of anything they might have been involved with in the past?


This is an interesting point; I for one wasn't aware that there was history between these men. Good job ballfan pointing that out.

DB
   25. Justin T., Director of Somethin Posted: September 27, 2009 at 10:07 PM (#3334043)
It doesn't seem like La Russa, but maybe we should also consider whether the testy 4 hour back and forth was in fact more like good-natured ribbing, if they've been friends, and those present for it didn't know the history and thus misinterpreted things in reporting on it.
   26. Good cripple hitter Posted: September 27, 2009 at 10:07 PM (#3334044)
Are there numbers on that? I'm calling BS on the "trades are more common now" part.


Actually, that's a misquote. It just claims that if a pitcher cooperates with teh growndskeeper, they might turn on him if he is traded or leaves through free agency. There's nothing about that being more common now.
   27. cardsfanboy Posted: September 27, 2009 at 10:08 PM (#3334045)
Are there numbers on that? I'm calling BS on the "trades are more common now" part.

you think so? I figure with upcoming free agency that trades happen more now than they did in the past, Holliday twice in calendar year, the Pirates etc.
   28. God Posted: September 27, 2009 at 10:11 PM (#3334046)
For every Matt Holliday today, there was a Bobo Newsom yesterday.

I could be totally wrong, but my gut reaction is that significantly fewer major league players are traded today than before free agency. (In part because many trades nowadays involve only one MLB player switching teams, whereas in the past, major leaguers were probably traded for each other more often.)
   29. Downtown Bookie Posted: September 27, 2009 at 10:15 PM (#3334047)
Are there numbers on that? I'm calling BS on the "trades are more common now" part.

you think so? I figure with upcoming free agency that trades happen more now than they did in the past, Holliday twice in calendar year, the Pirates etc.


Along with free agency, I think there being more teams now plays a part in that as well (more teams = more trading partners).

It doesn't seem like La Russa, but maybe we should also consider whether the testy 4 hour back and forth was in fact more like good-natured ribbing, if they've been friends, and those present for it didn't know the history and thus misinterpreted things in reporting on it.


Perhaps. After all, La Russa is a lot of things, but idiot isn't one of them; and, in general, it's not very smart to get into a fight with a man who makes his living working with a shovel on a large open field.

DB
   30. God Posted: September 27, 2009 at 10:16 PM (#3334048)
Did somebody really use the words "La Russa" and "good-natured ribbing" in the same sentence? He seems about as likely to engage in good-natured ribbing as Kim-Jong Il.
   31. cardsfanboy Posted: September 27, 2009 at 10:24 PM (#3334049)
I could be totally wrong, but my gut reaction is that significantly fewer major league players are traded today than before free agency. (In part because many trades nowadays involve only one MLB player switching teams, whereas in the past, major leaguers were probably traded for each other more often.)

my gut says the opposite, there seems to be a ton of smaller names traded because of upcoming free agency, that normally wouldn't happen if it wasn't for the upcoming free agent. And players getting traded multiple times in a calendar year seems to happen a lot more.
   32. God Posted: September 27, 2009 at 10:24 PM (#3334050)
If LaRussa really wanted to argue with somebody he should have argued that blown call on Schumaker a little more strenuously. Holy cow, what a huge call to blow -- it was a really easy one too.
   33. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: September 27, 2009 at 10:28 PM (#3334051)
Did Lugo keep going toward home on the final play? If he crossed the plate before the appeal was made on Albert, shouldn't that run have counted (even if Julio didn't tag up) once the Rockies walked off the field? I didn't see the camera angle that would answer it.
   34. cardsfanboy Posted: September 27, 2009 at 10:30 PM (#3334054)
If LaRussa really wanted to argue with somebody he should have argued that blown call on Schumaker a little more strenuously. Holy cow, what a huge call to blow -- it was a really easy one too.

TLR plays politics and lawyer, he really doesn't do the Bobby Cox being an a-hole type of thing. Weird way to end a game though, with a baserunning gaffe by Albert. And I did not know that Tulowitzki(sp) had 30 homeruns this season.

of course easy blown calls at first base is how you earn your Cardinal wings....
   35. cardsfanboy Posted: September 27, 2009 at 10:32 PM (#3334056)
Did Lugo keep going toward home on the final play? If he crossed the plate before the appeal was made on Albert, shouldn't that run have counted (even if Julio didn't tag up) once the Rockies walked off the field? I didn't see the camera angle that would answer it conclusively.

I was thinking about that, but didn't see, if he tagged up then if I remember the rule, the run wouldn't have counted, it would have only counted if he didn't tag up and scored before the appeal on Albert(or something like that, it's a weird rules lawyer type of call) and if they don't appeal the out at third. (probably wrong on that)
   36. God Posted: September 27, 2009 at 10:34 PM (#3334057)
Lugo didn't tag up. Three baserunning screw-ups by the Cardinals in one inning!

And if he had tagged up, then appealing would have nothing to do with it, it's a timing play. If Lugo touches home before Pujols is tagged, the run counts.

[edited for clarity]
   37. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: September 27, 2009 at 11:32 PM (#3334073)
And if he had tagged up, then appealing would have nothing to do with it, it's a timing play. If Lugo touches home before Pujols is tagged, the run counts.


God is right (duh). The only area where Lugo tagging up matters is the Rockies could have gone for the fourth out appeal if he hadn't. But either way, it's a timing play, since there's no force involved.

I'd guess he didn't actually cross the plate before Albert was doubled up, but it would be nice to get confirmation.
   38. God Posted: September 28, 2009 at 12:04 AM (#3334082)
It looked like it happened right around the same time. Lugo wasn't even running at the end, though. He saw that Pujols was in trouble and then he gave up on the play, slowly jogging the rest of the way home.
   39. Best Regards, President of Comfort Posted: September 28, 2009 at 12:19 AM (#3334086)
How do you know that?
The umpiring crew measured the two mounds Saturday and found no discrepancy.
   40. God Posted: September 28, 2009 at 12:38 AM (#3334093)
They were both C-cups.
   41. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: September 28, 2009 at 01:54 AM (#3334124)

Mounds can be the same height but have differing slopes


That occurred to me but then the mounds would be of different diameters. I would think that would be evident to someone looking at them if there was a marked difference in slope.
   42. God Posted: September 28, 2009 at 02:32 AM (#3334144)
They need not even have different diameters though. For example, one mound might go almost straight downward from the rubber before flattening out at the edges. While another mound may have a large area that's the same height as the rubber before dropping off more precipitously at the edges.

There are actually specific regulations regarding the angle of the slope, but I doubt your average umpiring crew would have a sophisticated enough knowledge of physics to inspect that competently. See Rule 1.06, diagram 3.
   43. God Posted: September 28, 2009 at 02:39 AM (#3334151)
Also, it seems like there's a fair amount of leeway in the measurement. For example, is the mound supposed to be 10 inches above the top of the grass, or 10 inches above the base of the grass (i.e., the soil)? It seems to me that each home team would interpret this to their best advantage. (FWIW the rulebook actually says "10 inches above the level of home plate." Good ####### luck measuring that!)
   44. Tom Nawrocki Posted: September 28, 2009 at 04:12 PM (#3334452)
According to this morning's Denver Post, La Russa also complained to the umps on Friday night that Huston Street had been given too much time to warm up in the bullpen. So he was limited to three warmup tosses on the mound instead of the customary eight.
   45. Random Transaction Generator Posted: September 28, 2009 at 04:22 PM (#3334462)
I'd guess [Lugo] didn't actually cross the plate before Albert was doubled up, but it would be nice to get confirmation.

One of the replays I saw on TV was a split screen of Lugo and the main camera. It did not look like Lugo touched home plate before they got Pujols at first.

So explain to me again what happens if Lugo does cross home plate first without tagging up?

The run would have counted, unless the Rockies appealed back at 3B?
So what happens if (like yesterday) it's the end of the game?

Do the umpires let everyone walk off the field, and then announce the tying run has scored?
Do they ask the Rockies to come to bat?

Part of me wishes that did happen, just to see the confusion from the announcers/umpires/reporters.
   46. phredbird Posted: September 28, 2009 at 04:33 PM (#3334472)
testy 4 hour back and forth


4 hours? really? did they have bathroom breaks? have you ever argued with someone for 4 hours? that's pretty intense.

So explain to me again what happens if Lugo does cross home plate first without tagging up?


as i understand the rules, if he crosses before pujols is doubled up, the rockies need to appeal to third before they leave the field. but i don't think he did, so its moot. boy, was i flummoxed by that ending. lugo messed up, he should have kept running and hoped to beat the double play and hoped the rockies miss the appeal, which they prob. wouldn't anyway.
   47. Tom Nawrocki Posted: September 28, 2009 at 04:46 PM (#3334491)
the rockies need to appeal to third before they leave the field.


That brings up the question of what "they" means, and what "leave the field" means. Everyone ran out to short rightfield to mob Clint Barmes after that play, so most of the team was still on the field for quite some time. But if Todd Helton is already in the dugout at that point, has the team left the field? If one player is left on the playing surface, is the team still considered to be on the field? What if that player is in foul ground but not in the dugout?

The umpire will point to the plate and signal the official scorer to let him know that a run has scored. So if anyone on the Rockies is paying attention at all, they'll see that happening. Presumably, they would have still had an opportunity to record the appeal.

This could have been a huge mess. Thank goodness Julio Lugo didn't feel like trying very hard.
   48. BringBackTimTeufel Posted: September 28, 2009 at 04:54 PM (#3334508)
as i understand the rules, if he crosses before pujols is doubled up, the rockies need to appeal to third before they leave the field. but i don't think he did, so its moot. boy, was i flummoxed by that ending. lugo messed up, he should have kept running and hoped to beat the double play and hoped the rockies miss the appeal, which they prob. wouldn't anyway.


Correct. That would be the advantageous "fourth out" that wipes the run off the board.

In terms of what constitutes "off the field," a team is "on the field" in this sense as long as one non-catcher player is in fair territory. Once the 8th position player crosses the foul line, the team loses its right to appeal.
   49. SoSH U at work Posted: September 28, 2009 at 04:57 PM (#3334513)
I don't think everyone would have to still be on the field for the appeal to be successful.

The big issue on these types of plays is whether the umps realize it at the time. If the umps are on the ball, they should be noting the run counts long before the Rockies have completed the on-field celebration, allowing them the opportunity to appeal the play.

But if the umps screw up (which has happened on a couple of the failed fourth-out scenarios), and aren't alerted to the fact that the run should have counted until after the team has left the field, that's when the fun begins. In a game-ending situation like this one, I don't know if the teams would have been brought back out or a protest would needed to be filed.
   50. puck Posted: September 29, 2009 at 04:38 AM (#3335140)
   51. Tripon Posted: September 29, 2009 at 04:42 AM (#3335143)
That's hilarious. Puck, just how many virgins are they sacrificing in Coors fields to make all of this happen?
   52. God Posted: September 29, 2009 at 05:10 AM (#3335162)
That brings up the question of what "they" means, and what "leave the field" means. Everyone ran out to short rightfield to mob Clint Barmes after that play, so most of the team was still on the field for quite some time. But if Todd Helton is already in the dugout at that point, has the team left the field? If one player is left on the playing surface, is the team still considered to be on the field? What if that player is in foul ground but not in the dugout?

This one of the relatively few instances where the MLB rules are actually specific enough to be useful. They actually define the term "leaving the field."

Rule 7.10 (d)
For the purpose of this rule, the defensive team has “left the field” when the pitcher and all infielders have left fair territory on their way to the bench or clubhouse.

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