Three Things – LaRussa, Astros, Angel Hernandez

Search hard enough and you’re bound to find something interesting from baseball every single night of the season. Nightly games feature feats that have never been achieved, plays never before seen and incredible performances from incredible athletes.

Here’s a look at three things jumping out today.

Tony LaRussa Seems Pretty Out Of Touch In Chicago

LaRussa is largely regarded as one of the most innovative minds in the game. He is credited with the adoption of the LOOGY (Left-handed One Out GuY). He hit his pitcher eighth. He became a master of the bullpen. He put a power hitter into the second spot of the lineup. Many of these things he did well before his counterparts.

LaRussa surprised most of the baseball world by coming out of retirement to manage the White Sox this season. A young team under some of baseball’s new rules didn’t exactly seem like a great fit. A month into the season, the fit isn’t improving.

Recently, LaRussa admitted to not knowing an extra inning rule that would have kept his closer from running the bases.

One of the more discussed rule changes that was put in place in 2020 that stuck around for 2021 has fans divided. The rule places a runner on second base to start each extra inning. The runner is the player occupying the spot in the lineup that committed the last out of the previous inning. That rule has one exception, however – if the player to run the bases is a pitcher, you can use the player a spot ahead of him. It’s a strange caveat but one that makes sense. By that point in the game, a pitcher in the lineup is likely a reliver and has very little, if any experience on the base paths.

The situation came up for LaRussa’s White Sox and closer Liam Hendricks was sent out to run the bases. After the game, a reporter asked LaRussa why he would allow the closer to run for his team. LaRussa simply explained that he was not aware of the exception to the rule.

Not knowing the details of the rules seems like a problem for a manager. White Sox fans are already voicing some displeasure with the way games are being managed on the South Side. I’m not sure the Hall Of Famer is helping sway that opinion by admitting to not knowing the rules.

Houston Astros Complain About Fans

Covid and 2020 robbed people of a lot of things. For baseball fans, it robbed them of a chance to voice their displeasure over the scandal uncovered featuring the Houston Astros. Fans seems poised to remind the team that they haven’t forgotten.

The scandal unveiled a sign-stealing approach by a world series champion team. A scandal that was handled by Major League Baseball by punishing coaches and executives but not punishing any player involved.

Fans were outraged. They took to voicing that outrage during games during Spring Training 2020. But the season was postponed and then played in empty stadiums. Some thought the Astros players would escape ridicule. Fans have proven that they have not forgotten – or forgiven.

The twist to this situation is that the Astros have now filed a complaint with the league regarding taunting by fans. The league has taken that complaint to heart and asked teams, or at least the Yankees, to tighten security around what’s allowed at the ballpark.

A fan dressed as Oscar The Grouch was told he could not enter Yankee Stadium in the costume. The trash can dwelling character from Sesame Street was a clever approach, for sure. The league appears to be ready to continue to stick up for players that skirted the rules to achieve victory. It doesn’t make much sense.

Angel Hernandez Is The Worst

It seems bad umpire decisions and calls seem to show up in the same cities as Angel Hernandez on a regular basis. He has routinely been regarded as one of the worst officials in baseball.

During the offseason, the discrimination suit filed by Hernandez against MLB was decided in the league’s favor. The judge in the case simply explained that the promotion opportunities, or lack thereof, is concurrent with his performance.

This week, Hernandez has found himself at the ire of both the Cleveland Indians and the Kansas City Royals. A botched call in favor of the Royals was explained after the game by Hernandez himself as a guess. A strange balk call the next night went in favor of the Indians and resulted in three ejections from the arguments that ensued.

The first call was a result of Hernandez losing a fly ball in the lights of Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City. The ball was not caught, though Hernandez initially signaled it had been. He attempted to reverse the call, confusing the runner at second base and leading to an out on the base paths. After a conference with his counterparts, Hernandez awarded the runner third base based on his discretion of confusing the runner with his actions.

When asked about the call in the post game press conference, Hernandez admitted to “basically guessing” at what to do. Above is a manager not knowing the rules. Here’s an umpire admitting the same.

The next night, Hernandez called a balk that was questioned by the Royals. This alone is not that strange, balk calls are fairly subjective. Royals manager Mike Matheny argued and headed back to his dugout, where pitching coach Cal Eldred was anything but calm. Eldred was ejected from the game while still in the dugout, which brought he and Matheny back to the field to argue their points.

Eldred was irate, seemingly over far more than just the balk call, and had to be restrained. Matheny, meanwhile, found himself ejected with his comrade.

Starting pitcher Brady Singer was pulled from the game an at bat later. Rather than heading to the dugout, he wanted to share his thoughts with Hernandez as well. Hernandez responded to this outburst by ejecting the pitcher who was just removed from the game.

Terry Francona, manager of the Indians, seemed to sum up the thoughts of most everyone when it comes to Hernandez. Asked what he said to the umpire during their discussion, Francona replied, “Why is it always happening when you’re here?”.

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