For my Sunday Insider, I wrote about a new feature in the umpires' collective bargaining agreement (which began this year): A golden parachute, which will enable problematic, aging umpires (cough!) to not only step down with dignity and a financial reward, but also keep said umpires out of the MLB hierarchy.
Full credit for this tidbit goes to Jim Baumbach. Thanks, Jim.
Speaking of umpires and replay, Joel Sherman advocates a dramatic overturn of the current officiating system, including even balls and strikes. Excellent column.
I keep hearing the argument that umpires' "human error" is part of the game. I just don't see it. It seems like a raw deal for umpires. Players can be remembered for horrendous mistakes, but they also can be recalled certainly for great feats. Jim Joyce now joins Don Denkinger in the former category. Are any umpires celebrated for nailing a great call?
(Scene: Jerry Manuel's office. Friday afternoon.)
Manuel (writing his memoirs, speaking the words out loud): And that's why I decided to bat Alex Cora second.
(Enter Oliver Perez)
Manuel: Hey, Ollie! What's going on?
Perez: Meineke Hearts.
Perez (focuses on the words written on his left hand): Sorry. I practiced this and everything, but you know how sometimes you can't read your own handwriting? (Clears throat). My...knee...hurts.
Manuel (darts up from his chair): Yes! That is outstand-- I mean, sorry to hear that, Ollie. Which knee?
(Perez squints at his left hand, trying to determine the answer)
Manuel: Don't worry, Ollie. I'll just assume it's the one that got surgery. Um...you did have surgery last year, right? That wasn't just a cover story?
(Perez again squints at his left hand).
Manuel: Never mind, never mind. I'll call Omar, and we'll get this done.
MLB will look into the legitimacy of this injury, but I'd be very surprised if anything came of the vetting. Because Perez had the surgery last year, there surely will be some leeway for interpretation on this condition.
--Steve Popper recommends that the Mets reach out to Pedro Martinez to help Ollie. I bet Pedro could indeed help, but something tells me Pedro's feeling a little more loyal to the Phillies nowadays.
--The Yankees lost a tough one, and I know the question was raised on the yakosphere (copyright Neil Best) why Joe Girardi didn't use Mariano Rivera, instead of pocketing him for a save situation that never emerged and losing the game with Chad Gaudin.
It's the perennial debate of what do to in extra innings on the road. The pro "keep Rivera for the save" crowd will ask, "Well, what do you do when you get the lead and you've already used Rivera?"
I think you cross that bridge when you get there. But you're probably not gonna get there if you're opting for Gaudin over Rivera.
--Chan Ho Park had a good day.
--Good column by Bob Klapisch on Andy Petitte. You can't put Pettitte in Roger Clemens/Brett Favre territory when it comes to the "multiple retirements threatened" category, because Pettitte never does the "OK, this is really it" stuff like those guys. He does the "This might be it" thing. Plus, it benefits the Yankees, who get to go year-to-year with a guy who could easily get multiple years somewhere on the market.
Having said that: I'll believe that Pettitte is ready to retire when, you know, he retires. Let's talk again in October/November, but right now, it's nearly impossible to envision Pettitte calling it quits.
--Have a great day. I'm here at Citi Field.