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Livan Hernandez fined for arguing Tuesday

As baseball umpires have faced harsh criticism across the league, the Nationals joined the critical chorus after the 4-2 victory Friday night over the Reds.

After protesting a balk call from his outing Friday, starter Livan Hernandez revealed he was fined $500 for arguing from the dugout following Tuesday's loss at the Houston Astros. The Nationals lost one pitch after Bill Hohn ruled Lance Berkman had checked his swing on what would have been strike three of the final out. Replays showed Berkman swung.

"I got fined today for $500," Hernandez said. "I don't say nothing. I said, 'Bad call.' And I got fined for $500. I didn't think I would have to pay for that because I said, 'Bad call.' The guy was swinging. Everybody watched the video. I don't make the mistake. The umpire made the mistake.

"After the game, I say, it's a strike. And I got fined $500. Don't fine me. Fine the umpire. I don't make a mistake. Everybody knows who watched the video, who watched Baseball Tonight. We lost the game right there."

Hernandez was also critical of Friday night's home plate umpire, Dan Bellino. In the fifth, Hernandez yielded a leadoff single to Orlando Cabrera. With Brandon Phillips at the plate, Hernandez made a quick and, seemingly normal, pickoff move to first base. Home plate umpire Dan Bellino called a balk. Hernandez stalked toward him, asking what he had done. Manager Jim Riggleman trudged from the dugout to speak with Bellino, too.

Their protests changed nothing. With Cabrera awarded second base, Phillips lined a single to right that scored Cabrera with ease and tied the game at 2. Hernandez left an inning later, the score unchanged.

"We win the game either way, but he cost me my win," Hernandez said. "I don't know why he did that. I think he was looking to my head and see my head [move]. Everybody knows I move my head. He's a new umpire and he don't know the way I do it. Always, I move the head.

"We've had a lot of problems with umpires."

Later in the game, they had another. In the seventh, Roger Bernadina scored on a shallow sacrifice fly from pinch-hitter Willie Harris. Drew Stubbs' throw came to the plate after bounding off the mound. And then mayhem broke loose.

Reds catcher Carlos Hernandez fired to third, trying to nail Ian Desmond's aggressive move. Desmond slid in safely, but over the base. As Scott Rolen kept the tag on, the third base ump ruled him safe. Out come Dusty Baker, and over from first came notoriously active crew chief Joe West. He reversed the call, leading to third base coach Pat Listach's objection and Desmond's ejection.

Listach, in the moment, thought Desmond had stayed on the base. His real anger, though, stemmed from West throwing out Desmond. Both Desmond and Listach said Desmond did not say anything to West.

"I didn't say anything to him," Desmond said. "He didn't say anything to me. I just dropped my helmet and he said, 'You're out of here.' "

"After watching the replay, he came off the bag and Joe got the call right," Listach said. "I was disappointed the Desmond was ejected from the game. That was my whole reason for wanting to talk to Joe. He didn't have to throw him out of the game. He dropped his helmet, and Joe thought that was showing him up.

"He didn't think he was off the bag. He didn't say. Desmond's not that kind of guy. He just dropped his helmet."

Last week, the league fined West for his actions while ejecting White Sox pitcher Mark Buerhle. West carries a reputation as an umpire who often has an undue effect on the game.

"It's a big situation now with umpires," Hernandez said. "They do their best, but sometimes, I don't know. There's something we've got to do."

By Adam Kilgore  |  June 5, 2010; 10:33 AM ET
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Next: The Streak remembered: Ryan Church


For God's sake. Players screw up, they get fined. Umps screw up, players get fined.

I know umpiring can be a thankless job, but for heaven's sake, I am NOT buying a ticket to see Joe West. Get rid of his dumb _ss.

Posted by: Section406 | June 5, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

How often do you see a call get overturned because the Manager says something?

Especially when the call is overturned by the umpire on the other side of the diamond? In fairness, what we all saw was Joe West calling Desmond out after an umpire conference -- we don't know Joe West was the one who saw Desmond come off the bag. It very well could've been the ump at 2nd, who would've had a good angle.

I haven't seen the replay, but considering Listach says the replay shows he was indeed off the bag, I'm feeling better about the call this morning.

Tossing Desi and Listach...? That's another story. We really have had a bad week with umpire calls! Nats have to earn respect around the league, and apparently that means from the umpires too...

Posted by: mo_dc | June 5, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

West is outta control. The third base ump made the call right or wrong. How does a first base ump over-rule the 3rd base bump on a play at third. West should be suspended for tossing Desmond.

Posted by: dovelevine | June 5, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Also a question on Adam Dunn: Do you really want a guy batting clean-up who you cringe when he comes up with runners in scoring position cause you know he's gonna whiff? Don't you want a dangerous hitter in the 4 hole rather than a sure out. Adam Dunn is batting about a buck with RISP. Why is he hitting clean-up. He should be 7th or 8th. You can't keep running him out there to waste and kill rallys. Against lefties, he's a sure out. How much longer is Riggs gonna keep this up. You've gotta adjust. The guy is not a good hitter and late in games against lefties is pure death.

Posted by: dovelevine | June 5, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

The only good news for the league is that Joe West is so morbidly obese, he's likely to have a heart attack and drop dead soon. Lets just hope he does it off the field, so as not to inject himself into yet another game.

Posted by: wahoo2x | June 5, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

There are bad calls and then there are worse calls.

Bad call: Calling Desmond safe when his foot came off the bag because of his own momentum and the tag was kept on.

Worse call: Walking across the diamond, reversing the call (Angel Hernandez was part of this, according to Dibbs), then tossing a player for "showing you up" when he drops his helmet upset.

My guess? West thought Livan should have been tossed and was looking to make a statement.

Why harp on it? Well, West and Angel Hernandez have lost the right to be given the benefit of the doubt because of their behavior over the years.

Posted by: Section506 | June 5, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

>"It's a big situation now with umpires," Hernandez said. "They do their best, but sometimes, I don't know. There's something we've got to do."

I agree with this completely. What they should do is get rid of umps entirely. They've been using high-speed photography for decades to determine who wins a horse race, they certainly can make out/safe calls using cameras. Every telecast has pitch-track, so the PEOPLE AT HOME get a better view of the strike zone than apparently some umpires do. It's ludicrous - balls and strikes aren't judgement calls, either it's over the plate between the armpits and the top of the knees or it's not. The main drawback would be the expediency of delivering a call. But that's about it. This whole 'human element' is ridiculous when cameras can see so much more. It's not like the NFL where they have to determine what holding is, or something gray like that. Either the tag or the throw beats you or it doesn't. In baseball, you're not measuring intent, you're just measuring>

Posted by: Brue | June 5, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Regarding Dunn with men in scoring position:

It's true that his career average is .230 in that situation, but batting average is not the inferential statistic we really care about in that situation, it's RBI/PA. We could imagine a situation where a player had an average of .000, but every time he was up in that situation had a sac-fly that scored a run and say it was better than a player who hit .300, because over the season he drove in more runs.

So with RISP Dunn has 477 RBI in his career, a .302 RBI/PA (as far as traditional statistics go, it's .415 OBP and .477 SLG).

In less than half the number of plate appearances with RISP in his career, Ryan Zimmerman has 267 RBI for an RBI/PA with RISP of .334 (but with .353 OBP and .442 SLG)

So it looks like by flipping Dunn and Zimmerman you would be more likely to get an RBI with RISP with Zimm, but less likely to get a walk or a big hit to extend the inning. Of course, in the Three Hole, you've got to also assume that some of those runs come from having speedy guys ahead of Zimm that can score more easily, leaving less runners in scoring position for the Clean-up man.

One last note, check out the traditional averages when the bases are juiced:

Dunn: .282/.378/.660
Zimm: .255/.333/.451

Bases loaded, give me Dunn any day.

Posted by: Section506 | June 5, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

The real problem is that for the past 20 years or so, baseball has had a bias for hiring "big guys" who clearly enjoy throwing their weight around.

Rather than the ancient tradition of umpires having a passion for invisibiulty and a lack of "rabbit ears," these newer umps seem eager for confrontation, have chips on their shoulders, perpetuate rather than tamp down confrontations, and are in general belligerent.

Baseball needs to revisit the personality characteristics it seeks in its umpires. It's even more important than instant reply.

Posted by: Meridian1 | June 5, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

What are the criteria for umpires conferring and reversing a call? Usually it's done on an inconclusive outfield play where the umpires have different views. But on a tag play right in front of an umpire? He may have gotten the call wrong but it was HIS call. Bad calls happen all of the time, it's part of the game. It used to be umpires never conferred, let alone reversed a call like this. In fact a manager would get tossed by arguing for a second opinion. Why didn't Jim Joyce's bad call in the perfect game merit a conference and a reversal? Leyland and others certainly raised holy hell. Dusty Baker got an immediate conference and a reversal. Is Baker a better negotiator? This kind of inconsistency is bad for the game.

Posted by: Natmeister | June 5, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Natmeister about West's call versus Jim Joyce's call. Taking the Joe West precedent a step further (perhaps into nonsense land, but who knows nowadays with umpires) wouldn't any slightly controversial play at any base now be subject to an umpire's conference? Being a little cynical now, is the criteria for umps conferring and reversing simply the willingness of the chief ump to walk across the diamond?

Posted by: URdoingGreat | June 5, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

is the criteria for umps conferring and reversing simply the willingness of the chief ump to walk across the diamond?

Well, I guess if Joe West had to waddle across the diamond, he was going to make it worth his while, at least in his opinion. Seriosuly, though, I agree with others who brought up Jim Joyce's missed call earlier in the week - why didn't the umps confer then? The play last night was much less significant, and I've never seen a call overturned like that. Everyone should join me in going to Facebook and joining the group "Fire Umpire Joe West."

Posted by: thepostischeap | June 5, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

>>Bases loaded, give me Dunn any day.Posted by: Section506

Youre nuts. He's yours. Please take him.

Posted by: dovelevine | June 5, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

It's not magic, dovelevine, it's baseball. It's all right there in the numbers.

Posted by: Section506 | June 5, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Fire Joe West:

Posted by: DCguy7 | June 5, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

@Wahoo: The only good news for the league is that Joe West is so morbidly obese, he's likely to have a heart attack and drop dead soon.

Seriously? Wahoo, it's only a game. Take a step back and reconsider and reprioritize. Is that really who you are?

As for West, yes, it's time for him to go. Laughing at the ballgirl an inning later tells us pretty much what kind of human being we're dealing with here. It's really simple--the third-base ump was looking straight at the play and had the best view of whether he came off the bag or was pushed off the bag as Des immediately claimed. Even the replay from various angles was inconclusive. That was inexcusable from West or any other ump, and could have cost us the ballgame. For once, Bud, do the right thing and suspend him.

Posted by: InTheCheapSeats | June 5, 2010 1:27 PM | Report abuse

"Out c[a]me Dusty Baker, and ..."

"I was disappointed the Desmond was ejected from the game." Unless Nyjer has nicknamed Ian Desmond "the Desmond," I think you the quote likely should read: "I was disappointed that Desmond...".

Posted by: KilgoreNeedsACopyEditor | June 5, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't it the pitcher backing up home who took the throw that bounced off the mound and threw to third? The catcher was covering home, and the ball never got anywhere near home.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | June 5, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

KilgoreNeedsACopyEditor, you're a really, really smart and observant person. I hope the Post's ombudsman sends you a personal apology for the typos on a blog.

Posted by: flotsam3 | June 5, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Livan better watch out or else he will be put on the "list" by the umpires. At this stage of his career, Livan does not have the stuff to get people out on his own without the help of the umpires calling strike on most of his pitches. Now, the "chumpires" will squeeze the strike-zone life out of Livan! It is time to watch his ERA go sky high for the rest of the year due to lack of strike calls. It is sad that the umpires are given so much power over strikes and balls (and perfect games).

Posted by: JohnWWW | June 5, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

>>It's not magic, dovelevine, it's baseball. It's all right there in the numbers.Posted by: Section506

Exactly. Don't know what #s youre lookin at. The facts are he's batting about .100 with RISP and less than that with RISP and 2 outs. Just the Facts!
The guy is killin us.

Posted by: dovelevine | June 5, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

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