Hey Mariners fans, time for some Seattle Mariners trivia! Felix Hernandez had a historic run of 16 straight starts where he went at least seven innings and gave up two or less runs. Who ended that run?
Normally, the answer to this question would be a team. For example, some might pick the Detroit Tigers. However, this time it is an individual. That person is home plate umpire Tony Randazzo.
Now, there was this quote from Bleacher Report:
Not exactly. What contributed to his exit was the fact that Hernandez was throwing strikes that were called balls.
Fans aren’t supposed to complain about umpires, referees and officials. It makes people look like sore losers who are choking down a bowl of sour grapes.
However, there are times for justified critique.
I watched the Mariners game on MLB.TV, and as usual Dave Sims and Mike Blowers did a great job of balancing their love for the Mariners with objective broadcasting. Both Sims and Blowers were befuddled by Randazzo’s calls, and while they did not pull a Ken “Hawk” Harrelson, they did state the obvious.
Felix was throwing strikes. Randazzo had his own interpretation of the zone.
Lloyd McClendon was not so gracious. He got tossed, though he didn’t seem to feel that his ejection was justified. By the way, I’m not sure if this was on purpose, but you could hear the audio of their conversation on the broadcast.
As a side note, if we could hear this sort of dialogue in the future, that would be awesome. I’ll send the kids out of the room.
McClendon wanted very much to know what Randazzo was going to put in his report, leading Sims and Blowers to conclude that Randazzo thought McClendon said something in particular. McClendon seemed to feel differently.
Robinson Cano tried to keep Hernandez focused, and the King did get through five innings. However, he was clearly miffed throughout the whole game. Mike Zunino stayed classy, but he gave Randazzo a few “are you watching the same game I am?” looks.
Now, Randazzo can’t be blamed for everything in this game. David Price was awesome (though Randazzo gave him some generous corners). Randazzo did not cause the Mariners to not capitalize on opportunities in the eighth and ninth innings.
The point is that it is sad to see a streak like that ended because an umpire makes a few crucial errors. Umpires are human, but when you see a game like that, you wonder why Major League Baseball continues to embrace an element that is so subjective.
Purists would drop dead at this suggestion, but is some sort of digital tracking so hard to fathom?
By the way, Twitter exploded with Randazzo’s name. During the game, I posted this on the Emerald City Swagger Twitter feed:
A @mlb umpire should not be known, and should never be discussed on Twitter. Congrats, Tony Randazzo. You’re trending for the wrong reasons.
— Emerald City Swagger (@EmeraldCitySwag) August 17, 2014
Hopefully the Mariners have a happier result tomorrow, with a different umpire behind the dish.