Mark Reynolds and Buck Showalter were ejected in the fifth inning last night's game against the Tigers in Detroit. Reynolds was tossed after disputing a call reversal and Showalter for backing up his player.
The Orioles appeared to retire Jhonny Peralta on a close play at first base, with Reynolds stretching to catch an errant throw from Manny Machado. First-base umpire Jeff Kellogg called Peralta out and Leyland ran out to dispute the call. Kellogg consulted home plate umpire Tim Timmons who promptly overturned the call saying Reynolds foot was off the bag. Reynolds threw down his glove in disgust and second-base umpire Vic Carapazza immediately tossed him. Showalter came out, went ballistic and he got tossed. Reynolds went on to blast the umpires after the game.
Reynolds was upset about the reversal, to be sure, but what really set him off was from where—or more specifically from whom—the reversal came.
"I don't understand how an umpire can miss a play at home plate that's right in front of him and see that play from home plate at first base," Reynolds said. "It's embarrassing that they would overturn a call that obviously has an impact on the game in the middle of the pennant race."
In the first inning, Tim Timmons incorrectly called Nick Markakis out at home when he was clearly safe. On the one hand, you understand Reynolds frustration: if you can't even get your own calls correct, why are you overturning someone else's? On the other: please, please, please don't discourage umpires from conferring with each other to get a call correct.
It's not often that umpires consult one another on confusing calls and that is a bad thing. Umpires should be encouraged to discuss a call to ensure it is correct, but there's no helping that they will still get calls wrong, whether it's in the failure to reverse a blown call, or turning a correct call into a blown one. We are still talking about the Human Element, of course (and it should be noted that even in sports with replay, officials still get calls wrong). Just because the possibility exists that the umpires could still get a call wrong shouldn't deter them from asking for help.
"From when I saw the throw coming across, I knew that the throw was going to pull the first baseman that way," Timmons said after the game. "And at that point, that's when I actually stopped and dropped anchor and looked for the foot. And when I saw the foot come up, the heel and the toe was on the bag. ... At the time he was going to glove the ball, when I saw the bottom of the whole foot and the foot dropped down onto the ground and I had daylight, I had him off the bag."
It's unfortunate that this happened to the Orioles, and silly that Mark Reynolds was tossed and will now be fined for popping off about the umpires, but Tim Timmons getting things dreadfully wrong is actually a good thing for baseball.