Leyland: Foster said I spit on him

Obviously, the no-hitter is the big story coming out of Tropicana Filed last night. But for Tigers fans, there’s yet another chapter in the ongoing saga of Jim Leyland and umpires, and it was uglier than the blown call in the would-be perfect game or the blown call that ended a game at Atlanta.

This time, Marty Foster’s blown call on a B.J. Upton stolen base brought Leyland out of the dugout in a huff. But it was a Foster accusation that really set him off.
“He accused me of something I didn’t do, and that ticked me off,” Leyland said, “and that’s what got me going. I had some sunflower seeds in [my mouth] when I was talking. Some sprayed on him, and he indicated that I deliberately spit on him, and I’m not going to take that from anybody. I’m not going to do it. I’m not going to take that kind of accusation from anybody. That’s a blatant lie.
“Now, did some of the sunflower seeds spray on his shirt? Yes, they did, without any question. [But] I don’t even spit on the ground. But I’m not going to take that. I’m tired of protecting umpires, tired of not being able to say anything. I’m defending myself. If they want to kick me out, that’s fine, I don’t care about that, because [seeds] sprayed on his shirt. But when you start accusing somebody of deliberately doing something, you better be careful. 
“I don’t give a care what [Foster] says, and I don’t give a care about what anybody else thinks when they read it in the [Commissioner's] office. I’m tired of not saying anything. I don’t care that he missed the play. That’s part of the game. When you make an accusation that’s a total, blatant lie, that’s upsetting to me.”
Keep in mind, this is the same umpiring crew that handed Leyland his other ejection during that series in Atlanta June 27, the day after crew chief Gary Cederstrom rang up Johnny Damon on strike three to strand the tying run on third with a pitch that was clearly outside on replay.
That reaction is likely to get a reaction of some sort from the Commissioner’s office, even if Leyland is one of the prime figures on the 14-person Special Committee for On-Field Matters that the Commissioner put together to look at ways to improve the game. 
“I asked [Foster] if he was going to write me up,” Leyland said. “He said, ‘You spit on me.’ I said, ‘You mean to tell me that you’re going to write up that I deliberately spit on you?’ He said yes. I said, ‘Well that’s a blatant lie.’ I’m tired of protecting them, worrying about what you should say and what you can’t say. I don’t care that he missed the play. I don’t care that he threw me out. But when you make accusations like that, I’m not going to accept that. That’s a blatant lie. I don’t even spit on the ground. That’s a serious accusation, and I’m not going to accept that.
“I don’t know what they’re going to do, and I don’t give a care. They can do whatever they want to do. I’m tired of it. I don’t care that they missed the play. That’s part of the game. I don’t care that he ran me. That’s part of the game.”

16 Comments

The more important story here is not poor Jim Leyland but the fact that we are a team comprised of too many .200 hitters.
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Leyland was obviously right about the bad call. I don’t think he is right to make a personal story out of his travails.

My optimism for the game ebbed immediately when I realised it was on ESPN.
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You can sort of live with the no strike calls over the middle of the plate, but that had to be the worst missed tag for some time. Almost as frustrating watching an average opposition outing turn into a no hitter.
The Commissioner has to introduce an appeals mechanism so we don’t have to put up with ongoing garbage calls and childish manager antics.
The only alternative is banning the media’s use of technology that reveals how inept the average human handles pressure situations.

Oh PULEEEAAAASEEEE! It’s part of the game you two!

I am so tired of umps myself. I am tired of the blown calls and their superiority complex. The Tigers have had more than their fair share of big blown calls. I don’t need to rehash them we all know what four they are. Although last night to me there were two big blown calls – one cost us big the one that got him he managed to work himself out of the other – the interference call at home plate may very well have cost us the game.
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GO Jimmy – I am tired of them getting away with everything with no appearent consequence to their jobs. I hate umpires – they are a bunch of tools.

I just wish Leyland would show this much fire when discussing the team. Everything seems to be too low-key and just “oh well we lost. Tomorrow’s another game”.
Verlander will probably need a shutout to win tonight. Good luck.

I’m tired of people saying that blown calls are part of the game. That MLB (Selig) wants to protect the integrity of the game. Tell me when the words integrity and mistake started going hand in hand. Why is it acceptable without consequence that umpires can continue to blow calls? It seems to be out of control this year. Stop accepting these mistakes and start holding umpires accountable. It is 2010 and use the technology that is availalbe to insure the teams that deserve to win, win.

Hey d.hansbro just remember the next time you buy something really expensive and it breaks after a week, it all part of the manufacturing process.

My computer crashed last night (figures) but I hear what Jim had to say. Quite frankly, I’m more concerned about the missed call.
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As far as his remarks about the game, he and Scherzer have differing opinions. Scherzer was goaded by the media into saying it was “demoralizing”. I think what Jim said was correct to treat it just as a loss and move on especially with so many rookies. He’s trying to teach them his “way”. Don’t get too high and don’t get too low.

With HD TV you can see better how an UMP can miss a play. It’s time for the lords of baseball to join the 21st Centry! All it will take to get it right is to add an additional UMP in the both. When a call that is so obvious as last night, the blown call (in the perfect game), and the Johnny Damon cal, l it is crystal (HD) clear thatthe “human factor” that is part of the game is out of date!

Bud Selig blew an opportunity when he refused to address it after he allowed Armando to lose the perfect game. Until that idiot is replaced, the game will be left in the 20th Centry and more kids will move to other sports. That is a shame!

Jim Leyland is a class act and needs our support dispite the injuries and the obvious need to upgrade the sport. The UMPS are just human, but need to except the reality that they don’t run the game…..The are only one aspect of it and Technology is not going away!!!

My problem is not that Umps make mistakes everyone does. It is when umps insert themselves into the game and make it about them. Last night the homeplate ump was not going to call interference until Crawford turned around and told him to. Last night the ump at second was not in the right position to even make a call, so if you are not in a position to make then ask any other ump on the field, because it was pretty clear even in real time. Jim Joyce okay you really blew the call but how you acted afterwards making the story about you going on national broadcasts crying and weaping and making it about you instead of just releasing a statement saying ya you blew it but this isn’t about me it is about Armando Galarraga. Jim Joyce made it about him in my opinion. The idiot in Atlanta who clearly was hot and just wanted to go home, but are we supposed to congratulate him or the dude in game 163 for admitting they got it wrong. How about using the other guys on the field in order to get it right if there is appearently some sort of problem. Do umps ever get in trouble or fined or anything for horrible calls???

Umpires are graded. A few years ago, there was a computer-type company (I forget the name) who had a guy that was interested in umpiring. He created a virtual reality setup where an umpire could sit in a booth and see pitches coming at him. I understand it was quite an impressive creation and the creator wanted to use it so umpires could improve their game with real time practice. Unfortunately, MLB bought the system and it is now used to grade umpire’s ball/strike performances. Anybody who has a job is probably not surprised that this happened, since it’s all about catching the employee doing something wrong these days.
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I’m not in favor of instant replay, but I’m not in favor of doing nothing either. As I said last night, we can see these blown calls in real time from one camera angle, and I thnk there are more blown calls this year than ever before. I definitely think that umpires, who already operate as a smooth team most of the time, should absolutely embrace the option of huddling with the other umps on any play, and not be afraid to turn over a colleague’s call. They claim they want to get it right and I believe them, but why the hesitancy to expand who makes the final call on a given play?
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On the play last night, Marty Foster was guilty of a rookie mistake, that is, not letting the play develop. Watching at home, I saw the ball sail wide and anticipated that the runner would be safe. I’m afraid Mr. Foster did the same and called him safe. Gary Cederstrom, in the Damon/Atlanta game, was guilty of the same thing and said as much afterwards. Back in my day, we used to call it “letting the play develop.”
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As far as “spitting” and all that goes, it’s no secret that umpires will hold a grudge against certain players and/or managers and that actually is as old as the game itself.
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–Rich

Funny that a guy throws a no-hitter and all we’re talking about is umpires.
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Garza has his no-hitter and that’s that. Good for him. I’m unhappy that it happened to us, just as I would have been as a Cleveland fan after the Galarraga game. The difference between the two performances, IMO, is that Armando featured some particularly nasty stuff that evening while I didn’t see the same from Garza. He just pumped up fastballs and our guys couldn’t hit them, which is nothing new. Over 100 fastballs? Nobody throws a no-hitter with all heaters unless it’s Sandy Koufax or Nolan Ryan or the like. Garza doesn’t fall into that category.
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So, I’ll have to maintain that while Garza gets his due for pitching effectively, he was pitching to a club with some of the worst hitting approaches in all of baseball. Sure, there’s rookies in there, and sure, they’d played a DH the day before. No excuse. You have to perform “up here.”
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Props to Scherzer for his performance too. From his postgame comments, he seemed to know that he couldn’t allow even one run and had to come in to Joyce since his changeup had deserted him. He’s an outstanding young pitcher who has won me over. Good job, Max.
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–Rich

Eventually, someone, maybe a new MLB commissioner, will understand that the way the game is played now is archaic without technology. Balls and striked, imo, could easily be measured with technology instantaneously. The umpires role is outdated and needs to be changed. I’m in favor of all plays being decided by technology with umpires still yelling out ball and strike, watching for errors, balks, and all the rest of the stuff. They would still be on the field, but they won’t have an impact on the game. I’m starting to hate umpires. They are ruining baseball.
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Put it on the Board! Yes! Yes!

I think umpiring is on the subject board, even more so, because of a rising sense of frustration and disappointment from all of us in what might have been, if even a remote reality. The starting pitching has picked up a notch, probably more so with the knowledge that runs are indeed more precious than gold. It hurts to see the possibility of a super star achieving a Triple Crown going down the tube. It is truly amazing to see the lineup now. My question is why Santiago is not in every lineup, until his performance necessitates a day off. For goodness sakes, use Rayburn and Kelly exclusively in the infield, and get Strieby or even Frazier up there to try and provide some offense. I’m sorry, but Larrish and Rhymes look like a remake of “Ma and Pa Kettle” to me. With that remark, I have clearly identified my generational influence. Regardless of the outcome of this season, I count it an honor to be A Detroit tiger fan.
Greg

Rich, are you saying our hitting approches are not good? I hope our hitting coach does not read this. And Greg, are you saying the manager does not know how good Santiago is? It is time for a new coaching staff except Brookens. As for balls and strikes, in my day you could not hit a fastball at the letters. Now days the zone is like a postage stamp.
I am not giving up on my Tigers and I hope they do not give up. These players should be pinching themselves that they have a chance to shine. The one player that does not have much of a chance is the prospect that plays first base. Go Tigers! –Dave

The strike zones are inconsistant with a lot of umpires. The same pitch can be a strike and another pitch be a ball that is more the a strike than the first one. It seems like the umps are worse now than ever. It may just be that I watch more now where I use to listen on the radio or follow the box scores. It seems like baseball is the only sport the the officials do not huddle on calls to get it right. Being the closest to the call does not mean your in the best position to make the call. Get the call right and forget the umpiring etiquette.
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Scherzer is growing into a dominant pitcher. It a appears at this stage when he tires he loses control of the change up and the fastball flattens out.
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Mark

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