The Washington Nationals just finished a three-game sweep of the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. That put the Nats in first place, the Red Sox in last place, and Boston manager Bobby Valentine in a foul mood, as you might imagine.
Boston lost the three games by three runs, two runs and one run, respectively. So was it the fault of Red Sox hitters? Pitchers? Both? Nope. It was the umpires, said manager Valentine:
* "You’ve got guys trying to bust their butt, battling their butt off. It’s not right. Good umpires had a real bad series this series, REAL bad series, and it went one way. There should be a review."
* "I thought [the Nats pitchers] pitched well. I thought they got pitches. In key situations. That weren’t strikes."
* "The game is simple. Throw it over the plate, call it a strike, don’t throw it over the plate, call it a ball. Simple. That’s all. It’s all anybody asks. And I know it’s been going on for 100 years. I’m not the first one to say it. But this was a pretty lousy series."
Umpires are human. They make mistakes. We all know this, and more so these days when dozens of high-definition cameras show those mistakes.
But baseball's higher-ups don't like it when a manager calls out umpires in this manner and gets quoted on it, especially regarding ball-and-strike calls. (There's video of Valentine at the link.) Not only that, Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia had a few words about the situation:
"You don’t want [the umpires] to come into play and stuff like that," he said. "It’s hard enough playing a good game against good pitching and good players."
It's likely that fines will ensue, or at least a few more words from the commissioner's office directed toward certain people in Boston.