In case you missed it, Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig announced a personnel change last week. Selig said in a written statement that the Hall of Fame outfielder Frank Robinson, who has been a special assistant in the commissioner’s office, will now oversee baseball operations, umpiring and security.
Apparently people in high places finally got word that MLB Umpires were getting a little uppity. Not to mention slipping a bit on performance.
That is not a shot at Jim Joyce. A lot of people around baseball have felt the quality of umpiring went down in the 5 years since Sandy Alderson stopped overseeing umpires.
A couple of nights ago, I was listening to Sportscenter on ESPN radio and Buster Olney relayed a story in which he asked Tim Kurkjian to tell a story about Frank Robinson.
Frank Robinson, at age 52, was playing in an Old Timer's Game. He came to bat and Jim Bibby knocked him down with a pitch. Later in the at-bat, Robinson hit a homerun to left-center. After the game, Robinson was asked how many homers he could hit (at age 52) if he got 600 at bats against current MLB pitchers. Robinson said 30. Kurkjian laughed and responded, "No, really." Robinson's reply was a gruff 35 then.
With a new sheriff in charge of umpires, I can't wait until Joe West gets into another altercation to see how Robinson responds.