Carl Crawford, Joe Maddon Go to War With Bob Davidson in Rays Loss
Carl Crawford and Joe Maddon got ejected by home plate umpire Bob Davidson during a pair of fifth inning arguments that started when Crawford questioned a strike call on a pitch that appeared to be well outside. Both men appeared to make contact with Davidson during the beefs, actions that could lead to suspensions from the league office when they review the tape.
When they do review the tape, however, they might find that there's more to this than a simple case of guys violating the edict against arguing balls and strikes. You can check out the tape for yourself on the league Web site.
Leave aside that the pitch looks to be far enough outside to send any reasonable man into apoplexy for a moment and just focus on how Davidson reacts to the arguments. That's not an arbiter trying to calm down a situation and allow the game to resume its normal course as quickly as possible. It's a guy escalating things beyond the point where you can say he wasn't part of the problem.
Umpires shouldn't be antagonistic and they shouldn't be continuing arguments when they crop up during the natural course of events. If players or managers want to raise objections to calls, go ahead and eject them and then stand back and let them play the fool as much as they want before they finally leave the field to transfer their fine money into the league's coffers. Fights like this call into question the whole idea that calls on pitches are above reproach and give the impression of defensiveness that shouldn't enter into the equation.
Any lip readers will see that Crawford clearly is no saint during the argument, but, again, the umpires are there to keep a sense of decorum and order to the proceedings. They have to be above being baited into screaming matches like the one Davidson had with both men.
Neither of the Rays think they should be suspended for their actions. Maddon acknowledged that he and Davidson rubbed against each other during the argument, but said it was impossible to tell who made the first rub. Enjoy that image while reading Crawford's thoughts on the whole affair.
"If anybody should be getting suspended, it should be the umpire," Crawford said. "I don't feel like I did anything wrong with defending myself. He's the one who got all defensive real quick. Normally when they get defensive like that it's because they know they made a mistake."
It was an ugly scene in which no one behaved themselves very well, but it's hard to walk away feeling that Davidson wasn't the one guy with a responsibility to act better.