Toronto Blue Jays: Umpires and the League Steal One


Toronto Blue Jays: Umpires and the League Steal One

I’m not one for conspiracy theories. And I’m definitely not one to complain about minorities getting a raw shake.

I shake my head every time I hear about minorities not getting a fair shot over here, in one of the most free countries in the world where accommodation is a prerequisite. It seems to me we bend over backwards to create equal opportunity – even to the point of a reverse-stereotype phenomenon resulting in better qualified people not getting such a position in favour of giving it to the minority.

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So what is this preamble for? Well, as the title indicates, I think the Jays got one stolen from them – or at least a disproportionate amount of calls against them to make it next to impossible to win. Of course, any conspiracy theory is going to seem like sour grapes from a Jays’ fan and an Ontario resident, but really, this one feels wrong enough and the signs all point the same way.

So why would the Jays got one taken from them? It is a nationalist view, but let’s be honest, they’re the sole Canadian team. And Major League Baseball is an American league, situating league headquarters as well as every single team but the lonely Blue Jays in the United States of America. AMERICA!

Think about it. Could MLB just not want a team from Canada to win?

Thursday was a beautiful day… but the Jays couldn’t have the Skydome open. This was the call of Major League Baseball.

Oct 8, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; A general view of the playing of the Canadian national anthem before game one of the ALDS between the Toronto Blue Jays and Texas Rangers at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

What is the Jays’ record with the Dome open? According to The, “The Jays were 38-14 in the regular season with the roof open and 11-14 when the roof was closed.”

So you mean to tell me that perfect weather for Game 1 is that much colder than what they have in St. Louis, or what they will have in New York or Chicago, all of which are home to outdoor stadiums? I say that is crazy… but that MLB decided to close the Dome?? Hmmm… sketchy.

That was Thursday… and Friday was admittedly more chilly so I don’t blame for that one (but probably not too dissimilar to St. Louis). On Friday, it all started with Marcus Stroman on the mound — backtrack!!

So for some reason, Rogers, despite owning the Jays and carrying the game on Sportsnet, they don’t have their own Jays’ broadcast. This means no Pat Tabler or Buck Martinez, but what I found weird is that MLB Network (which has their telecast played on Sportsnet rather then the normal team on the Sportsnet broadcast) does not feature the “K-Zone” which is the box alongside that shows where the pitches land in the strikezone.

This made it very convenient for umpire, Vic Carapazzo, to make a larceny of his ball and strike calls. Stroman was getting hosed on his pitches. His pitches looked so good and yet the outside third of the plate to righty batters didn’t seem to exist — just like the high strike that looked to be right there.

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This inconsistent zone seemed to pepper the Jays all night. Pitches that weren’t strikes one half-inning were the next — and the Jays seemed to get the short end of the stick more than Texas.

Blue Jays’ centerfielder Kevin Pillar addressed the strikezone for Sportsnet: “Whether it’s big or small, all anyone in this clubhouse asks for is consistency. You call one pitch down, don’t call the next one a strike; you call one up, don’t miss the next one.

“It’s very difficult as a hitter to try and anticipate what the pitcher’s going to throw you and battle a third party behind you, especially when you think you have an understanding of the zone. But when it constantly changes, it makes our job very difficult.”

Getting more to the data, the Blue Jays were called out on strikes seven times and the Rangers just four. Catcher Russell Martin was very diplomatic in giving Caparazzo the benefit of the doubt, saying he probably would have been thrown out of the game for arguing balls and strikes if the game was played during the season.

After letting the umpire off the hook, Martin finally admitted. “If he goes back and looks at the tape, I’m sure he’s going to realize that it wasn’t his best day.”

TBS has the AT BAT box for the balls and strikes and Sportsnet has the “K-Zone” used to measure the pitches and the strikezone during their telecasts at all times using the standard camera view from centerfield transfixed on the pitcher-batter-catcher combination. But the MLB Network not having a strikezone on their telecast? Another sketchy coincidence.

Oct 9, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Troy Tulowitzki (2) argues with Vic Carapazza (19) after striking out in the 14th inning against the Texas Rangers in game two of the ALDS at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Of course, this goes both ways for both teams… but the point is that Carapazza’s calls could be disguised without the K-Zone working alongside. If his calls were anti-Jays, you couldn’t actually prove that during the telecast with the absence of this strikezone tap.

That means his calls could be against the Jays and no one would really see it. Sketchy…

Now, let’s look at the most blatant non-call. In the 14th inning, Rougned Odor, Jays killer, rounded second-base after a hit to rightfield. Jose Bautista threw behind Odor as he overran the base.

Troy Tulowitzki applied the tag. Odor was safe, but his foot definitely appeared to come off the bag while Tuolwitzki’s tag was applied. This was obvious to everyone at Rogers Centre– and particularly Bautista.

There were a few muffled views, but there were a few that it appeared to be clear. It did seem that another camera-view (probably one from rightfield or at least from the camera bay beside the Rangers’ dugout) would’ve been great, but there apparently weren’t any good enough to change MLB’s decision.

They didn’t have the same camera angles that the network did? Rogers Centre doesn’t have the surplus of cameras that every other playoff team does? Seems sketchy…

Odor proved to be the winning run. And that call would’ve got him out, thereby continuing the game. “I would like to hear an answer from the replay booth in New York on why they made that decision,” said Bautista. “I know that’s not part of the protocol, and it seems to be convenient that it’s not.”

Very convenient. Very sketchy…

“Will we ever get an answer? Will our fans ever get an answer? I don’t know. Maybe you should ask the people that are in charge,” he said in a post-game interview found here.

The MLB HQ the umpires talked to is where? New York. I’m not suggesting that since the Jays beat out the Yankees for the division title that the MLB is against Toronto… but could it be? It seems more likely that it’s just a Canada-thing. Sketchy, nevertheless…

I guess it is America’s past-time and not North America’s. I also suppose there’s only one America in North America. And if it seems like I’m chewing on sour grapes, I do not apologize.

If we don’t call MLB out on this, who will? We all know that they won’t blow the whistle on themselves… just like they would never turn a blind-eye to anything to protect the integrity of the game. I’m being facetious, but these sketchy coincidences just seem too much for me.

First, closing the Dome, then not having a proper K-Zone to monitor the pitches, and finally, not reversing a call that is clear?


Don’t worry now though, MLB… you already have the Canadian team one game away from elimination. Now, if the Jays somehow come back and win you can say, Look, see… and you can capitalize on what a great story it is if the Jays come back.

And if not? Oh well, you didn’t want “Canada’s team” in there anyway for America’s past-time… that’d be silly, right?

Next: Blue Jays Continue Toronto's Playoff Losing Ways