Frustration takes on many forms, and Mike Rizzo seemed to take out his frustration on crew chief umpire Jim Joyce after the game according to Christian Red of the NY Daily News for calling out Jayson Werth and Daniel Murphy in the 9th inning for a doubleplay on the illegal slide rule under the new Rule 6.01(j) and the previously existing Rule 7.09(g), which remained unchanged through last year, states:
If, in the judgment of the umpire, a base runner willfully and deliberately interferes with a batted ball or a fielder in the act of fielding a batted ball with the obvious intent to break up a double play, the ball is dead. The umpire shall call the runner out for interference and also call out the batter-runner because of the action of his teammate.
In the new Rule 6.01(j), what this was supposed to do was remove the “in the judgment of the umpire” part of the previous rule and replaced it with specifics to check off in making an objective call:
• (1) begins his slide (i.e., makes contact with the ground) before reaching the base;
• (2) is able and attempts to reach the base with his hand or foot;
• (3) is able and attempts to remain on the base (except home plate) after completion of the slide; and
• (4) slides within reach of the base without changing his pathway for the purpose of initiating contact with a fielder.
Many thought the rule has now changed to a more common-sense approach that if the trail runner was going to beat out the play anyway, he shall remain safe unless the slide was so egregious that the umpires call obstruction. Who can figure it out?
After watching the replay, nothing seems clear. Rizzo thought the umpire’s call needed some common sense that Murphy would have been safe regardless.
“You blew it,” Rizzo said as he passed Joyce and the rest of the umpiring crew on his way to the visiting clubhouse was what Christian Red wrote after the game.
“I don’t need it out there either. You want to yell? Yell,” said Rizzo. “I’m right here.”
“You’re the one that came up and talked to me,” said Joyce.
Maybe Mike Rizzo was upset about other things and took out his frustration on Jim Joyce? That would make sense as Rizzo sure had a lot to be upset about, and it could have started with his own issues for not getting extra bench help prior to the game.
As we pointed out on Sunday, Rizzo could have used the strategic loopholes in the option rule to send Tanner Roark who the Nats don’t need again for 10 days to the Minors and call-up an extra bench player like Trea Turner as the Nats were only playing with a 4 man bench instead of the traditional 5 man bench and a 7 man bullpen. Pre-game the Nats found out and as we reported through a source that Ryan Zimmerman would not be available to play due to an undisclosed injury that Dusty Baker revealed at his pregame presser to the media. That Zimmerman revelation meant the Nats would play with a 2 man bench plus the backup catcher. Dusty would not elaborate as to whether Zim would be available as a pinch-hitter or defensive replacement, however, we reported through our source he was not available. In fact, it was hard to tell if Zimmerman was even in the dugout during the game although a h/t to Hiram Hover who spotted Zim in the dugout.
Did that further frustrate Mike Rizzo? Rizzo still had time to get a bench player from the Syracuse team pre-game as the team was playing in Norfolk, Virginia where there is an airport. It is a short 2 hour flight. Why didn’t the Nats attempt to make a roster move?
Should the team have used the All-Star break to put Ryan Zimmerman on the DL and called up a player or did they not find out about Zimmerman’s ailment until Thursday even though Dusty said Zimmerman hurt himself on a swing in Sunday’s game. Our source said that was the case that the team didn’t find out about this issue with Zimmerman on Wednesday like they should have. Did that frustrate Mike Rizzo further?
Maybe Mike Rizzo was frustrated by the whole managing of Monday’s game and got that flashback to how A.J. Cole was handled in his debut in 2015 by Matt Williams?
There was enough frustration to go around. Tough defensive plays were not made by the Nats, pitches were not executed, and the Nats blew three leads in the game. Daniel Murphy swung on a 2-0 pitch in the 9th inning when the Mets closer Familia was struggling with control and not only were the Mets awarded a doubleplay on that 2-0 pitch that Murphy swung at but Asdrubal Cabrera made a tough play on the ball which was something the Nats could not do behind their pitchers.
Frustrations best answer is to look in the mirror.