Ken Kaiser, the former tons-o-fun AL umpire (bio linked here) who has a great sense of humor about himself — the title of his 2004 autobiography is “Planet of the Umps” (linked here) — tried to dumb down the controversial call over whether the Angels’ Reggie Willits was really out on that botched squeeze play in the Game 4 ALDS loss to the Red Sox.
If you remember, the ball popped out of catcher Jason Varitek’s glove after the leather hit the ground.
On the Fox Sports Radio show this morning hosted by Craig Shemon and former UCLA footballer James Washington, Kaiser said:
“There’s no rule interpretation. It’s strictly a judgment call. There’s no “This rule says that … Well if the guy at home plate does this…” That doesn’t happen. Now after saying that I’ll tell you what happened on the play.
“(Umpire Tim) Welke got the play right. What happened was when (Varitek) tagged (Willits), at that point, that runner is out. Now, say the runner had kicked up his foot and knocked the ball out of his glove. Now he’s safe. But what happened on that play there was he tagged him on his butt, and then after he took the next step, he hit the ground with his glove and dropped the ball. Had nothing to do with the player jarring it loose. Had nothing to do with the player kicking it out of his glove. He’s already out. The play’s over. …
“The bottom line is it’s strictly judgment, guys. … And if you’re talking about the play at the plate, to make that a little simpler for you. That’s not a continuation. When they run into each other, as soon as he touches that runner, he’s out. If (the catcher) shows the umpire that he’s got the ball and he drops it, he’s still out. But if it flies out of his glove like you talked about before, then he’s safe.”
Kaiser was then asked about why the MLB has instant replay to determine home-run calls now, and that when the crap hit the fan:
“I firmly believe that a lot of this isn’t because of the fans. I’ll probably get myself in the crap house because of this, but I think it’s because of the gamblers. Gamblers bet on games and they think that call cost them a bet. And I hate to see that. In football, it was the same way originally. I may be wrong, but this is just my opinion, guys. Don’t break down the game. Let people enjoy the game.”
We’ll set the odds at 2-1 that Kaiser won’t get a seat in said craphouse, but he’ll never work another MLB game again.
And if you want to talk odds …
These just in from Bodog.com (linked here):
Odds to Win the 2009 World Series
Boston Red Sox: 7/4
Tampa Bay Rays: 5/2
Philadelphia Phillies: 13/4
Exact World Series Matchup
Philadelphia Phillies vs. Boston Red Sox : 2/1
Dodgers vs. Boston Red Sox: 9/4
Philadelphia Phillies vs. Tampa Bay Rays: 11/4
Dodgers vs. Tampa Bay Rays: 3/1