Beyond Golf — 18 August 2014 by Jim Street
Power Rankings: MLB ejections are up

One thing expanded replay in the Major Leagues this season was expected to do was reduce the amount of ejections.

That was the case during the first month of the six-month marathon, but not so much since then.

The back-to-back heave-hos handed Mariners skipper Lloyd McClendon on Saturday and Sunday in Detroit by veteran umpire Tony Randazzo widened the gap between player-manager ejections this year compared to last.

They were, for the record, the first ejections by Randazzo all season.

Although one could argue that McClendon did not deserve to be tossed either time, the boot on Sunday hiked the season total to 163. That is only 22 fewer than all of last season and there is still plenty of time for tempers to flare during the final six weeks of the campaign.

As of Monday, McClendon was king of the kicked-out among West Division teams. He now has five ejections, two more than the Diamondbacks’ Kirk Gibson and Athletics’ manager Bob Melvin – the first ejection of the season, on March 8.

Bud Black (Padres), Walt Weiss (Rockies), Don Mattingly (Dodgers), Bruce Bochy (Giants), and Ron Washington (Rangers) have been tossed twice apiece. Mike Scioscia (Angels) and Bo Porter (Astros) have been ejected once.

Of the 163 ejections so far, it would be difficult to argue with GW’s favorite: Red Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski.

Not at all happy with plate umpire Quinn Wolcott’s strike zone, the veteran receiver asked the umpire for a new ball – with his little caveat: “One you can see.” It was bye-bye A.J.

And now for this week’s Power Rankings:

1. Angels (3): The first blown save for Huston Street after nine straight successes for the Angels occurred in his home state of Texas.

2. Athletics (1): A season-high five-game losing streak to end a road trip makes you wonder if the team misses Yoenis Cespedes more than they expected.

3. Mariners (4): Guess skipper Lloyd McClendon and umpire Tony Randazzo won’t be exchanging Christmas cards this year.

4. Dodgers (2): A favorable schedule the rest of August has the Dodgers licking their collective chops.

5. Giants (6): Is it even possible for Hunter Pence to wear his pant-legs higher than above his knees?

6. Padres: (5):  Hot-hitting Yonder Alonso becomes latest casualty (torn tendon in right forearm) is yet another blow to an injury-riddled team.

7.  Astros (7): Say what you want about Dustin Pedroia, but this kid Jose Altuve, a mere 5-foot-6, just might be the best overall 2B in the business.

8. Diamondbacks (8): You have to wonder if this “Show and Go” (no pre-game BP or infield drills) will catch on throughout the big leagues.

9. Rangers (9): Games like Sunday’s stunner against the Angels have been few and far between for the usual playoff contenders.

10. Rockies (10): When it comes to hitting for the cycle, Michael Cuddyer is on the short list (three) of players that have done it in both leagues.

(Last week’s ranking in parenthesis)

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Jim Street

Jim’s 40-year sportswriting career started with the San Jose Mercury-News in 1970 and ended on a full-time basis on October 31, 2010 following a 10-year stint with MLB.com. He grew up in Dorris, Calif., several long drives from the nearest golf course. His first tee shot was a week before being inducted into the Army in 1968. Upon his return from Vietnam, where he was a war correspondent for the 9th Infantry Division, Jim took up golf semi-seriously while working for the Mercury-News and covered numerous tournaments, including the U.S. Open in 1982, when Tom Watson made the shot of his life on the 17th hole at Pebble Beach. Jim also covered several Bing Crosby Pro-Am tournaments, the women’s U.S. Open, and other golfing events in the San Francisco area. He has a 17-handicap, never had a hole-in-one, although once he came within two inches of an ace, and witnessed the first round Ken Griffey Jr. ever played – at Arizona State during Spring Training in 1990. Pebble Beach Golf Links, the Kapalua Plantation Course, Pinehurst No. 2, Spyglass Hill, Winged Foot, Torrey Pines, Medinah, Chambers Bay, North Berwick in Scotland, and Princeville are among the courses he has had the pleasure of playing. Hitting the ball down the middle of the fairway is not a strong part of Jim’s game, but he is known (in his own mind) as the best putter not on tour. Most of Jim’s writing career was spent covering Major League baseball, a tenure that started with the Oakland Athletics, who won 101 games in 1971, and ended with the Seattle Mariners, who lost 101 games in 2010. Symmetry is a wonderful thing. He currently lives in Seattle and vacations in Arizona (and other warm climates) as much as possible.

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