Cecil Cooper is madder than a wet hen and who can blame him? The Astros skipper, in his first full year of taking over the club from Phil Garner, has been called to Major League Baseball’s answer to the principal’s office. The Houston Astros manager will be chatting with MLB’s vice president of rules and on-field operations Bob Watson in the near future. The conversation will be somewhat one-sided.
The face to face is a result of an altercation the Astros skipper had with umpires Mark Wegner and Rick Reed in a game with Colorado at Minute Maid Park last weekend. Cooper made some comments to reporters about the umpiring in the contest after being ejected, which is a violation of the gag rules in place.
For the most part, while Cooper was tossed from the contest, he won't be suspended for his altercation with the umpiring crew on Saturday. The wallet may be a bit lighter but he probably will get a slap on the wrist. Watson plans to give Cooper a lecture because of Cooper's post-game comments regarding the incident. "We're going to have a talk, yes," Watson said Monday.
According to the Houston Chronicle and the Astros web site, Cooper was ejected by Reed after Wegner, the second-base umpire, ruled Geoff Blum's leadoff drive in the seventh inning to deep center was caught by Colorado's Ryan Spilborghs in Saturday‘s contest with the Rockies, which Colorado won 3-2. After watching the replay on MLB.com and on all three Houston TV stations, I think Spilborghs trapped the ball, again another call for instant replay in Major League Baseball. Left up to me, this crew would never work another Astros game again in their lifetimes. I would also have them arrested if they as so much as set foot in Harris County, Texas.
Replays showed that the ball came out of Spilborghs' glove after he hit the ground, but when the center fielder raised the ball up in his bare hand, Wegner made the out signal. Cooper argued with Wegner, who conferred with the rest of the umpiring crew and decided the call would stand. If ever there was a need for instant replay, this would have been the time. Wegner blew it, plain and simple.
After the game, Cooper told reporters the umpires "blew it. It's simple," Cooper said Saturday. "If they want to censor me and fine me, whatever, then they have to fine me, but I'm going to tell you just the way it is. I thought he blew it. I thought they all blew it."
Cooper stands by how he reacted and has no regrets about any of his comments, even if it does mean hearing from baseball's top disciplinarian.
I happen to agree with Cecil. His comment could be a sign for MLB to come out of the dark ages and do away with the gag rules, because they violate the First Amendment and bring instant replay into the game.
Cecil Fielder might get fined for his words. Let’s hope MLB is finally listening and gets their ducks in a row.