Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Acta: We wuz robbed!

Manny Acta almost never gets thrown out of a game. He argues with umpires even less than that. Wednesday in Texas he did both. I don't blame him.

After watching two of his hitters, Shelley Duncan and Jason Donald, get called out on strikes on what were clearly checked swings, but were ruled swings by first base umpire Tim Timmons, Acta went ballistic. After the second of the calls, on Donald, Acta leaned back on the bench in the dugout and took off his hat. Timmons, who was obviously staring in at the dugout after making the call, immediately threw Acta out of the game. It's Acta's first ejection as manager of the Indians and only the third ejection of his four-year managerial career.

After the game the normally calm and controlled Acta erupted with a tirade directed at Timmons, and major league umpires in general.

"I got thrown out for taking my hat off,'' Acta told reporters after the game. "That's a shame. Everyone is talking about the pace of the game, and I have to delay the game and run out there 150 feet away to argue after I get thrown out for taking my hat off. It's sad.''

Acta was just getting warmed up.

"I've been doing rebuilding jobs for four years,'' he continued. "These kids on rebuilding teams don't get the benefit of the doubt from those guys (the umpires). If they don't know your name, you don't get a fair shake. I don't care what anyone says. I've seen it for four years. Kids they don't know don't get the same checked swing calls that other guys get. I know we're not supposed to criticize those guys (umpires) in public, but so be it. I'm fed up with it. I've seen it for four years. Look at my record. I'm probably one of the easiest guys for them to deal with over the years. And that's what I get? I take my hat off and get thrown out of the game right off the bat? I don't know. I guess it's part of the game. The check will be on the way.''

That last line is an acknowledgment by Acta that he's probably going to get fined for publicly criticizing the umpires. But in this case I think's he's right. Unfortunately for him, however, that comes with the turf of being the manager of a rebuilding team. When a good team plays a bad team, the good team will almost always get the benefit of the doubt on any close calls. It's been that way in baseball, and other sports, for as long as there have been umpires and referees.

It is refreshing, however, to hear a normally mild-mannered manager such as Acta point it out. It won't change anything, of course. But it's still refreshing.


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