I am all for getting the calls right if we have the technology, but I am not a fan of how the new replay rules are working. I think they need to be much more efficient (or quick!) to not annoy and potentially lose a small part of any team's fan base.
With the new replay rules, something that has long been a part of baseball will be much more rare. There won't as many great manager/umpire arguments like there were in the past.
We have all seen video of Earl Weaver and Billy Martin in the face of umpires. We have seen dirt kicked and caps thrown.
I thought it would be fun to take a look back at Minnesota Twins history and go a little deeper.
During the past offseason, video of a July 1978 Twins, Red Sox game appeared. It's actually fascinating to watch a Twins player react like Mike Cubbage did when he was called out. Manager Gene Mauch was also ejected for arguing and tossed bats all over the field before leaving the field.
Here is the video, and following it, I'll mention so other interesting tidbits from the game.
Mike Cubbage was the base runner and from watching the video, it appears he was safe. Cubbage had gotten on base with a single. He was 1-2 when he was ejected. He was also hitting .319, pretty impressive considering it was mid-July already.
Though his career was not great, he was in the big leagues for parts of eight seasons. He came to the Twins from the Rangers in a July 1976 trade along with Roy Smalley and two other players in exchange for Bert Blyleven.
Speaking of Smalley, he came to the team and was a very good shortstop for several years. Most know that he was the nephew of the manager who was ejected, Gene Mauch. Did you know that Smalley was the #1 overall pick in the 1974 draft after a College Baseball Hall of Fame career at USC. He was in the big leagues less than one year later, and traded to the Twins two years after being selected.
This ejection came in Game 2 of a doubleheader with the Red Sox. Smalley went 0-4 in that game, but he was 3-5 with a double in the first game.
Batting third for the Twins in that game was Rod Carew, playing 1B. He was 1-3 with a walk in the game.
The Twins had a couple of hitting stars in the 3-2 loss in Game 2. Hosken Powell led off and went 3-5. "Disco" Dan Ford was batting cleanup and went 2-4. Rob Wilfong, who a couple of years later was sent to California in a deal that brought the Twins Tom Brunansky, had two hits. Willie Norwood went 2-4 with a double and a home run in the game.
You may have notice a spry, young first base coach for the Twins, donning the powder blue, and looking to not keep his third baseman in the game. Tony Oliva was the first base coach that year.
Roger Erickson pitched the complete game for the Twins. He went eight innings and gave up just three runs on seven hits. He walked none and struck out three. It seems he would fit in well with the current Twins style of pitcher.
When the Red Sox won that second game of a double header, they improved to 60-28 under the leadership of one Don Zimmer.
The Red Sox put a pretty solid lineup out against the Twins. Hall of Famer Jim Rice hit third in the game. Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski batted fourth. The big hit of the game was a two-run homer from Fred Lynn, who batted fifth.
Bob Stanley pitched the final two innings for the Red Sox to record the save. He was in just his second season with the Red Sox. He threw in 52 games for the Sox, but he made just three starts. He went 15-2 with 10 saves and a 2.60 ERA. Of course, many in Red Sox Nation remember him for a certain Wild Pitch he threw in the 1986 World Series, in Game 6.
That day's first base umpire, Bill Kunkel, pitched in the big leagues from 1961 through 1963. In 1968, he became an American League umpire and was well-respected in that role until his death in 1985. He may be best known as being one of the final two umpires to weather the outer chest protector. His son, Jeff Kunkel, played infield in the big leagues for parts of nine seasons.
Let's get back to Mike Cubbage before we conclude this glimpse back in time. Cubbage was a third base coach in the big leagues from 1990 to 2003 for the Mets, Astros and Red Sox. He was an interim manager of the Mets in 1991, and for the Red Sox early in 2002. Since 2006, he has been a scout in the Tampa Bay Rays organization.
Once in a while it is fun to look back in history and look into a box score. Which teams had the better players, or even future Hall of Famers? Which relative unknown got to play hero in the big leagues? The Mike Cubbage, Gene Mauch ejection video takes us back in time to some names from over 25 years ago and some great powder blue uniforms.
Does anyone remember this game? Who were your obscure favorite players, like Willie Norwood, or Dan Ford, or Roger Erickson or maybe even Bombo Rivera?