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Bob Davidson Must Be Fired For Disregard To Rules On Ejections

Baseball must fire Bob Davidson. It has no choice. Not after Tuesday night’s NL Central clash between the St. Louis Cardinals and Milwaukee Brewers in Milwaukee’s Miller Park.

Davidson, in the middle of a game where he and his crew ejected a manager, a coach, and a player, decided to complete the superfecta by ejecting a fan.

There was only one problem: the fan never interfered with the playing field. Nowhere in the Major League Baseball rulebook does an umpire have the power to eject a fan who never enters the playing field.

According to the official MLB Rule Book under rule 9.02(e), “each umpire has authority at his discretion to eject from the playing field any spectator or other person not authorized to be on the playing field.”
Rule 1.04 specifies that the playing field is, as would be assumed, just the field of play, the 400 or so feet to center field, the foul territory, and everything else in between.

Nowhere in the MLB rule book is an umpire given the authority to eject a fan from the stands, unless, of course, he enters the field of play.

So when Davidson stopped the game in the seventh inning and turned to the stands to eject Sean Ottow, 44, of Waukesha, Wis., Davidson was showing a blatant disregard to the rules of Major League Baseball.

Or, even worse, Davidson displayed a lack of knowledge of the rulebook.

In either instance, his display should be intolerable.

Davidson already has a long history of controversial calls including a fair-foul call that cost the Florida Marlins a walk-off victory against the Philadelphia Phillies in August, but he had never shown a blatant disregard for the rules.

Up until now, his errors were no different than those of other high-ranking umpires like Jim Joyce and Don Denkinger.

Sure, in the 2006 World Baseball Classic, Davidson ignored the rule that states that an umpire cannot overturn another umpire’s call without being asked by that umpire for input, but in fairness to him the baseball rule book also stated that Davidson, not the second base umpire, had precedence to decide if a runner tagging up from third had left the bag after the catch. Davidson was only ignoring an invalid ruling by that umpire.

But over their careers, Joyce and Denkinger never went this far. Never did they eject a fan from the stands for jeering a player.

After Davidson issued the order ejecting Ottow from the stadium, he signaled for an usher to escort Ottow out of his seat. The usher guided Ottow up and out from the stands behind home plates. While leaving, Ottow made a v-shape with his arms and the rest of the Brewers fans cheered him.
Ottow was booked and charged with disorderly conduct.

Ottow told the Associated Press that he had been jeering Cardinals’ catcher Yadier Molina for some time, but insisted that he never swore. If he swore, then certainly he could have been thrown out of the game and booked for disorderly conduct.

But in no situation could he have been thrown out of the game by Davidson. Not if Davidson chose to follow the rule book.

Now, there are situations where umpires are given discretion to determine what is fair regarding fan behavior.

If a fan reaches over into the field of play and interferes with a live ball, the crew chief has the right to eject the fan. While the rule book technically only gives him the authority to eject the spectator from the playing field itself, security understands that in essence the fan has been ejected from the game and he or she will be escorted out of the stadium.

Just the same, if a spectator (hereafter referred to as an idiot to save space) jumps onto the field of play just because he wants to take some girl to the prom, the umpire has the right to ask a police officer to run the idiot down and taze him and make sure he never attends another baseball game the rest of his life.

Idiocy on the playing field can be ejected.

But nowhere in the MLB rulebook is an umpire given the authority to eject a fan from the stadium, and especially not to signal an usher to escort him out.


Yet on a power trip as revolting as when Joey Crawford ejected Tim Duncan for laughing, Davidson decided to rewrite 140 years of precedent and eject a fan from the game.

And there is only one right course of action MLB can possibly take: it must immediately relieve Bob Davidson of his duties. Anything less can only be interpreted as a statement that umpires don’t have to follow the rules.

In my life, I never thought I would see an ejection more nonsensical than the one my lacrosse coach received during my senior year of high school. In the fourth quarter, the umpire ejected the coach for shouting at his team for a line change. Nobody thought the referee could be serious.

But somehow, Davidson was able to top that.

If baseball wants to keep whatever semblance of credibility it has left after years of Bud Selig tweaking the rule book at his whim, it must fire Bob Davidson immediately. It must show that it will not tolerate umpires blatantly ignoring the rule book at the expense of the fans who allow MLB to be as profitable as it is. If Davidson is allowed into Miller Park tonight for the final game of the three-game series between the Cardinals and Brewers, it will be a slap in the face to every single fan of baseball.

Will he be there? Of course. I’m not stupid. Davidson has about as much chance of being fired or even suspended as I do of becoming the next manager of the New York Yankees.

But it doesn’t change the fact that he needs to be dismissed. He must be dismissed.

Anything less and baseball might as well throw out the rule book and start over.

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Use of Taser More Than Necessary on Phillies Fan

I’m confused. Downright confused. In fact, there is not an adjective that I’m familiar with that can sufficiently explain how confused I am.

So to understand just how confused I am, let’s examine what I am not confused about.

I am not confused, for example, about how a Philadelphia Phillies fan could think it a good idea to jump onto the field of play during the eighth inning and run around as police officers and security guards tried to bring him to a halt. This is Philadelphia after all.

I am not confused, for example, about how a police officer, after chasing the boy around for a while to try and get him to stop, pulled out a taser to subdue him. The boy was breaking the law, after all.

And finally, I am not confused, for example, about how police cannot release the name of the boy, who was 17 years old, because he is a juvenile. Who cares that he committed all of his crimes out in public in front of 40,000 confused fans? We must protect the boy.

But what I am more than confused about is the backlash.

No, not against the boy, but against the officer, for using a taser.

Did I miss something? Did I?

Did the boy not illegally jump over a fence, a fence he must have known he was not allowed to jump over? Did the boy not see police officers and security personnel come after him from all sides of the stadium? Did the boy not keep running as they closed in on him time after time?

No, he did. Knowingly. And he got tasered. Deservingly.

And we respond not by condemning the boy’s actions? We condemn the police officer?

That is why I am more than just confused. That is why I am trying desperately to find an adjective that could possibly be paired with confused to explain just how confused I am. Because I have never seen such an adjective.

Yet basically everyone, from David Brown of Yahoo! Sports to almost every post on the Phillies’ official message board, seems to find the use of the taser, as Brown called it, “juuuuuust a bit excessive.”

Which leaves me as the lone voice of reason.

The kid broke the law by his own choice. According to his father, he was neither drunk nor on any drugs. He clearly dodged multiple attempts by security to subdue him long before the officer brandished the taser.

Just because some boy is an idiot, the use of a taser is not justified? That’s what confuses me.

What if the officers got to him and he had a knife hidden under the white flag he was waving? Was it worth risking someone’s life to prevent the use of the taser?

What if someone in the stands suffered a stroke or a heart attack around where the security personnel was stationed before jumping onto the field to subdue the boy? Suddenly, instead of an ordered evacuation of the individual, there would be more chaos.

What if another idiot, after a minute of the boy dodging officers, decided to join in the fun? Before you know it, we might have Disco Demolition Night all over again.

Now, before someone calls me an idiot, because no matter what I write, someone will call me an idiot for one reason or another, let me state that all three of those scenarios are unlikely. But they are possible.

And from the officer’s point of view, he needs to get this boy off the field as quickly and safely as possible to prevent more chaos.

But the boy was not cooperating.

So the officer did his duty as a law enforcement agent and tased the boy down.

Was it pretty? Was it desirable?

No, of course not. I would much rather he not have to tase the boy.

But was it necessary?

Yes, because the boy needed to be stopped. Immediately.

And because we don’t like to see police use force against anyone, let alone a 17-year-old “boy,” we throw up our arms in outrage and demand stronger regulations against the use of tasers.

Heck, I’m sure there are some of you who want us to deny police the right to have firearms of any kind, even if they only fire an electronic shock. And trust me, I understand where you are coming from. But I also understand I will never convince you to accept tasers, just like you will never convince me to ban them. So at this point in the article, you may leave, because we’re just never going to accept each other’s positions.

But for those of you who can accept police having tasers, you are the ones I am speaking to.

Unless I am missing something, there is nothing wrong with what an officer at the Phillies game did Monday night to subdue a boy who was trespassing onto the field during the middle of a game.

The boy evaded arrest for a prolonged period of time and refused to vacate the field, while multiple security personnel were taken from their normal posts to try and stop the boy, leaving parts of the stadium under-protected.

He had to be stopped for the added safety of 40,000 other people, and the quickest and safest way to bring everything back to normalcy was to tase him.

The officer tased him, and now everyone is upset.

Put yourself in the stadium. Put yourself in the front row where the security personnel just leaped from to subdue the kid.

Do you feel safer now than you did a minute ago before the officer jumped onto the field?

No, you don’t, because you are in more danger without security around than you would be if that officer was still there. Sure, the level of danger is still low, but it has increased substantially.

By jumping onto the field, by evading arrest, the boy put 40,000 people in more danger than they would have been if he stayed in his seat. And all the police officer did when he tased the boy was quicken the return to normalcy for the entire stadium.

For the sake of 40,000 people in attendance, the officer did the right thing, and we have lambasted him for doing so.

That’s why I need a word to describe just how confused I am.

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