LADY AT THE BAT: Marty Foster Reminds Me Of Roger Clemens

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Marty Foster Reminds Me Of Roger Clemens

MLB Umpire Marty Foster was the umpire working third base on Monday at Yankee Stadium, the umpire who called Jeter out after he tried to steal the bag with nobody out. A day after Jeter's claim that Foster told him he didn't have to be tagged, he denied it, saying he told Jeter that he was tagged.

It's being touted as a big mis-understanding by Crew Chief John Hirschbeck, who had his own problems last night, with Manny Ramirez at Citi Field. Tempers flare in the heat of battle, he said, and Jeter probably did not hear right.

Jeter did not hear right? Derek Jeter has always been the model of good sportsmanship. From everything that I've heard and read about him, his temper would never flare in the heat of battle. In fact, from what I've heard, he doesn't even have a temper. So, why would he suddenly exhibit a temper and become so hot-headed that he mis-understood what an umpire was trying to say to him?

(Then again, why would he make the mistake of trying to steal third with nobody out when it was obvious that getting there wasn't a sure thing? He's never done that before. Very uncharacteristic.)

This whole thing makes me think of Roger Clemens sitting before Congress, saying Andy Pettitte "mis-remembered" talking to him about steroids. Clemens vehemently denies, to this day, using performance-enhancing drugs, and I suppose Foster will always deny telling Jeter he didn't have to be tagged. They'll forever look like fools in my book.

Sometimes saying as little as possible is the best defense. When I attended umpires school many years ago, one of the instructors gave some interesting advice: If an angry player or coach asks "Where was that one?!" The answer he said, is "In the strike zone." Foster's best answer on Monday should have been, "You were out."


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