Catcher-umpire relationship faces new tests this season

Catcher-umpire relationship faces new tests this season
Baseball, more than most team sports, naturally creates social distance. There aren't many circumstances that bring people together in close quarters for more than a second or two during a specific play. With one major exception: The catcher and the plate umpire. For all the extensive changes and protocols Major League Baseball is putting in place to protect everyone on the field during a game, there isn't much that can be done about the need to have an umpire peering over the catcher's...
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Nationals not ready to embrace computer-generated strike zone

Nationals not ready to embrace computer-generated strike zone
The Atlantic League, an independent baseball league that has a three-year contract with Major League Baseball to experiment with new ideas, says that the computer-generated strike zone has been so successful, the system will be used the rest of the season. The computerized system, called the Automated Ball-Strike System (ABS), will be used in the eight-team league, which includes the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs in Waldorf. The technology will debut there Aug. 2. The league used it for its...
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Umpires' call brightens day for patients at Johns Hopkins Children's Center

Umpires' call brightens day for patients at Johns Hopkins Children's Center
Before they handled balls and strikes, fair or foul, and safe and out calls for the conclusion of a two-game interleague series between the Nationals and Orioles on Wednesday, baseball's men in blue brought some happiness to youth patients at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center. Umpires Alfonzo Marquez, Mike Estabrook and Ryan Blakeney - part of the umpiring crew for the Nats-O's series this week at Camden Yards - visited patients at Johns Hopkins, offering words of encouragement and...
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Harper upset with umpire but avoids first ejection of season

Harper upset with umpire but avoids first ejection of season
ATLANTA - Bryce Harper has made a concerted effort not to be ejected from a game this season, something that has happened at least once in each of his previous six big league seasons. And with only two weeks to go, he's been successful, though Laz Diaz certainly tested the slugger's newfound calm demeanor Friday night. Harper and Diaz jawed back and forth multiple times during the Nationals' 10-5 loss to the Braves, though truth be told the plate umpire was the more animated of the two. And...
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Visit from men in blue brightens day for young Hopkins cancer patients

Visit from men in blue brightens day for young Hopkins cancer patients
Young cancer patients at Baltimore's John's Hopkins Childrens Center got some special visitors earlier this week when a quartet of major league umpires stopped by to brighten the kids' days. Umpires Jim Reynolds, Chris Guccione, John Tumpane and Shane Livensparger ditched their ball-and-strike counters and masks to spend time with the children as part of Umps Care Charities BLUE for Kids program. Umps Care Charities is the nonprofit founded by MLB Umpires to enrich the lives of at-risk youth...
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Rizzo acknowledges confrontation with umpires

Rizzo acknowledges confrontation with umpires
NEW YORK - General manager Mike Rizzo confirmed his confrontation with members of last night's umpiring crew following the Nationals' 9-7 loss to the Mets, calling it "unfortunate" but more a reflection of frustration over the inconsistent implementation of Major League Baseball's new takeout slide rule than the specific call that went against his club in the top of the ninth inning. According to a New York Daily News reporter who witnessed the confrontation outside the umpires' clubhouse...
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Umpires brighten patients' day at Johns Hopkins Children's Center

Umpires brighten patients' day at Johns Hopkins Children's Center
The men who decide whether a pitch is a ball or strike, whether a player is safe or out (and, more recently, who pore over video replays to determine the status of contested plays) have a whole bunch of new fans in Baltimore. The four major league umpires - Cory Blaser, Laz Diaz, Chris Guccione and Jeff Nelson - working tonight's Orioles game spent part of Wednesday morning at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center as part of UMPS CARE Charities' Blue for Kids program. The men in blue ditched...
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Umpires visit Johns Hopkins Children's Center

Umpires visit Johns Hopkins Children's Center
You've no doubt heard the old expression, "Nobody loves the umps." (Check out this clip from "I Love Lucy" with Bob Hope.) Well, that's not necessarily true. After a visit from the men in blue earlier today, a bunch of kids at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center think the oft-criticized arbiters are some of their favorite people. Scott Barry, Laz Diaz, Pat Holberg and Jeff Nelson - the crew assigned to tonight's Rays-Orioles game at Camden Yards - spent part of Wednesday at the hospital...
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