ON PIRATE SPORTS
From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
By Brian Bailey
Pirates and umps strike out
By Brian Bailey
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East Carolina had battled and
won against elite programs this season. It just didn’t happen this weekend
against 8th-ranked Rice.
The Pirates did a lot of
things well enough to beat many teams throughout the weekend. Rice, however,
seemed to always have an answer in taking all three games of the series.
disappointing,” said Pirate coach Billy Godwin after Sunday’s 8-6 loss.
“We’ve got to give Rice a lot of credit. They have a good club. But we play
a lot of good clubs this year. We just didn’t get any results this weekend.
"It’s disheartening, but we’ve
got a lot of baseball to play. We are 21-12, and that’s nothing to hang your
head about. I thing the toughest part of our schedule is behind us. We’ve
just got to dig deep within and find out what works for us and come back and
be ready to play UNC Wilmington on Wednesday night.”
Rarely do you see a three-game
series in whch the umpires are so much a part of the action. These three
really struggled in the series. That’s not sour grapes. That’s just the
reality of what I saw in all three games.
ECU assistant coach Link
Jarrett got his money’s worth when he was ejected during Friday night’s
game. Link was arguing a check swing call, but you could tell by his
mannerisms just what he thought of the strike zone that night.
Saturday featured a weird call
at third on a play in which Harrison Eldridge was called out. Eldridge
didn’t slide, when he probably should have. He over ran the bag but was
obviously safe getting back. There was a swipe tag by the catcher covering
third as he went in, but that didn’t look like an out either. But sure
enough, after a delay, the umpire gave the out call.
On Sunday, the Pirates tried
to score a runner from third on a fly ball to right field. Corey Kemp
clearly slid under the tag. The call was out. Video replays show just how
bad the call was.
Everybody misses on now and
then. This crew just seemed to make a habit of it.
On Sunday, between the ECU
bench, the Rice bench and the Pirate fans, the home plate umpire had an
Easter basket full of complaints. That’s my point. If everyone is
complaining then somebody has to be right in doing so.
I knew Coach Godwin couldn’t
comment, but the reporter in me said that I had to ask. As expected, Godwin
just shook his head and said, “No comment.”
Please don’t misunderstand
what I’m saying. Rice beat East Carolina in all three games. Umpires don’t
want to be part of the process, but this crew stood out like rotting fish on
the beach. I’ve truly never seen a strike zone that was so inconsistent with
all three umpires over the three days.
Rice may very well be the
class of Conference USA.
“They have good players,
that’s what makes them tough,” said Godwin. “They have great tradition. They
expect to win. Much like we’ve seen our team this year, when they get down
they aren’t going to quit; you have to know that, and we’ve seen our team do
Godwin continued, “It was two
good programs going at each other and we just came out on the short end. I
don’t really want to over-analyze it. Somehow, I’ve got to get these guys to
believe in themselves again, and that’s got to take place between now and
Wednesday will be a difficult
assignment after the Pirates' come from behind win in Greenville last week.
“It will be another good
opportunity,” said Godwin. “We get a chance to go on the road and play in a
great environment. They have a good program and we’ll have our hands full.”
Maybe both teams will get a
better effort from the men in blue this time out.
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04/21/2008 07:02:15 PM