‘SafeOut!’ Confused umpire John Hirschbeck calls it both ways on Yoenis Cespedes

johnh“Name it each ways, Blue!”

— Loudmouth at any baseball sport, ever

And finally, someone has. John Hirschbeck, one of many longest-tenured and most-revered umpires in Major League Baseball, made some of the unintentionally hilarious calls in the history of.. calls.. Tuesday evening at Angel Stadium.

In the seventh inning, slugger Yoenis Cespedes of the Oakland Athletics hit a grounder to second, where Los Angeles Angels infielder Howie Kendrick stepped on the bag and fired to first, making an attempt to show a double play. Hirschbeck began to sign “protected” — no, he did signal “protected” — but then, continuing the same movement, changed his mind and signaled out. It was the quickest self-reversal in umpiring lore.


Video replay showed Hirschbeck appeared to get the call right (the second/final time), which perhaps is why no one on the A’s went to argue.

First-base coach Tye Waller had an incredible response, turning to the dugout and smiling as if to say, “What was that?” And A’s supervisor Bob Melvin stood on the top step, on the verge of claiming one thing, however by no means actually committing. The A’s have been in a scoring drought, so perhaps it could have behooved Melvin to lift a stink, just to see what happened next. However contemplating that Hirschbeck is an umpire that many of the teams appear to love and respect, he gave him he benefit of the doubt. And, oh, there was doubt to spare.

The Angels received three-0, they usually beat the A’s again Wednesday afternoon 3-1. That nudges the Pink Sox nearer to dwelling-discipline benefit all through the playoffs. However the heck with that. What about Hirschbeck starting a new train craze with his isometric SafeOut stretch?

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Yoenis Cespedes Show: A’s to open gates early on Fridays so fans can enjoy batting practice

MLB: All Star Game-Home Run Derby Looking to take advantage of the buzz created by Yoenis Cespedes’ impressive victory at the 2013 Home Run Derby, the Oakland A’s have announced they will be giving the hometown fans the unique opportunity to watch their slugger take batting practice prior to all Friday home games remaining on the schedule.


The Oakland Athletics announced today the team will open gates to Coliseum one hour earlier for all remaining Friday home games this season, affording fans the rare opportunity to watch 2013 Home Run Derby champion Yoenis Céspedes take batting practice.

All gates will open at 4:30 p.m. Friday, July 26 prior to the A’s game against the Los Angeles Angels, with Céspedes scheduled to hit at approximately 4:40 p.m. Gates will also open at 4:30 p.m., two hours and 35 minutes before first pitch, on subsequent Fridays when Oakland plays Texas (Aug. 2), Cleveland (Aug. 16), Tampa Bay (Aug. 30), Houston (Sept. 6) and Minnesota (Sept. 20).

In doing so, the A’s will become the only team in Major League Baseball opening the gates early so fans can watch the home team take BP. Obviously it’s not something they can afford to do every day given the logistics and extra time concession workers and ushers would need to put in. Still, given the circumstances, this is a very cool idea that I’m sure will be well received.

According to the American League’s captain Robinson Cano, the main reason he picked Cespedes — a rare Derby participant not selected for the All-Star game — was due to the epic batting practice exhibitions he’s been known to put on both at home and on the road. Boston Red Sox designated David Ortiz echoed those sentiments leading up to the event after his team visited the Coliseum over the weekend, and then a confident Cespedes backed up it with a 32 home run barrage.

As I stated on Monday night, 32 was actually the number he needed, but it felt like he could have gone a lot higher if the circumstances dictated it. He was that locked in, and now local fans who just experienced an epic Yoenis Cespedes BP session for the first time on TV, can make the Friday night drive to to experience it firsthand.


Bullseye! Yoenis Cespedes hits the Chevy truck in centerfield en route to Home Run Derby win

Not only did Yoenis Cespedes’ home runs come in towering bunches during Monday’s Home Run Derby, but at least one of them was particularly well placed.

Cespedes cranked a ball off the hood of one of the two Chevy trucks parked in centerfield during his 32-home-run barrage. Many players flirted with hitting the truck — ESPN play-by-play guy Chris Berman hoped and hoped for it during the broadcast. But it was Cespedes, the man whose home run prowess knew no bounds on Monday, who actually did.

Here’s a GIF version:

Chris Perry, Chevy’s VP of marketing, said of the homer:

“That was an exciting part for us. But that’s the reason we put it out there; To give them a target to aim for. Bouncing it off the hood was pretty exciting.”

Also exciting: When the Chevy dude called the winning slugger “Yespin” — which sounds either like a new ESPN network or a “Star Wars” planet.

On a happier note: Because of the 103 homers hit in the derby — including five Gold Ball home runs worth $23,000 each — Chevy and MLB are donating $529,000 to charities, including the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.




Yoenis Cespedes fills last spot in Home Run Derby

(Getty Images)

It’s not Miguel Cabrera or Mike Trout or Edwin Encarnacion filling the final spot on the American League side of the Monday’s Home Run Derby.

It’s Oakland Athletics slugger Yoenis Cespedes.

For those wishing to see Dodgers phenom Yasiel Puig in the Home Run Derby, Cespedes, another free-swinging Cuban will be the closest thing. Cespedes has 15 homers this season in 74 games. He hit 23 last season, his first in MLB.

Let’s see where Cespedes stacks up home-run wise with the other derby participants this season:

• Chris Davis (33)
• Carlos Gonzalez (24)
• Robinson Cano (20)
• Michael Cuddyer (15)
• Prince Fielder (15)
• Yoenis Cespedes (15)
• Bryce Harper (13)
• David Wright (13)