Girardi ejected, wants expanded instant replay

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Girardi ejected, wants expanded instant replay

From Comcast SportsNetNEW YORK (AP) -- Joe Girardi could have used a birthday present Sunday: increased instant replay for umpires.The Yankees manager was ejected from Game 2 of the AL championship series on his 48th birthday after arguing a pivotal missed call by second base umpire Jeff Nelson in a 3-0 loss to Detroit that left New York in a 2-0 deficit.Nelson admitted he blew the call on second baseman Robinson Cano's tag, which should have ended the eighth inning before Detroit expanded its lead from one run to three. And Girardi still was steamed Cano was called out by Jeff Kellogg on a close play in the opener, a 6-4, 12-inning loss."Too much is at stake. We play 235 days to get to this point, and two calls go against us," Girardi said with passion in his voice.New York was trailing 1-0 with two outs in the eighth Sunday when Austin Jackson singled with Omar Infante on first. Right fielder Nick Swisher threw to second, where Infante had run past the base, and Cano tagged him on the chest sliding back."I had the tag late and the hand going into the bag before the tag on the chest," Nelson said.Then he watched the replay after the game."The hand did not get in before the tag. The call was incorrect," Nelson explained.After Boone Logan relieved, pinch-hitter Avisail Garcia blooped a single to right for a 2-0 lead and Girardi returned to the mound to bring in Joba Chamberlain. Girardi got into a heated discussion with Nelson and was tossed. Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera followed with another single for a 3-0 lead."He told me let it go. He was trying to keep me in the game," Girardi said. "It's hard to let it go, you know, when it changes the complexion of the game."Infante knew he should have been called out."I think the umpire got confused cause he saw my hand," he said. "Something with my hand made him think I was safe."New York felt it was a turning point."That's a monster play in that situation," Swisher said. "It's a lot different as a one-run game than it is a three-run game."Four of Girardi's five ejections this year have come in games against Detroit. He's been tossed 22 times overall, including 19 as a manager."In this day and age when we have instant replay available to us, it's got to change," Girardi said. "I have been thrown out of games enough to know it would be quicker to get the call right or wrong or right on replay than for me to go out there and argue."Baseball began video review by umpires late in the 2008 season, but it is used only to determine whether potential home runs went over the fence or were fair. The commissioner's office is considering an expansion to allow for video to determine whether balls down the lines are fair and whether fly balls are trapped.Equipment was installed this year at Yankee Stadium and Citi Field to test technology. But the expansion of replay under consideration wouldn't have included Sunday's tag play."I understand Joey's frustration. You want everything to be perfect, and it's not perfect," said MLB executive vice president Joe Torre, Girardi's former manager with the Yankees."The sad part about it is umpires, players, managers, they are all human. And it happens. Certainly we don't mean for it to happen. And the umpires, you have to be in that room to appreciate how the effect it has on an umpire that missed a call, especially in postseason, where obviously the chips are on the table," he said.

Steve Kerr's absence from Warriors' bench means two things for sure

Steve Kerr's absence from Warriors' bench means two things for sure

Programming note: Warriors-Blazers Game 4 coverage starts tonight at 6:30pm with Warriors Pregame Live on NBC Sports Bay Area, and streaming live right here.

Steve Kerr’s physical absence from the stage in the NBA Playoffs means a lot of things. It all depends on what you want from this development.

If you think the Warriors should win anyway, you will decide it will mean something but not a lot. If you think they should lose, it is a catastrophe, and when layered with Kevin Durant’s injury, it is a three-story catastrophe with a massive entry hall, a huge spiral staircase, a vast backyard with an Olympic pool and a shooting range.

But here are two things it means for sure.

One, nobody will be able to say they were lucky if they win, which for some reason still bothers people around here, as though luck is some sort of shame-inducing insult to be avoided.

And two, they will not accept your pity if they lose, least of all Kerr. Kerr is much better at showing anger than he is acknowledging pity, and you saw plenty of the former at his presser Sunday.

In an attempt to both granularize and overthink what has been pretty boilerplate playoff series so far, many folks have gone to Mike Brown, Kerr’s new Luke Walton, to declare an Achilles heel.

Except that (a) players determine success in the NBA, and only the very worst coaches impede talent from achieving its true level. Mike Brown is not among those coaches, and those who think he is are fools.

Except that (b) Kerr will be around for planning sessions, and there will be the rest of the coaching staff at Brown’s side so that continuity will not be an issue unless Brown’s voice is so alien that a group of veteran players who have won one title and nearly won a second will somehow lose their way.

The danger here is that we might be minimizing his absence, when in fact we don’t have the slightest idea how it will affect the Warriors. Even with the 43 games Walton coached in Kerr’s absence after this first back reaction, when people feared the team would fall off the earth, the Warriors played more than half those games against non-playoff teams, while playoff games are almost by necessity are high-leverage situations piled atop each other in a gigantic heap.

It’s not comparing cats and dogs, but it is comparing terriers and rottweilers. In short, this could be a lot tougher than we think it is. We have no idea, because there is no real metric for this, only a lot of half-educated guesswork.

You know, what we do best.

Even Five-Thirty-Eight.com, The Place Where Twos And Fours Go To Find Love, took the Warriors’ two wins last week, factored in Kerr’s absence and decided that the Warriors are now 67 percent favorites to win the title, up from 63 percent.

But if the Warriors cannot navigate the postseason without Kerr, then they’ll have failed, pure and simple. Context is all well and good, and we believe in context with all our might, but one of the contexts of this Warrior team is that no excuses will be accepted. It is the price they pay for being a 2-to-1 favorite from the second they signed Durant. After all, life is as windy as it is lonely at the top.

Kerr will return when he can, and it is hoped that he won’t do it until he knows he can, rather than thinks he can or hopes he can. But as it affects the Warriors . . . well, the nation has spoken.

No alibis. No luck. Until there is new evidence, they do, or they do not. Period.

This is cruel: Steve Kerr imprisoned by misery that has engulfed his body

This is cruel: Steve Kerr imprisoned by misery that has engulfed his body

Programming note: Warriors-Blazers Game 4 coverage starts tonight at 6:30pm with Warriors Pregame Live on NBC Sports Bay Area, and streaming live right here.

PORTLAND -- Steve Kerr can’t golf. His body won’t allow it, hasn’t in two years. He has spent most of his life being able to golf, enjoying it immensely, and not being able to do so now saddens him deeply.

He can’t play basketball, either. Can’t even shoot free throws, not comfortably, and he spent half of his adult life playing the game at the highest levels.

Kerr, 51, can’t enjoy even the simplest things in life. Not now. So coaching an NBA team, the job he loves, a vocation that fulfills his lifelong need to compete, is out of the question.

Coaching the Warriors in the playoffs, in pursuit of a championship, is put on hold all because 21 months ago he made a reasonable, rational medical decision he may regret for the rest of his life.

Kerr opted for back surgery.

The after-effects have been devastating. He is imprisoned by misery that has engulfed his body. Kerr told NBCSportsBayArea.com earlier this season that he felt he had exhausted just about every possibility he is willing to trust, all in a quest for physical normalcy. He has researched hundreds of books in search of relief. He has talked to dozens of specialists. He has tried opioids and other medical treatments, herbal treatments, spiritual treatments and marijuana in a form he reluctantly revealed. And his reluctance, once revealed, was easily understood.

“I can tell you if you’re listening out there, if you have a back problem, stay away from surgery,” Kerr said Sunday in his first comments since Friday. “I can say that from the bottom of my heart. Rehab, rehab, rehab. Don’t let anybody get in there.”

The covers were pulled back on Kerr’s condition Saturday afternoon, when it was announced he would not coach Game 3 of the Warriors-Trail Blazers series. Now it was public, everybody knowing what those of us who work closely with him already knew. Much of what we’ve known, and some of what we’ve suspected, came tumbling into the open Sunday, when Kerr told the world that his condition, which had nagged at him ever since the summer of 2015, which he had suppressed with an admirable degree of success, finally had gotten best of him -- at least for now.

In private conversations this season with NBCSportsBayArea.com, Kerr has acknowledged his agony. He has admitted that he has never been more miserable and expressed his regret over having the first back surgery, which resulted in a spinal fluid leak, which led to a second surgery -- which has sent him plummeting down this path of torment.

Kerr lives with pain that most commonly might be associated with sinus headaches or, worse, migraines. Now that it has reached a level of utter despair, he no longer can even pretend to hide it. Gutting it out, a term often linked to competitive sport, was possible until this weekend.

“I was able to manage the pain and the discomfort over the last year and a half and, suddenly, things got a lot worse,” he said.

“I don’t know why. I’m trying to figure out why.”

This is cruel, and Steve Kerr knows cruelty. He has a great job, a great wife, a solid family -- yet none of this can completely eclipse the tragic death of his father. Dr. Malcolm Kerr was the president of the American University of Beirut when he was assassinated by a group of terrorists in January 1984.

Losing a father to senseless violence in a faraway place is not something a son gets over, not completely. Steve Kerr doesn’t often reference his father, but every time he does it is beneath a cloud of melancholy.

To have a great childhood, followed by unimaginable heartache while entering adulthood, leaves open the possibility for bitterness, maybe even the desire for vengeance. Not with Steve. He chose to continue living following the example set by his father, namely that the world is a place in need of healing.

It’s why anyone who knows Steve Kerr can only admire his principles and dedication. His innate goodness always shines through.

And now he has this great job, one in which he has more than earned his salary. He is a championship coach who always points to his players and his staff. He has a policy of openness that put everyone around him at ease.

And now this, such an unkind cut it seems profoundly unfair.

Kerr has so much that enriches him and can’t savor any of it. He wants nothing more than another Warriors championship and to be pain-free. At this stage, who could blame him if he yearned more for the latter than the former?