Like many baseball fans, I’ve often wondered what an official scorer does during the game. Andrew Bogusch of Bogusch at the Plate got to find out. He recently sat down with Howie Karpin, a long-time MLB official scorer who has scored “over 1,000 games.”
All that time in the league means Karpin has had the fortune of attending many memorable games. Even among those, certain calls stand out.
“It happened 10 years ago in 2006,” Karpin said. “Yankees were playing the Orioles on a getaway day, and there was a pop-up to third that Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter converged on and the ball dropped. I called the error on A-Rod.”
Karpin actually made the wrong call on this particular play and was forced to change it. The missed pop-up was Jeter’s fault, meaning he should get the error.
“Somebody said to me [that] you may want to look at the video, because it looks like Jeter bumps into him from behind,” Karpin said. “And in the scoring rules, if somebody bumps into another player who’s trying to make a catch, that player who initiated the contact would get the error.”
The whole situation blew up in the media because of the ongoing feud between Rodriguez and Jeter. And the decision brought Karpin more publicity than he was prepared for. Not only did he make the papers the next day, he made Jeter unhappy. In New York in 2006, one of worse things you could do is make the “Captain” unhappy.
It was not the actual call that angered Jeter but something else Karpin said.
“Apparently, [Brian] Cashman was annoyed that Jeter wasn’t acting his part,” according to Karpin. “He [Jeter] was acting spoiled, and he told Jeter before the media came in. He met with Jeter, and he said ‘look at the video you’re not acting like a captain.'”
Karpin had no idea this incident occurred until years later when Ian O’Connor interviewed him for his book about Jeter. Only then did he realize the inadvertent mistake that probably angered Jeter.
“I went downstairs and talked to him [Jeter], and I said to him the same line, but in a different context. I said ‘look at the video, you bumped into the guy.'”
The phrase “Look at the video” that Cashman then Karpin uttered probably pushed Jeter too far.
The Yankees moved on to Boston, where they swept the Red Sox in five games. Jeter would have a good series, batting .292 and scoring four runs.
“Somebody said to me ‘yeah, you got him mad, so he took it out on the Red Sox.'”
Jeremiah Delgado is a fan of the Jets, Yankees and Knicks. He hopes to live long enough to see the Jets or the Knicks win a championship, but he doubts he will,.
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