Kratz Suspension (more)

While the Kratz suspension is certainly a huge blow while the Pigs are in the midst of a playoff race, there are additional issues that need to be addressed.

The following  are excerpts from a post on Jeff Schuler’s Morning Call Hog Blog:

“It’s very unfortunate with the circumstances and where we’re at in the standings to lose a player of that caliber,” IronPigs  manager Ryne Sandberg said.

“It’s extremely unfortunate,” Kratz said. “I’ve never seen anything like it, and compounded on top of it is we only have five games left in a pennant race.”

Kratz was suspended for leaving his position and exchanging words with Francisco while Francisco was on first base after being hit. Francisco was having a verbal exchange with the IronPigs bench when Kratz walked about 30 feet up the first base line and told Francisco to “knock it off.”

“It was a ball that grazed his elbow guard, and I didn’t even see [Francisco] was jawing with our dugout until he was up at first base. If I thought there was some sort of tension I would have walked with him down the line,” Kratz said.

Gill was suspended four games by Mobley. Francisco was not punished.

“You want my Cliff Notes version of it?” Kratz said. “We were playing baseball, and somebody on the other team took exception to what happened and decided to mouth off — this isn’t only my version, this is what happened — and he decided to run his mouth, and beings that it’s my position to stand up for my team, I told him to knock it off. He decided not to, and I told hm to knock if off again, and the umpire told me to stop, so I did.

“Everything got calmed down, warnings were issued to both teams, and they came out and hit the first guy, so they got thrown out but I got pretty much the same suspension as the guy who threw at our guy.”

“In the minor leagues there’s no real appeal process,” Kratz added. “He’s the judge, jury and executioner. He [Mobley] made the decision to say what I did warranted the suspension, and we asked who we could appeal to, and he said, ‘Me.’. And it’s kind of hard to convince somebody they were wrong.”

The suspension caught Sandberg completely off-guard.

“My side of the incident wasn’t asked, so there’s no looking back,” said Sandberg, who was overheard pleading his case to the league office following Monday’s games. “Other than their pitcher and manager getting ejected after the warning, I thought everything was taken care of at that point, from what I know about professional baseball.”

Kratz said the fact that Mobley didn’t talk to either Sandberg or himself makes the decision that much harder to swallow.

“He said because he spoke to one of the field managers and the umpires, and watching the video, he had the facts that he felt that he needed,” Kratz said. “That’s even the harder part of it. The umpires didn’t throw me out, did not say I was to blame. He spoke to the other manager, and he looked at the video, and he deemed that I should have been thrown out of the game in that situation. It’s just extremely, extremely frustrating that one person can have facts put out there in front of him and not even bring people’s character into the discussion, and still make the decision that he made. Without ever talking to our manager.

Video review shows Juan Francisco strolling toward first base while removing his protective gear – he then turned toward the LHV dugout and appeared to say something. Initially Eric was tossing a ball back to the Bat’s dugout and wasn’t even looking toward Francisco. Not until Juan started jawing at the Pigs dugout did Kratz then leave the catching area and proceed toward first base while obviously yelling at Francisco. Kratz never made it closer than 45 feet from Francisco as he stood on first. Mere moments later every other player also left their positions. Yet Kratz was the only IronPigs player suspended. Strangely, Aumont remained unpunished for actually hitting Francisco. Was he the ultimate one who “instigated” the issue? Or was Francisco the culprit for barking at the Pigs dugout?

In the following incident during the 9th inning after the plunking of Delwyn Young by Gil (who was suspended 4 games), Bat’s catcher James Skelton immediately walked in front of the plate and in front of DY and ended up at about the same spot on the field Kratz did. Is that not leaving his position as well? Again, nearly all on field players left their positions.

Regardless, Mr. Mobley has given his final answer on the matter – case closed.

Recently, Victorino had his 3 game suspension reduced by a game following his appeal. Apparently Kratz did not get that luxury.

I believe that Mr. Mobley’s decision to suspend the .284 hitting,  starting catcher for the last 3 crucial games by notifying him 1/2 hour before the most important double-header of the season and without speaking to the offender or his coach was his judgement call and followed the rules as they are written and nothing more.

But I must wonder why does the possibility of impropriety even exist with no real appeal process?

Doesn’t the Minor League level of our National Pastime deserve a better process or at least one that mirrors the Major League’s?

But wait…

According to the FAQ at

Q. Are Minor Leagues rules the same as those that govern Major League Baseball?

A. Minor League Baseball clubs play by the same rules as listed in the Official Baseball Rules published by Major League Baseball.

I wonder if Kratz chose to appeal would he have been allowed to play until his appeal was heard just like in MLB?

Did somebody miss something here?

I will attempt to get “the rest of the story” and will report back accordingly.

OinK On!

DiPro’s Dish

Categories: DiPro's Dish

6 replies

  1. The only thing I get from this longer analysis is that the league president is thinking (or trying to think) like an umpire, and be able to resolve the issue quickly, as if it were happening during live play. Trouble is, it wasn’t, and there isn’t a good reason to go through it quickly.

    From what I understand, in the bigs when fines/suspensions are imposed, players/managers are dealing with one person as well, which as of this year is former Yanks skipper Joe Torre. When Bob Watson, a former player and team executive, held that post, he had been known to travel to cities to address appeals; given the smaller size of the I.L. you’d tend to think Mobley can get to a city in his league from his office in Auburn, NY, if the need arose.

    But I’m not losing sleep over it…

  2. Strike Auburn, a low-A city…insert Dublin, Ohio, home of Dave (Wendy’s) Thomas. Little more difficult, but possible.

  3. there is no appeals process in minor league baseball
    each minor league handles such incident in their own way

  4. Welcome to minor league baseball my freind——no rules, smelly buses, bad umps, bad food. This is why when a major league caliber player gets set to the minors it is brutal change.Amazingly enough though minor league wives/girlfriends are smoking hot, just ask Curt Shilling his opinion. I still miss Vogelsong’s wife. Playoff baseball in Allentown starts Tuesday with Kratz in line-up, no worries

  5. Go Pigs! The team has worked their way through other adversity this season. Losing players moving up or elsewhere and due to injury, Pigs managed to keep at the top of the IL North for a great portion of the season. This is just another unfortunate twist of fate with Kratz being a valuable asset to the team and the lousy timing of it all. Trekking to Syracuse to watch the team and expecting WINS to get into the playoffs. Tonights the night. Wipe the plate, shake off the dirt and come out with a positive CAN DO attitude. GO PIGS. OINK!

  6. Well said. In three short words, “We got screwed.”

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