Baltimore Orioles: Did Umpire Tim Timmons “punk” the Birds?

John Means got the start for the Baltimore Orioles this evening at Camden Yards against the New York Yankees. And as is usually the case, he did his job, in putting the O’s in a position to win. As I’ve said many times, that’s all you can ask of a starter. Means’ line: 5.2 IP, 4 H. 2 R, 2 BB, 4 K.

Means made one bad pitch. And it came in the third inning with a runner already on base. Urshela smacked a two-run homer, giving New York a 2-0 lead. It appeared that New York was picking up right where they left off last night.

Backing up for just a second, Sanchez made an attempt at a homer in the second inning. He sent a ball deep to the deepest part of the park, and in fact it was over the wall. I’ll say that again; it was over the wall. But Cedric Mullins tracked the ball the entire way, climbed the wall, and reached out and brought the ball back into play. With ann NA gold glove caliber play, Cedric Mullins saved two runs.

However Austin Hays wasn’t about to let this get away without a fight. He smacked a solo homer in the sixth, cutting the lead to 2-1. Then two innings later in the eighth he smacked a two-run homer, giving the Birds a 3-2 lead.

As we went to the ninth, the Orioles’ award-winning grounds crew stood poised behind the tarp as there was rain in the area. And in fact, as New York put two runners on base, the rain was about to hit. However with one out, crew chief Tim Timmons did something never before seen. He walked towards the tarp down the right field line and EMPHATICALLY ordered the grounds crew to leave the field. And I mean EMPHATICALLY.

It came across like Timmons was refusing to call for a rain delay in that moment. Approximately 30 seconds after the grounds crew left the field, the skies opened up. That left the Orioles to play defense in a driving rain storm. And sure enough, we started seeing how the ball was becoming slippery. Routine plays were botched, primarily due to rain. Ultimately Gardener’s bloop two-RBI single gave New York a 4-3 lead, and a 4-3 win.

First and foremost, as I said the O’s were in essence forced to play defense in a driving rain storm. Obviously it’s up to Timmons as the crew chief whether or not to call for the tarp. So there’s no guarantee that he would have done that. You don’t want to see a delay that late in the game. But if conditions become dangerous or one team is at a disadvantage…you get the idea. And by the time New York was in the field, go figure, the storm was over.

But there’s another side to this also. The Orioles’ grounds crew, led by head groundskeeper Nicole Sherry, has won awards. They’re the best in the business. They were treated in a very unprofessional manner by Tim Timmons. This for doing their jobs.

The series concludes tomorrow from Camden Yards. Chris Ellis gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by New York’s Jordan Montgomery. Game time is set for just after 5 PM.

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