Long-time major-league ump Larry Young has become the first umpire appointed to the MLB Rules committee according to this article by umpiring expert Rick Roder.
With someone who has actually been in the trenches on the committee, my hope is that a lot of the loopholes in the rules will finally be closed. Some may remember that the Alex Rodriguez slap/interference call in the ALCS last year was actually not covered by the rules. It came from the umpire's manual. The problem with this is that it creates two separate sets of rules and even though one set, the manual, should amplify the other, the official rules. It's about time that they became one.
One other problem with basing rulings on the manual is that its contents are not published to the masses, which include yours truly. MLB has a mini-site devoted to the rulebook but it's incomplete without the manual.
Given Young's game face (from a game earlier this year), I am optimistic that he'll be able to make some headway:
And then there's this picture of Young after a Jay Bell throw to first hit him squarely in the forehead. The cut required 14 stitches, and Young had to leave the game. However, it's gutsier than what I do on a daily basis, and it should also give him perspective in dealing with the committee:
Young was refereed a wrestling match between "The Undertaker" and King Kong Bundy. So keeping two heavyweight like fellow committee members Sandy Alderson and Andy MacPhail in line should not be too difficult. Then, too, was the incident last season in which Pirate manager Lloyd McClendon sprayed Young with spit during an argument and was served a one-game suspension. Young filed the report but did not make a big deal of the issue. Me likey.
Young also once said, "It is easy to throw someone out of the game. It's hard to keep someone in the game." So we know that he knows how to temper his ardor.
Then again, this does come from the man who in 2003 threw Detroit catcher A.J. Hinch out of a game for holding the ball too long before throwing it back to the pitcher in a perceived show of "showing up" Young for a call.
Young also once called an Erubiel Durazo foul down the right-field line a home run in 2002 and has been known for an elastic strike zone and for miscalls around the diamond. But no one's perfect and maybe his committee duties will keep him off the field. That's a win-win in my book.