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The faces Clint Hurdle made shortly before or after getting ejected in 2012.

According to Body Language University, which sounds like a completely legitimate and accredited academic institution, facial expressions are among the most important elements of human nonverbal communication. That explains how Clint Hurdle has earned a reputation as an especially good communicator: he has the most expressive face of any major-league manager. Most of the time he uses his facial expressions for good, but sometimes he gets angry at umpires. And when Hurdle gets angry at umpires, his face contorts into shapes that some viewers may find disturbing.

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May 16, 2012 9:22 am

Overthinking It: Brett Lawrie Was Framed


Ben Lindbergh

Brett Lawrie was right to be upset about the two strikes that got him ejected on Tuesday, but framer extraordinaire Jose Molina had as much to do with the calls as umpire Bill Miller.

On Tuesday night, the Rays beat the Blue Jays 4-3. All of the scoring was over by the seventh, but the real action occurred in the bottom of the ninth, when Brett Lawrie was ejected by umpire Bill Miller after arguing balls and strikes, first with loud body language, then with loud words, and finally by transforming his helmet into flying suspension bait. Lawrie probably brushes his teeth more intensely than you’ve ever done anything, so you can only imagine what he looks like when he’s called out on borderline pitches in a close game against a division rival. Actually, that’s not true—imagining it isn’t the only thing you can do. You can also watch this video:

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A position-by-position analysis of Benjamin Sisko's baseball team from the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Take Me Out to the Holosuite".

As the San Diego Padres and New York Yankees took the field at Qualcomm Stadium for Game 4 of the 1998 World Series, there was another baseball game of some importance being played. That night, the seventh season episode of "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" called "Take Me Out to the Holosuite" aired for the first time. In it, the space station's senior staff (dubbed the "Niners") was challenged to a game by a crew of baseball-playing Vulcans (known as the Logicians) in what one might call a "Worlds' Series".

This premise may seem a bit off-base for the usual "Star Trek" fare, but it was established very early in the series' run (the first episode, in fact) that station captain Benjamin Sisko was a devoted fan of the sport. In the episode, Sisko is tasked with taking his crew and turning them into a fully-functioning ballclub in only two weeks time. The team ends up with 11 players on the roster - only three of whom have ever played the game before (Sisko, his son Jake, and his future-wife Kasidy). The remaining eight players must take those two weeks to learn how to throw a ball, catch a ball, hit a ball, and field a position. They must also learn the rules of the game from scratch, including such complicated concepts as the infield-fly rule and obscure terminology like "bunts" and "Fancy Dan". Everything is made worse when you realize that their opponents are a team of Vulcans, an alien race that is physically stronger and faster than the majority of the Niners. Kasidy tells us, in fact, that "a Vulcan has three-times the strength of a human." It's not exactly a fair match-up.

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The BP Crew recalls their favorite baseball freakouts.

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April 22, 2011 9:00 am

Prospectus Q&A: Mike Teevan


David Laurila

Now that we have a more thorough understanding of the rulebook, we learn more about umpire evaluation, schedules, and post-season umpire selection.

Umpires are a big part of baseball, but outside of someone to shout expletives at, most fans have little idea of who they are and just what goes into their jobs. Mike Teevan, of the MLB Public Relations Department, clarified some of those mysteries, answering 13 questions about the often maligned—but essential—men in blue.

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July 27, 2007 12:00 am

Lies, Damned Lies: Fixing It


Nate Silver

Could a Donaghy scenario happen in baseball?

Baseball must be toasting this week's sports pages over glasses of vodka and schadenfreude. Last Friday, NBA referee Tim Donaghy was implicated in a betting scandal. On Wednesday, Tour de France leader Michael Rasmussen, under heavy suspicion of doping, was kicked out of the race by his own team. And on Thursday, Michael Vick was scrambling away from reporters in a federal courthouse, rather than opposing linebackers on the field.

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