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The Mike DiMuro experiment

Discussion in the Pro Yakyu History forum
The Mike DiMuro experiment
Now that 5 years or so have past and the dust has settled, I'd like to ask what you think about the whole Mike DiMuro saga back in 1997.

(Quick overview for the uninitiated: Dimuro is a US umpire who came to NPB in 1997. During his short-lived spell in Japan, he ejected Yoshida-kantoku [the first time in the kantoku's entire career] for arguing, even though it was claimed that the kantoku didn't actually "argue". He also incurred the physical wrath of Yasuaki Taiho and Senichi "Ribcracker" Hoshino for calling an outside ball a strike. The Chunichi mob gave him a bit of a roughing up, leaving Dimuro visibly shaken. He returned to the US soon after.)

Points such as whether he was right/wrong to go back to the USA and whether discrimination against the "foreigner" was/wasn't a factor are worthy of discussion (so please feel free), but the question I'd like to ask is why they have never attempted to have gaikokujin umpires since that time. Was the whole thing a bad idea, or did it just happen to not work out with Dimuro? If it wasn't feasible, why not; why wouldn't it work again in the future? Or, putting it another way, what could be done to help this kind of thing work better in future?
Re: The Mike DiMuro experiment
[ Author: Guest: null | Posted: May 4, 2003 6:27 PM ]

Personally, I felt that DiMuro was too cocky for his own good. He was too John Hirschbeck-ish in that he would confront players and managers more than necessary, leading to flared tempers and the inevitable mutiny by the Dragons.

If you go back and watch the tape of that incident, Taiho yelled and gestured at DiMuro, a definite no-no anywhere because it's considered showing up the ump, but instead of ignoring the gesture DiMuro quickly yanked off his mask and gave Taiho a "who the bleep do you think you are" look which set Taiho and the rest of the Dragons posse off.

The interesting part about that incident was the way DiMuro changed in the blink of an eye. He was at first acting all tough and cocky, but as soon as the Dragons started to shove him around, he cowered up and practically ran to Leo Gomez for help.

I personally think that an American umpire could work here in Japan without incident as long as he is a patient person and not too confrontational like DiMuro. Maybe DiMuro was too young and cocky at the time. He has been working in MLB for some time now and has not had any major Hirschbeck/Dave Pallone type incidents.

Having said all that, it's probably not a good idea to have foreign umpires here. It works in the J-League, but soccer's a bit different than baseball where every call made by the home plate umpire plays a huge factor in the game.
Re: The Mike DiMuro experiment
[ Author: torakichi | Posted: May 5, 2003 5:20 PM | HT Fan ]

Wow! Old topic revived; it was a bit of a conversation killer when I posted it.

I wonder: did bringing DiMuro here in the first place involve much of an effort? Did someone have to cut through red tape and step on toes to make it happen? In that case, I can see how a "you've had your fun and it didn't work - let's just forget that idea now" attitude could have killed any thoughts of trying to bring another non-Japanese umpire to NPB (all speculation, of course).
Re: The Mike DiMuro experiment
[ Author: mijow | Posted: May 12, 2003 1:33 PM | HT Fan ]

One thing I remember about the DiMuro experiment was that, at the time, there was a de facto "no balk" rule in Pro Yakyu. I remember this because Di Muro was asked about it in a newspaper interview, and he really didn't know much about the practice.

Of course, since then, the Japanese umps have decided that balks are to be called, perhaps even a little too enthusiastically. Did the exposure to American umpiring practices have anything to do with this, or was it based on greater exposure to MLB in general (on TV maybe), with the larger numbers of Japanese players going over there?

An interesting question.

This is a site about Pro Yakyu (Japanese Baseball), not about who the next player to go over to MLB is. It's a community of Pro Yakyu fans who have come together to share their knowledge and opinions with the world. It's a place to follow teams and individuals playing baseball in Japan (and Asia), and to learn about Japanese (and Asian) culture through baseball.

It is my sincere hope that once you learn a bit about what we're about here that you will join the community of contributors.

Michael Westbay
(aka westbaystars)

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