Posted: 12:23 am Sunday, June 20th, 2010

Players, umpires blast “awful, awful” Florida Marlins vuvuzelas 

By Joe Capozzi

The Marlins, Rays and umpires seem to agree on one thing about Saturday’s game — they didn’t like the vuvuzela-like horns that were given away by the Marlins to the first 15,000 fans.

“It was awful, awful. I can’t tell you how awful it was,” said outfielder Cody Ross.

“That was the worst handout or giveaway I’ve ever been a part of in baseball,” said Dan Uggla, who wore earplugs. “This isn’t soccer. I know the World Cup is going on but this is baseball.”

“I couldn’t hear myself talk,” said Rays pitcher James Shields.

“I really believe the horns should be banned from Major League Baseball,” said Rays manager Joe Maddon.

The horns might’ve cost the Marlins a chance to win.

They lost 9-8 in 11 innings. But with the game tied at 5 in the bottom of the ninth, Brian Barden drew a lead-off walk. But after he trotted to first base, he was called out for batting out of order.

Maddon argued that his lineup card showed Wes Helms batting in that spot. Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez insisted he told the umpires that Barden was hitting there.

“He screwed it up,” Gonzalez’s said, rerfering to home-plate umpire Lance Barksdale.

“I told him three times who I wanted to hit,” said Gonzalez, who was ejected from the game for arguing. “I thought we had it straightened out.”

Did the umpires have trouble hearing him because of noise from the vuvuzelas?

“That, I don’t know,” Gonzalez said with a laugh, dismissing that suggestion.

“Whether won the game or lose the game it didn’t matter,” he said of the lineup confusion. “I think 11 walks from the bullpen that puts a dagger in your heart.”

“I told (Barksdale) where the guys were hitting and he gave Joe the wrong place they were hitting. I’ll take it to where he wants me to take it to,” said Gonzalez, who has no recourse.

“It’s he-said, she-said. My word against his. He has the official lineup card so that’s the one that counts, but it’s embarrassing. I’m here to tell you he got it wrong.’

“Whether that won the game or lost the game, I don’t think it matters but it’s an embarrasing situation. ”

Umpire crew chief Tom Hallion, however, said noise from the vuvuzelas might’ve caused the confusion between Gonzalez and the umpires.

“What we had was three changes in the lineup. Fredi had come out and given Lance the position of the players and Lance confirmed it with Fredi and wrote it down on his lineup card. That’s what we went by when Maddon came out and said ‘we’ve got batting out of order here.’ Lance confirmed it with Fredi before he left to go back into the dugout and that’s all we had to go by then,” Hallion said.

Did the air horns make it difficult to relay information back and forth and possibly cause the confusion?

“It could have. It was the most uncomfortable baseball game I’ve been a part of in a long time because of that. Whether that had anything to do with it, I don’t know but it could have. When’s the last time you heard something like that at a baseball game? Never. You don’t see this kind of stuff at baseball games.”

HANLEY MIGHT MISS SUNDAY GAME
Shortstop Hanley Ramirez limped out of the clubhouse after the game toward the field to watch the Super Saturday Concert by Sergio Vargas and Milly Quezada.

Hanley left the game after the eighth inning. He tweaked his hamstring running out a double in the eighth. He stayed in the game and scored Florida’s fifth run.

“I’ll see how it feels tomorrow,” he said.

Gonzalez said he put the chances of Hanley playing Sunday at 50-50.