Is Home Plate Umpire Jerry Crawford Giving Somebody The Finger?


Home plate umpire Jerry Crawford got a little testy in the late innings of tonight’s Tigers/White Sox game. He was seen chirping with Tigers catcher Alex Avila in the 9th inning and, as Rod Allen was talking about it, a close up on Avila and Crawford captured the cranky old umpire’s middle finger in this compromising position. No, the fact that the angle could be playing tricks on me is not lost on me, but let’s break it down before we draw conclusions.

It was the 9th inning of a game that was approaching three hours long. Earlier in the game Armando Galarraga sort of showed up Crawford by walking off the mound toward the dugout on a couple of close two-out, two-strike pitches that were called balls. In the 9th, Jose Valverde did the same thing on an 0-2 pitch that looked like this (see pitch four):


It looked close on TV, but the camera is off-center. It’s not like he kicked the shit out of the call and Crawford obviously isn’t in the business of gift wrapping Valverde a walk-off strikeout.

After the pitch, color commentary  man Rod Allen noticed Crawford wasn’t happy with Valverde showin’ him up, though:

“Jerry Crawford’s hot, because Armando Galarraga was walking off that mound quite often tonight, too. Who’s he talking to? Avila?”

Play-by-play man, Mario Impemba said he thought so, and then Valverde threw the 1-2 pitch, which was low for ball two. Valverde must have thrown “the funny one” because Rod immediately started laughing after the pitch. What? I’m not sure, but Avila pump faked a throw back to the pitcher and then reached back asking for a new ball. As Mario and Rod were chuckling about Valverde needing to throw one right down Woodward for Crawford to call a strike, the cameras zoomed in on the blue and Avila, as I said before. In the shot, Crawford paced toward the Tigers dugout and then toward the White Sox dugout, rubbing up the ball Avila just gave him. He stopped before re-assuming the position behind Avila, no homo, and bam! He flips up his middle finger and the TV feed, a split second later, flips to another angle.  (This was on the Tigers feed. I tried to get a look on the White Sox feed and it’s very unclear. It’s also pretty nonchalant, as Crawford then underhands the ball to someone on the White Sox side.)

What it could be:

  • There’s a chance he had his other two fingers up, as if he was asking the White Sox dugout for three fresh game balls. The angle of the camera obviously blocks his other two fingers, if they are indeed up.
  • He could also have used all three fingers to get the ball boy or girl’s attention, but who uses three fingers to get somebody’s attention?
  • I highly doubt he was giving his rendition of the Dane Cook sign.
  • The only other thing it could be is him flipping the bird.  But who could he be flipping off?
  • The Tigers is a possibility since they were obviously getting on his last nerve, but his back was turned. 
  • Did Ozzie Guillen make a smart ass comment to warrant the finger from Crawford? That’s definitely a possibility. 
  • Maybe he had so much pent up angst it was somewhat of a Freudian slip, that possibly even wasn’t meant for anyone.
  • Maybe he was trying to get the ball person’s attention before tossing the baseball, but accidentally used his middle finger to do so.

Whatever it is, it’s very peculiar. One thing’s for sure – Crawford is not afraid to get in people’s faces (here and here).

About Bob Biscigliano

Bob is a writer of s(p)orts