The Wolf brothers: one pitches, one umpires


The Wolf brothers: one pitches, one umpires

The Wolf brothers made it to the major leagues in 1999. One of them is more recognizable than the other.The Baltimore Orioles left-handed pitcher Randy Wolf, who signed with the team three weeks ago was there first. He debuted with the Philadelphia Phillies in June 1999.On Sept. 2, 1999 Jim Wolf made his major league debut at third base. He was umpiring there.The Phillies were in San Francisco and Wolf watched from the dugout as his older brother worked third.For the first several years Jim Wolf was in the majors, he worked some games involving his brothers team, perhaps five or ten, Randy Wolf says.These days, the brothers are kept apart in a move Wolf says isnt necessary. Jim Wolf would never favor his brothers team.Jim Wolf worked last years American League Championship Series and FOX viewers got to hear him when he was miked. A bat boy ran out to make a delivery of balls and the umpire asked him his name.Call me Wolfie, the umpire brightly said.The Orioles call his younger brother that, too. He has an unusual perspective on an umpires life.In his 14th season, Randy Wolf has had a long major league career. He made it to the big leagues at 22, and recently turned 36. His brother is 43, and could work another 15 years if he wanted.Its a different life-style for both of us. The one thing Ive gained is perspective on the umpires life. If I play for a team, we have a homestand. Were home for six days, sometimes more, but when youre an umpire, youre city-to-city-to-city-to-city, Wolf said.Its a tough lifestyle. The road to get to the big leagues for an umpire is a long one. Youre in vans for 12 hours a day. The travel is horrible.
Theyre their own traveling secretary. They dont have someone doing it for them.In recent years, Major League Baseball has made travel easier. For Wolf, he lives in a Phoenix suburb, works spring training in Arizona and travels less frequently to the East than some of his colleagues.Its common for some umpiring crews to work consecutive series in Baltimore and Washington to lessen the travel. They get four weeks off per season. Salaries can reach 400,000 for the most senior umps.

Its a tough life, but I know my brother loves it, Randy Wolf says.Because of the schedule, the Wolfs can go for months without seeing each other. Occasionally, theyve met in Phoenix when Randys team was playing the Diamondbacks and Jim had a week off.It is weird to rarely see your brother, he said. The brothers dont keep close watch on each other.Theres tons of times Im sitting in the food room or the clubhouse, and theres a game on. Ill see the umpire make a strike or ball call, and I know its my brother, Wolf said.My brother and I are close, but we rarely talk about baseball. Were around it so much. When we get together, its definitely not about that.Jim Wolf is rated as one of baseballs better umpires. He was behind the plate for Dallas Bradens perfect game in May 2010 and a few weeks later on Jim Joyces crew for Armando Galarragas near-perfect game.Randy Wolf has never been thrown out of a game.I still get mad at umpires. Ill still argue. Im sure if my brother did my game and I felt he missed a call, Id probably get upset. I understand that theyre trying to do the best they can. Just like when I hang a curve ball and they hit a homer, I make a bad pitch, same thing with umpires. Theyre human, he said. They do make bad calls sometime. Theres a respect you have to have, Wolf says.As long as you dont cross that line, its understood you can be mad.
With his personality, hes willing to listen. If you acknowledge you make mistakes, players will forgive you a lot quicker if youre easy to talk to, and they know you care about what you do.The 43-year Wolf has yet to work a World Series. His younger brother hasnt played in one. This year, Jim Wolf switched his number to 28 to match his brothers. Is this the year both of them make it to a World Series? Or can only one?I know he really cares about doing a good job. Hes not punching in, punching out, Wolf said.Players recognize that not only hes enjoying his job, but he wants to do a good job. You feel that.

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Wizards take out Pacers to earn important advantage in playoff seeding

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Wizards take out Pacers to earn important advantage in playoff seeding

The Washington Wizards beat the Indiana Pacers 109-102 on Saturday night. Here's analysis of what went down...

Important victory: Saturday night's game between the Wizards and Pacers had several layers of playoff implications on the line and it was Washington who rose to the occasion and showed the urgency commensurate for the stakes.

By beating the Pacers, the Wizards locked up the season series between the teams, two games to one. That gives them the tiebreaker for playoff seeding if the teams finish the regular season with the same record. That could very well prove paramount. As of now, the Wizards and Pacers have the same record (40-30) with 12 games to go.

The season series advantage means the Wizards are above the Pacers in the standings despite having the same record. They moved into fourth place in the East with the win and the Cavs slotted back into third. There will likely be a lot more movement as these next few weeks play out, but the Wizards now hold an important edge over the Pacers.

The win also pushed the Wizards to 14-8 since John Wall went down with a left knee injury. Wall could return this coming week or the week after and the Wizards have more than stayed afloat during his absence.

The Wizards' magic number to make the playoffs is now just five. 


Sato went off: The Wizards jumped out to a double-digit lead in the first quarter mostly thanks to a hot start from Tomas Satoransky, who scored the Wizards' first five points and had 10 by the end of the first quarter.

Satoransky's floater was automatic. He dropped in several in the lane from all different angles. Satoransky was practicing the same shots, floaters off each foot, the day before in practice and it paid off.

It was a well-rounded night for Satoransky. In addition to his 12 points, he also had eight assists and five rebounds, including this one to find Marcin Gortat for the dunk:

Gortat came up big: Speaking of Gortat, the Wizards' big man had one of his best games of the season. He poured in 18 points to go along with eight rebounds, four assists a steal and a block. Gortat shot 6-for-8, consistently having his way on the block.

The Pacers were without two of their best big men in Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis and Gortat took advantage of that. He was way too much for Al Jefferson.

The Pacers tried to roll with small-ball lineups using Trevor Booker and Thaddeus Young as their big men, but it didn't work. Gortat was too big for them and his teammates did a great job finding him for open looks.

Gortat's 18 points were his most since Jan. 3 when he had a season-high 21 against the Knicks. Lately, Gortat has seen his minutes dwindle with the increased role for Ian Mahinmi, so Saturday night must have felt good for the Polish Machine.


Bojan held in check: Bojan Bogdanovic, who spent part of last season with the Wizards, was a major factor in the first two matchups between Washington and the Pacers this season. He had 20 points in one game and 29 in another, each time getting hot from three.

The Wizards, though, made some adjustments in this one and held Bo Buckets in check. He didn't make his first shot until nearly the midway point of the second quarter and it was only because Kelly Oubre, Jr. (16 points, 18 minutes) lost his balance. Oubre stumbled backward, giving Bogdanovic a split second to get off an open three. That was the only shot he hit in the first half as he began the game 1-for-4.

Oubre did a good job harrassing Bogdanovic and not giving him space on the premiter. Otto Porter (eight points) and Bradley Beal (19 points) did as well. Both Porter and Beal stripped the ball out of Bogdanovic's hands early in the third quarter. Midway through the third, Bogdanovic got past Porter only to be called for an offensive foul on a collision with Gortat. All in all, it was a frustrating night for Bogdanovic, who had 11 points, three below his season average.

Bogdanovic is a very good shooter and when he's hot can alter games. But when you take his shots away, there's not much else he can do to hurt you. The Wizards did a good job taking away his strengths and making others beat them. Not having to focus on Turner and Sabonis certainly helped. 

Sessions is still in the rotation: It turns out those five games for Ramon Sessions over the course of his second 10-day contract weren't just an audition. Now that he has been signed for the rest of the season, Sessions is still getting the nod over Tim Frazier as the backup point guard.

Sessions logged 18 minutes and even played alongside Satoransky and Jodie Meeks in the fourth quarter. The Wizards had a sizable lead and head coach Scott Brooks decided to experiment with his lineups. That is something to keep in mind for when Wall comes back. Once he does, Sessions will be the third point guard and likely rarely see the court. But if they see something they like about him at shooting guard, that could open the door for more playing time possibilities.

Up next: The Wizards have three off-days before their next game. That will be on Wednesday when they head to San Antonio to face the Spurs. Tipoff is at 9:30 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington. Pregame coverage begins at 8:30 p.m. with Wizards HangTime.

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Scandrick, Hankins both visiting with Redskins soon


Scandrick, Hankins both visiting with Redskins soon

The Redskins will be taking visits from two former NFC East foes in the next few days.

Former Cowboys cornerback Orlando Scandrick will visit Redskins Park on Monday. Scandrick, 31, has been with Dallas since them made him a fifth-round pick in the 2008 draft. He has eight career interceptions and seven forced fumbles.

The Cowboys released Scandrick on Friday in a salary cap move. The Redskins would be attracted to Scandrick’s versatility. He can play either side at corner and, of particular interest to the Redskins, in the slot. That is a position of concern for Washington since they traded Kendall Fuller to the Chiefs as part of the deal for quarterback Alex Smith.

The Redskins have been trying to get former Giants cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie to sign for the past several days, but they can’t come together on money. Scandrick could be a fallback if they need one.

The other visitor will be former Giants defensive lineman Jonathan Hankins, per John Keim of ESPN. Hankins, 25, was a second-round draft pick and played his first four years in New York. Last year he moved on to the Colts as a free agent. They are changing their defense and decided to release Hankins after paying him $10 million last year.

Hankins could bolster a defensive line that still needs young talent. It’s not known if he would be considered a nose tackle in the Redskins’ scheme. The Giants ran a 4-3 defense and in the Colts’ 3-4 he was used as an end.

The Redskins had former Jets defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson in for a visit earlier this week, but he decided to sign with the Packers.


Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.