Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Attack of the Evil Umpires!

What is with the umpires lately?!? Joe West has recently been fined an undisclosed amount by Major League Baseball for a variety of bad behaviors, including publicizing his schedule, making some inappropriate remarks, and being a bit laissez faire with his ejections (just ask Mark Buehrle and Ozzie Guillen). Angel Hernandez just today made an absolutely terrible call today in a Tampa Bay/Toronto game, and has been ejecting players left and right.

Ozzie gets into it with Joe West.

But the most egregious blown call was made just minutes ago in Detroit, when Jim Joyce incorrectly called Indians' shortstop Jason Donald safe at first base. Donald was the 27th batter in the perfect game bid of Armando Galarraga. Even Donald was shocked, because it looked as if Joyce was about to signal "out," and abruptly changed his mind and called the rookie safe. To Galarraga's credit, he allowed himself just one fleeting look of disbelief, then promptly retired the following batter and ended the game.

Galarraga is the epitome of a class act.

Personally, I'm at once shocked, angry, indignant, and sad. I hope Johnny Damon and Jim Leyland are waiting for Jim Joyce in the parking lot after that blown call. Leyland looked angry enough as he shouted at Joyce after that last out, and as for Damon? I just want to believe that old "idiot" has a shred of empathy left - plus, he's totally the type to fight an umpire.

One of the unique things about baseball is the umpires: the lack of widely-used instant replay and timers give it a distinct human element that the other major professional sports lack. Baseball needs this element. However, one of the other great things about America's pastime is its history, and Jim Joyce single-handedly kept Armando Galaragga out of the history books this evening.

Now, until tonight, I had never heard of Jim Joyce, which means that he's probably a generally good umpire, as the most well-known are generally the worst of them all (ahem, CB Bucknor).

Baseball is not about the umpires. Far too many umps have thrust themselves into the spotlight lately, and MLB needs to do something about it. Bud Selig, for the love of god, DO SOMETHING ABOUT YOUR UMPIRES! I understand that they have a powerful union, but this is getting ridiculous.

Now I know that Major League Baseball won't say it; so I will. Defiantly, rebelliously, and, in the eyes of MLB, erroneously, Off the Monster is making a statement: there are twenty-one perfect games in modern Major League history, capped off by the most recent, Armando Galarraga, June 2, 2010.

1 comment:

  1. I agree it was a bad call. And he admitted he futzed it, and apologized. He's not off the hook, but I won't lump him in with West and Hernandez, the bad boys of umpiring.

    I think everything should be open to review except balks, balls & strikes. Fair/foul. Catch/trap. Safe/out. Homer/not. Manager asks crew chief to review it. Crew chief decides to do it or not. But he has an option to.

    I imagine every crew chief would say in that if they were running that game they would want to make sure that play was called right. Just as I imagine if the score was 13-2 they would say no, we're not looking.

    Maybe give each manager a single trump, where he can force a replay. I'm not so sure. How does a manager know that a possibly bad call in the 3rd might be the difference in the game?

    Whatever they do, the time to strike is now. MLB needs to send a message that says "This will not happen again." It may be too late to correct this failure, but if it improves our confidence & faith in this game we love, it must be done.