200 Miles From the Citi

October 22, 2009 4:01 AM


This post-season has been a disgrace as far as the umpiring in Major League Baseball.

Generally, I know, umpires do a good job. They only stand out when something goes wrong.

Well, I don't want my umpires to stand out - ever. And especially not during the playoffs. But that's exactly what's happened far too much this year.

There were terrible calls in the Yankees-Twins series, one a possible game-changer. There were terrible calls in the Red Sox-Angels series. And the capper on an awful post-season for MLB umps came Tuesday night in Game 4 of the Yankees-Angels series.

There was a tag on a pickoff where the runner was clearly out. There was an appeal play to third where the runner was not out. Both calls went the wrong way (and I strongly suspect the latter was to make up for the former).
Then, the most unbelievable of all the calls. With 1 out, Angels catcher Jeff Mathis tagged two Yankees, clear as day, right in front of the umpire, for a definite double play. The umpire called one of the Yankees out and for some reason gave the other runner the base.

Little leaguers watching the game (if they could make it that late - to be honest, there could have been more bad calls but I fell asleep after this one) were probably screaming at the TV that the umpire blew it - that's how elementary the call was.

I don't want instant replay over plays like that one. I want the umpire to get it right. I want the umpire to admit his mistake and change his call - it doesn't take instant replay to convince someone that what he saw and what he called were incompatible. Not to mention there are five other umpires on the field who know what the right call is and could make it.

I want what the SEC did on Wednesday - they didn't like some of the calls coming from one of their officiating crew (some fishy-sounding calls, incidentally), so they suspended the crew. I want the crew calling this Yankees-Angels series suspended. Bring up the backups, the umpires who didn't quite make the League Championship Series cut....or better yet, bring in the ones that just missed making the replace them.

Because to this point, none of the calls has had a disastrous impact on a game or a series. But at this rate, one will.

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