Posted in Baseball, Uncategorized

Baseball needs to address its umpire problem

It’s been clear for quite a while that the state of umpiring in Major League Baseball is not especially good. Most of the focus on fixing the problem has fallen expanding the use of instant replay, under the theory that cameras can’t miss seeing plays like the human eye can.

Wednesday night, Angel Hernandez proved that instant replay is not the panacea its proponents want it to be.

Oakland Athletics infielder Adam Rosales hit a game-tying home run – or at least he would have, if Hernandez had seen that the ball bounced off of a railing above the home run line on the outfield wall. Instead, he was credited with a double.

And to be fair, Rosales stopped at second base and it’s not hard to imagine an umpire being uncertain about where exactly the ball hit. That’s why have replay, so that the umpires have the technology they need to get those important calls correct.

Hernandez and two other members of his crew went off to look at the available video for several minutes. And they still got the call wrong.

MLB executive vice president Joe Torre, whose job seems less relevant than the Maytag repairman’s, agreed that Hernandez botched the call but basically told the Athletics “tough luck.”

If Hernandez is facing any consequences, I haven’t heard about them.

Peter Gammons went so far as to suggest that Hernandez made the wrong call on purpose as a protest against the use of instant replay.

Now there’s a impression – right or wrong – that Major League Baseball needs to address.

But Hernandez isn’t the only umpire who made the news this week.

Last night, Fieldin CulbrethBrian O’Nora, Bill Welke and Adrian Johnson demonstrated complete ignorance of Rule 3.05 (b).

If the pitcher is replaced, the substitute pitcher shall pitch to the batter then at bat, or any substitute batter, until such batter is put out or reaches first base, or until the offensive team is put out, unless the substitute pitcher sustains injury or illness which, in the umpire-in-chief’s judgment, incapacitates him for further play as a pitcher.

Culbreth and company allowed Houston manager Bo Porter to pull Wesley Wright before he faced a batter after Angels manager Mike Scioscia put up a pinch hitter.

At least this time, Major League Baseball did something to address the problem: Culbreth was suspended for two games and all four umpires were fined.

But it’s time to do more – Major League Baseball needs to do everything in its power to make sure that players and fans have no reason to doubt the men who are enforcing the game’s rules.


6 thoughts on “Baseball needs to address its umpire problem

  1. Umpires are human beings… I get it. They’ll make mistakes from time to time. Every human does. But my issue with the Hernandez call is that he screwed up twice. The majority of fans understood his original ruling. Even I (an A’s fan) thought it was a double at first glance. But after the replay… 98% of people who have seen it said it was a home run. And that’s where I have a problem. MLB either needs to get rid of instant replay and go back to “human err” is part of the game. Or they need to keep up with the times and utilize today’s technology. But what happened on Wednesday night is inexcusable.

    As for the Culbreth fiasco… I’m still in disbelief that an umpire doesn’t have this rule memorized. Worst case scenario… the other three guys should have stepped in to say something.


  2. I wouldn’t let Angel Hernandez call a pee wee league game. He’s a disgrace.

    Maybe MLB should look into having a system like the NFL does. Maybe a managers’s challenge or have another official in the booth that can order the umps on the field to review a call.

    A WWF referee would be better than Angel Hernandez.


    1. Until there’s a way to make sure that the umpires are not missing calls through ignorance, willfullness or bad judgement, replay doesn’t matter. Hernandez missed the call with his eyes, and he still got it wrong with a clear replay. He’s just a bad umpire, but no one wants to upset the apple cart to do anything about it.


  3. Reblogged this on perryduvallblog and commented:
    Is Angel Hernandez anything less than a cheater? Does major League Baseball care about their fans? Is Joe Torre concerned about lack of professionalism displayed by their umpires? Calls are allowed to stand regardless of replay because of the fact umpires seem to be bigger than the game. Angel Hernandez has a history, albeit mostly negative. As long as their is so much money in professional sports things will remain the same. Unions too often protect those that shouldn’t be. I would gladly support this fact in the face of the UAW with many personal recollections I have noted over many years working in automotive plants throughout the country and worldwide as well. I watched Ryan Getzlaff of the Ducks trip Red Wings on four occasions earlier tonight without a penalty and then get called twice within three minutes. There are too many professional players in all sports who appear to be playing under a different set of rules than those other players around them. Joe Torre will do little to change the bad calls. Pro sports will do little to improve their games.


    1. Clearly, you have no understanding of what a Union’s job is. Blaming Unions for poor officiating is like blaming defense attorneys for alleged criminals being acquitted. And what’s the answer, then, no defense attorneys for anyone? Yes, let’s have a system where you are automatically guilty because someone says so. No need for trials, no need to put prosecutors to their burden. Guilty! Because I say so. A Union’s job is to vigorously defend ALL their members (and, in so-called “right-to-work” states, they are legally obligated to defend all the non-members, too–which is why “right-to-work” is a farce; scabs get all the benefits and none of the cost), innocent or guilty. To argue they should pick and choose which members are worthy of defense is pretty dang well un-American. It’s no coincidence that the decline of the middle class in this country parallels PRECISELY the decline of Unions. And, fwiw, the umpires association is pretty weak tea, as Unions go.


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