World Series Off-Day: What's Going on With the Umpires?
With the World Series tied 1-1 and both teams off today for travel, Yahoo!'s Jeff Passan talks about the elephant in the room: some horrid umpiring this postseason:
It’s laughable at this point. It really is. It’s confounding to see players and managers and executives pooh-pooh the idea of instant replay when MLB is approaching a dozen missed calls in its most important month of the season. And it’s horrifying to see games turn not on the actions of players but of the men charged with enforcing the rules. And it’s sad that only an epic World Series will save this month from being remembered for the dodgy eyesight of middle-aged men.
Passan's right, it is laughable. He quotes a few players and managers, who first talk about how devastating a missed call is, then follow up by insisting that instant replay is a bad idea.
Seriously, though, it's to be expected in baseball. How long did it take "baseball men" to realize that RBIs are contingent on having players who can get on base, making on-base percentage the more valuable statistic? How many still think RBIs are more important?
Passan lists some of the blunders:
Well, there was the non-call on a pitch that hit Brandon Inge’s jersey with the bases loaded and the scored tied in a one-game playoff. And Joe Mauer’s would-be double that landed about a foot inside the line but was called foul. Plus that time Jorge Posada and Robinson Cano were both tagged off the base during the ALCS but only Posada was called out. Oh, and when Nick Swisher was thrown out and called safe, then left on time during a sacrifice fly and was called out – that was Doublemint fun. Can’t forget Ronnie Belliard clearly being tagged out and ruled safe. And two poor calls at first base against Boston in the ALDS. To come full circle, Utley fouled a ball off himself (dead ball), ran it out and got beaten by the throw to first anyway (out) and was declared safe.
Another thing to consider: what kind of shape are umpires in? I would argue you see more, um, husky baseball umpires than you do referees in basketball, football or hockey. Does being out of shape make it harder to get in position? I would argue yes.