Goat of The Week: Umpires

As the resident villain of SDI, I will have a new series where I feature a guy who receives the lion share of grief for the week whether it be a Ranger or their opponent.

Choosing the topic for this weekly article was the easiest decision I made this week. I had planned on writing about umpires after the Bryce Harper/John Hirschbeck incident, but then the baseball gods decided to open the gates of Hades and thrust other frustrations on the fans.  
There was also the David Price/Tom Hallion brush-up. Of course, everyone knows about the Angel Hernandez “grainy footage” replay snafu. Finally, there were the four umpires who simply forgot the rules in the Astros/Angels game.

Human element.

The old timers and “purists” say it is an essential part of the game. I don’t know if we will ever get to the point of “robot umps,” but this idea of embracing the human element, making it your god and paying homage to it every night is getting old. I blame Selig and the purists for helping foster this arrogance in the umpires to the point where they feel as if people are there to see them. On Twitter, tweeps reference this as “ump show”, which is what we had in the case of the Harper and Price incidents. The fans pay good money to see the best players in the world, not some guy in black having a superiority complex.

The other two incidents deal in the art of incompetence. Everyone at Progressive Field in Cleveland knew Rosales’ hit was a homerun, except for the three umpires that went in to watch the replay. Since this incident, I have often wondered what they were doing in the replay room because it couldn’t have been watching the actual replay. Joe Torre says they had the same replays in HD quality as the rest of us, yet somehow missed the ball hitting the fence at least a foot above the yellow line like we viewers clearly saw.

I’ve come up with a list of possible answers for what they were doing:

  1. Bathroom break

  2. Measuring contest

  3. Calling their respective mothers to get a jump on Mother’s Day

  4. Paying bills

  5. Catching up on NBA playoff action

  6. Staring contest

I encourage each of you to come up with your own ideas and mail your congressman.

In the case of the Astros/Angels game, how do you forget the rules? Really? I honestly don’t know which incident is worse: The blown home run call or simply forgetting the rules. With regards to the latter, the umpires convened on the issue not once, but TWICE. Simply no excuse.

Embrace the human element all you want, but I’m ready to step into the 21st century and use the technology available. The other major sports have embraced the use of replay on a grander scale. It’s time for the umpires to know their place and realize they are replaceable. ¡Viva la Revolución!

Eddie Middlebrook is the co-host of “Chin Music” and VP of Media for ShutDowninning. He can be reached at Edd
Eddie Middlebrook
Eddie Middlebrook is Senior Writer for @ballparkbanter9 and @shutdowninning. Formerly with @wfaasports and @FoxSportsSW. @IBWAA member. Eddie can be found on Twitter @emiddlebrook.

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