If you have read any of my previous blogs on the subject of MLB umpires and instant replay you know I’m against the first and for the latter. Just when I think my distain for umpires couldn’t get any higher, umpire Laz Diaz’s child-like treatment of Russell Martin proved me wrong.
An Umpire’s Arrogance
New York Yankee All-Star catcher Russell Martin ripped home plate umpire Laz Diaz following Wednesday night’s game. ”He told me I had to earn the privilege (to throw the ball back to the pitcher),” said Martin, a three-time All-Star. “Even at the end of the game after I get hit in the neck. I’m like; can I throw the ball back now? He’s still like no. I’m like you’re such a (expletive). Like for real. Unbelievable. I even told him like when there’s guys on base, I like to keep my arm loose. No. I’m not letting you throw a ball back. That’s pretty strange to me.” Incompetent umpiring is nothing new. However, it’s usually limited to calls on the field. I’ve never heard of a catcher being told he has to “earn the privilege” to throw the ball back to his pitcher. That’s just arrogant and vindictive. Catchers carry on conversations with the home plate umpire all the time. Most of the time, fans aren’t aware that it’s happening. Now that Martin has made this public it will be interesting to see what happens the next time Diaz has a Yankee game and is behind the plate. An umpire doesn’t have the right to determine who throws the ball back to the pitcher. That is the catcher’s prerogative. Diaz should have some disciplinary action taken against him, but that won’t happen. Now for my latest installment to try and get MLB to significantly expand instant replay. Here is a new candidate for the “worst call ever”.
Worst Call Ever
The “worst call ever” is a term that’s you hear almost daily. I would hate to have to pick the worst, because there are so many. The newest candidate is a gem is given to us by umpire Tim Welke. Somehow, Welke decided that Colorado’s Todd Helton was close enough to first base and that Los Angeles’ Jerry Hairston was out. Maybe we can now add the phantom first base tag to the traditional second base (neighborhood play) tag at the beginning of a double play.
Fortunately for the Dodgers this was a postseason game. They lost this game 8-5, but we will never know if the outcome would have been different if Hairston was called safe. The Dodgers would have had runners on first and second with two outs.
You have to wonder what is going on in an umps head when they miss a call so badly. Sadly, this type of performance has become a daily occurrence. I was watching the Yankee/Tiger game last night where the first base ump called a Tiger safe at first when instant replay showed us in a matter of seconds that he blew the call.
Please Expand Replay!
Expanded instant replay would have two immediate benefits; 1) eliminate incorrect calls on close plays, 2) shorten the game. How much time is wasted while we watch a manager argue blown calls? The answer is minutes compared to seconds with replay and in today’s world the blown call doesn’t get corrected.
I don’t understand why the umpires oppose instant replay. The fans are seeing the plays replayed in seconds. All this does is making the fans dislike the umpires even more.
Umpires are ruining the game. A strike to one umpire is a ball to another. An infielder doesn’t have to touch second base at the beginning of a double play as long as he is close. It’s okay for an umpire to “show-up” a player. For example, some of the over-the-top displays of some umpires when calling a third strike. Is that really necessary? Those guys need to remember that the game isn’t all about them.
Hopefully these errors are going on their permanent records, but in the long run, nothing will be done to eliminate the problem.