Help umpires be better

on July 2016 | in Sports | by Dario Passarelli | @PapaDart | with 3 Comments

With hockey and basketball out of the way, the Euro’s coming to an end and baseball heading into the all-star break it is time for another rant by @PapaDart. Take a look at this video and explain to me why on earth an umpire would make a call like this.

Why even bother having a common sense argument with this umpire when there was no common sense whatsoever involved in his ruling. I don’t want to pick on umpire Vic Carapazza but those in the GTA are all too familiar with his incompetence as we have seen it a few times before. I am not saying he is always terrible or that he is the only one, but come on MLB, why has nothing been said or done about this? I am not even looking for a form of punishment, I just want to know what you are going to do MLB to help one of your employees be a better umpire? In any office, organization and even in any family, there has to be accountability. Does it seem right then that as far as I can tell up until 2013 only 3 umpires have ever been suspended despite the mistakes we see on a regular basis? Bob Davidson was suspended for one game for “repeated violations of MLB’s standards for situation handling” whatever that means. Joe West was suspended for 3 days when he shoved an irate Joe Torre (manager of the Yankees at the time) who followed him into the umpire’s room after a game. Fieldin Culbreth was suspended for 2 games for making an incorrect call. It’s as if Culbreth was the only umpire to ever get penalized for making a mistake. Even if I missed a suspension here or there, does this seem right? It seems there are this many player suspension each week, let alone in the entire history of baseball!

Now usually matters such as these are handled internally and I can understand why it would be prudent to do so. But in circumstances that affect millionaire players and billionaire teams, you would think they would want to publicly ensure there are no improprieties. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Players, coaches and management who have the most to lose can’t even voice any grievances because they will get thrown out, suspended, fined or all of the above. Sorry, that was slightly incorrect. You can’t call an umpire an idiot, but you can play the rest of the game under protest. What that means basically is… well, nothing because how effective can protests be when only a handful of them have ever been successful?

Let’s do some quick arithmetic here, there are 30 teams in baseball and they each play 162 games which means there are a total of 2430 games played in a year not including the post season. That means that since 1998 (when the league had 30 teams) 41,310 regular season games have been played. (Of course I looked the number up, you think I am smart enough to actually do the math on my own???) During that time there have been zero, zilch, nada, not one single protest upheld. The last time a protest was upheld was back in 1986 when the Pittsburgh Pirates complained that the umpire prematurely called a game due to rain. Another more familiar protest that was won was three years earlier on the infamous ‘Pine Tar’ incident involving Hall of Famer George Brett. In total there have been about 15 or so upheld protests in MLB in what has to be well over 100,000 games. Trust me when I say that the protest system is broken.

With modern technology being the way it is, I am finding it really hard to understand why officiating is still as awful as it is. I am not just picking on Carapazza or just baseball, but in all sports. Don’t get me wrong, being a referee or an umpire is one of the most difficult and thankless jobs there is and they are rarely ever praised for good work. This is not on them, this is on the league that makes billions and billions of dollars to spend some of their money helping their officials perform better for EVERYONE’S benefit. End of rant… enjoy your weekend everyone!

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3 Responses to Help umpires be better

  1. Alex says:

    It’s the same in every sport, there are no consequences to game officials for bad calls. Refs/Umps aren’t going to get fired or fined. The league has no power against them and the players even less so. MLB and every other league should be the bigger man, do not give into officiating unions next time there’s a CB on the table. UMPS/REFS need to be held accountable for their actions. Players get fined, so should umpires and referees – there should be financial compensation!

    If you think Joe West or Vic Carapazza are horrible umps, you haven’t seen an MLS game officiated by mister Baldomero Toledo or Ismail Elfath – you would be throwing money away if you didn’t bet on a 90th minute penalty (of course I suspect they have money on the line).

  2. Dario says:

    I absolutely agree that the MLS officiating has been horrible over the years and this past NBA Playoffs was ridiculous as well. It’s not even just the officiating on the field of play but I can’t believe how many “reviews” still come out with the wrong verdict. I understand that you need enough evidence to overturn a call, but some fan interference calls in MLB have been blatantly obvious and yet the wrong call is still upheld. I just don’t get it.

    Refs/Umpires do need to be protected as some players/coaches can get out of hand in a hurry and we don’t want that either but at the very least they should be held accountable. Oh… and being held accountable does not just mean the league publicly stating a few days later, “The ref made a mistake on that call and that cost you the game but we can’t do anything about it now anyway. Sorry” The Raptors have had enough of those apologies already.

  3. […] Dario says: I absolutely agree that the MLS officiating has been horrible over the years and this past NBA Playo… […]

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