The umpiring in Major League Baseball has become absolutely atrocious. It has gotten to the point where I now find it disturbing. One of the latest examples came from San Francisco last Saturday. Giants player Marco Scutaro was on his way to third base and clearly dodged a tag attempt by Colorado’s Nolan Arenado. However, umpire Alfonso Marquez ruled him out and manager Bruce Bochy was ejected for arguing the call, perhaps after his third base coach, Tim Flannery emphatically argued with Marquez first. This was not Marquez’s first mistake of the game. Giants infielder Brandon Belt was called out after he clearly slid under a tag at home plate from Yorvit Torrealba in the 7th inning.
In the end, both of these calls went unnoticed because Angel Pagan won the game in the 10th inning with an inside the park walk off home run. Exciting as that was, it should not be an excuse for this to be swept under the rug. I am not a fan of the Giants nor the Rockies so my opinion on this has no bias whatsoever. I didn’t watch this going “NO,NO,NOOO” like some announcer from Chicago did on a completely different play. I think his name is Hawk, I’m not sure. (sarcasm) Nevertheless, how much more of this will Selig and crew put up with? What will it take for MLB to say “we are going to take action right now”? If they say “we will look into it after the season,” I’m going to snap. Waiting to do things later instead of now is what our politicians do. I don’t want to hear that from a sports league since they, unlike Congress, are actually capable of getting done what needs to be done.
Remember Angel Hernandez? Yeah, let’s revisit that for a second. Former manager and current MLB Vice President of Player Operations Joe Torre, “trusted” Hernandez’s opinion on the home run call that he blew in Cleveland a few weeks ago. First of all, if you have trust in Hernandez’s decision making, then you would also probably feel safe in a car driven by Justin Bieber. According to Torre, Hernandez said that “there was not clear and convincing evidence to overturn the call”. I watched video feeds of the home run from both teams’ TV broadcasts and it was very clear on both so Hernandez perhaps needs to have his driver’s license revoked because he can’t see crap. You’re telling me when both teams had clear cut video of the play you couldn’t overturn the call? Ok, Stevie Wonder.
Bottom line is this, we have the technology. We have it. We have it. Here’s my suggestion. Give the managers two challenges, like in football. The manager steps out, makes the sign that he wants a review, and the play gets reviewed. The crew chief goes to a headset by the home dugout. By the time he gets there, the play should already have been reviewed upstairs and a decision is given to the crew chief. He makes the final call and we keep playing ball. Problem solved. Whatever time would normally be lost by a manager going out to argue the call, would equal if not be decreased by a review. I just hope that Major League Baseball takes this seriously this time after a bad, bad start in umpiring in 2013. With ratings and attendance reportedly sagging a little bit, it would behoove the League to be upfront with the fans. We need to know that something will be done. Sure it might take more of the human element out of it, but the key is to get it right. Am I wrong?