Man, It Sucks To Be An Umpire

A very quick post about umpires:

It must suck to be one.

There are many reasons why, including the awful uniforms, but here are the biggest:

– If you do a great job, nobody every knows who you are.

– You only gain notoriety by screwing up: see Joyce, Jim (for the perfect game screw up), Cuzzi, Phil (for poor calls in the playoffs a few years ago), or West, Joe (for ejecting players and managers from games seemingly at random).

– Making a call that you believe is right might put you in danger (see Upton, B.J. from yesterday’s game).

– There is no year-end public recognition. A quick Google search for “Umpire of the Year” return only references to cricket.

But the biggest reason of all has to do with this screen capture:

I have never had the chance to call balls and strikes, so I can’t say with 100% accuracy, but I would bet that it is hard. Trying to determine if an 89 mile-per-hour curve ball or a 98 MPH fast ball crossed the plate between the knees and chest in less than half a second sounds tough.

But now viewers can tell for certain when an ump

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made a mistake. In that screen capture, the first pitch was clearly off the plate but called a strike. Pitch two was over the plate, closer than the first pitch, yet called a ball. Upsetting for Jays fans to be sure, but downright infuriating for pitcher Kyle Drabek who got the bad call and later gave up a sac fly.

So next time an ump makes a bad call remember one thing before you boo him:

He has a tough job.

Then boo him.

5 thoughts on “Man, It Sucks To Be An Umpire”

  1. This goes along with my comments to you a few weeks ago – we need to go to an automated Umpire system. This eliminates variables, and provides an objective calling system that is consistent from night to night, and stadium to stadium. The technology is now there; it is now used to measure the accuracy, and govern the performance of the umpires. In today’s day and age of video replay, baseball should evolve along with its professional sports peers, and do away with human error.

  2. Oh Al Trendy. I agree with you – if the technology is there why not use it? At the same time, there’s just something about having an umpire there that will never get old. Even when they’re wrong half the time…

  3. I disagree whole-heartedly, Mr. Trendos!
    Missed calls always have and always will be a part of the game. It adds a human element which I think is part of the spice of baseball. Music has been ruined by letting computers call the shots. Sure, musical pitch is now ‘accurate’, but it sounds idiotic. Don’t let baseball pitch have the same sad fate as musical pitch! Do to my passion for umpires, I have starting filming for a new reality TV series I am producing. It follows around minor league umpires as they strive for the big leagues. It is called ‘Brushing off The Plate: It takes a lot of Balls to call Strikes.’ Enjoy.

  4. Umpires absolutely should be replaced with robots. This isn’t music we are talking about its a game of skill that requires accurate calls. How would you like to play Monopoly with bank notes randomly scattered in the wrong denominations? Maybe you’ll pay different amounts for landing on the same property, hey chaos is fun right? Wrong, not in a game… in music sure why not a little spice… anyhow, everytime this discussion comes up watch the insectoid pundits creep out from the dark crevices and start their human error is fun meme… its a lot of crap… hey is it fun when The Pentagon loses a trillion dollars and can’t figure out where it went? Is it fun when Banks lose out on their investments and require bailouts? Would it be fun if the President hit the Red button over a misunderstanding? The only way I would allow an umpire’s judgement to decide the outcome of a game would be if he wore a bomb collar which could be detonated by a panel of 6 observers with access to replay and pitch locations. That might be quite entertaining. Anyhow, please join my Facebook Page: REplace Umpires with Robots located here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Replace-Major-League-Umpires-with-Robots/390534177654170

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