In Wednesday’s loss to the Nationals, Jason Bay stood in against Stephen Strasburg with Lucas Duda on second and Ike Davis on first. As we all are well aware, Jason Bay has been completely absent in his two years since signing on with the Mets. A hit right here to tie the game against one of the best pitchers in the majors would be a big confidence boost, and maybe get Bay rolling in the right direction.
But he wasn’t even given the chance. Larry Vanover’s called strike three would have, to exaggerate, hit a left-handed batter in the knee, and Jason Bay informed him of his mistake. Bay, through all the rough times, is the utmost professional, never once making excuses for his paltry offense. If Jason Bay says something, you know there is a problem.
This isn’t even my Mets bias. Larry Vanover was missing calls or making the wrong ones all day long on each side of the competition. When Ruben Tejada was up in the first inning, he called a Strasburg fastball a ball when the entire baseball was on the lower-outside corner of the plate. The second the player complains, the umpire starts mouthing off right back, warning the player he could be ejected. The players are held accountable, the coaches are held accountable. It’s time the umpires were held to the same standards.
I am clearly not the first writer on the internet to say this. When I type in “acountibility of major league umpires” into Google, instead of finding Major League Policy on Umpire Accountability, I find pages upon pages of articles such as this one. When I type in “Major League Policy on Umpire Accountability” I find the exact same articles. The MLB has to figure out a way to filter out the bad seeds because as far as I’m concerned, the issue gets worse and worse every year.
I understand replay involves slowing the game down even more so, but other sports have an upstairs booth. Why couldn’t baseball have a fifth umpire to curb the mistakes being made? I’m not saying every little call needs to be in dispute, but aren’t umpires proud? Wouldn’t having a fifth umpire in an upstairs booth make them better at their job?
All of that is probably a labor issue and couldn’t be dealt with until the next bargaining agreement, which won’t be for years now since one has just been agreed upon this past winter. The umpires, however, need to stop acting like their in charge. As far as I’m concerned, they are just another layer to the game.