Apr. 11, 2012; Flushing, NY, USA; New York Mets left fielder Jason Bay (44) argues with umpire Scott Barry (87) after being called out on strikes during the sixth inning against the Washington Nationals at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE

…And What’s the Deal With the Umpiring Around Here?!


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.

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Tags: Accountability Featured Jason Bay Major League Baseball Popular Umpires

  • AJ1209

    The umpires ARE in charge….. and if MLB has a problem with that……. well its THEIR rule book.
     
    Oh I know. We can have a discussion after every play that lets coaches from each team supply evidence for the outcome of the play. Or while we are at it, just take the umpires off the field. 
    Strike zone issues are and always have been a part of baseball. 
     
    “But he wasn’t even given the chance. “….
    Maybe if he hadn’t missed the first two strikes then he would have been on base….
     

  • HokieUmp

    Sam, you are indeed a storyteller.  Telling a tale as old as the game itself – ballplayers are whiny b—-es.  And often, so are their fans.
     
    Dude, seriously, strap the gear on, get behind a plate and make some calls in a game that counts for something.  And listen to know-nothings like you yelling from the seats.  Then come back and let us all know how awesome you are, and how easy it is.  Maybe even easier than selling a movie script.

  • Sam Maxwell

     @HokieUmp I never said it was easy. This isn’t swimming where their are sensors at the end of the race telling us who touched the wall first (I don’t think the strike zone needs sensors.) But just like every profession, there are good umpires and bad umpires. I’ve watched plenty of games where I said to myself, “The umpiring here is stellar.” Yes, I didn’t write a piece about how awesome the umpire was, so, I take responsibility for perpetuating the idea that we only write something when we have something to complain about (which isn’t completely true but does seem to be the nature of this media beast, especially with the Mets.) This no-nothing has a right to yell what I think when a ball is a foot off the plate just as you have a right as a human being to tell me when you think I’m not good at my job, regardless of whether either of us has been in the position of the thing we are complaining about.

  • Sam Maxwell

     @AJ1209 Good point. I do hold Jason Bay accountable for the breaking pitches he keeps swinging through and the overly-patient approach he has taken early in the count during his slump. And no, it would not be a good idea to have a discussion every time there is a questionable call. And the strike zone issue has been magnified with the unbelievable angles and shots television has gotten.

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