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So it begins

August 8, 2009

I generally have avoided criticizing umpires too much. They have a tough job, and it’s impossible to get everything right. But sometimes they make it too easy!

Take Eric Cooper, please. Last night, in a Braves-Dodgers game, Cooper called a 3-1 pitch on Andre Ethier a strike. It was close, could have gone either way. Rafael Furcal, at first base, was running on the play; he was thrown out. Except that Cooper then changed his mind and said that the pitch was a ball, and let the batter walk to first, and meant that Furcal was safe. Bobby Cox, being Bobby Cox, got thrown out of the game by Cooper for arguing. After a three-run homer set up by the play, Braves pitcher Jair Jurrjens was removed from the game, but then got himself ejected by Cooper, too.

I don’t want this to be just about the Braves; I have a site for that. I want this to be a clearinghouse for all examples of bad umpiring. By this I don’t mean mistakes; mistakes happen. I mean: umpires who make themselves the center of attention by baiting players and managers; umpires who think that they’re the reason people come to the games; umpires who make obvious mistakes but refuse to ever acknowledge that they’ve done wrong; umpires who by truly egregious calls change the outcome of the game; umpires whose strike zones resemble models of fifth-dimensional space.

Oh, and umpires who change their minds about what a strike is after already calling the pitch, because, come on. Co-authors wanted.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Joe Magennis permalink
    August 9, 2009 1:11 pm

    I also rarely criticize umpires & even applaud when things such as proper positioning and rotations are pointed out on broadcasts … But it seems that recently the Braves have been on the receiving end of terrible umpiring decisions.

    It’s to the point where I’ve openly wondered what they have done to irk the umpires.

    I cam remember back to back games recently when McCann was called out on strikes on pitches well off the plate. One game included the Ump (can’t remember his name) baiting the bench looking to throw someone out, which eventually was Bobby.

    Point is I guess .. For some reason it’s been a noticeable issue of late.

  2. Ghost permalink
    August 9, 2009 4:30 pm

    Sometimes I don’t mind an ump changing a call, and Cooper’s change would be one such instance. If he thought his first call was the right one, and he could change it without messing up the play (as he could here), then change it.

    Consider what umps do on home run calls, since they now have video review available. They can review it and make a call right, which is preferable to sticking with a wrong call — isn’t it??

  3. Ghost permalink
    August 9, 2009 4:31 pm

    I meant “if he thought his first call was the WRONG one”

  4. Steve permalink
    August 10, 2009 11:55 am

    Wow, I can’t believe none of the first entries are about Bill Hohn. I’m not a Braves fan, and noticed Hohn’s horribleness a while ago….and he’s consistently horrible and seems to revel in affecting the outcome of games.

    Last week, he called a 3-0 pitch that was clearly a ball a strike against Joe Thurston; Thurston always hustles and runs to first on walks, he was 1/2 way to first when Hohn decided to call it a strike. He then stared Thurston down his entire walk back to the plate. The proper call would have loaded the bases with one out; instead Thurston struck out.

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