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Injuries may help explain awful postseason umpiring

Oct 16, 2009, 3:22 PM EDT’s Tracy Ringolsby offers a potential explanation for why the postseason umpiring has been so abysmal:

The quality of the umpiring has taken a hit because at least a dozen umpires, including seven crew chiefs, were left out of postseason assignments this year due to injuries.

Sidelined umpires include crew chiefs John Hirschbeck (testicular cancer), Charlie Reliford (back), Jerry Crawford (back), Tim Welke (concussion), Ed Montague (concussion and neck), Gary Darling (ankle and foot) and Rick Reed (stroke).

Other umpires who are sidelined by injuries include Kerwin Danley (concussion), Alfonso Marquez (back), Brian Runge (details unknown), Bill Hohn (back) and Ed Hickok (concussion). Several of them did return from the injuries in September, but given their limited time on the field this year they were not included in the list of postseason candidates.

Ringolsby compares it to the Yankees being “without Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, Mariano Rivera and a couple other regulars.” While that may be a stretch, the fact that eight of the 19 umpires with 20-plus years of experience were unavailable for the postseason does help explain some of the odd assignments and less-than-stellar performances. MLB also has workload restrictions that have further limited the pool.
Of course, there’s a big difference between assigning lesser umpires to playoff games and watching as those lesser umpires perform horribly while flat-out blowing obvious calls. In theory even MLB’s non-elite umpires should be capable of doing their job at an acceptable level, so regardless of injuries and workload restrictions Bud Selig and company still need to address the issues that we’ve seen so far.

  1. sirsean - Oct 16, 2009 at 8:31 PM

    That’s a lot of concussions, no?
    Did they all happen in the final week of the season, or were they working through these for part of the regular season?
    (Either one would be pretty bad.)

  2. opalboy - Oct 17, 2009 at 9:17 AM

    These bad umps are affecting too many games.

  3. Ben - Oct 18, 2009 at 12:00 PM

    How do umpires sustain concussions? Do they have collisions with their bad calls??
    The players are not permitted to even glare at them, calling their attention to their mistakes is cause for suspensions and fines.
    If the umps are really as bad as they show themselves to be, then fire them and get umps who will stay awake and concentrate on the job they are getting paid for.

  4. Rich - Oct 18, 2009 at 5:03 PM

    Ben, umpires sustain concussions when they are hit by foul balls and errant pitches behind the plate.

  5. online stock trading - Feb 16, 2010 at 6:47 PM

    Your site was extremely interesting, especially since I was searching for thoughts on this subject last Thursday.

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