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Umpires get another call wrong, Yankees still on top

Oct 7, 2010, 8:29 PM EDT

In what should come as a surprise to no one, the umpires have become the story here in the first few games of the 2010 postseason. The umps blew a call in the ninth inning of Wednesday night's ALDS Game 1 between the Yankees and Twins...

In what should come as a surprise to no one, baseball’s umpires have become the story here in the first few games of the 2010 postseason. 

The umps blew a call in the ninth inning of Wednesday night’s ALDS Game 1 between the Yankees and Twins, ruling a perfectly good catch by Yanks outfielder Greg Golson a “trap.”  Then a blown check-swing call in this afternoon’s ALDS Game 2 between the Rangers and Rays led to a Michael Young three-run homer.  Young should have been out, but was given another hack and changed the outcome of the game with a towering shot to center field.

Now the boys in blue are playing a factor in tonight’s ALDS Game 2 in Minnesota.  Yankees designated hitter Lance Berkman should have been called out in the seventh inning on a Carl Pavano pitch that hugged the inside corner of the strike zone, but home plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt called the pitch a ball and Berkman launched a run-scoring double moments later.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire argued Wendelstedt’s mistake while making a visit to the mound and was quickly thrown out.  The Twins trail the Yanks 4-2 as this Game 2 tilt heads to the final few frames.

A replay system for ball and strike calls won’t work, and should never be implemented, but it’s past time to explore an expanded strategy for other on-field calls.  This
isn’t about trashing the umps — they do the best they can.  This is about getting the calls correct.

  1. andrewlw - Oct 7, 2010 at 8:34 PM

    Better yet give every ump an eyepatch!

  2. Church of the Perpetually Outraged - Oct 7, 2010 at 8:41 PM

    Yes, and the second pitch, called a strike, was well inside. So he gave one and took one away. Result was the same. But that takes away from the “narrative” so forgive me

  3. Church of the Perpetually Outraged - Oct 7, 2010 at 8:44 PM

    Hmm, seems like Pavano was getting a ton of pitches called well inside for strikes, at least 10 by my count. And he wasn’t getting the outside pitches (at least 5 balls should have been strikes).

  4. Attymatt - Oct 7, 2010 at 8:45 PM

    How about instead of assuming the umps do the best job they can we stop pretending they are Special Olympians and get some qualified umps. People wouldn’t be whining about instant replay so much if the umps actually got “99 out of 100 calls right” like they always say. Their missing caught fly balls and strikes down the middle now.
    Get these guys jobs as Walmart greeters and get some real umpires in the league. That’s when we should start talking about instant replay.

  5. Zidane Valor - Oct 7, 2010 at 8:46 PM

    There is actually a stat in this game that Pavano got 17 “benefit of the doubt” calls, and Pettitte got 6-7 calls.

  6. froggy - Oct 7, 2010 at 8:50 PM

    There have only been five games played and three have had abysmal calls at critical times.
    Time to do something.

  7. Zidane Valor - Oct 7, 2010 at 8:52 PM

    TBS just showed that “Strike 1” of that at bat was roughly 12-15 inches off the plate.

  8. Mrsteve - Oct 7, 2010 at 9:10 PM

    what the fuck are you talking about idiot

  9. Preston - Oct 7, 2010 at 9:16 PM

    There’s no way that there’s going to be instant replay for balls and strikes in the foreseeable future, so it’s really just grandstanding to try to use a missed strike call as evidence that there should be instant replay. And I say that as someone who would like to see replay expanded.

  10. Giant Space Ants - Oct 7, 2010 at 9:24 PM

    Not sure how the Young call changed the outcome of the game…it was 2-0 then, it finished 6-0. Now, if you’re arguing it changed the score of the game, well sure. But the outcome?

  11. egypt4 - Oct 7, 2010 at 9:26 PM

    Boo Hoo twins. As always, there’s next year.

  12. minnesconsin_ad - Oct 7, 2010 at 9:29 PM

    let me be the first Twins fans to speak up and say they didn’t need the ump’s help losing this game, they had that one perfectly under control. The Yankees, evil though they may be, are just a flat out much better team than the twins, top to bottom. Better pitching, better coaching, just BETTER. hope the rangers can catch fire and make things interesting.

  13. RickyB - Oct 7, 2010 at 10:22 PM

    You got it backwards. He was getting pitches called off the plate away, but nothing on the inside corner. The ump was consistently calling pitches that way all game. All players ask for an umpire to just be consistent, and Wendelstedt was just that. As you pointed out, however, the first strike was well off the plate, so the non-strike call on the fourth pitch simply evened out the at-bat.

  14. frugal - Oct 7, 2010 at 10:50 PM

    attymatt hit it on the head. A huge percentage of the calls that are missed are simply because the umpires fail to get into proper position. It’s not that the job is as hard as they make it look. There is no way, especially with six umpires, that the Golson catch should have been missed. The whole point of having the extra guys down the line is to help in just this situation. I have no idea how the RF umpire could not have been in position to make that call properly.
    I’ve done some umpiring in the past and the first thing we had to learn were proper positions to be in and the proper angles from which to approach each kind of call. I constantly see these ‘professionals’ being out of position and making horrible calls as a result. And don’t get me started on their overall attitude. It’s as if they really don’t care a bit about doing a good job or maintaining the integrity of the game. They are much more concerned with showing everyone who is boss. I could actually accept that kind of attitude if they were hustling and getting into position on most every call, but they just antagonize both the players and fans by approaching the game the way they do.
    I am not in favor of replay because it is not necessary and I have heard way too many ideas on how it ‘should’ work. There is no agreement and any plan implemented will only leave more questions and continued disagreement. I can’t really understand the clamor for replay having seen both how it hasn’t necessarily helped football all that much and how even after 5 replays from 3 different angles on some plays, there is still a question. The game just needs to get a team of umpires who are committed to making good calls from proper position and the debate about replay will be all but moot.

  15. Time for replay - Oct 8, 2010 at 2:39 AM

    Please look at the strike zone plot from this game – absolutely absurd that everyone is complaining about that pitch to Berkman, which was on the inside corner, when the first “strike” was in the opposite batter’s box. Look at all the red squares well off the plate that were 6 inches to a foot outside (to the left on the chart). Look at all the green triangles in the exact location. When you look at blown calls within the zone, it’s pretty even, however. Just a terrible zone for the entire game, to single one questionable call out is absurd.

  16. Lincoln - Oct 8, 2010 at 7:29 AM

    “Special Olympians?”
    Nice. If you’re going to try to come up with a witty insult, try to make it make sense. “Stop pretending they are Special Olympians and get some qualified umps” just doesn’t make sense, son. Why would we be pretending the umps are mentally disabled? And since you think your idea is so smart, tell me, douchebag, where would you get these “qualified umps”? Maybe from the Minor Leagues? Well, knucklehead, they’re called the Minors for a reason. Maybe just some guy off the street? That’s a winner idea.
    And just one last thing: It’s “they’re,” not “their.” I normally don’t point this out but I found it ironic that you were making fun of Special Olympians and you can’t get enough of your own shit into one basket to not make this mistake.
    Looking at the graphs, it looked like the ump did a good job in terms of consistency. He just flat wasn’t calling anything inside all night, but he was giving the outside strike. I would say “especially to Pavano,” but it looks like Pettite just wasn’t going outside as much.
    I don’t like Pavano, but I’ll give him credit for figuring out the outside pitch was going to get called and then just hammering that location.

  17. rrrii - Oct 8, 2010 at 8:27 AM

    craig – why can’t we use technology to call balls and stikes? why not use exactly the technology that brooksbaseball, or tbs/ fox/ etc. show as the zone? why can’t the umpire just look at a screen, see where the pitch went, and call it? you don’t need ‘replay’ for balls and strikes….you have what you need to just call them in real time and achieve *consistency*, which i think is all the players and managers really ask for. i mean, it’s hard to argue with a machine, you know?

  18. birdmancometh - Oct 8, 2010 at 8:50 AM

    He’s talking about the first pitch in the at bat. I thought the meaning of the comment was pretty clear.

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