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Adrian Gonzalez is NOT happy with the state of umpiring

May 17, 2012, 10:30 AM EDT

adrian gonzalez ap AP

Adrian Gonzalez was not pleased with Hunter Wendelstedt’s strike zone last night, and vented about the state of umpiring after the game:

“How are you supposed to have a professional at-bat with these umpires nowadays? Gosh. The first pitch in my last at-bat wasn’t even close. You’re up there, trying to have a professional at-bat and look for a pitch to hit and that’s called? So it puts you in swing mode, the guy throws a good split and all of a sudden you’re 0-2. It should have been 1-0 and then he probably doesn’t throw a split. Unbelievable.

“In that at-bat I went up there looking for a fastball middle away. I got a fastball way away. You can’t swing if it’s not a strike. You’re looking for a pitch middle away, and it’s away and you know you can’t swing because it’s off and you’re 0-1.”

MLB doesn’t like it when people criticize the ump, but hey, at least he didn’t throw his helmet or anything.

Gonzalez was then asked if problems with the strike zone are what has led to his lack of power this year:

“No. I’ll start hitting home runs. I’ll hit a homer tomorrow.”

We’re watching, Adrian! Good luck!

  1. Phillies Homer - May 17, 2012 at 10:36 AM

    Maybe it will take all the superstars starting to talk about it for MLB to get a clue and hold umpires more accountable!

    • proudlycanadian - May 17, 2012 at 11:41 AM

      Kind of reminds me of the 5th pitch in Brett Lawrie’s at bat. It was clearly outside and Lawrie justifiably thought that he had drawn a walk. The only person who thought that it was a strike was the umpire who consequently punished Lawrie for “showing him up”.

      • recoveringcubsfan - May 17, 2012 at 12:44 PM

        OK, Canada.

        Adrian Gonzalez: good hitter, not prone to throwing tantrums, not recently the poster boy for embarrassing oneself. Would I listen to his thoughts about umpiring? Yes.

        Brett Lawrie: rookie, don’t know what he’s good at yet; currently the poster boy for embarrassing oneself. Would I listen to his thoughts about umpiring? No.

        If you’re a Lawrie fan, though, apparently everyone is the same and throwing your helmet like a douche is justified as long as you, with all of 80 games in the majors, think you got a lousy call during one AB.

        I’m sure that Lawrie, like Bryce Harper, will grow out of this behavior and start acting like the professional he thinks he is (and Gonzalez, clearly, actually is). Oh wait – Bryce Harper hasn’t actually done anything yet except go out and play hard, and his frustrations have been taken out off the field. He may not be too bright, but at least he didn’t miss any time.

      • proudlycanadian - May 17, 2012 at 12:48 PM

        Obviously you have experience acting like a douche.

      • protius - May 17, 2012 at 7:02 PM


        He may or may not have experience acting like a douche, but clearly, you exhibit the characteristics of a douche.

        His arguments are well reasoned and presented, and all you could manage to do was respond with an ad hominem, personal attack.

        I suggest you respond to his arguments, if you think you have the intellectual ability to do so; otherwise, you should apologize for being abusive, and just agree that Cubsfan’s arguments are valid.

      • proudlycanadian - May 17, 2012 at 7:12 PM

        The use of the word douche is a totally inappropriate use of a a product used by women. It is completely juvenile. I have no respect for individuals who call people a douche. Re-read his comments. They were poorly worded and contained uninformed and totally wrong accusations about a couple of baseball players.

      • cur68 - May 17, 2012 at 10:25 PM

        PC, no one exhibits more douchery than our ‘man’ “protius”. Do not bother with this fool. He exists merely to lower the IQ of any room he enters, any conversation he is a part of. Its like he’s 11 or something. Best thing to do is stay out of any and all exchanges with the idiot like the rest of us do.

      • protius - May 18, 2012 at 1:18 AM


        It looks to me like Cubsfan’s arguments are sound. He gives Gonzalez credit for being emotionally stable and a good judge of the strike zone. Based on what I’ve seen of Gonzalez’s play and his behavior, I must agree with his assessment.

        Cubsfan’s presentation flowed nicely, and although there were a few grammatical errors, they didn’t take anything away from the gist of his arguments. His assessment of Brett Lawrie also has merit.

        Lawrie is a young man and has yet to establish himself in MLB. And I think that anyone who witnessed his antics felt a little uncomfortable. Moreover, I think that one of the veterans on the club probably talked to him after the game and explained to him that rookies are seen and not heard. I’ll ask you for your opinion: Would you put more stock in a veteran’s evaluation of an umpire’s strike zone, or a rookie’s?

        Again, Cubsfan’s presentation flowed nicely. Blah, blah, blah grammatical errors etc.

        His assessment of Bryce Harper is clearly based on major league experience, because Harper also made a foolish mistake by blowing a kiss at a pitcher, which I’m sure he was taken to task over, but Harper’s error took place in the minor leagues.

        Now, he called Lawrie a douche, which we both agree is not acceptable, so he loses points there, but I don’t see the “uninformed and totally wrong accusations” that you’re referring to.

      • protius - May 18, 2012 at 10:38 PM

        Cur, you are unrivaled when it comes to exhibiting despicable behavior.

        Ever since I embarrassed you, or rather you embarrassed yourself, during a discussion; you’ve embarked on a childish vendetta, and have been stalking me from page to page. Now, you’re even trying to recruit others to your cause.

        I feel comfortable with letting the readers look at the placid, well reasoned comments in my two posts and the vile vitriol in yours, then judge for themselves who lowers the IO of the room, and who behaves like an eleven year old.

        I am also comfortable with paraphrasing Mr. Calcaterra: There is nothing classier than making references to feminine hygiene products as a means of questioning a contributor’s worth. Of course if someone as gutless and weak as cur68 ever had Icy Hot on his nethers — let alone had to deal with what women do every month — he’d probably go on the 60-day DL.

        If you have nothing more than ad hominem attack to bring against me, then you have nothing at all. You are what I took you for in the first place, weak, and you humiliate yourself with every attack and every appeal to popularity.

    • larryhockett - May 17, 2012 at 1:01 PM

      Funny, I’ve never heard a guy hitting .330 complaining about the umpiring.

      • giselleisasucubus - May 17, 2012 at 1:36 PM

        jesus cubsfan, pissed much? Are you starting to read about Theo’s free agent pick ups before you post in here?

    • giselleisasucubus - May 17, 2012 at 1:31 PM

      Phillies homer, you are right on. The base umpires do a decent job, but when they get behind the plate, look out. It’s frigin Enrico Pallazzo back there.

    • pjmarn6 - May 17, 2012 at 4:25 PM

      Ever since I was in Little League over 50 years ago, I never figured out the umpires who called balls and strikes. I just figured if I can hit it, hit it and screw the umpires. Everyone is different and has different strike zones and peculiarities.

      Today with all this electronic stuff wizzing around and able to discern millimeters etc, and yea, I know what the purists are going to say, isn’t it time to use science to help/replace the ball and strike umpires? Put in sensors in the black around the edge of the home plate so that a ball will have to pass through the 50 or so beams that shoot up ward so that the ball has to cross the plate? And special patches sewed into the knees and top areas of the uniform of the ball players and from the other side of the field a second electronic gizmo measures that the ball is in the horizontal strike zone? Then the ump has a hand held receiver who buzzes or vibrates when it is a strike and he then can call a pitch 100% accurately?
      Of course it can be done. Horse racing depends 100% on electronics and pictures to determine the winners and how the rest of the field does. The Olympics absolutely depends on electronics. Football has the instant replay and many other sports rely on electronics.
      Baseball turned it back for how many years on steroid use and artificial stimulants? These stimulants were used to jack up players numbers and jack up salaries, ticket prices, and everything else, so now it is time to pay the game back with some concrete umpiring. Bring in the electronics, level the field for the pitcher and player and play ball, removing umpire emotion and inabilities.

  2. aceshigh11 - May 17, 2012 at 10:39 AM

    That’s okay, Adrian.

    Red Sox fans haven’t been happy with the state of your shoulder since the Home Run Derby last year.

    I haven’t seen a power outage this severe since the Northeast blackout of 2003.

    • skids003 - May 17, 2012 at 12:11 PM

      He’s one of the biggest whiners in MLB. Gee, Adrian, with what you’re being paid, the fans can’t afford to go to games anymore. Get a pair and quit whining.

      • recoveringcubsfan - May 17, 2012 at 12:45 PM

        Is Adrian Gonzalez the reason ticket prices are so high? Why didn’t I know about this before?

  3. vallewho - May 17, 2012 at 10:46 AM

    MLB will only act when it $$$ flow starts getting affected. Fans should boycott games where the notoriously BAD umpires are working. I have a mental list of BAD umpires and it really turns my stomach every time a tune in a game and I see certain UMPS working it. I know that ultimately they will impact the game. It’s a shame that MLB keeps not doing anything substantive about the situation. Talk about integrity of the game.

    Imagine mostly empty stadiums? do you thing the owners will finally get the puppet commish to do something? I think so.

    • chadjones27 - May 17, 2012 at 11:21 AM

      That boycott will work in much the same way that boycotting gas stations work. How about a petition? There are already mostly empty stadiums, but it has nothing to do with the umpiring.

      • vallewho - May 17, 2012 at 2:30 PM

        wrong…gas is essential to getting around. most people need it to get through life. Baseball…not so much. MLB, owners, and the commish care about only one thing. $$$$$$. That’s why they turn a blind eye to PEDs.

      • chadjones27 - May 17, 2012 at 3:37 PM

        Boycotting baseball games in which so-called bad umpires are behind the plate would never happen. In theory, yes, it would work. But there’s no way it would ever work in real life.

  4. Chris St. John - May 17, 2012 at 10:47 AM

    Here’s the fastmap for the night (, I believe the pitch Gonzalez is complaining about is the red dot in the upper left hand corner, definitely outside the typical zone umpires call. Sounds like another great pitch framing job by Jose Molina (

    • Utley's Hair - May 17, 2012 at 10:57 AM

      Why do strike zones shift again? The strike zone is the strike zone. It should not shift from umpire to umpire, or game to game, or even at-bat to at-bat.

      • Chris St. John - May 17, 2012 at 11:18 AM

        They shouldn’t shift, in a perfect world. However, umpires are affected by catcher movement and whether or not they call a strike. Hitters are well aware that certain umpires have different strike zones as well and change their game accordingly.

        In fact, strike zones even shift based on the count within a plate appearance. Umpires are more likely to call a borderline pitch a ball if the count is 0-2 and a strike if the count is 3-0. I’m not saying it’s good, it’s just a fact.

      • jdl1325 - May 17, 2012 at 12:11 PM

        Shifts often happen because umpires are fat, out-of-shape, and lazy, which means they cannot get into the correct position to call the game appropriately.

      • basedrum777 - May 17, 2012 at 5:22 PM

        Actually that’s 100% wrong. The strike zone should shift for every player based on their size. A 6’7″ player has a completely different strikezone than one of 5’8″. Middle of the chest to top of knee is not the same on every person..

      • Utley's Hair - May 17, 2012 at 7:22 PM

        Yes. The strike zone varies with height. Read what I said. I specifically omitted player to player. That is why I didn’t say it.

    • schlom - May 17, 2012 at 11:35 AM

      Here’s the pitch plot for the at-bat Gonzalez complained about:

  5. deathmonkey41 - May 17, 2012 at 10:54 AM

    Someone get that man some Kleenex!

    • chadjones27 - May 17, 2012 at 11:24 AM

      He may sound like he’s whining, but, he’s got a legitimate point. Bad calls put a batter in a major disadvantage. This isn’t old man, slow pitch softball where you can hack at anything and get on base.

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - May 17, 2012 at 11:59 AM

        Does he whine when a pitch down the middle is called a ball too? It happens. It has happened for ever. Maybe all of those late Sunday games are making him cranky.

    • bbil2012 - May 17, 2012 at 2:08 PM

      We’re going to get some for you too.

  6. icanspeel - May 17, 2012 at 10:56 AM

    Is it the state of umpiring or the fact he has a big contract, plays in Boston and has had a lack of power lately? Bad umpiring has been around since baseball started, calls are blown, balls are called strikes, strikes called balls, but is it truly worse now than anytime before?

  7. xpensivewinos - May 17, 2012 at 11:08 AM

    Last September it was “God’s will” and now it’s the umpires.

    He’s turned in to a pile of garbage who assumes zero responsibility for his pathetic play (going on almost a full calendar year now), but he still leads the major’s in excuses………..that’s certainly worth the money.

    Watching this lifeless chump ground in to double plays and strike out every at-bat has gotten pretty old.

    • Glen - May 17, 2012 at 7:31 PM

      How does one both ground into double plays AND strike out every at-bat?

  8. vallewho - May 17, 2012 at 11:09 AM

    why are you willing to accept mediocrity?

    • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - May 17, 2012 at 12:00 PM

      Because Boston gave him a huge contract. What choice to they have?

      • bbil2012 - May 17, 2012 at 2:12 PM

        Perhaps he’d have your approval if he threw a helmet or pulled a Paul O’Neill?

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - May 21, 2012 at 10:47 AM

        Perhaps he would have my approval if he worked on his declining power instead of blaming everyone and everything except himself for his troubles.

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - May 18, 2012 at 10:20 AM

        He’d have my approval if he was not trying to blame is middling performance on everything and everyone other than himself.

  9. baccards - May 17, 2012 at 11:13 AM

    A professional at-bat? He gets paid to be a batter, among other things. Every at bat is, by defintion, a professional at-bat for him. This is not the 1890’s..he cannot tell the pitcher where he wants the ball thrown to him…Sure the umpiring is not perfect, and needs to be addressed. Whining because you can’t deal with it is not the answer though

    • hiltonandastoria - May 17, 2012 at 11:36 AM

      It’s frustrating because Agon is a professional, the pitcher is a professional but too large of a percentage of umpires are not.

      You see this is whining? I see this as a frank explanation of what most people are thinking.
      You say that umpiring is not perfect and needs to be addressed…isn’t that exactly what Agon is attempting to do.

      • baccards - May 17, 2012 at 12:14 PM

        Perhaps whining is too devisive of a word for the situation…I do not see negative comments through the media as the proper way of addressing the issue. There are legitimate channels to follow that don’t include every ballplayer who feels wronged to voice his opinion throught the media. And in that I’m not saying he shouldn’t be allowed to make those comments. It is just not using the best way to get things corrected.
        I do stand by my derision of his “professional at-bat” comments.

    • stevem7 - May 17, 2012 at 11:57 AM

      So every night in every ballpark where players are complaining about umpiring they are whining huh? Thats not the answer huh? So I assume if your property tax tripled you wouldn’t whine about it because you couldn’t deal with it huh? If you couldn’t find a job you wouldn’t whine about it because you couldn’t deal with it huh? You wouldn’t stand up and tell your tax man he’s wrong, you wouldn’t scream at that employer that he’s wrong for not hiring you. No you wouldn’t cause that would be whining because you couldn’t deal with anything.

      • baccards - May 17, 2012 at 1:17 PM

        No in fact I wouldn’t. Telling “my tax man” he’s wrong, screaming at an employer, would do nothing but maybe gain me some empathizers.If I thought these things were wrong I would work to change the systems through organized efforts. The concept is not that hard to understand. perhaps you have heard of e pluribus unum and/or united we stand..If not them, maybe you have heard of unions..

  10. hockeyflow33 - May 17, 2012 at 11:22 AM

    Boston isn’t happy with your self-entitlement or the horrendous attitude of most of the players on this team

  11. jehzsa - May 17, 2012 at 11:41 AM

    One word: Fried chicken.

    • mcsnide - May 17, 2012 at 12:36 PM

      Counting’s really not your strong suit, is it?

  12. themuddychicken - May 17, 2012 at 11:47 AM

    I realize he makes a large salary in the Boston market, but people are focusing too much on the specifics of who said it rather than the content. His comments, and Lawrie’s actions (however you feel about them), are not isolated incidents. Given what has been going on around the league lately, it’s hard not to agree with him.

  13. randygnyc - May 17, 2012 at 11:49 AM

    Maybe Adrian gets fined for this, but young guys should look at this guy as an example on how to handle their frustrations in a respectable way. (it actually hurts me to compliment a red sock). I agree with him that something needs to be done about improving the quality of the officiating. But it doesn’t include perpetuating violence against anyone. Adrian’s comments makes Lawrie look…………….small.

  14. The Dangerous Mabry - May 17, 2012 at 12:01 PM

    The typical response to a hitter complaining about a strike zone is “You just need to adjust to the umpire’s zone, and that’s the way it is.” Gonzalez gives an excellent explanation here of why that’s a problem. Adjusting to the umpire’s monster strike zone means a hitter needs to swing at pitches they simply can’t hit, because they’re well out of the hitting zone, but they know they’ll be called a strike even if they don’t swing. It’s not good for the hitter, and it’s not good for baseball.

    Similarly, if the umpires are calling too small of a strike zone, a pitcher needs to “adjust” by throwing pitches straight over the heart of the plate, where they’re simply too easy to hit.

    The strike zone is defined the way it is because it provides enough room for a pitcher to throw a pitch which is difficult to hit, but not impossible. That’s the balance that makes the sport work the way it does, and if umpires can’t call that zone correctly, it lowers the quality of the game.

    It’s right for a hitter to discuss the issue, and the right thing for MLB to do is either try to help the umpires to make better calls, or replace those umpires with people who can do a better job.

  15. rico7207 - May 17, 2012 at 12:09 PM

    Poor big baby. I hear A-Rod blaming himself say there comes a day a batter has to stop tipping his hat to a pitcher and be accountable. And this over paid baby blaming the umps and everything but himself. He’s way over paid and knows it. If you don’t like it, quit the game and go back to your own country. MLB does not need cry babies.

    • jimbo1949 - May 17, 2012 at 6:08 PM

      H8rs gotta H8
      Adrian Gonzalez #28 First Base Boston Red Sox
      Height: 6-2 Weight: 225 Bats: L Throws: L
      Born: May 8, 1982 – San Diego, CA
      I realize you may have a problem with the left coast, but you do realize that California has been a part of the US for over 150 years.

  16. randomdigits - May 17, 2012 at 12:19 PM

    Sounds like someone is still upset Chris Davis struck him out with RISP.

  17. offseasonblues - May 17, 2012 at 12:32 PM

    Either automate calling of balls and strikes or take it out of the game.

    An at bat continues until:
    – the batter swings and misses 3 times (or once after two foul balls)
    – the batter gets a hit
    – a batted ball is caught
    – 4 wild pitches and/or passed balls.

    Sure, a plate appearance could go on forever, but if a pitcher keeps throwing three inches off the plate, his arm will eventually fall off.

    • 66orioles - May 18, 2012 at 3:56 PM

      When I was a kid and played pickup games on an empty lot without any adults around (yea kids that is the best way to play) that’s about the way we played except for your last rule plus we had four fouls and you are out and.

      For close plays on the base path it was usually whoever yelled the loudest or longest got the call.

  18. hcf95688 - May 17, 2012 at 12:36 PM

    It didn’t take him long to become your typical Boston cry-baby.

    • giselleisasucubus - May 17, 2012 at 1:37 PM

      you’re an idiot

  19. WhenMattStairsIsKing - May 17, 2012 at 1:08 PM

    I hope his comments shed some light on the umpiring issues. I agree more and more umps aren’t calling games well. Something needs to be done.

  20. zacksdad - May 17, 2012 at 1:09 PM

    With all the camera angles they could automate this. Players get pay depending on their performance. Umpires get paid based off showing up. It they can a strike zone on television, they can determine the call with computers. This is one reason I do not watch baseball, the umpires call balls and strikes based on they want the game to flow.

    Shoot if an umpire is allowed to call an outside ball a strike, then why not let them call a home run that just cleared the fence a ground rule double. Then we can also have umpires versions of home runs. The rule book for home runs can be used just a guide how they use it for strikes and balls.

    Hockey uses automation to show goals. Wake up baseball…

  21. ltzep75 - May 17, 2012 at 1:56 PM

    Let me get this straight, commentariat:

    Ryan Braun: villified due to the fact that he is let off on a procedural technicality. Mind set seems to be – PEDs are against the rules, we assume he broke the rules, therefore it’s BS that he is allowed to hold a bat on a nightly basis.

    Adrian Gonzalez: villified due to the fact that he had the audacity, the gaul even (or is it gall, screw it, its gual – down with Vercingetorix), to complain (backed up with irrefutable evidence in the form of strike zone plots) that the Umpires are not following the rules regarding the strike zone and it metaphorically takes the bat out of the player’s hands. Further told to “deal with it” and that “he’s a crybaby.”

    Methinks the commentariat doth protest too much.

  22. thehawg - May 17, 2012 at 2:48 PM

    Adrian, have you ever umpired a game, not as easy as it looks. Try umpiring a game at any level & you will have a lot more respect for these guys.

  23. pogodog7 - May 17, 2012 at 3:26 PM

    If the umps are making bad calls, at least you know that they are making bad calls for everyone and protecting the integrity of the game. I give a lot of credit to the umps. It is not easy having to make an immediate decision without the use of replays. When I watch a game on tv, I always yell at the umps for making bad calls. That is until I see the replay. Then I see how I and millions of other baseball fans could never be an ump.

    • jehzsa - May 17, 2012 at 4:12 PM

      Simple as this. Out of ten at-bats, he fails in just about seven.

      Yep, those dastardly umps!

  24. 66orioles - May 18, 2012 at 3:46 PM

    Time for MLB to be pulled into the present.

    I’m sure there is some technology out there that could send a radio signal heard only by the home plate umpire when the ball crosses over the plate.

    Right there 50% of his job is finished and all he would have to call is when the ball crossed the plate if it was in the batter’s strike zone.

    That would still leave the human element in the game but also help the umpire to tell if the ball caught the extreme corner or not.

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