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Brewers manager Ron Roenicke on umpire Mark Ripperger: “He’s terrible”

Aug 28, 2014, 12:52 PM EDT

Ron Roenicke Brewers AP

Last night after the Brewers lost to the Padres in extra innings manager Ron Roenicke tore into home plate umpire Mark Ripperger, who ejected Roenicke from the game in the ninth inning.

Ripperger was previously the home plate umpire for a Brewers win over the Mets in July and apparently Roenicke was angry at him then too, so he said the following to Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel last night:

This is the thing that bothers me: This is the same umpire that we had before, and he is terrible behind home plate. He calls pitches that aren’t even close. The catcher sets up six inches off the plate and he calls them strikes. I should have been kicked out the last time that we saw him. He was behind the plate.

I’m tired of sitting here watching the catcher set up off the plate and hitting his glove and calling it a strike. They’re balls. So Frankie misses, OK, it’s off the plate this much, the first one he calls a ball. He’s been calling it all night. The next one was a little further off, but he’s been calling that also. Just call the same pitches, but they’re balls. I should have been kicked out in probably the second inning today. It’s the same guy.

Ripperger is a fill-in umpire up from Triple-A and Roenicke no doubt just earned himself a fine from MLB.

And here’s video of Roenicke’s anti-Ripperger tirade. It was Roenicke’s fourth ejection of the season and, for a fill-in umpire, Ripperger has ejected quite a few managers and players this season.

  1. icanspeel - Aug 28, 2014 at 12:57 PM

    I can’t argue if the umpire is terrible or not, but here is the at bat in question http://www.baseballprospectus.com/pitchfx/matchup/index.php?pitchSel=408061&batterX=425784&ablim=9602323

    Pitch 1 and 2 are what made him mad.. Don’t look like clean strikes to me. You can maybe debate 1 was on the edge, but you can equally debate it was off the plate.

    • esotericmindguy - Aug 28, 2014 at 5:26 PM

      His argument was that he was calling those pitches strikes all night, until the 9th. And it probably cost the brewers the game. The idiot shouldn’t be calling balls and strikes.

  2. ianoble - Aug 28, 2014 at 12:57 PM

    Backing up Roenicke’s claims with actual data:

    http://www.brooksbaseball.net/pfxVB/zoneTrack.php?month=8&day=27&year=2014&game=gid_2014_08_27_milmlb_sdnmlb_1%2F&prevGame=gid_2014_08_25_colmlb_sfnmlb_1%2F&prevDate=0827

    • anotheryx - Aug 28, 2014 at 1:13 PM

      That’s actually not bad. I sure have seen worse. It’s mostly within common zone to RHH and he is very consistent (Roenicke appears to agree) and that’s the most important aspect.

      • Paper Lions - Aug 28, 2014 at 2:16 PM

        Nah, that’s pretty horrible. Systematically horrible, but far more missed calls than you usually see….the sheer number of missed ball and strike calls is probably about twice as many as you usually see in such a plot. Just counting what you can see (assuming symbols are covering up other symbols), that is at least 24 missed calls that weren’t even borderline….average is usually around 10-12.

  3. scoutsaysweitersisabust - Aug 28, 2014 at 1:15 PM

    The human element sure is grand

    • maddog11896 - Aug 28, 2014 at 2:54 PM

      Kind of contradicting an earlier comment of mine, the human element sure is “grand” and it irks people most of the time, but it’s what makes baseball entertaining and unique. Don’t get me wrong, I hate bad calls and missed calls as much as the next baseball fan, but that human element… it just makes the game what it is.

      • recoveringcubsfan - Aug 28, 2014 at 9:29 PM

        If you watch a talented team that gets screwed by a hack ump, you would t say that.

    • maddog11896 - Aug 28, 2014 at 10:14 PM

      I’m a Brewers fan… I see that far too often.

  4. maddog11896 - Aug 28, 2014 at 1:16 PM

    I remember 4 or 5 times in that Mets game in July, Ripperger would call a pitch either a ball or a strike, and the next pitch would be in the exact same spot and he’d make the opposite call. I mean, they would show the strike zone on TV, they were literally millimeters apart in location and called different.

  5. irishlad19 - Aug 28, 2014 at 1:37 PM

    Eventually they will automate Ball/Strike calls both to eliminate variances among umpires and also to speed up the game.

    • cshearing - Aug 28, 2014 at 2:02 PM

      I certainly hope so. Cannot come soon enough.

  6. Walk - Aug 28, 2014 at 1:39 PM

    If it is close and is being called the same for both sides i do not have an issue. All too often i see one pitcher get calls that the other pitcher does not. I have seen broadcasters say well thats a call a veteran pitcher gets or that was called a ball because of the reputation of the hitter. That is where i take issue. Keep the zone consistent and call it for both sides and every hitter with obvious exceptions being made for height of players of course.

    • psukardi - Aug 28, 2014 at 4:43 PM

      It’s how Maddux and Glavine got all those wins…..

  7. brewcrewfan54 - Aug 28, 2014 at 1:42 PM

    The problem is it was a strike all night until that batter. At least for the Brewers it was. Braun struck out twice looking on that pitch.

    • taylorwmj - Aug 28, 2014 at 1:57 PM

      Not only did Braun strike out twice looking at that pitch off the plate away, just moments earlier, in the top of the 9th, Parra got called out on 3 straight pitches looking at 3 off the plate in the same spot. That’s what really killed RRR.

  8. eagles512 - Aug 28, 2014 at 2:19 PM

    Good. These umps need to be called out more often.

  9. nothanksimdriving123 - Aug 28, 2014 at 4:54 PM

    I recall reading a few months back about a PxP announcer who declines to waffle on bad calls. He’ll just honestly report things like: Slider, low and away for strike 2; fastball right down the middle for ball 3. Etc. Love it.

    • natocoles - Aug 28, 2014 at 6:00 PM

      I’ve heard Ed Farmer (White Sox radio) do exactly that, and it’s always cool with me! “Here’s the pitch… fastball, six inches off the plate, and it’s called a strike.”

  10. yahmule - Aug 28, 2014 at 8:02 PM

    Not surprised he has a lot of ejections. I was a AAA last weekend and home plate was all over the place. The ump was getting it from both sides. One guy tossed a helmet and this guy immediately escalated the situation and ran him. Basically he took out his bad game out on one of the players.

  11. castaluccio - Aug 28, 2014 at 9:13 PM

    Actually, if this guy is ejecting that many folks then he may be as bad a advertised. The good ones usually don’t ‘run’ that many guys because they’re good and do the job. This guy actually may be a stiff. Roenicke had a legitimate complaint, as the zone changed in the ninth when the Brewers were in the field. Shades of Ken Kaiser, he of the ‘moving strike zone.’

  12. stlouis1baseball - Aug 29, 2014 at 10:47 AM

    Good for Ron Roenicke. Say what’s on your mind and take your lumps.
    I respect the hell out of that.

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