Wednesday, August 12, 2009

MLB: SF Giants vs. LA Dodgers umpiring

For this post, I'm going to put my basketball referee whistle down and discuss some major league baseball. Folks who watched the three game series between the San Francisco Giants and the Los Angeles Dodgers that concluded this afternoon will probably know what I am talking about.

In terms of baseball, what the Giants will take away is the fact that they lost two of three games to the rival Dodgers and are also behind the Colorado Rockies in the Wild Card race (at least for now, pending the outcome of tonight's game)

However, what Giants fans will also take away is the umpiring crew missed several calls over the series, with all of them going against the Giants. The last and most glaring one was in the 9th inning of today's game which cost the Giants the lead and Tim Linecum the potential win. Fortunately the Giants bounced back and eventually won the game on Juan Uribe's walk off home run.

As a fellow sports official, I'm apt to defend other officials in the majority of cases. After all, sports officials have difficult jobs. Unlike broadcasters or fans, sports officials don't get the benefit of instant replay (well, only in certain cases). You go with what you see and like I mentioned in first blog post, you SELL your call for all that it's worth.

However, given the number of missed calls that occurred over the three game series, this makes defending the umpiring a little more difficult. In the post game show, the Giants broadcasters probably said it the best. The broadcasters said that if the umpires had not made the mistakes in the previous two games and then made the one blunder in the 9th inning, it may have been easier to forgive the umpires. Instead, because of the previous mistakes, the frustrations just boiled over. The broadcasters noted that is was fortunate the Giants won today. If the Giants had lost, the fans could have taken out their frustrations on the umpires.

As far as why the umpires made so many mistakes, I don't believe there was a conspiracy or any type of betting going on. That would be a little far fetched. However, perhaps the umps weren't sleeping well or not mentally sharp for whatever reason. Bang bang plays require a lot of concentration and if you're not 100% focused, you are going to miss things. It's not an excuse for the umpires, but the fact is they're human and subject to ups and downs like the rest of us.

One thing I hope is the Major League Baseball talks to the crew and find out what happened. While the Giants can't do anything about the missed calls, I'm sure they can file complaints or demand some explanations. I admit to being curious to how the umpiring crew will explain the missed calls.

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