Umpiring is problem in MLB

Rob Parker writes on why he thinks umpiring in Major League Baseball is possibly at an all-time low

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Enough is enough.

The umpiring in Major League Baseball is terrible, possibly at an all-time low.

Maybe, we've noticed more recently because all games are televised. Or maybe, it's because we see more replays and the replays are as good as they have ever been. Still, it seems as if the umpires make glaring mistakes game after game.

Without pushing the envelope, it's like the umpires as a whole are begging for help, want instant replay to take the pressure off them. The last week or so we've seen proof positive, starting with some bad calls against the Tigers in Boston. Tigers' manager Jim Leyland was so mad that he ripped the media for not writing about the bad jobs by umpires and holding the umpire more accountable for their mistakes.

In the Tigers' 7-4 loss to the Red Sox in Boston, homeplate umpire Bill Welke ruled that a foul tip on what would be the third strike of the inning, hit the ground before landing in catcher Gerald Laird's mitt. So instead of the inning being over, the Red Sox got three more hits and had a three-run inning.

Leyland was ejected for arguing and was still fired up after the game. "I'm not going to sit up here and rip umpires," he said. "I'm the most protective person in the world of umpires. I protect them more than anybody in the game."

But Leyland added, "You guys (the media) need to write something and hold people accountable."

On Monday, it was Phillies' closer Jonathan Papelbon going off on umpires after a big pitch was missed in a save situation. Instead of the Dodgers Dee Gordon being struck out on an inside pitch, it was called a ball by homeplate umpire D.J. Reyburn.

Gordon, on the next pitch, tripled and eventually scored the winning run.

"I thought he was terrible," Papelbon told the media after the game. "All day. It wasn't just that pitch. All day. I thought he sucked. It's that simple. You're up in the big leagues for a reason -- to do a good job. And when you don't do a good job, you should be demoted or fired. .. I don't do my job, I go to Triple-A. There's no room for that up here."

Another glaring mistake came in the Mets' Johan Santana's no-hitter. In the sixth inning, Carlos Beltran hit a ball down the thurd baseline that hit the chalk line. The umpire, standing in front of the play, ruled it foul. The replay was so clear it was fair.

On Saturday night, Yankees manager Joe Girardi was hot at an umpire at Comerica Park.

And this wasn't a run-of-the-mill ejection. This was a suitable-for-framing number. For sure, even the king of umpire rain dances at home plate, Lou Piniella, would have been proud.

It even included Girardi throwing his hat at the feet of home plate umpire Bob Davidson.

"It shouldn't have happened," said Girardi, who was never warned before he was tossed. "I believe their job is to keep peace. And to me, that's not what he did."

It all started when Davidson  ejected batting coach Kevin Long. Apparently, Long didn't like the strike called to Curtis Granderson on the first pitch in his at-bat with runners on second and third and one out with the Tigers leading 2-1 at the time.

The TV replay showed the pitch was both low and off the plate to the left-handed hitter.

This is the second time in three games the Yankees have had problems with umpires. On Wednesday in Anaheim, catcher Russell Martin and home plate umpire Laz Diaz got into it. But the Yankees didn't now believe they are being targeted by all umpires because of that spat.

"That would be very discouraging," Girardi said. "We play with emotion. Every night we go out and it means something to us. The only thing that means something to them is how they do their job, not whether they win or lose. They don't win or lose. It means something to us."

It's about accountability.

Two things have to happen. A form of replay has to be added to correct obvious calls without stalling the game too long. No. 2, umpires should be demoted or fired if they continue to underperform.

Pistons president Joe Dumars has a credo: It's not about being right, it's about getting it right. MLB should follow that when it comes to umpiring in the game.

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