Why Don’t Umpires Reverse their Calls?
By Scott Andes
I don’t understand why umpires won’t reverse their calls? Can someone explain to me why? The Dodgers were done in by another blown call by an umpire. This one happened in the top of the sixth inning earlier today in game three against Colorado at Coors Field. The Dodgers had a runner at first with two outs. Jerry Hairston hits a sharp grounder to third, that Colorado third baseman Chris Nelson makes a great diving stop, but his throw is way off-line and wide. It pulls first baseman Todd Helton off the bag by about five feet. The Dodgers would have had first and second with two outs, except the first base umpire Tim Welke called him out. This call ruined a potential Dodger scoring rally.
Now again take a look at this photo. As you can clearly see, Helton has come off the bag by about a good three or four feet. His left knee is touching the ground in order to field the wide throw. His foot is nowhere near the first base bag. For whatever reason Welke, still calls him out. So maybe his view was blocked by Helton’s leg, or something? Even if that is true, is Welke’s depth perception that bad? Helton was lmost halfway to second base.
What really doesn’t make sense, is why if Welke’s view of the play was obstructed, why he didn’t conference with the other umpires? He certainly was in the right position t make the call. I think this is what Don Mattingly was arguing when he ran out to argue with Welke, and almost swallowed his hat in annoyance. This defiantly strange since Welke is a veteran umpire of over 12 years. He has been a crew chief since 2000, and been umpiring since 1984. He has worked in 11 postseasons, including umpiring in four World Series.
My questions is why can’t Umpires reverse their own calls? Is there some rule that says they can’t? I have never heard of any rule that prevents the umpires from reversing their own calls. Or at the very least talking to the other umpires and having one of them actually reverse the call. Whatever I don’t care who reverses the calls. I don’t care if it’s Leslie Nielson from the first Naked Gun film, dressed as an umpire that reverses the calls. Just get the calls right!
Yikes know I have never been an umpire before, but I don’t care. It’s not brain surgery here. Your either out or safe. I am not saying it’s easy, but come on, if this was a close play I wouldn’t even be writing this post. A missed call on a bang bang play can be forgiven if not understood, but a botched call this bad?
What is going on with the umpiring these days? Don’t even get me started on the strike zone. The strike zone seems to get smaller and smaller by the day. Years ago, the strike zone was simple. It extended from the armpits, to about right above the knees. That was the strike zone. Now it is about the size of a tea cup, as these young umpires keep squeezing pitchers out of strikes. Normally the Umps get the calls right, but this one was ridiculous. The Dodgers should have played the game under protest. Obviously instant replay needs to be expanded, but the problem is on the field with these umpires.
I think the reason they won’t reverse their calls is just plain ego. They want to control the games with an iron first. There has to be some room for discussion on plays that are that blown. The umps just want to lay down their iron fists, and if you say anything to them about a call, even one word they just toss you out of the game.
Notice that Don Mattingly was not thrown out of the game. I have seen some games where the manager was thrown out before he reached the top step of the dugout. Mattingly nearly came to blows with umpire Tim Welke. He got right in his face, and wasn’t tossed. So why wasn’t he tossed? Because he completely screwed the call, and he knew it! Instead of acting like a real umpire, he just stood there, not reversing his call, and not even conferring with the other umpires. This is what Donnie was arguing about. I was actually hoping Donnie would throw a base or something like Lou Pinella used to do, but he didn’t go that far.
MLB needs to start looking into these blown calls, and start taking some disciplinary action for some of these umpires. Bud Selig needs to fix this, because it is costing teams games. There have been many blown calls that have cost us games over the last few years. The Dodgers might have won today if that call hadn’t been blown. Thanks for listening to me guys, I guess I just needed to vent about the poor umpiring after this tough loss earlier today.
So please please MLB, do something to fix this. Or perhaps we can help setup some of these umpires with better eye wear, and a good optometrist. The umpires are covered for Eye coverage with the union right?