YEAR OF THE UMPS
It’s Opening Day of the 2012 Major League Baseball season … well, the 3rd one if you count Oakland and Seattle in Japan, and Miami and St. Louis yesterday. Anyway, it was time for hope to spring anew for teams all over the majors; however it was also time for YEAR OF UMPS to rear its ugly head.
It was the bottom of the 7th inning at Citi Field, with the Mets leading the Braves 1-0. Josh Thole had just a leadoff single off reliever Kris Medlen, which brought up SS Ruben Tejada. Tejada bunted the 0-1 offering back to the mound, and Medlen threw the ball to 2nd trying to force out Thole. However his throw to Tyler Pastornicky was a bit off-target to the 1st base side of the bag, and as Gary Cohen called the play Keith Hernandez remarked that “everyone is safe”. Unfortunately, Keith forgot to take in account Phil Cuzzi calling Josh Thole out at second base on the “Neighborhood Play”.
For those who don’t know what it is, a neighborhood play is a force play where a fielder receiving the ball in attempting to force out a runner at second base, catches and quickly throws the ball to first base without actually touching second base, or by touching second base well before catching the ball. To sum it up, all a 2nd baseman has to do is “be in the neighborhood” of 2nd base while he has the ball. Even though the runner should not be called out, many umps still call it that way since originally it was designed to protect 2nd basemen from getting injured by incoming baserunners.
Getting back on-topic, I stared dumbfounded listening to Gary Cohen/Keith Hernandez/Ron Darling flip out. What could’ve been 1st and 2nd w/ no one out turned into a runner at 1st and 1 out; and the next batter (Justin Turner) promptly grounded into a double play. Inning over, Mets given the shaft. A few questions lingered in my mind, though:
- Why did Josh Thole not argue the call? The play was in front of him.
- Why did Terry Collins not argue the call? He had to have seen it on replay and the coaches seemed to be protesting.
- Why is Phil Cuzzi still allowed to ump baseball games?
- WHERE ARE MY SEXY ANDROID UMPIRES?
Village idiot Nyjer Morgan has stepped out of the batters box twice while bunting in Thursday’s Night game between the Braves and Brewers. The first time he bunted for a single and Adrian Johnson missed it. In the 6th he did it again but popped it up. Knowing the stupidity of Major League Umpires I doubt Adrian Johnson or any of the other umpires would have called it.
The only explanation for these incidents are that Adrian Johnson is probably a ketchup loving weirdo. Which reminds me, judging from the ketchup/mustard poll, we have a lot of people here that have no taste buds. My condolences.
Morgan almost did it again in the 8th inning (way too much bunting in this game btw).
Hopefully he learned his lesson with all the bunting seeing how it looks like he almost broke his hand on the play.
I have learned that you can’t stop YEAR OF UMPS, you can only try and prepare for it the best you can and hope it doesn’t cost your team a (perfect) game. We at the NeoGAF OT MLB Thread have seen a lot of crappy umpiring in the last two years which resulted in the creation of this blog, where we hope to document the truly egregious stuff. Take tonight, for instance. The New York Mets (currently playing thier best ball of the year) played against the Nationals in Washington D.C., home to the White House and the hub of the nation’s political machine. It figures that an ump would try to rob them in this game.
With one out in the eighth and the Mets down 2-1, Jose Reyes came up against Nationals righty Tyler Clippard and ripped a gapper to the left-center wall. As Reyes rounded 2nd and headed for 3rd base center fielder Rick Ankiel made a tremendous one-hop throw from the wall to Jerry Hairston Jr. trying to get Reyes at third. The throw arrived seconds too late as Reyes slid in safely before Hairston Jr.’s tag, and immediately signaled for time as Hairston tried to check if Reyes was on the bag. The Mets would now have the tying run on 3rd with 1 out, with a red-hot Daniel Murphy up… except for one problem: For some reason Marvin Hudson called him out.
Reyes, of course, went batshit insane. He jumped up and yanked off his helmet, threw it to the ground and had to be forcibly restrained by Mets 3rd based coach Chip Hale. I stood in stunned disbelief as it looked like Reyes’ hand never came off the bag in realtime, and Hudson wasn’t screened by anything and had a clear view. As Reyes attempted to assault Hudson with his dreadlocks and Terry Collins picked up the argument, the slo-mo replay showed Reyes’ right fingers stayed on the bag even as he slid through the tag. His hand never came CLOSE to coming off the bag, and YEAR OF UMPS had just struck again.
So instead of the Mets a productive out away from tying the game, they had 2 outs and Daniel Murphy up with no one on. As a pissed-off Reyes paced in the dugout, Murphy then crushed a a solo shot to right field, tying the game. The Mets would relinquish the lead the next inning in typical Mets fashion (dropped fly ball and no one covered 2nd base, passed ball, sac fly) but exploded in the 9th, scoring 4 runs to take a 6-3 lead. The inning was punctuated by Daniel Murphy’s 2 RBI double; in which after Reyes slid into home plate he bounced up and threw his arms wide apart in an exaggerated “safe” motion, then appeared to point right at umpire Marvin Hudson as he walked to the dugout.
The funny thing here is that as adamant as Marvin Hudson was that he made the correct call, he had to know he was wrong. If not, why wasn’t Jose Reyes ejected for flipping out? When was the last time a MLB player carried on to that extent and NOT get tossed from the game? I’ve seen Ozzie Guillen get thrown for less and if you saw the last video, he’s not pointing at Daniel Murphy walking back to the dugout there. In conclusion,
sometimes you can escape the clutches of YEAR OF UMPS and overcome it I cannot effing wait until female androids replace human umpires. Good Lord…
Looking back at game 1 of the NLDS between the Braves and the Giants it looks like the Braves were getting the low strike calls, probably due to Lowe’s sinker. Both sides got a few calls on the inside and outside of the zone but overall it was a good game (aka not horrible) by HP umpire Dana Demuth The big call of the game though came in the 4th inning with no out, 3-2 count on Pat Burrell at the plate and Buster Posey on 1st. With Pat Burrell swinging at strike 3 Buster Posey stole 2nd base according to 2nd base umpire Paul Emmel who appeared to suddenly go blind. Even Buster Posey admitted he was out after the game by saying “I guess its a good thing we don’t have instant replay right now”.
Welcome to the Year of the Umps, where strikes are called balls, balls are called strikes and the MVP of the league is Joe West. Welcome to hell. Enjoy your stay.