SBD/Issue 28/Leagues & Governing Bodies

MLB Umpires Under Fire For Three Missed Calls In ALCS Game Four

Replay Reveals Napoli Tagged Both Posada
And Cano, Should Have Been Double Play
The umpires from last night's Yankees-Angels ALCS Game Four "need some friends today, not to mention possibly a replay booth," as the game "was an umpiring Titanic," according to Mike Lopresti of USA TODAY. Three calls from last night's game are being debated after replays revealed them to be incorrect. The Angels in the fourth inning attempted to pick-off Yankees RF Nick Swisher at second base, but umpire Dale Scott incorrectly ruled him safe. Umpire Tim McClelland later that inning ruled that Swisher left third base too early when attempting to tag up on a fly ball to centerfield, though replays determined that call to be incorrect as well. Lopresti writes, "So to review, Swisher should have been out when he was safe and should have been safe when he was out." Meanwhile, in the fifth inning, Angels C Mike Napoli tagged both Yankees C Jorge Posada and 2B Robinson Cano near third base. Neither player was "actually on the bag," so it should have been a double play. But McClelland only called Posada out, "thinking Cano is still on the bag." McClelland later said, "Obviously, or not obviously, there were two missed calls. I'm just out there trying to do my job and do it the best I can." Lopresti writes bad calls "became fine print," as the Yankees "took the variables out of Game 4, including the umpiring" by winning 10-1. Lopresti: "Good thing" (USA TODAY, 10/21).

ONGOING TREND: In Boston, Nick Cafardo writes umpiring mistakes "even out over the regular season, but these guys have brought their worst performances for the playoffs when they need to have their best." Cafardo: "What bothers me the most is with six umpires on the field, why aren't there more conferences? Why doesn't an umpire who might have seen a play differently say, 'Let's talk about this so we can get it right?'" (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/21). In Newark, Brian Costa writes while none of last night's calls "proved decisive" in the game, they were "nonetheless an embarrassment for Major League Baseball, which already has had its share of umpiring issues this postseason" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 10/21). In N.Y., Billy Witz writes the MLB Playoffs "have at times been one big slapstick routine" for the umpires, who have "executed some calls with all the clarity of Abbott and Costello." The umpires for last night's game "provided more head-slapping moments" (N.Y. TIMES, 10/21). Fox Business' Connell McShane: "The umpires have been brutal for the whole entire postseason" (Fox Business, 10/21). In N.Y., Bill Madden writes, "Once again, the umpires have reared their ugly heads with blown calls marring the postseason." A former MLB umpire said, "These guys are disgracing the profession" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/21). YAHOO SPORTS' Kevin Kaduk wrote under the header, "Umpire Tim McClelland Makes The Worst Call Of All Time." Kaduk: "There are simply no words for the ruling, other to say that one of the five other umpires should've offered his assistance, McClelland shouldn't ump another game in this series and that it's time for Bud Selig to stop being stubborn and expand the use of instant replay in baseball past disputed home run calls" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 10/20).

CALLS FOR REPLAY RE-IGNITED: ESPN's Buster Olney said, "They should go to replay right now. … Major League Baseball has a choice -- do they get the calls right or do they just look the other way?” Olney: "They have the technology with high definition and multiple angles to get the calls right. Use it!” ESPN's Mike Greenberg: "No one could possibly explain in a way that makes sense to me why that is good, why it is better not to correct that mistake. ... These moments are glaring and they have happened repeatedly throughout this postseason." ESPN's Mike Golic: "They’re correctable mistakes. Baseball is choosing, at this point, not to correct them” ("Mike & Mike in the Morning," ESPN2, 10/21). In N.Y., Mike Puma writes under the header, "Umps Look Like Chumps, Again." Last night's calls further stoked the "fire for the implementation of instant replay in baseball beyond home-run calls" (N.Y. POST, 10/21). Also in N.Y., Richard Sandomir wrote the "case for some sort of expanded instant replay was made" in the two plays involving Swisher in the fourth inning last night (NYTIMES.com, 10/20). The N.Y. DAILY NEWS' Peter Botte writes, "Does anyone still think installing an instant-replay system in baseball is a bad idea?" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/21). ESPN's Olney added, "Baseball's in a much better place to have instant replay than in the past because of high definition and all the multiple angles. If they simply had access to those tools, we certainly could have very quick and decisive calls made correctly" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 10/21). But White Sox C A.J. Pierzynski said, "No, no replay. Please, we have enough replay as it is on home runs. It already takes forever if there’s a disputed home run call." Pierzynski: "It'd be nice to get it right, but then you're going to start wanting robots back there calling balls and strikes on every pitch. So you can't do that either" ("ESPN First Take," ESPN2, 10/21).

McClelland Receiving Criticism
For Missed Calls Last Night
BEST OF THE BEST? CBSSPORTS.com's Gregg Doyel writes under the header, "It's Safe To Say These Umpires Should Be Out Of A Job." Doyel: "What is so scary about the rash of ugly umpiring that has scarred the 2009 postseason: These guys might actually be the best umpires that baseball has to offer. And how awful an idea is that?" (CBSSPORTS.com, 10/21). But in L.A., Bill Shaikin writes MLB is "presenting these playoff games without the best umpires," as the CBA prevents MLB VP/Umpiring Mike Port "from assigning an umpire to work consecutive rounds in the playoffs, or working the World Series in consecutive years." Shaikin writes that is "patently ridiculous." Shaikin: "In what has become a painful daily ritual in this year's postseason, all of America tuned into a playoff game and watched replays of umpires blowing a call -- or, on Tuesday night at Angel Stadium, call after call after call." Port said after the game, "I don't know that I can explain it. I only know the effort and professionalism of the umpires. They don't make excuses when these things happen. They review plays. They try to be accurate at what they do. Sometimes, try as they might, things occur, like what happened tonight. It's not a lack of effort. It's a performance thing" (L.A. TIMES, 10/21).

PUSH FOR PARITY: In Baltimore, Peter Schmuck writes, "If I remember correctly, the whole point of that 1994 labor war was to narrow the gap between the so-called large-market and small-market teams." But with three of the top four media markets represented in the LCS, MLB "has to make a new effort to achieve a greater degree of economic parity." It might be "convenient to look at the huge increase in overall revenue and say that the game isn't broke and it doesn't really need fixing, but the bottom line isn't the only bottom line in this case." Schmuck: "When you have one player making as much as a whole other team, something is seriously out of whack" (Baltimore SUN, 10/21).

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