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Thread: The "age" of diva umpires

  1. #211
    KungFu Fighter AtomicDumpling's Avatar
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    Re: The "age" of diva umpires

    Quote Originally Posted by FlightRick View Post
    Not to take sides, but: I've also umpired (sorry, I have no pictures, so you have to take my word for it), and it may not be "easy." But if you're relatively quick on the uptake, and have decent judgment, it's also not "hard."

    By this, I mean, it's not hard to do the job. If you've got thin skin or an otherwise susceptible temperament, it might still be hard to deal with frivolous disputes to your calls.



    I'll be the second person that states, that, then. If you do your job well, and augment that with some interpersonal skills, there will not be ugliness 99% of the time. Literally: I only got the "ugly" once per season if I rounded up.



    And yet: if you do a good job, an edge is less necessary, grasshopper. </zenbuddha>



    Of course you do. But when is that "necessary?" If you're doing it to save face or protect an image of authority, then you're 50% of the reason you're "losing control." It takes two to tango. And the ump should never tango.



    My umpiring career sounds a lot like yours. I just kept doing it for a few more years at the end, since it really was fun and "easy" money until I sustained an injury.

    That said, I strongly dispute the idea that there's some correlation between "on field politeness" and "being a weak umpire." In fact, I always found that sanctioning a coach or player in my Most Polite Voice -- on top of a track record of being a very good ump who gets calls right -- was about 17000% more effective than any of my colleagues who would threaten or intimidate in response to a dispute. When the ump who never makes a scene tells you, quite respectfully but sternly, to shut the hell up or else, it works.

    But if you go looking for the fight, or facilitate the other guy's fight instead of shutting it down, that's where things get ugly and you have to toss somebody. And I have always tried to avoid tossing someone unless I thought I missed a call; if I know I'm right, why not let them make themsleves look stupid up to the point where they negatively impact the gameplay? I could explain this better, but it's 2am, and I was actually at the game today, and just got back home after a very long day...



    Yeah, but if you did the job well, who cares what they think? That's kind of the core of my point, and maybe we actually agree on the main point: SOMEbody can always find fault. But a lot of times, SOMEbody's opinion really doesn't matter, because they're wrong. This is why you don't have to umpire with an iron fist: unless you are thin-skinned drama queen, you don't have to ump every game like it's the 7th game of the World Series and you're some kind of delicate porcelian doll whose authority cannot ever be questioned.



    Again, we have "career" simiarlities. My brother actually went to the Wendelstat camp. Nothing came of it. I didn't even go. It does seem like thankless work where advancement is 80% politics and 20% performance. And even when you're "advancing," I think you have to put in at least 12-15 years in the minors, right?

    What's the youngest age where you can reach MLB? Anyone have that data? I think the dozen years of poverty-level work in the minors is a pretty big detriment to your more able umps... there might be some old school mind set that this is "paying your dues" and it's a character building experience, but c'mon: you've got an umpires' union that is protecting the jobs of tenured dimwits, so what capable young ump is gonna put up with the "due paying" when he's still got that hurdle at the end of his decade-long struggle?

    I digress. If I had a point, it was: "Umpiring isn't easy. But it's also not THAT hard, unless you're taking yourself and your job way too seriously." Or something like that....

    Rick
    Nice post Rick.

    I agree. If you call a good game and maintain a cool head and avoid the histrionics you will rarely have problems. And when you do have problems it will be obvious to almost everyone in attendance that the person arguing with you is in the wrong. If you respond to abuse with anger and authoritarianism you will look just as obnoxious as the person yelling at you.

    There are a huge number of excellent umpires out there and they are an extremely valuable asset to a well-run league. Unfortunately there are enough mean-spirited, power-hungry umpires out there to give the whole umpiring world a bad reputation. There is literally nothing that ruins the game more than a confrontational umpire on a power trip. They infuriate people and breed widespread distaste for umpires in general. A good umpire is a precious luxury. A bad umpire is a cancer.

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  3. #212
    Five Tool Fool jojo's Avatar
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    Re: The "age" of diva umpires

    An umpire who baits with his authority catches disagreeable fish.
    "This isnít stats vs scouts - this is stats and scouts working together, building an organization that blends the best of both worlds. This is the blueprint for how a baseball organization should be run. And, whether the baseball men of the 20th century like it or not, this is where baseball is going."---Dave Cameron, U.S.S. Mariner

  4. #213
    Beer is good!! George Anderson's Avatar
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    Re: The "age" of diva umpires

    Quote Originally Posted by AtomicDumpling View Post
    .

    I have umpired a few hundred baseball games. My dad was the president of the Little League association in the town I grew up in. It was hard to find umpires so I pretty much got drafted. I umpired games mostly for players of 10-16 years of age. It was an easy way to make a few bucks for beer money. I also did some beer league softball games and a whole bunch of school soccer games. I found umpiring and refereeing to be quite easy. Learn the rules (easy), learn where to be on the field (easy), learn to handle the game (easy) and you will be fine. There is no magic necessary. It is pretty basic stuff. I made my share of bad calls no doubt. But I very, very rarely had any problems with players or coaches or "fans". I was friendly, kept the games moving briskly, and didn't try to be a big-shot. I have never had a problem getting along with people in any walk of life, including umpiring. I could go back on the field now 20 years later and I would still be just fine, but I have zero desire to do so.

    Of all the various and sundry jobs and careers I have had in my life (quite a few), umpiring was probably the easiest of all of them. It was certainly much easier than learning to be a Chemist, Microbiologist, Auctioneer, website builder, magazine author, construction worker, landscaper, numismatist, Internet e-commerce business owner, computer builder and professional blogger. Umpiring was more challenging than package delivery driver, fast-food cook and lawn mowing. I have done all of those jobs professionally and some others too.

    .
    Did you ever stop to think having dad as the president of your Little League Association carried great weight with how the coaches treated you?

    I must say you are the first person who I have ever encountered that describered umpiring as pretty easy. I have worked with several first timers and I can never recall one who made such a statement especially walking off the field the first time. Nor have I ever heard of an umpire having an attitude of "if i am just a nice guy the coach will be a nice guy back". In my 16 years it is quite the opposite as Brutus has said.

    Regardless I guess not every person encounters the same situations so consider yourself unique.
    Last edited by George Anderson; 05-12-2013 at 08:49 AM.
    "Boys, I'm one of those umpires that misses 'em every once in a while so if it's close, you'd better hit it." Cal Hubbard

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  6. #214
    Beer is good!! George Anderson's Avatar
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    Re: The "age" of diva umpires

    Quote Originally Posted by FlightRick View Post



    I'll be the second person that states, that, then. If you do your job well, and augment that with some interpersonal skills, there will not be ugliness 99% of the time. Literally: I only got the "ugly" once per season if I rounded up.




    That said, I strongly dispute the idea that there's some correlation between "on field politeness" and "being a weak umpire." In fact, I always found that sanctioning a coach or player in my Most Polite Voice -- on top of a track record of being a very good ump who gets calls right -- was about 17000% more effective than any of my colleagues who would threaten or intimidate in response to a dispute. When the ump who never makes a scene tells you, quite respectfully but sternly, to shut the hell up or else, it works.


    Rick

    The thing I want to point out is even if you do your job perfectly atleast 99% of the time, you know as well as I do coaches and fans especially at the non professional level are pretty clueless alot of times and do not understand the rules or alot of times even how the game is played. So alot of times we can walk off the field and have a good feel that we worked a great game in fact even a 100% perfect game, the clueless coach who tried to tell us in the third inning that the hands were part of the bat cant wait to get on the phone to tell our assignors how bad we were. The problem is the coaches and fans definition of a 100% perfect game and ours is different. In fact both teams will want all the close calls going their way or there is no way the umpire worked a 100% perfect game and in fact they likely thought you were horrible. Bottom line is as umpires alot of times you cannot win, so we judge ourselves and not what others do because sadly they are horribly biased alot of times.

    When handling coaches I agree it is very important to keep calm, cool and professional. Acting any other way can escalate the situation and make things much worse. I agree threatening and intimidating will not get you far. However, also being a doormat to where you are walked all over to where it becomes a distraction to the game is much worse. You have to have a happy medium from being a doormat to a raging hardass.
    Last edited by George Anderson; 05-12-2013 at 08:51 AM.
    "Boys, I'm one of those umpires that misses 'em every once in a while so if it's close, you'd better hit it." Cal Hubbard

  7. #215
    Matt's Dad RANDY IN INDY's Avatar
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    Re: The "age" of diva umpires

    Had a couple of lousy calls in our Brownsburg Invitational, yesterday. Umpire called a kid out at first who obviously beat the throw at first. When the kid was headed back to the dugout, the umpire said, "You thought you were safe, didn't you? The kid said "Yes sir, I know I was safe, upon which the umpire started to explain how and why he made the call. "I thought that I heard the ball hit the glove before your foot hit the bag............." which obviously tells me that he knows he didn't get it right. Hey, they miss some. He was in perfect position. He just blew it.

    In spite of that, my son pitched and got the win in the championship game against arch rival Avon High School! It all worked out!
    Talent is God Given: be humble.
    Fame is man given: be thankful.
    Conceit is self given: be careful.

    John Wooden

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  9. #216
    Et tu, Brutus? Brutus's Avatar
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    Re: The "age" of diva umpires

    Quote Originally Posted by AtomicDumpling View Post
    There really is no good reason for you to continually and rudely comment on my personal opinions. Just state your sagely opinion on the multiple recent umpiring fiascos and try to avoid mischaracterizing my opinions.

    I do not have a problem with most umpires -- only the bad ones. That is what is obvious to everyone in this thread. You just want to claim that people who criticize a particular umpire or a particular call are ignorant or just hate umpires. Instead of attacking me why don't you just state your opinion and move on? Trying to deny me my right to have an opinion smacks of desperation on your part. You can't defeat my argument so you try to deny my right to speak.

    You can choose to believe I am lying about umpiring if you want. Not very classy, but you can say whatever you want. It doesn't bother me.

    I have umpired a few hundred baseball games. My dad was the president of the Little League association in the town I grew up in. It was hard to find umpires so I pretty much got drafted. I umpired games mostly for players of 10-16 years of age. It was an easy way to make a few bucks for beer money. I also did some beer league softball games and a whole bunch of school soccer games. I found umpiring and refereeing to be quite easy. Learn the rules (easy), learn where to be on the field (easy), learn to handle the game (easy) and you will be fine. There is no magic necessary. It is pretty basic stuff. I made my share of bad calls no doubt. But I very, very rarely had any problems with players or coaches or "fans". I was friendly, kept the games moving briskly, and didn't try to be a big-shot. I have never had a problem getting along with people in any walk of life, including umpiring. I could go back on the field now 20 years later and I would still be just fine, but I have zero desire to do so.

    Of all the various and sundry jobs and careers I have had in my life (quite a few), umpiring was probably the easiest of all of them. It was certainly much easier than learning to be a Chemist, Microbiologist, Auctioneer, website builder, magazine author, construction worker, landscaper, numismatist, Internet e-commerce business owner, computer builder and professional blogger. Umpiring was more challenging than package delivery driver, fast-food cook and lawn mowing. I have done all of those jobs professionally and some others too.

    I don't claim to be an expert on umpiring. I appreciate hearing the perspective of folks who are experienced umpires. However, I don't appreciate it when people who claim to be experienced umpires say that their opinion is perfect and nobody else has a right to disagree. This has happened several times in recent umpiring threads. Nobody here on Redszone is an umpiring God whose word is infallible. I have seen some ludicrous comments from some highly experienced umpires here on Redszone and I even pointed out a couple examples. The attitude that "I am right and you are wrong because I am an umpire and whatever I say goes" is exactly the same obnoxious behavior we see all the time from umpires on the field of play. It is patently obvious to everyone that umpires are not always right. Oftentimes they are wrong, sometimes embarrassingly wrong. Some umpires are better than others. Non-umpires have the right to comment and express their opinion regarding the performance of MLB umpires without being shouted down and insulted by people who umpire amateur baseball games.

    Umpiring can be a noble profession if a person is honest and non-confrontational. Unfortunately there is a large percentage of umpires who really don't have any business on a major league field because they can't control their emotions and/or because they abuse their authority. I will continue to believe that umpiring requires only some limited training and a thorough knowledge of the rulebook, but does not require any special talent or intellect. Most normal humans could be properly trained to become good umpires. There is no comparison between major league baseball players and umpires in terms of the rare talent and natural ability required to make it to the top of the game. Umpires can be fairly easily replaced, players not so much.
    I'm not denying you anything. I fully support your entitlement to an opinion just as I have a right to make light of your opinion for what it is. I just think you should own up to the opinion rather than running from it. If what you were saying about only disliking the "bad ones," then you haven't really clarified you're only talking about the bad ones. But seeing as how you have indeed made comments about how bad and egotistical umpires are, it seems you're not merely singling out the minority, as one would think most are doing a good job. But you don't even seem willing to acknowledge that.

    In any event, for someone so concerned with misconstruing the opinion of others, you seem to be doing the same. No one has said those who don't have umpiring experience don't have a right to an opinion. What HAS been said repeatedly is that people should temper their opinions without having the experience, training or knowledge of what it's like to do the job.

    Even the difference between Little/Pony leagues and legion ball is exponential. In the lower leagues, plays develop slower and the ball is coming across the plate at a speed that's easier to see and distinguish. At the higher levels, plays are bang-bang, 50/50 on the bases and the pitches are often coming across the plate at over 90 MPH, giving only a split second to recognize and make a judgment call of whether it passes through an imaginary plane. When it's down the middle, that's certainly "easy." But most pitches at this level are not of such variety. Most are around the knees or letters and on the corners.

    Now, if you think that's "easy," I truly mean it when I say you should really be making a living as a Major League umpire. Because you're a rare talent if that's easy to you. As I said earlier, umpiring is most definitely not complicated but it's not "easy." That feels like a disingenuous description in order to downplay the role/ability of umpires.

    Your use of the term "often" to describe them being wrong, though, is another comment that just illustrates the point. I mentioned that these umpires grade out, most of them, around 97-99% by the technology you have so strongly supported. Yet you just said they are "often wrong." Clearly that's not the case as evidenced by their grades.

    I stand behind what I say about being "nice" though. Being "nice" is just an invitation for coaches to have more wiggle room. That is absolutely true. You make them think you're nice and want to avoid confrontation at all costs, they WILL keep running their mouths, most of them. Some are truly nice guys that won't say boo. But generally speaking, being a nice guy won't stop them from being loudmouths. One shouldn't go into a game looking to be a hard(expletive), but they should most definitely be prepared to be stern as soon as coaches start chirping. If you don't nip it in the bud, it will not go away. And that's why umpires are the way they are. You almost have to carry a bit of a demonstrative, edge to you. That's the only way to keep the game under control.
    Last edited by Brutus; 05-12-2013 at 06:03 PM.
    "No matter how good you are, you're going to lose one-third of your games. No matter how bad you are you're going to win one-third of your games. It's the other third that makes the difference." ~Tommy Lasorda

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  11. #217
    Et tu, Brutus? Brutus's Avatar
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    Re: The "age" of diva umpires

    Quote Originally Posted by FlightRick View Post

    Yeah, but if you did the job well, who cares what they think? That's kind of the core of my point, and maybe we actually agree on the main point: SOMEbody can always find fault. But a lot of times, SOMEbody's opinion really doesn't matter, because they're wrong. This is why you don't have to umpire with an iron fist: unless you are thin-skinned drama queen, you don't have to ump every game like it's the 7th game of the World Series and you're some kind of delicate porcelian doll whose authority cannot ever be questioned.
    This whole debate centers around whether people think umpires are doing a good job. So clearly what people "think" is relevant. The grading system that grades umpires say that umpires generally get over 95% of the calls correct. Yet no matter how good 95% is, people are spinning this like it's easy so therefore a chimp could get 95% correct. So what's reality? What people *think* or what is actually true? The truth is umpires do a good job at this level in terms of accuracy. But people still perceive them doing a poor job. That fact that people are making umpires an issue despite said accuracy is proof that apparently it does matter.

    Thing is, most umpires don't umpire with an iron fist. When coaches start chirping and continue harping on calls, that's when umpires usually raise their voices and warn them. You yourself admitted that you usually had to give a "stern" warning to coaches to get them to stop. That's the whole point. You have to drop the nice guy act and be a little strong with your words and mannerisms in order to get them to pipe down. But people are criticizing umpires here for yelling because it comes across as egotistical.

    I've seen these words/phrases here to describe these umpires:

    "Big shot"
    "power-hungry"
    "confrontational"
    "egotistical"

    It seems being stern, authoritative and yelling back is being equated to something far more.
    "No matter how good you are, you're going to lose one-third of your games. No matter how bad you are you're going to win one-third of your games. It's the other third that makes the difference." ~Tommy Lasorda

  12. #218
    The Big Dog mth123's Avatar
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    Re: The "age" of diva umpires

    Quote Originally Posted by Brutus View Post
    It seems being stern, authoritative and yelling back is being equated to something far more.
    This is a fallacy and it's not what we're talking about.

    If a guy is in the umps face, he should be stern, authoritative and if he must, yell back.

    What we've seen in a week's worth of incidents:

    An ump chasing a player back to the bench to continue the argument. The ump's call in that situation should be "play ball." Nothing authoritative about continuing the argument on the umps part. The player was off the field and there was nothing stopping the game from moving forward other than the ump.

    An ump making a mocking gesture toward a player who was showing frustration and then throwing that player out when he threw his helmet down. Nothing authoritative there. Looked like a guy who got his little feelings hurt and reacted based on that. Wah, wah, wah!

    A team of umps ignoring the evidence that the replay, that the games powers have provided for in the rules (not just one, but all four???), clearly showed. If four umps really missed that, they must be horrible umps. Either way, they look horrible.

    Another team of umps not knowing the rules.

    None of these are examples of a guy missing a "bang-bang" play or an ump being authoritative. Continuing arguments and acting as the instigator, mocking, ignoring the rules and not knowing the rules. Fans have a gripe and the umps need to improve.

    This isn't about the calls, whether its true or not, it appears that these umps think they are above it all. Three of these incidents are examples of umps misbehaving, and appear to be abusing their authority IMO. In the case of not knowing the rules, it's just kind of pathetic.

    Some of these guys make over $350K per season. Baseball can't expect perfection, but for that kind of money, there should be a standard for on-field behavior. Chasing after an argument, mocking gestures, and other such behavior should be strictly out of bounds and they don't really need multiple chances IMO and when a guy is being paid to enforce the rules of the game, there simply isn't an excuse for not knowing them (or ignoring them as I believe was the case in the replay). It's a joke. The pitching change rule isn't exactly obscure.
    Last edited by mth123; 05-12-2013 at 06:58 PM.
    "All I can tell them is pick a good one and sock it." --BABE RUTH

    Having better players makes "the right time" or "the big hit" happen a lot more often. PLUS PLUS

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  14. #219
    Beer is good!! George Anderson's Avatar
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    Re: The "age" of diva umpires

    Quote Originally Posted by mth123 View Post

    An ump chasing a player back to the bench to continue the argument. The ump's call in that situation should be "play ball." Nothing authoritative about continuing the argument on the umps part. The player was off the field and there was nothing stopping the game from moving forward other than the ump.

    An ump making a mocking gesture toward a player who was showing frustration and then throwing that player out when he threw his helmet down. Nothing authoritative there. Looked like a guy who got his little feelings hurt and reacted based on that. Wah, wah, wah!

    .
    Keep in mind in both these instances the players could have been automatically ejected as per the rule book for their behavior. As I have stated before, the umpires were the good guys here and practiced "preventive umpiring" by trying to diffuse a situation to keep them in the game. If your part of the crowd that doesn't appreciate this kind gesture on the part of the umpires then lets return to the old days where the players were dumped immediately without warning, no questions asked.
    "Boys, I'm one of those umpires that misses 'em every once in a while so if it's close, you'd better hit it." Cal Hubbard

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    The Big Dog mth123's Avatar
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    Re: The "age" of diva umpires

    Quote Originally Posted by George Anderson View Post
    Keep in mind in both these instances the players could have been automatically ejected as per the rule book for their behavior. As I have stated before, the umpires were the good guys here and practiced "preventive umpiring" by trying to diffuse a situation to keep them in the game. If your part of the crowd that doesn't appreciate this kind gesture on the part of the umpires then lets return to the old days where the players were dumped immediately without warning, no questions asked.
    I'd prefer they just eject them and avoid the theatrics then. I think the automatic ejection for arguing balls and strikes is kind of weak and intended as a weapon that the ump can use to nip extended arguments in the bud and not so much that it should be automatic. With that in mind, when the umpire is the one taking the argument to the player, it kind of defeats the purpose of the whole thing and its certainly not nipping anything in the bud.

    If the ump isn't going to be satisfied until he provokes the situation to its conclusion (which is the ejection) then just eject the guy and get it over with.
    "All I can tell them is pick a good one and sock it." --BABE RUTH

    Having better players makes "the right time" or "the big hit" happen a lot more often. PLUS PLUS

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    Five Tool Fool jojo's Avatar
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    Re: The "age" of diva umpires

    Quote Originally Posted by George Anderson View Post
    Keep in mind in both these instances the players could have been automatically ejected as per the rule book for their behavior. As I have stated before, the umpires were the good guys here and practiced "preventive umpiring" by trying to diffuse a situation to keep them in the game. If your part of the crowd that doesn't appreciate this kind gesture on the part of the umpires then lets return to the old days where the players were dumped immediately without warning, no questions asked.
    The good guy arguement doesn't hold when the league hands down fines. Sorry, but the Hallions aren't being good guys as per the ultimate authority on umping decor-their employer.
    "This isnít stats vs scouts - this is stats and scouts working together, building an organization that blends the best of both worlds. This is the blueprint for how a baseball organization should be run. And, whether the baseball men of the 20th century like it or not, this is where baseball is going."---Dave Cameron, U.S.S. Mariner

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    Beer is good!! George Anderson's Avatar
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    Re: The "age" of diva umpires

    Quote Originally Posted by jojo View Post
    The good guy arguement doesn't hold when the league hands down fines. Sorry, but the Hallions aren't being good guys as per the ultimate authority on umping decor-their employer.
    Understand.

    Hopefully Tom Hallion learns his lesson and just ejects next time.

    It will be cheaper on his pocket book.
    "Boys, I'm one of those umpires that misses 'em every once in a while so if it's close, you'd better hit it." Cal Hubbard

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    The Big Dog mth123's Avatar
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    Re: The "age" of diva umpires

    Quote Originally Posted by George Anderson View Post
    Understand.

    Hopefully Tom Hallion learns his lesson and just ejects next time.

    It will be cheaper on his pocket book.
    I much prefer that to the ump pursuing the argument which, short of the player dropping to his knees and kissing the umps ring, is just going to end with the player being ejected anyway. Portray that as the ump being nice all you want, but from here it looks like a petty case of little man's syndrome where the ump had already made up his mind but wanted to show the world who is boss.
    "All I can tell them is pick a good one and sock it." --BABE RUTH

    Having better players makes "the right time" or "the big hit" happen a lot more often. PLUS PLUS

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  21. #224
    Where's my chair? REDREAD's Avatar
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    Re: The "age" of diva umpires

    Quote Originally Posted by NebraskaRed View Post
    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?...s_mlb&c_id=mlb

    Suspended and fined.

    When's the last time an entire crew was penalized in this way?
    This is awesome. Great job by Bud Selig or whoever made this decision.
    No excuse for the umps blowing this. None at all.
    No 'human element' involved at all. Just incompetence.
    (This was the incident where the pitcher did not face one batter and the umps allowed a sub)
    Thank you Walt and Bob for going for it in 2010-2014!

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    Where's my chair? REDREAD's Avatar
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    Re: The "age" of diva umpires

    Quote Originally Posted by George Anderson View Post
    I would love to see the racial quota sytem and the priority given to relatives system taken away. Hunter Wendlestedt, Brian Runge and Brian Gorman all got to where they are likely because if their dads and lets not kids ourselves and think for a minute if CB Bucknor or Kerwin Danley had a different skin color that they would be MLB umpires.
    Wow, that's a serious comment.
    Are you saying that Bucknor or Danley are unfit? That they only have their jobs because of their race? (I honestly don't know what their race is, as I don't follow umpires that closely)

    If you feel those 5 umps are incompetent, what should be done?

    I am just curious what you think on this.. Not trying to argue a point.
    Thank you Walt and Bob for going for it in 2010-2014!

    Nov. 13, 2007: One of the greatest days in Reds history: John Allen gets the boot!


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