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Don't kill the umpire, just get better!

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NLDS Phillies Rockies Baseb.jpg
Sun-Times sports writer/editor Daryl Van Schouwen checks in with this umpire rant:

There has been plenty of discussion lately, stemming from the run of blown calls by major league umps in the playoffs, about using replay in baseball.
Forget replay. How about this for a solution: Just get better. Just do a better job. Try to be above average.

Perfection? Not required or expected. There will always be human error by umpires, players and managers. It's part of the game, not an altogether endearing one, but hey, that's sports as we love them. As one who grew up watching baseball in the 1960s and 70s, covered major league baseball for the Sun-Times during the 1990s and continue to watch closely now, there is no doubt in my mind that umpires were better in the Doug Harvey/Satch Davidson era. Certainly on balls and strikes. I love TBS' pitch tracker, which confirms to all of us with two working eyes what we've known for a long time: There aren't many real good balls-and-strikes umps out there. Most of them expand the zone on both sides of the plate. The only thing consistent about their strike zone is the inconsistency. How about calling a ball a ball and a strike a strike?
What's even more galling about umpires is, despite their standard of mediocrity, they have the gall to be arrogant and confrontational. Sorry, Cowboy Joe West, you are not good enough to be arrogant and confrontational.
Back in the day, when umps were better and fans actually could identify some of them by name, it was customary for fans to greet them with a smattering of boos as they gathered around the plate to go over the ground rules. In large put, they were good-natured jabs.
Fans don't do that any more. But they should. These guys actually deserve it.

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1 Comment

By Marty Martel on October 13, 2009 6:36 PM

I have known Joe West for almost 40 years, but I have also known Bruce Froemming,Dick Stello,John Kibler,John McSherry and several others, and I have not seen many games where any of the ones I HAVE MENTIONED made bad calls,and I am a passionate sports fan. Passionate enough to know that people make mistakes.
Hey Dan, why don't you get behind the plate during spring training and give it a try with everyone knowing who you are and you consider yourself to be a sports writer, and then judge the umpires after you have walked in their shoes for maybe 3 innings. If you are like most other sports writers, you are looking for something to write that is confrontational because the bandwagon on umpires is loaded with "I think I could do better, Get rid of the bums,"and anything else that you can and will write about to use the media for your own personal platform to crucify the umpires. Sure they make bad calls, but you are not the perfect writer. I guess if Obama can win the Nobel Peace Prize for nothing, then you should be in line to win a prize of some kind for your "unbiased" thinking of what umpire's should do. As long as there is baseball game,there will always be umpires, and there will always be a fan or writer who hollers, "KILL THE UMPIRE,"so in the meantime, get in touch with Joe West and ask him if you can attend an umpire's school, and if you would be allowed to be an "Umpire For The Day" during spring training-then write your story about umpires.
Umpires probably should have access on a constant basis when there is a call that is questionable, but each umpire has eyes of his own that do not belong to anyone but him, so his judgement on the balls and strikes or calls on the base paths are his judgement, not yours. But of course all of you writers use the video replay to tell your story on how bad the umpires are.
SO LET'S JUST LEAVE IT AT-"DON'T KILL THE SPORTS WRITERS, JUST MAKE THEM GET BETTER AND MAKE THEM WRITE WITH PASSION AND TRUTH," DON'T USE YOUR MEDIA CREDENTIALS FOR YOUR OWN PERSONAL BATTLEGROUND. LASTLY, DID YOU MAKE ANY MISTAKES IN YOUR JUDGEMENT CALLS LATELY.

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This page contains a single entry by Dan Cahill published on October 13, 2009 2:10 PM.

Ernie Banks talks baseball, his life and the Nobel Peace Prize was the previous entry in this blog.

John Wooden turns 99; Is he the greatest coach ever? is the next entry in this blog.

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