Entries Tagged as 'umpires'

Former ump wins medical settlement

From Law Firm News Wire, former MLB umpire Mark Hirschbeck won a settlement from Wright Medical Technology for a faulty hip device that was placed inside him.  The device was shown to have a faulty defect.

a month after surgery, as Hirschbeck was at home watching TV, he heard a pop. Reports show that the ceramic hip had exploded. The former ump later found out that Wright had paid thousands of dollars to a foundation that Keggi helped run and also doled out a trip to a Bahamas conference for him. Many surgeries, and even a hip infection, left Hirschbeck permanently disabled and unable to be in the sport in which he loved officiating.

Mark Hirschbeck umpired in the majors for 15 and was one of the umpires in the 2001 World Series.

Listening to an Umpire

My buddy Todd, the umpire, may not realize it but I actually learn a few things from him. 

MLB keeps Joyce quiet for Tiger reunion

It is apparently big news that umpire Jim Joyce has to have his interviews approved by MLB.

This news comes in time for Joyce’s return to Detroit’s Comerica Park and his reunion with Armando Galarraga whose perfect game he bumbled earlier this year. 

USA Today Sports’ headline really puts the clamp-down on MLB officials.  “Umpire Jim Joyce muzzled by MLB over Armando Galarraga reunion”, it says.  For a second or two, it even got my blood boiling.  Then, I realized it was pretty much standard operating procedure for baseball employees whether they be players, umpires coaches or managers.  Unless you’re Ozzie Guillen, most statements to the press need to go through a PR person who is sanctioned by MLB.

I don’t like it but that’s how it goes.  It should be any surprise to anyone that MLB is still doing damage control. 

They did take the muzzle off Joyce briefly so he could talk to the press about NOT talking to the press:

“You know me — I’d normally do it in a heartbeat," Joyce said about 90 minutes before Friday’s game between Detroit and Baltimore. "But I got a call yesterday from Major League Baseball saying that I’m under restriction, and that all interview requests have to be approved by them."

Wait for Joyce’s auto-biography.  We’ll hear all about it then.

Are sports’ officiators losing their hold of the game?

91px-Billklem At the risk of sounding like old man played by Dana Carvey on SNL it didn’t used be like this.  We watched our sports and took it like a man. 

Bill Klem, a Hall of Fame umpire who worked the game for 37 years, was known for saying, It ain’t nothin’ till I call it”.  Not anymore.  Everything is held in the court of public opinion and if the public is lucky, that will sway the sports’ organizations decisions. 

Just in the past month, we’ve had some close calls.  Baseball fans are going mental calling for the reversal of Jim Joyce’s last call of Armando Galaraga’s near perfect game.  (I don’t agree with Bud very often but I’ve come around to his thinking on this.  Can you imagine the precedent this would set?)

Earlier this month, umps at the Women’s Softball College World Series were called into question a couple of times… enough that it was brought up in the media.

And now during the 2010 World Cup (after USA’s unfortunate departure), FIFA is coming under fire for their officiating.  Guess what?  They’re now considering high-tech solutions to solve their problems. 

So either a) officiators are somehow getting worse, b) the fans are getting more picky about their officiating, or c) the media doesn’t have anything better to cover.

My guess is that it’s a combination of b and c.

Quite simply, what’s happening now is that the men in blue are stuck in an era where there have been some high profile missed calls.  As a result, the spotlight is on them where is shouldn’t be.  You know an umpire is doing a good job when you don’t remember him and can’t recall his name.  THEN he’s doing his job. 

Now however, this issue is stuck in neutral and everyone is looking for the umpire to make a mistake.  And when he does, here come the typical articles in press/blogosphere… “SEE SEE!! We need to institute/expand instant replay!!”.

As I feel with most things in life, baseball should not make snap decisions based on high profile mistakes or media-driven policy. 

To me, it ain’t nothin till an ump calls it.

Joyce voted best ump by players

Umpire Jim Joyce’s fateful call that blew Armando Galarraga’s perfect game on June 2 has most likely landed him on most top ten lists of Worst Calls by a sporting official.  However, that didn’t stop the players from voting him as baseball’s best umpire.

I’m a skeptical guy by nature, never accepting anything at face value.  Knowing this vote took place after the perfecto debacle, I have to think that one of these statements is true:

  1. The players decided to band together and show true support for a good umpire who is going through a hard time because of a very bad call he made. 
  2. A majority of players do really believe that Jim Joyce is the truly the best umpire out there regardless of the mistake he made.

I’m not in favor of skewing results of polls, surveys and such to push an agenda even if it seems a noble one but such as it is.  The truth is, Joyce has been around since 1987 and is considered one of the best.  He’s officiated one All-Star game, six Division Series, three League Championship Series and two World Series.  In short, he’s a seasoned veteran.

Consistent with their support of Joyce, an overwhelming 86% felt that the play at first base during Galarraga’s perfect game should NOT be overturned. 

Really?  I mean I can see the argument for either side but 86%!?

Other Results

The survey that the players took (100 players participated confidentially) had some other interesting results.  The worst umps?  CB Bucknor and Joe West.  West’s bad grade may be because he was also rated as having the “quickest hook”. 

Overall, the players weren’t so hot on the idea of instant replay.  On fair vs foul calls, only 36% were in favor.  When asked about replay for baserunning plays, it went down to 22%.