Thursday, June 3, 2010

Dear Mr. Commissioner

To Mr. Alan H. "Bud" Selig, Commissioner of Baseball,

Hey Bud. How are you doing?  Fancy a chat about the current situation of the umpires in your league, Major League Baseball?

No Chat?

How about some criticism or ways to improve the current situation.

First let's refresh your memory of everything that's happened regarding your umpires over the past month alone.

It all started in Chicago.  The White Sox were playing the Cleveland Indians.  Chicago Ace Mark Buehrle was called for a balk in the first inning, a feat that is rarely, if ever called on Buehrle.  Who made that call?

Everybody's favorite umpire, Joe West.  Now you may recall West's comments at the beginning of the season about the Yankees-Red Sox, the two biggest revenue-generating teams in your leauge.

Anyways back to Chicago.  Following the first balk, Ozzie Guillen, the White Sox manager came out to argue the call and was then tossed from the game, though not a shock to anyone.

Two innings later Buehrle was called for another balk.  He then tossed his glove in disgust with West's call and was then tossed from the game.  Funny thing is, Buehrle never actually committed a balk on either condition.  Major League Baseball is supposedly "investigating" the incident.  We still haven't heard what's going on with that situation.

The second major incident happened Memorial Day weekend in Texas.  In a game between the Houston Astros and the Washington Nationals, another umpire committed a major blunder. Astros ace, Roy Oswalt was displeased with the way one of his pitches was called in the third inning.  Oswalt felt he threw a strike but his pitch was called a ball.  Oswalt then yelled something towards the first baseline.

Home plate umpire Bill Hohn asked him what he said.  Oswalt replied "I aint talking to you".  And then Hohn lost his cool and tossed Oswalt.  No explanation was given to Oswalt's ejection.  It almost seemed like Hohn was actually jealous of Oswalt's popularity and wanted a piece of the spotlight himself.

And finally we come to the BIGGEST blunder of them all.

We all know the story by now but here you go Selig, just so you can ponder how to "fix" the situation, although I don't know if that's possible.

Tigers stater Armando Galarraga had a perfect game through 8 2/3 innings.  He appeared to get the final out of the game on a ground ball to the hole between first and second.  The throw clearly beat the runner, even to the naked eye.

Umpire Jim Joyce made a mistake which after the game he admitted to.  The Tigers handled the situation with class and claimed Galarraga still had a perfect game in their eyes.  Galarraga and manager Jim Leyland did not blame Joyce but still wishes the call went the other way.  The only problem is in the record books he doesn't.  Joyce later apologized to the Tigers.  Here's what he said after the game.
"I just cost that kid a perfect game,'' Joyce said. "I thought he beat the throw. I was convinced he beat the throw, until I saw the replay.''
"It was the biggest call of my career,'' said Joyce.
Now Mr. Selig, you have one of the last biggest tasks of your career to take care of before you retire.
What to do with this situation?  Many believe you should overturn the call and give Galarraga the perfect game. 
The only problem with that is where does it stop?  Will everyone get to appeal plays they know are wrong only after seeing instant replay? 
Here's my solution to fix the situation we have brewing with the umpires.
First, find some new umpires.  Many of the umpires that we have now in the league have been around since dinosaurs roamed the earth.  Bring in new umpires.  Fresh young eyes in the game could make a huge difference.  
Plus this way we can get rid of the ones who like to complain like cowboy Joe West. 
Second, regarding instant replay.  Don't allow it!  Keep it the way it is by only allowing it for home runs.  Let's face it baseball games are already long enough, we don't need another 10 minutes added on to each reviewed call.  One of the greatest things about baseball is it's an all or nothing call live on the field.  If a mistake happens, the players have the ability to work around the calls on the field.  
Finally, have a talk with the umpires and remind them that the fans pay to see the players on the field, not the umpires.  Sometimes the umpires get a little to caught up in themselves (West and Hohn) and don't remember that people pay money to see people like Buehrle and Oswalt pitch.  
So Bud you have a lot of work to do.  Get to work and come up with a solution fast!

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