Baseball needs to upgrade Umpires NOW!

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                       MLB Umpire Foster

MLB’s reputation has taken major hits from the steroid scandal, missing the playoffs because of a strike and leadership of the some times blind but always intellectually challenged Bud Selig. But there is a bigger problem with the game—the ineptness of some of its umpires.

Umpire Marty Foster covered 3rd base last night sort of. At least he was paid to do that. In the first inning he called Derek Jeter attempting to steal 3rd. The ball got there in time but Jeter was never tagged. Jeter complained to Foster and was reportedly told that he didn’t have to be tagged to be out. When Jeter told Yankee manager Joe Girardi what Foster had said, Girardi exploded and got thrown out of the game for arguing the call. Maybe someone should buy Foster a copy of the MLB rule book. Even if they did, I doubt he would read it.

The umpires were already under the gun for inaccurate ball and strike counts. New technology has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that umpires are not able to tell a strike from a ground hog. Baseball has always said that it can live with a wider than legal strike zone as long as the calls are consistent for both sides. But the only consistency is how inconsistent the calls are. The union is fighting any use of instant replay including the limited use now approved. They want to keep the ineptness of their members a secret. But we all know they are inept. The sport needs instant replay to correct the most egregious mistakes.

The umpires are above criticism by players, team managers, and owners. Baseball fines and can suspend those individuals for saying anything negative about the boys in blue. Fortunately, there is nothing that the union can do to me. Unfortunately, there is very little I can do to the union as well.

If baseball ever wants to convince people like me that the game is fair, it is going to have to use instant replay to eliminate the stupidity and bumbling calls of their umpires. Balls and strikes need to be called mechanically. The existing technology can do that as fast as the umpire behind the plate but with total accuracy. Errors in calls on the bases need to be corrected real time as well.

The game deserves better. The players that work so hard hopefully with out the assistance of steroids deserve better. Most of all, the fans that pay to see the travesty laughingly referred to as MLB and those that buy the products that support the game deserve it as well. Unfortunately for all those people, the Umpire Union is so strong that instant replay will never be used beyond those approved now. In fact, look for the union to negotiate that use out of their next contract.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits He has also published several novels on and edits .

Technorati Tags: Foster,Jeter,Yankees,Girardi,Umpires,Selig,union technology,instant replay
Baseball needs to upgrade Umpires NOW! by
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4 Responses to “Baseball needs to upgrade Umpires NOW!”

  1. UFC 100 odds
    on Jul 8th, 2009
    @ 4:53 pm

    Baseball is so old school when it comes to umpiring and technology. It would be easier if they had a machine that called balls and strikes

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  2. Drug Free
    on Jul 21st, 2009
    @ 1:00 pm

    They should put some CCTV’s in the field to help the umpire.

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  3. Element Search and Win
    on Jul 23rd, 2009
    @ 11:33 am

    Instant replay has been added to so many sports that I can’t believe that baseball is so slow to react to this trend. Sports need to be 100% fair otherwise they will lose a lot of loyal supporters.

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  4. paper shredders
    on Sep 5th, 2009
    @ 1:37 am

    Sometime the umpire is always be the victim.
    .-= paper shredders´s last blog ..Paper Shredding =-.

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