Thursday, May 09, 2013

No More Clevelands

There are two possible conclusions that can be drawn from last night's umpiring fiasco in Cleveland, and they are predicated on whether or not umpiring crew chief Angel Hernandez is full of it. Hernandez, partially off the record, said that the replay they had of Josh Donaldson's home-run-that-was-ruled-a-double was inconclusive, and privately grumbled to Jayson Stark that the equipment the umps have for doing instant replay reviews is subpar for the job.
If Hernandez is full of it - and he does  not exactly have a spotless track record - then he deliberately sandbagged the call because he didn't want to be overturned by replay. That's unacceptable professional behavior and baseball shouldn't put up with it. Fans come to the ballpark expecting to see a fair contest, millions of dollars are on the line with playoff spots, and having a team's fate hinge on a case of "Idowanna" makes no sense. So someone needs to get in there, see the replays that Hernandez and his crew saw, and determine if they were actually good enough to show what happened.
If, on the other hand, Hernandez is telling the truth and the equipment was subpar - worse angles than the TV cameras and worse equipment to view it on - then this is also unacceptable. If umps are making calls that decide the outcomes of games on 17" black and white Zeniths with rabbit ears, that needs to stop right now. MLB can pay for one less "surprise appearance" by Puddle of Mudd at the MLB Fan Cave, rip a few of those flatscreens off the wall, and distribute them to the umpires' clubhouses so they can get the goddamn calls right.
It isn't hard, people. One thing or the other has to stop. Figure out which and do it.
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