Six Blind Mice

>> Friday, October 09, 2009

When I posted about the latest Twins choke against the Yankees below, I wasn't even aware of Phil Cuzzi's attempts to resemble a major league umpire. Which reminds me that I meant to quote Joe Sheehan:

Inge also made some very strong defensive plays in the game, and had home-plate umpire Randy Marsh correctly called a hit-by-pitch on Inge in the 12th—the ball brushed his jersey, just barely hitting him, but by rule hitting him—Inge might well have been a hero.

As is so often the case these days, you cannot write about a big baseball game without using an umpire’s name. Marsh blew that call, which would have given the Tigers a lead. He just missed it, and the ridiculous justification offered by the announcers for it, "letting the batter decide the game," was embarrassing. Eventually, you have to publicly shame umpires for their incompetence, or they’ll go on being incompetent. Marsh also made an ungodly bad call on a 2-2 pitch to Placido Polanco in the ninth inning, getting fooled by a breaking ball and giving Joe Nathan a key third strike. We can argue about whether he missed the play at the plate on Casilla as well, but the Inge and Polanco calls were more than enough bad to make Marsh the game’s goat. I fear we’re in for yet another month of fail from the arbiters.

I bring this up in part because I want to make clear that I'm not bringing this up to whine as a Yankees-hater. As far as I'm concerned, the Twins have absolutely nothing to complain about: they benefited from two crucial and abjectly horrible calls in the playoff, even after the blown call on Mauer they still had the bases loaded none out in the 11th and couldn't get even one run off a very hittable reliever, and they wouldn't have even been in the position if their All-star closer hasn't served up a tasty meatball with a two-run lead in that ninth.

The problem isn't that Cuzzi's call helped the Yankees. The problem is that it was amateurish, absolutely unacceptable in a major league umpire, and we get way too much of this when the umpiring is supposed to be at its best.

...putting the responsibility where it belongs.


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