We're only two days into the postseason, and already everybody is talking about how terrible the umpiring has been. The missed check-swing in the Tampa Bay game, the Berkman third-strike-ball and, most importantly, the Buster Posey not-caught-stealing in the Giants 1-0 victory over the Braves - those were all in yesterday's games alone!
I don't disagree with any of these complaints. All of those calls were egregiously wrong (though two of them wouldn't be a topic today if not for the next pitch) and deserving of attention. The Posey call, after all, led directly to the only run of the game and essentially gave the Giants the victory. Braves fans have every right to be upset.
These complaints do remind me of last October, though, when the poor umpiring was the story again. I wrote a post then reminding everybody that, as poor as umpiring is these days, this isn't exactly new. Now, that's not an excuse for the umps to continue to perform poorly; it absolutely isn't. I just wanted people to realize that we aren't seeing anything worse than we have before. I'm re-posting that article (originally found here) below:
There's plenty of talk today, as there has been all month, about the poor umpiring in these playoffs. In last night's Game 2, we saw Ryan Howard pull off a 3-4 double play after the first base umpire Brian Gorman incorrectly said that Howard caught the ball on the fly. Replays seemed to show that the ball took an oh-so-small short-hop into the mitt, but Gorman wasn't in the best position to see it. It was a tough call and one that you can't really fault the umpire for, but it was wrong all the same.
And it was exacerbated the next inning, with the Phillies up to bat. Chase Utley grounded the ball to second and, after Cano and Jeter did an excellent job turning a tough relay to get the lead runner out, he was called out at first by Gorman for the double-play. Replays were much more conclusive on this one, and Utley was clearly safe. Many people, Phillies and Yankees fans alike, had no choice but to wonder if it was a "make-up call" by Gorman (don't believe me? Twitter will vouch for that.)
So, considering all of that, this quote doesn't seem too far-fetched:
Whatever else this World Series is remembered for, it will be remembered for the uneven quality of its justice. As in previous Series, plenty of solid work was turned in behind the plate and on the basepaths. But in this one, much of it was undone by a few fateful blinks of the eye.
Okay, maybe it's not 100% true, but it's pretty close. And since it's a column from 1992 (by Jim Litke), when the Blue Jays were busy winning their first of two back-to-back championships, I think that's understandable. The point here is that, while it may seem like the umpires are worse this year than they've ever been, it's really hard to say if that's true. Umpires have been blowing calls on the big stage for years, for decades. More from the article:
(Click "Read More" to continue reading.)