July 4 - Yo, Ump!!!!
It happens far too often, it seems.
An umpire makes a borderline call, a questionable judgment, or a baseless threat, and a simple
disagreement spirals out of control.
Before one can blink, there are ejections, suspensions, fines, and bad feelings all around – all over a
bad call that should have ended where it was made.
Whether it started with the umpires being their own entity instead of being “controlled” by MLB, the
highlights of ejections – and the ensuing arguments – being featured on ESPN, or whatever other
catalyst, the issue is out of control.
I have seen all sides of the argument. I have been the wronged player, the angry coach, and the
defensive umpire. I have ejected a coach, and have reached the verge of ejection myself on many
occasions. I never felt particularly good about any of it, and I never felt that an ejection proved any more
effective than a simple argument.
The main issue at hand is that the umpire is losing sight of his role. The umpire is an arbiter, a kind of
judge on the field. The coach or player, meanwhile, is the attorney, who has the decision handed down
to him. A judge would never walk down from the bench and get in an attorney's face to complain of
being shown up if an attorney questioned his decision. However, today's umpire feels that he is
completely beyond reproach, which incites a lot of the on-field problems we see.
An ejection should be the last resort, the final choice to end a situation that can be resolved in no other
fashion. An umpire who makes a questionable decision needs to let the person against whom it is
rendered have his say, hear him out, and be non-confrontational. If the person arguing does not curse
the umpire or get personal, let him vent, and let it end there.
Listen up, blue. The game's not about you. You should never make SportsCenter. You should never
get mentioned on sports talk radio.
If it's glory and highlights you seek, go learn to hit a curveball.