I’d like to thank Facebook for bringing some excitement back into the Crosstown Classic for me on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, as I shared friendly jabs with Cubs’ fans throughout both games. One of my posts that started a good thread was what turned out to be a blown call and the ejection of Ozzie Guillen in the sixth inning of game two. Smitty and Cubby buddy Craig both decided the ball was fair based on comments made by the Sox radio crew (not the brightest group) and the Cubs television broadcast on Comcast that evening (how many games has Len Casper played in?)
I found video of what they showed on WGN that evening and it clearly shows Geovany Soto picking the ball up behind home plate which you can see in the still I’ve provided above. One of the reasons we know the ball is not touching home plate is because you can see home plate where the ball is when Soto picks it up, thus meaning it must be behind the plate. The other problem with the situation is the ump could not see anything to make the call because Soto was blocking his view, so why not ask for some help? I think that’s my biggest issue with the whole thing, there’s no way the ump could have seen where Soto picked the ball up from his angle so how can he make the call.
A conference between umpires would not have guaranteed a correct call, but an effort should have been made to consult the first and third base umpires in this type of situation. It’s clear from the picture above that the call was blown, but what can you do? I’m writing about this two days later because I believe there needs to be stricter rules for umpires in regards to performance and its effect on the game. I’ve seen a steady decline in umpiring over the last five years, and the fact we know so many umpires by name is a problem.
It’s almost like the umpires want to share the limelight with the players. Between blown calls and inconsistent strike zones that are now exposed thanks to pitch tracking software during most games, it’s frustrating for fans as well as players. The players are out there having two pitches in the same spot getting two different calls, not good. I would impose fines on umpires when situations are not handled properly, as well as, random fining for not calling a good game behind the plate or a restriction from home plate umpiring for an extended period of time. Something needs to be done and it needs to happen soon.