Heckling umpires has been part of the fabric of baseball since the origin of the game. An umpire’s job is to essentially give his opinion on every pitch of the game and as the we know all too well, opinions are like assholes…
The proximity of the stands to the field affords fans a unique opportunity to voice those differing opinions directly to the umpire. Sometimes it can be entertaining when a particularly creative wordsmith latches on to an ump like a dog on a bone. Sometimes it’s just annoying. But it’s part of the umpire’s job to stand there take it.
During Tuesday night’s Giants-Phillies game at Citizens Bank Park, home plate umpire Bob Davidson couldn’t take it and failed at his job when he stopped the game to eject a heckler for repeatedly yelling “you suck!” at him. Sure, the fan was obnoxious (as most Philadelphia fans are), but there were no reports he used any profanities. Regardless, it’s security’s job to monitor the situation and take action if necessary, not Davidson’s.
This is a symptom of a larger, growing problem commonly referred to as the ‘ump show’ on Twitter where umpires’ egos get in the way of the game thinking people are there just to see them. Far too often, we’ve seen thin-skinned umpires instigating fights with players and managers just to assert their authority.
Between this trend and how high-definition TV, instant replay, and pitch tracking graphics have exposed how bad they are at their jobs, I’m beginning to believe we should start limiting the umpire’s influence on the game and turn more of it over to impartial, emotionless technology.
But that’s a subject for another day. For today, Bob Davidson is an asshole.