Monday, May 14, 2007

Good teams get the calls

This came up in Dejan Kovacevic's chat:

Vito_Jr: Doesn't it seem like the Pirates are the vicitims of bad calls every night? Take Friday for instance. How is interference not called on Chipper Jones at 3rd base?

Dejan Kovacevic: Good teams get the calls. True in every sport. When the Pirates get good, they will get calls. One does not come before the other.

I've been meaning to comment on this.

As someone who watches or listens to a lot of Pirate baseball, I've gotten the strong impression the last year or two that the umps despise the Pirates.

It does no good to complain about officiating. But I will anyway.

Not only do they despise the Pirates, the umps do not seem to be as impartial as they were, say, ten or twenty years ago. Gone is the idea that they are fair and kind and above the passions of rooting. Now they are more like a bunch of evil prison guards. They make one bad call Everyone protests. They stand up for each other and the call, stupid as it was, stands. They make a virtue of being stubborn. This would be OK if they were more fair-minded. It is important to respect the rule of law in any game.

But instead of making the call up by giving the injured team the next borderline call, or by outright blowing another call in their favor -- something I remember seeing more often in the 1970s and 1980s -- now then make another lopsided call against the complaining team. And then they swagger about like conceited jackasses. How dare you call us wrong, they seem to say, now watch us get medieval on your ass.

The first time this really hit me in the face were the back-to-back series in Boston and New York that year, I dunno, two or three back, when they clawed back to 30-30. Now it's routine. It's part of what really sucks about being a Pirates fan.

When McClendon was fired, I wondered if all of the animosity of umps was not directed at him. But they do the same thing to Tracy. So it's not McClendon they hate.

Whatever's the source of the problem, I wish the league would find a way to improve the quality of the officiating. Those guys need to be more impartial. The prison-guard mentality of the umps impairs our ability to enjoy MLB's product, and it only discourages the fans from bothering to follow this team.

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