Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Umpire Phobia...Coping with the Men in Blue

Is it possible today's player will have to go through periods of Umpire Phobia? A condition caused by having to cope with the inconsistent, tenuous, unconscionable, arbitrary, irresponsible, undependable, unpredictable and incompetent game officials known in baseball as umpires.

Who would have thought of such a thing? But umpiring has become such a faltering skill that these high-priced athletes are having to deal with something no generation before them has had to be mentally prepared for. Used to be you had to have a book on the opposing players but now, especially if you are a pitcher, you had better have an idea of the umpires' tendencies or you will have a difficult time coping with his antics on that day.

This may be young Giant left-hander, Jonathan Sanchez' biggest problem. He has a most difficult time accepting the attitudes of these arbiters in blue.

I have no access to the locker room. I am just a casual observer and I can see the ever-changing facial countenance of Jonathan Sanchez when he throws a pitch that makes a strike on K-Zone but not from the fellow behind the catcher. Sanchez is young and still perfecting his craft and he has to ask himself, is that erratic strike zone always going to exist? Why can't the people assigned the task of adhering to the rules, those deemed to be the ambassadors of the rules, whose sole purpose of existing is their assurance that the rules WILL be followed according to the book, do what they were hired to do?

Managers, more than ever have to pay close attention to the attitudes of their players and seek help whenever necessary. With all the money involved in this kids game the pressures are enormous. And if your livelihood is being determined by some calorically-challenged-buffoonery-in-blue you just might flip.

It's the 21st century and the times they are a changing.

Kevin Marquez