Monday, June 16, 2014

Who Are These Guys?

In back to back to back games in which their closer threw a pitch that was hit in such a way as to "fool" Angel Pagan and the failue to execute a double-play in Sunday's game led to comeback victories by the Colorado Rockies the one thing that really captured my attention was the umpires' effort to make themselves known.

Two unknown umpires, youths breaking onto the scene, both had the attitude that they were going to make themselves known by subscribing to a strike zone not in your 2014 Major League Rulebook. Their strike zone will not be found in any rule book, unless, of course, they have come out with their own. And if this is true, who do they think they are, to shove aside the rules that have been etched in the book since it was decided that an unbiased arbiter rule on the plays made by one team on another team?

Sure, in the 1800s there was plenty of hiring "their own" going on. In 1893, the distance from the pitcher's mound to home plate increased from 50 feet to 60 feet and six inches. And it was around this time that some stabilization was being assigned to the rules of the game. In 1883, foul balls caught on the bounce were outs in the Junior Circuit. But the National League said no more to that rule.

It wasn't until 1933 that the major leagues adopted the three-umpires system. In 1952, a four-man team was instituted for all regular season major league games.

When the mounds were lowered after the 1968 season, the strike zone for 1969 was altered as such: The Strike Zone is that space over home plate which is between the batter's armpits and the top of his knees when he assumes a natural stance. Rickey Henderson's stance would not be considered natural as I'm sure he had umpires explain why they called the pitches the manner in which they did.

In 1988, the strike zone was that area over home plate, the upper limit of which is a horizontal line at the midpoint between the top of the shoulders and the top of the uniform pants. Lower level is the line at the top of the knees. The Strike Zone shall be determined from a batter's stance as the batter prepares to swing at the pitched ball.

In 1996, The strike zone is expanded on the lower end, moving from the top of the knees to the bottom of the knees (bottom has been identified as the hollow beneath the kneecap. "Hollow" is that place the doctor hits with the rubber hammer to check your reflexes.)

Chris Segal on Saturday and Mike Muchlinski on Sunday basically said, 'to hell with that interpretation.' I'm here to make a name for myself and I'm calling what I think is the perfect pitch for a strike. Pitchers had to work harder to get calls and batters weren't confident the umpires knew what an actual strike was and some were called out on strikes more than once. Which is a signal that they weren't sure what the umpire was calling a strike.

This an inexcusable error on the home plate umpire's part. They aren't there to deceive the batters and pitchers. Fans cannot enjoy a game they paid hard earned money to see and not know themselves what was being called a strike.

Jon Miller, in one of his rambling rants so much as said that Segal was averse at calling strikes. That he seemed to not want to call the pitch a strike. No bueno.

Muchlinski tossed Bruce Bochy at the game's end on Sunday but not before Bochy vented his displeasure of the intermittant strike zone displayed over the weekend.

Something just doesn't seem right when those who were hired to adhere to the rules can't seem to. Ya think?

Kevin J. Marquez