Who are the worst umps in the game? The five I mention in the poll are my bottom five, the guys who just make me scratch my head whenever they call a game.
Sadly, I never notice the good ones.
Here’s what I dislike about each of the above guys. My views of them are obviously going to be filtered by calls they’ve made that have harmed my favorite team, for no other reason then I see then 140 or 150 times per season, so I notice everything that goes against them (or the other team). Am I alone in being distressed by these men?
1. Joe West
Joe is often wrong, and antagonistic when you call him on it. His strike zone is inconsistent, and I’ve seen him miss some pretty inexcusable calls on the bases.
2. Jerry Meals
This goes back to the 2004 ALDS, Game 2. He was calling a tight but consistent strike zone for the first six or seven innings of the game, but with Troy Glaus up with two outs and men on base when the game was still close, he randomly decided to call a pitch around 20 inches outside a strike. The strike zone went all to hell after that; no one knew what was going on.
3. Larry Young
This guy is just a mess. There was a play last season, in Fenway, where Orlando Cabrera was on second when Trot Nixon jumped into the seats to catch a foul fly. Cabrera tagged up and advanced.
The BoSox appealed, and Young called Cabrera out. Replays showed that Cabrera didn’t leave the bag until one or two seconds after the catch was made.
But that wasn’t the real problem; anybody can miss a play now and then.
When Mike Scioscia came out to argue, Young clearly told him that Cabrera “never tagged up.” Not “he left early,” but “he never tagged up,” an incredibly easy notion to disprove.
That indicated, to me, anyway, that Young had no idea what had happened, hadn’t been watching the play, and just guessed. Bad, bad umpiring. And his strike zone is for crap, too.
4. Doug Eddings
I won’t even mention the 2005 postseason, because he was my least-favorite ump in the game well before then. It dates back to an Angels/Royals game earlier that season; Darin Erstad’s bat hit John Buck’s glove on a swing, and knocked his glove off his hand and two feet up the third base line.
Catcher’s interference? Nah. Just a foul ball.
Apparently, Doug Eddings thinks that catchers, when attempting to catch pitched balls, just throw their gloves up the third base line. In his defense, this was the Royals, but still ...
... his strike zone, though pretty consistent, also sucks. This past Sunday afternoon, he called both Legs Figgins and Antonio Perez out on pitches that were above the letters. I don’t care how consistent you are at calling that, it’s just not a strike.
5. Mike Everitt
Mike Everitt is part genius, part madman. He has the guts to call those breaking pitches that just nip the zone strikes, like K-Zone and Questec say they should be. But, unfortunately, he also has the guts to call pitches right down the middle as balls, and pitches two feet outside as strikes.
One of his first games, if not his first, was an Angels/Tigers game back in 1998 or 1999, IIRC. Unfortunately, the game wasn’t televised locally, but it was, reportedly, the worst strike zone ever called. Tim Salmon and Travis Fryman were each served with what were, at the time, at least, their only career ejections. Before the final out of the game, Detroit manager Buddy Bell came out and told Everitt, “There are twenty-five guys on that bench [pointing to the Tigers], and twenty-five guys on that bench [pointing to the Angels], and they all think you’re doing a [crappy] job.” I’m pretty sure he didn’t say “crappy,” because he was ejected.
Tony Clark, the last out of the game, was then called out looking on a pitch two feet outside. (That one made the highight reels, so I can verify that. The call was awful, but apparently par for his course that day.)
So that’s my rogue’s gallery; those are the guys almost bad enough to officiate in the Pac-10.