Blog Entry

Bad call costs Nationals

Posted on: May 19, 2011 7:46 pm
Edited on: May 19, 2011 8:37 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans

Phil CuzziAnother day, another blown call controversy.

Today's episode of bad umpiring comes courtesy of Phil Cuzzi, who called Jayson Werth out at first for the second out of the ninth inning in the Nationals' 1-0 loss to the Mets. Werth may have not only beat the throw from third baseman Jacob Turner, but first baseman Daniel Murphy also pulled his foot off the bag. (See the play here.)

Had the play been called correctly, the Nationals would have had runners at first and third with one out and in position to tie the game. Instead, with two outs, Adam LaRoche grounded out to end the game.

After the game, Amanda Comak of the Washington Times reported one Nationals player saying, "I want to be an umpire when I grow up -- no responsibility, no accountability."

Several Nationals argued with umpires as they walked off the field, but only starter Livan Hernandez would go on record.

"What did I see? He was safe. He beat him two times," Hernandez said. "He was safe when the guy got off the bag and he was safe because he beat the throw. I think he made a big mistake, the umpire there, because it's not about his foot is off the bag, it's safe because he beat the throw. He was safe two times."

Nationals manger Jim Riggleman appealed to home plate umpire Manny Gonzaelz, but he refused to offer an opinion. Looking at the replay, Gonzalez was watching the play, but he was outside of the baseline, behind the plate, so he may have been blocked by Werth from his angle.

"I wanted to see if, from his angle he could see better maybe that the first baseman came off the base," Riggleman said. "He's got a good look at that. … Maybe the home plate umpire can get a better look. He just refused to do that."

To be clear, this wasn't a Jorge Orta/Don Denkinger level bad call, it took some super slo-mo and HD cameras to tell that Murphy's foot was indeed off the bag. In the past, it would have been maybe too close to tell, but now we do know better. Technology has improved so much that we can see for sure when the umpires err.

Many people complain about umpiring (and, well, a lot of times it's justified -- cough, Joe West, cough, Bob Davidson, cough), but the more you watch, I think it's amazing how much the umpires get it right. And that's why I'm for replay on a limited basis -- these guys are so good at what they do (for the most part), they should be able to finish a game and know they got them all right. Ask Denkinger or Jim Joyce how much their missed calls bother them, and you'll hear from someone who is bothered by it more than any Cardinal fan or Armando Galarraga. The ego of the umpire may not want instant replay, but their conscious just may. In the end, it's about getting the calls right -- that should be the goal of any umpire and it should be done by any means necessary.

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 22, 2011 10:04 pm
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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 10, 2011 9:20 am

Bad call costs Nationals

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 6, 2011 6:14 am

Bad call costs Nationals

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Since: Aug 7, 2008
Posted on: May 20, 2011 7:25 pm

Bad call costs Nationals

This is why umps and refs should be replaced with robots.

Since: Nov 30, 2010
Posted on: May 20, 2011 6:53 pm

Bad call costs Nationals

I have reffed H.S. basketball for 20+ years and know how difficult it can be to be in the right position and see everything that happens in a blink of an eye.  I don't know how these baseball umpires get as many of them right as they do.  But it seems to me that there could be a limited challenge available to each team on calls in a baseball game that could be manageable.  Similar to football, baseball is a game with natural breaks in play that would allow this to happen.  They even have video replays in basketball, which interupts play for a closer look.  Hockey looks at scoring plays.  If a manger has one or two challenges a game, he could use them on close plays, fair or foul, home run or not, trapped fly balls, etc.  We all hate bad calls, whether we make them or see them, so let's geive everybody a chance to step back and do this one thing . . .

Since: Jul 29, 2008
Posted on: May 20, 2011 5:44 pm

Bad call costs Nationals

If you are going to blame Phil Cuzzi, blame him for having a terrible angle. From where he is standing, there is no way for him to see that Murphy pulled his put off first base. Watching the play full speed, the call could have gone either way if Murphy's foot was actually on the base. If anything, the umpires should have discussed it see if one of them saw the foot pull off the bag. Stop thinking that everything is a conspiracy. And the fact that he's from Newark? How do you know he didn't grow up as a Yankees fan?? As if 2 wins are going to get the Mets into the playoffs anyway...

Since: Oct 20, 2006
Posted on: May 20, 2011 2:46 pm

Bad call costs Nationals

Of course it's always "just coincidence" but this Phil Cuzzi has made 2 huge obvious BAD calls in the last year that could have easily determined games.  The first was July 18, 2010 and went against the SF Giants, and then yesterday against Washington.  Now if an umpire is simply merely bad or wrong you would think his bad calls would be random.  In Cuzzi's case BOTH bad call benefited one team --- the New York Mets!  Another coincidence I am sure that he just happens to be from Newark, NJ.        

Since: Aug 20, 2007
Posted on: May 20, 2011 12:39 pm

Bad call costs Nationals

I agree completely with the writer.  The goal of umpiring is simple:  get the call right.  Human error does not enhance the game in any way.  It is ridiculous to me that in today's technological era, baseball doesn't use replay for plays like this one.  Now we have to wonder.  Would the Mets still have won?  Would the next batter still have hit a ground ball to the infield?  If so, would it have been a double play?  Would Rodriguez still have a nice string of consecutive saves or would this have been a blown save?  We will never know, and only because replay was not used.

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