We Win!

The AirHogs beat the Captains tonight, 3-1, so the teams split the four-game series. The AirHogs are in first place in the division by six and a half games, with Shreveport in second. It’s interesting that on the way home, I realized that I wasn’t happy or elated by the win, I was relieved. That’s how bad this umpiring crew has been. (Yes, I’m bitter.)

Since tomorrow starts a new series with Ft. Worth, hopefully, we’ll have a new officiating crew. Unfortunately, there aren’t that many crews in the area, so I’m sure we’ll recognize them. If nothing else, a change would be good, even if it is the equivalent of changing a dirty diaper for one that is merely wet.

My next project in my copious spare time is to learn how to become an umpire in the American Association. The procedures for affiliated and major league ball are on the MLB website, but the only mention of umpires on the American Association’s website is the email address for the director of umpires. I think I will drop him a short note, asking about the procedures and qualifications. Hopefully, if I’m polite, he’ll answer it when he gets through all of the hate mail and protests he must receive.

I must apologize for bitching about the umpires as much as I do, but after seeing AAA ball in Nashville and the Frontier League in Lake Erie (with a two-man crew), I have to say that many of the American Association umpires would not last in another league. Their indecision and their wrong decisions make you start to question every call. When I  hear players yelling at them about the strike zone moving, and see someone thrown out at first because there was another out on the play that wasn’t called verbally so the defense threw to first for a force-out double-play, I started to realize that I may not be paranoid, they may actually be incompetent.

To me, this is unfair to the players and the fans. The players deserve to have a consistent strike zone and umpires that keep the game moving and officiate fairly. The fans deserve umpires that don’t interfere with the outcome by making bad calls.

The most distressing aspect to me is that the umpires often seem hesitant. This just builds distrust. You’re a freakin’ umpire – you cannot be second-guessed. There is no video replay. Just make the call and stand by it. If you can’t make the call with confidence, right or wrong, you need to find another profession.