Major League Baseball Has An Umpire Problem


Major League Baseball has an umpire problem, and the league office taking steps to address this issue is well overdue

“I’m just doing my job,” that is what home plate umpire Brian Gorman told Pittsburgh Pirates manager Clint Hurdle after ejecting both him and Joe Musgrove in the 1st inning of Monday night’s loss against the Atlanta Braves. No, Brian, what you did is not your job. In fact, you, and most MLB umpires, do the complete opposite of your job most nights.

Musgrove was ejected for doing his job. With a Braves runner in scoring position and two outs in the inning, he was pitching inside to Atlanta third baseman Josh Donaldson in an effort to retire him. In an effort to get out of the way, Donaldson’s jersey, not his body, was clipped with a Musgrove pitch.

Instead of taking first base, Donaldson decided to bark at Musgrove who barked back. After Donaldson shoved Pirate catcher Elias Diaz out of the way, the benches cleared and both Musgrove and Donaldson were ejected.

Neither player should have been ejected. While Donaldson’s reaction was a bit over the top, ultimately, he did nothing wrong. Neither did Musgrove.

But, Gorman had other ideas. He decided he wanted to be the star of the show on Monday night, not the players that fans paid their hard earned money to see. Gorman decided he needed to hijack the game to do his job, even though that is not his job.

Gorman’s terrible decision did not go unnoticed, either. Jameson Taillon, who is currently rehabbing in Bradenton, as well as former Braves, and for one Spring Training Pirate, reliever Eric O’Flaherty both took to Twitter to express their disgust.

Both before and after the Musgrove/Donaldson debacle, Gorman was failing to do his number one job as a home plate umpire – call balls and strikes. Throughout the night Gorman’s strike zone was maddeningly inconsistent. Not only were balls being called strikes and vice versa, depending on the inning the call would change.

The inability of MLB umpires to call a proper, or even consistent, strike zone is one of the biggest issues with the game of baseball right now. Until Rob Manfred’s office starts to hold umpires accountable for their inability to properly call balls and strikes, or even keep a consistent strike zone, nothing will change.

To be honest, MLB should have an automated strike zone to remove the human element from the equation. But that’s a topic for another day.

To say it’s time for the Commissioner’s Office to begin to hold umpires accountable with substantial fines, lengthy unpaid suspensions, etc. would not be completely correct. This is because this is something that should have started happening with regularity years ago. It has not, and, as a result, umpires now believe they’re bigger than the game and they know they will never be held accountable. Therefor, there is no incentive to properly or effectively do their job.

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Right now, MLB umpires have no respect for the game of baseball. They view themselves as being the stars of the show and above the players on the field. Until Commissioner Manfred’s office starts to keep them in check this will not change, and baseball players and fans alike will continue to suffer.