We knew those guys in recent years.

Bill Hohn, Jim Joyce, C.B. Buckner, Jim Joyce, Lars Diaz, Darryl Cousins, Phil Cuzzi, Joe West, Angel Hernandez, Jerry Crawford, Brian O’Nora, Bob Davidson, Tim McCelland, Ron Kulpa, Dan Iassogna and Doug Eddings.

Those names turned out to be baseball household names. Only difference is those are not baseball players. They are the umpires employed by Bud Selig.

Umpires are not supposed to be the story of the game. No one should know any of those names. It would mean they had zero impact in the game.

The game belongs to the players. A player’s talent should dictate the outcome of the game.  The umpire’s job is to make sure everything is under control and the game is called properly.

In the last few years, that has not been the case.

This season is two months old. We are supposed to celebrate the perfect games, no-hitters, and the success of the Padres and the Reds.

Instead, it’s all about the umpires. It’s not the type of attention that should be deemed as positive. For those umpires that enjoy the attention, they should hand in their badge and get out of this sport.

Last night’s events brought this issue to the forefront. It’s time for a changing of the guard when it comes to the umpires.

It’s an ultimatum that Bud Selig should deliver in light of couple of blown calls at Detroit and Seattle. Joyce denied Armando Galarraga perfect game after failing to call Jason Donald out at first last night. A few hours later, the umpire called Ichiro Suzuki safe when he should have been out. The Mariners scored the game-winner against the Twins after that decision was called in extra innings.

It’s one thing for an umpire to struggle in judgment calls, but when it’s blatantly obvious, it’s inexcusable for them to get it wrong. That was the case in Detroit and Seattle.

All signs pointed to Donald beating the throw, but when Cabrera caught the ball and put his foot on base at the time Donald reached first, it was an out. It should have been an out. How did Joyce struggle to see from a good angle?

Suzuki was out by a mile. The tag was easily made. How did the second base umpire lose sight of it? If Suzuki was out, the third out was made and the extra innings goes on.

Umpires are having hard time of understanding if a player reached first or not. They struggle to make a decision too. We saw an incident at Tampa Bay last week. A Ray easily reached to first, but he was called out and he and Joe Maddon were immediately tossed.

We saw a Blue Jay forgetting to hit the basepath at third on his way home. The umpire let him get away with it by not calling him out for that few days ago.

It’s understandable umpires are human, but they are paid well to get it right. Isn’t that what they’re hired for? Too often, we see them not making the simple calls right.

This goes back to last year when couple of umpires messed up badly. Phil Cuzzi called Joe Mauer’s hit foul after it was clearly in fair territory. It happened in Game 2 of the American League Division Series at Yankee Stadium. It played a role in costing the Twins that game.

Tim McClelland couldn’t figure out who was tagged out in a rundown play. The Yankees had two players being in a rundown yet Robinson Cano gets on base even though he was tagged out. What’s wrong with that picture? This took place during the ALCS last year.

Who can remember Brandon Inge not getting a call on hit by pitch in Game 163 last year at the Metrodome? That could have been the difference between the Tigers playing the Yankees in the playoffs and them staying at home for the playoffs.

These simple calls are one that are supposed to be correct. It should never be a debate. If these guys can’t get that one right, why are they employed?

In Major League Baseball, it’s about the best played in the world producing. These standards should be the same for the umpires. If they fail to get it done, they should be fired.

Honestly, it’s time for them to go. They lost their effectiveness long time ago. Part of that could be age. These guys have been in the game for a long time.

The theory goes like this. As players grow older, their skills are diminished. One can make the same case for umpires. Those same umpires were great at one time. How is it now they can’t get it right?

That has to be the only explanation.

Instant replay will help things. With that said, the umpire has to know balls and strikes. Most of the umpires don’t grasp that concept well anymore.

If they can’t get it right, it’s hard to think they will be effective in calling a game.

Baseball is all about the human element. The umpires can’t rely on instant replay to bail them out. They either know it or don’t.

Here’s another reason why all of them should go.

Too many umpires are too hostile towards the players. They toss them out if a pitcher or a hitter dare question them. They don’t allow a discussion anymore.

Here are several examples:

Hohn threw Roy Oswalt out of the game when the Astros starter expressed frustration about his poor inning. Hohn felt Oswalt showed him up.

West tossed Mark Buehrle and Ozzie Guillen for laughing and making faces last week.

When Joe Maddon approached Davidson for a discussion, Davidson threw him out.

The umpires conveyed to those guys that they’re the stars of the game. That is wrong on so many levels. No fan pays his or her expensive ticket to see an ump make a fool out of himself by throwing people out.

Umpires throw stars out rather than crappy players. It’s clear they are doing this for attention.

This is grounds for firing. Selig should have fired those guys last year. Players and coaches work hard only to see umpires screw up. That’s not fair for those guys.

He owes it to the fans, players and coaches in getting the best umpires out there.
It’s time for a fresh blood. Get some new young umpires. They can’t be any worse than what we’re seeing now.

Even if they’re struggling, they will learn and get better.

It’s hard to think that’s going to be the case with this group.



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