Sports. Honestly. Since 2011

The MLB Umpires Show is Alive and Well In 2016

MLB umpires have too much power in their hands when it comes to affecting the game. The Noah Syndergaard ejection against the Dodgers is a perfect example.

If there is any evidence on whether or not MLB umpires have been humbled by instant replay technology, it sure didn’t come Saturday night when the New York Mets‘ Noah Syndergaard was thrown out of the game for throwing behind Chase Utley of the Los Angeles Dodgers

Anyone who has remotely paid attention to baseball knew that Chase Utley, was bound to take a ball either near him or at him during his first and likely last visit to Citi Field this year. Umpires were right to put both teams on notice, but ejecting a key player in the series after not even hitting another player, is quite frankly one of the saddest displays in abuse of umpiring power the game has seen in years. It simply wasn’t the way to do it.

The MLB Umpires Show Is Alive and Well

Not only did the ejection of Syndergaard adversely change the game for both teams, it also robbed those who paid to go to see a marquee match-up between the New York Mets and Los Angeles Dodgers, and those who were watching a nationally televised game, of seeing a key pitching match-up.

Take away the ruining it for the fans part, it ultimately increased the chances that Utley is going to get another ball thrown his way if when he plays again tonight, with a high chance of insinuating a brawl similar to what the Texas Rangers and Toronto Blue Jays had just over two weeks ago.

The umpires are right in protecting the players. Throwing a baseball at a player at high speed should be a punishable offense. However, let it happen first. If Noah Syndergaard wants to risk his team’s chance of winning the game by taking himself out, let that decision be his, and not the home plate umpire’s, who no one in the stadium paid a dollar to watch.  This isn’t Chase Utley’s first rodeo either. He has been public enemy #1 in New York for many years. He knows his is coming, and maybe if he would have finally got it, this would have all been over with.

The crew chief of the umpiring crew, Tom Hallion, issued a statement after the game saying that neither team was warned before the series, and that tensions stemming from last year’s series had nothing to do with the ejection.

The statement above is ultimately where baseball needs to resolve the issue. If last night’s decision to eject was independent of all factors leading into the series between the Mets and the Dodgers, and the umpire just felt the decision was warranted based on his judgement, there is no way anyone can expect a consistent ruling from the umpires.

There are throws like last night where a pitcher is warned, and there are throws like last night where pitchers are ejected. MLB needs to come up with a framework for umpires to consistently make decisions, and umpires need to stick to it.  Allowing the umpire to judge on his own on whether a pitch was intentional or not, simply sets up for more incidents like last night.

It’s time for the curtain to fall on the ump show.

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