October 28, 2008

 Major League Baseball Umpires Association

This is an open letter to the Major League Umpire Association Union. No doubt this year’s “Fall Classic” has seen the worst umpiring in its history. Whether the crew has been distracted, somehow, or not taking the upstart “Rays” seriously (clearly, a long time problem in the American League), they have given baseball the appearance of a game out of control. Having followed baseball for some fifty-eight years, I have seen its officiating rise far above the incompetence and favoritism of the other major sports.

The missed balk in Game One, the strike to Baldelli in Game Two, the blown call at third base in Game Four, the uninvestigated foreign substance on the Philadelphia pitcher’s hat… these are all part of baseball. In the heat of the moment, they are what makes baseball the human drama that it is.

The two strike zones, especially in Games 3, 4, and 5, expanded for the Philadelphia pitchers, contracted and microcized to a fraction of the actual zone for Tampa Bay, is not drama, it is wrong. It is wrong and it is documented by television before millions of viewers. If it continues, it is not forgivable. Whether these umpires are intimidated by the home crowd or just assuming that Phillies pitchers throw strikes and Rays hurlers do not is academic. Cole Hamel striking men out with a “5 balls/ 1 strike count” and Scott Kazmir walking batters on 5 strikes is not baseball! It is, you guessed it- Bull----!

The veteran Jamie Moyer does not need your help! He has won hundreds of games without the umpires’ assistance. Garza’s youth is not an excuse to change his strike zone. If ever there were an excuse to replace home plate umpires with electronic officiating, this is it!!! Clean up your act! We do not need a “Black Suit Scandal.”


Yours truly,

Allen Finkelstein, D.O.