Watching the Marlins @ Padres last night, I saw a borderline bad call get overshadowed by MLB umpire Joe West’s subsequent imitation of the Federal Government – outwardly bloated with an impervious attitude. At the moment, I imagined terrible fates befalling Mr West with my enthusiastic assent, but in the light of day [and a Marlins win], I now thank Mr West for teaching me tolerance. Tolerance of mediocrity and the unions which shield them is needed in great supply – let’s just call it the Brian Runge challenge.
On June 29th, Mr Runge, in his 2nd game coming off a one game suspension for bumping a manager, lost count of a ball 4 to Orlando Hudson and then made 2 of the worst called strikes – the mind wanders to Eric Gregg’s glorious punch out of Fred McGriff in the 1997 LCS – imaginable in the same inning, one against each team.
As fans, we are aware that home plate umpires do make-up calls, but to watch him do it on pitches which were not close, essentially back to back [Mark Reynolds in the top of the 8th and Mike Jacobs in the bottom of the 8th], showed me how immune umpires feel to criticism. The NBA is not the only league with an officiating problem.
Jim McLennan, a Diamondback’s fan, took a poll to find out who might be the best & worst umpires – check out his blog.