Berkman rips umpire following ejection
JUL 18, 2012 12:41a ET
MILWAUKEE — St. Louis first baseman Lance Berkman thought home plate umpire Brian Gorman missed a critical check-swing call on him in the seventh inning of the Cardinals' 3-2 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers Tuesday night.
Berkman had an even bigger problem that the umpire made the call and didn't appeal to the first-base umpire.
The controversy unfolded when Berkman pinch hit with one out and runners at second and third and the Cardinals trailing 3-2 in the seventh inning. He attempted to check his swing on a full-count pitch from Brewers starter Randy Wolf, but Gorman ruled that Berkman went around.
The veteran argued with Gorman for several seconds but eventually walked off the field. Once in the clubhouse, Berkman saw a replay that confirmed his opinion, and he returned to the dugout and continued to yell.
Gorman eventually ejected Berkman, who stormed back onto the field to continue his argument. St. Louis manager Mike Matheny was forced to hold back the veteran first baseman, who didn't shy away from his displeasure after the game.
"My biggest beef was, you can't make that call," Berkman said. "They think they can, but he was having a hard time getting the strike zone right, much less seeing if anybody swung the bat. My beef was, just appeal. We have a guy standing down there (as a first-base umpire). It's not tough to ask. You don't have to make that call.
"I went in (the clubhouse) to look at it, to make sure what I felt was actually what happened and it was. I wanted to let him know that No. 1, I felt like he missed it and No. 2, I was unhappy that he didn't at least appeal it to first base. "
Berkman was also unhappy with a 3-1 curveball that he thought should have been ball four. He started to walk towards first base before having to return to the batter’s box.
"I felt like he (Gorman) missed that one," Berkman said. "I felt like he missed the 3-1 pitch. It was just a tough night for him.”
Berkman said part of the reason he ran back onto the field after he was ejected was to ask Gorman why he didn't just appeal the play.
"He had no answer," Berkman said.
The 14-year veteran has never been afraid to voice his opinion on matters pertaining to the game. One of the most honest players in baseball, Berkman has gotten in trouble with his mouth before.
He made critical comments towards commissioner Bud Selig in spring training that he later apologized for. Berkman made headlines last season when he said on a Houston sports talk radio show that he didn't sign with the Rangers because he didn't think they would be any good.
"I still thought when I saw the replay that I didn't swing," Berkman said. "It was close, but I felt like I stopped it. I know the definition of a swing is hazy, but in my mind, if it's questionable on a slow-motion replay, you can almost never get it called if there's an appeal.
"If you slow down any check-swing, they always go a little bit further than it seems like they do in real time. So even slowing it down, I didn't feel like I swung, but I know for sure if he appeals that, there's no way the guy says that I swung."
The biggest issue Berkman had was that Gorman made the call himself and didn't ask for an appeal. The 36-year-old said he believes home plate umpires shouldn't be allowed to rule on check-swings when the base umpires have better angles to see.
"I don't think they should be allowed to make that call," Berkman said. "I don't think you can be watching the strike zone and also tell if a guy swings the bat. It happens too fast. I know these guys pride themselves on being able to see everything, but it's just impossible.
"They are human beings and I feel like the action happens too fast. They need to be made to appeal that. They should take it out of the home plate umpire’s hands."
Berkman was 3-for-32 in his career against Wolf heading into the at-bat. The Cardinals failed to score in the inning and ended up losing by the same score of 3-2.