MLB

Umps' error in Houston indefensible

Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scioscia (14)
Angels skipper Mike Scioscia couldn't believe the umpires didn't know the rule.
Share This Story

Ken Rosenthal

Ken Rosenthal has been the FOXSports.com's Senior MLB Writer since August 2005. He appears weekly on MLB on FOX, FOX Sports Radio and MLB Network. He's a member of the Baseball Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter.

MORE>>
 
   
 

Blowing a call on instant replay is one thing. Not knowing the rules is far worse.

MLB

MAKE THIS RIGHT

Listen up, MLB: If an obvious wrong occurs, fix it, Ken Rosenthal says.

That’s the message that baseball sent to the umpires in Thursday night’s fiasco between the Astros and Angels — and the message was entirely appropriate.

Twice in the past two days, the league office needed to release statements saying that umpires’ decisions were incorrect. And yes, baseball evidently considers the actions of crew chief Fieldin Culbreth and his fellow umpires in Houston to be worse than those of Angel Hernandez in Cleveland.

Baseball suspended Culbreth for two games Friday and fined him for a misapplication of rule 3.05 (b). It also fined the other umpires in Culbreth’s crew — Brian O’Nora, Bill Welke and Adrian Johnson.

Hernandez, on the other hand, will not be penalized for failing to recognize — on a high-definition replay — that Adam Rosales’ drive should have been a home run in Wednesday night’s game between the Athletics and Indians.

Hernandez’s mistake was inexplicable — I still can’t figure out why he didn’t see what the rest of us did. Apparently there was disagreement between Hernandez and the other two umpires who viewed the replay — they did not return to the field for more than four minutes, an unusually long period of time.

But in the end, Hernandez was not 100 percent confident that the initial call of a double should be overruled. It was his first instant replay as a crew chief. He made an error in judgment, an honest mistake.

Not knowing the rules — especially one as basic as Rule 3.05 (b) — is inexcusable. And baseball had no choice but to discipline Culbreth and Co., who allowed Astros manager Bo Porter to make a pitching change before his reliever faced a hitter against the Angels on Thursday night.

Porter, too, should be embarrassed, but he’s one man, a new manager — and the Astros’ problem. Clueless umpires are baseball’s problem, and not a small one. How do you trust such umps if you’re a fan? How do you trust them if you’re a player, coach or manager?

The rulebook can be a complex maze, but the rule about a reliever needing to face at least one hitter is pretty clear. Angels manager Mike Scioscia certainly knew it. And to be the best of my lip-reading ability, I believe he referred to the situation as a “________ embarrassment” in his discussions with the umps on Thursday night.

MLB

BASEBALL's WORST UMP?

Angel Hernandez offered more evidence for that dubious distinction. But also blame MLB's evaluating system, Jon Paul Morosi says.

Culbreth did not comment as a matter of policy — Scioscia played the game under protest, and baseball does not allow umpires to discuss protests with the media before discussing them with league officials.

Never mind that the Angels won 6-5, making a follow-up on the protest unnecessary. Baseball needs to address the umpires’ lack of transparency and the inability of some to properly communicate with the media — Hernandez did not handle himself well with a pool reporter on Wednesday night.

Still, these offenses are all relative.

Stumbling with the media is one thing. Blowing a judgment call is another. But not knowing the rules?

Difficult to imagine, but Angel Hernandez is starting to look good.

Tagged: Angels, Astros

More Stories From Ken Rosenthal

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by



MLB Videos

Bautista talks Derek Jeter's final All-Star Game Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Jose Bautista discusses Derek Jeter's career and his final appearance in the MLB...

Jeter honored to play in last All-Star Game Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Derek Jeter compares his first All-Star Game experience with his last, Mike Trou...

Matheny defends Wainwright: He's out there to compete Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Mike Matheny comments on the media's reaction to Adam Wainwright's joke about le...

SimLeague Baseball - Simulation Baseball Game

More Than Sports on MSN

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Nike New York Yankees Practice T-Shirt - Ash http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_York_Yankees/browse/featuredproduct/606363/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_606000/ff_606363_xl.jpg&w=100 27.95 Nike New York Yankees Practice T-Shirt - Ash
    Majestic Detroit Tigers 2012 MLB American League Champions Clubhouse Locker Room T-Shirt - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Detroit_Tigers/browse/featuredproduct/1064043/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1064000/ff_1064043_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Majestic Detroit Tigers 2012 MLB American League Champions Clubhouse Locker Room..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Room T-Shirt - Gray http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1067359/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1067000/ff_1067359_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker R..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Room Pullover Hoodie - Steel http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1067382/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1067000/ff_1067382_xl.jpg&w=100 54.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker R..
    New Era San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Room 39THIRTY Flex Hat - Charcoal/Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1067785/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1067000/ff_1067785_xl.jpg&w=100 31.95 New Era San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Ro..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Glory T-Shirt - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1068294/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1068000/ff_1068294_xl.jpg&w=100 21.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Glory T-Shirt - Bl..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Batting Practice Performance Jersey - Black/Orange http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1068787/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1068000/ff_1068787_xl.jpg&w=100 94.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Batting Practice P..