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Where Have All the Good Umpires Gone?

Posted on October 29, 2019

By Annalece Anhalt-Slaughter

As football fans, it always makes you feel better when you see other sports have trouble with their officials making the correct calls too. It’s called commiserating, look it up. If you have somehow been living under a rock, you might need a reminder that the Washington Nationals made it to their first-ever World Series, facing off against the Houston Astros. In Game 5 on Sunday, the Nationals were obliterated 7-1, trailing 3-2 in the series. Unfortunately for fans of both teams, umpire Lance Barksdale had a hard time in Game 5 identifying a ball vs. a strike. To the novice baseball fan, we can understand the confusion between the two, especially in such a high-pressure situation. But Barksdale has been getting PAID to accurately make the right calls, full-time, for 13 years. The fans, us included, expected more out of him.

With the first pitch of Game 6 set to be thrown just after 5pm PT tonight, are the fans feeling hopeful for better officiating? Of course, they are. The MLB is only a fraction as bad as the NFL when it comes to having the right calls made, and we imagine in the two day difference between Game 5 and Game 6, the officials have had a refresher of the rules from their boss. But, we think the teams, players, and fans deserve some kind of guarantee that things will get better. We think they’d like to see some kind of mandated reform – maybe even a ‘three strikes, you’re out’ policy placed on the officials – to make sure this doesn’t happen again. We’ll likely have to wait until the World Series has come to a close and victory parades have finished up before Rob Manfred, MLB Commissioner, makes any kind of statement about increasing the accuracy of calls during any game, let alone the championship series. But one thing is for certain, we’ll be keeping our fingers crossed for better officiating tonight.

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