Yanks have legit complaints against Marty Foster

Fan Confidence Poll: September 14th, 2009
Setting up the playoff rotation

During the 2009 season, the Yankees have had three separate incidents with veteran umpire Marty Foster. One incident can be written off in the normal course of baseball. Two incidents (especially when they come on back to back days) raises some eyebrows. But three incidents? That might suggest there’s something to this. After watching the Yankees for years, and trying diligently to keep up with as many other teams as possible, I can’t say I remember anything quite like this between team and umpire. Except with Angel Hernandez, of course. It seems like that guys tries to get on peoples nerves.

The most infamous incident came in early July, in a game against the Toronto Blue Jays. Derek Jeter walked to lead off the bottom of the firs, and then took second on a Ricky Romero balk. He tried to take third, but Rod Barajas’s throw had him by a good margin. Sliding head first, Jeter did a little swim move to avoid Scott Rolen’s glove. His hand hit the bag before the glove touched him, but Marty Foster punched him out anyway.

When Jeter complained, noting that Rolen did not tag him, Foster allegedly replied, “He didn’t have to. The ball beat you.” That incensed both Jeter and Joe Girardi, but to no avail. After the game, crew chief John Hirschbeck backed his umpire. Foster’s side is that he added “and I had him tagging you.” Such ended the incident. It was an easy out for Foster, who could have made up anything to tell Hirschbeck.

There was an incident the day before, though, one I think that many people forget. In the first inning, the Yankees were set up against Brett Cecil. A Jorge Posada single had loaded the bases, and Hideki Matsui strode to the plate. He didn’t do much, grounding one between first and second, but Lyle Overbay misplayed it. Mark Teixeira barreled around third and tried to score. Technically he did. The throw beat him, but catcher Raul Chavez tagged Tex with his glove while the ball was in his hand.

This couldn’t be more clear. I saw it when the play happened, and it was even clearer on replay. Yet Foster, calling balls and strikes that game, punched out Teixeira. How that happens I just don’t know. How the Yankees didn’t stampede onto the field to argue the call I understand even less. Teixeira was very clearly safe. This would fit completely with Foster’s statement the next day, that the throw only needs to beat a runner, tag or no tag.


Photo: William Perlman – The Star-Ledger

Yesterday’s incident is still fresh in our minds, so I need not repeat it. The pitch was outside. The replay showed it, and pitch f/x showed it. One can argue that it’s okay as long as Foster was calling that spot consistently, but it didn’t appear that any part of the zone was consistent yesterday. Even so, count me against the “as long as it’s consistent” crowd. The umpire is right on top of the plate. At least on inside-outside calls, he should be able to get it right. Not by some definition of his own. But by the definition that the strike zone is the width of home plate. If we’re not going to have a standard strike zone for every umpire, why even define it in the rule book?

This isn’t to say that Marty Foster is biased against the Yankees. It’s to say that perhaps MLB should look into these incidents before assigning him any postseason games. They need the very best out there, and after three run-ins with just the Yankees this season, it’s pretty clear that Foster shouldn’t meet the criteria. He was 100 percent, objectively wrong on the Teixeira call. Replay showed he was wrong on the Jeter play, though we can chalk that up to a poor eye for detail (hence, no playoffs, Marty).

On the A-Rod play he was wrong, but umpires get away with that kind of stuff all the time. No one will question Foster any further. He’ll file his report, and he’ll look like the good guy to the umpire’s union. But MLB should certainly step in and not allow Foster to umpire the most important games. If we’ve noticed three bad calls in only the Yankees games he’s umpired, imagine how many others he’s made throughout the season.

email
Fan Confidence Poll: September 14th, 2009
Setting up the playoff rotation
  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

    Let’s get the Toronto Fan Umps to replace Foster in the postseason rotation.

    • Mattingly’s Love Child

      Selig would only agree if they have to share per diem. He doesn’t want to increase costs to get the calls right.

  • AndrewYF

    You just know Marty Foster is going to be behind the plate for the Yankees’ series against Detroit. I have no idea why MLB lets the umpires have any control. Their union has (or should have) absolutely no power after that retarded strike in the 90s.

    • Ed

      I had forgotten about that strike. That’s gotta be the only strike that went worse than the recent hockey strike.

      • Sweet Dick Willie

        Maybe you’re too young to remember the air traffic controller’s strike?

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          Controller #3: Get me Steve McCroskey!
          Controller #2: Are you kidding? Ever since Reagan fired the air traffic controllers, he’s been completely senile!
          Controller #3: Yeah, but what about McCroskey?
          Controller #2: About the same as Reagan.

        • Ed

          Yeah. Didn’t really know anything about it. It happened a month before I was born.

          • http://z.about.com/d/tvcomedies/1/0/F/-/-/-/judge310_72.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

            Meghan McCain: “You know, I wasn’t born yet so I wouldn’t know.”

            Paul Begala: “I wasn’t born during the French Revolution but I know about it.”

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              I was fighting the urge to do something like that myself.

              P.S. The Mexico City Olympics happened 9 years before I was born.

              • http://z.about.com/d/tvcomedies/1/0/F/-/-/-/judge310_72.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                Yeah I couldn’t resist. That whole exchange between McCain and Begala was one of those almost too embarrassing to watch moments, for me. It was just brutal.

                George Washington? Why would I know anything about him? Dead before I was born.

                • Ed

                  I got a laugh out of it too, it’s all good.

            • jsbrendog

              oh yeah, i love napoleon!! that flaky crust and delicious filling!

    • Mattingly’s Love Child

      Someone in the umpire’s union has pictures of Selig doing unspeakable things with the Chorizo Sausage in Milwaukee.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        Selig likes it spicy, eh?

        • Mattingly’s Love Child

          Goes well with Miller High Life!

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            And brown tweed suits from the 1970’s!

  • The Lodge

    Great point about Marty needing to be somewhere other than a MLB stadium come October.

    I think it would be great if MLB would put Pitch f/x to some good use and use it to police the umps. Or at least rank them to determine who gets the playoffs (do they do this already?)

    I know the Ump Union would never let this happen, but Any Ump who gets 80% of the calls correct (as determined by pitch f/x) gets a salary bonus, double for 90%. I bet some kind of performance based reward system like that would really make these guys work on getting the Strike Zone right at least.

  • Dela G

    Marty Foster is an arrogant ass in my opinion

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      http://www.filmdope.com/Galler.....1-9042.gif (safe)

      (I wonder who gets this joke…)

      • http://www.richardiurilli.com Richard Iurilli

        That’s a joke?

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          I’ll put Richard Iurilli down for “didn’t get the joke”.

      • Andy In Sunny Daytona

        “You’ve killed us all, you arrogant ass!”

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          You inverted the quote, but yeah. Point to Mr. Daytona.

          • Andy In Sunny Daytona

            Eh. I did an edit job. It works better this way.

            /covering up mistakes’d

        • Mattingly’s Love Child

          I thought it was from Hunt for Red October! But it’s been a while. Thanks Andy, I was going to be racking my brain all afternoon trying to remember where that was from. Now I could actually, you know, like do my job….

          • http://www.richardiurilli.com Richard Iurilli

            I’ve read The Hunt for Red October several times. Never seen the movie though.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              It’s worth a watch. Well done, easily the best of the Jack Ryan movies.

              That’s Stellan Skarsgård playing Captain Tupolev.

              • Andy In Sunny Daytona

                Skarsgard’s son plays Eric on “True Blood.

                • Makavelli

                  The finale was last night…such a great show.

              • whozat

                I love it.

                I can recognize it from another room just by hearing the electric “typing” sounds it makes as they print out the expository text right at the beginning.

  • Makavelli

    I read that Arod was actually upset because Foster was chit-chatting with Moeller during his at-bat. And he chimed to Foster “Keep talking…” or something along those lines…and THAT is what actually got Arod ejected. The argument is that Arod was claiming he didn’t argue balls and strikes…”I don’t argue balls and strikes,” Rodriguez said. “You guys have seen me play for a long time. I never argue balls and strikes. I really don’t get caught up in that; I really don’t care much for it.”

    I just don’t think the guy has any class what-so-ever. Whether he is bias against the Yankees? I’m not sure…but from the evidence and perspectives of those both respected (Jeter) and not as respected (Arod) players…it looks as though he really doesn’t care for them all that much.

    • Mattingly’s Love Child

      Yeah, I’m not sure any of this is evidence of bias. But it certainly is evidence of suckitude. Marty Foster scores high on the suckitude scale.

    • aerod500

      I respect A-Rod and Jeter and I still think Foster is not very good.

  • http://assets.nydailynews.com/img/2009/07/23/alg_burnett.jpg Mike Pop

    Umps can be total dicks. Messed up that they take it out on the players and what not. I agree with your point of why should we define the K zone anyway if most umps have different zones. Like Coney or Leiter say, that’s an old school NL umpire or w/e. Kind of dumb, but umps have to deal with problems of their own during the game.
    Check out this incident.

    http://www.theonion.com/conten.....by_catcher

    • http://www.richardiurilli.com Richard Iurilli

      Wow. Just wow.

    • Former RAB Lurker

      Hahahahaha…the Onion’s a fantastic source of news.

  • http://www.richardiurilli.com Richard Iurilli

    I don’t get why umpires aren’t publicly disiplined the same way players and managers are. There’s a good chance Girardi will be fined for yesterday’s incident. What will happen to Foster? My guess is nothing.

  • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

    Regardless of Foster or Hernandez or Bucknor, MLB needs to make a concrete strike zone and use QuesTec or Pitch F/X to enforce it. I understand human error is “charming” in baseball, or whatever but something as basic and essential to the game as the strike zone needs to be regulated. The pitchers and batters shouldn’t have to play a guessing game based on who’s behind the plate that day.

    On a semi-related note, I did the bases for a game yesterday in which one ball reached the OF on the fly. Ugh.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Get those kids some PEDs immediately.

    • Mattingly’s Love Child

      That’s horrendous. Did they use metal bats?

      • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

        Well, to be fair, it was a league mostly for 12 and young 13 year olds who are moving up to the big diamond for the first time. And, yes, they were using metal bats.

        • Mattingly’s Love Child

          That is a tough age. There aren’t many of the “Ripken” size fields/leagues in CT, are there? I think Vernon might have one that’s it. 12 and 13 is too young to play the full-size field for most kids. At least, it is a painful transition. I like those Ripken leagues with the 70ft baselines, and 54′ pitching distance. It fits the size of the kids more appropriately, and I would think less chance of injury.

          • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

            Yeah, I umpire for Ripken in the spring and it’s great.

    • Cam

      I’m starting to agree with this. I feel that the umps should be relayed immediately if the pitch was a strike or ball then call it. The only human element for them would come in to play on plays at the plate, foul tips, etc. But if they have these systems installed like pitch f/x, no reason not to enforce the real strike zone so the batters and pitchers have nothing to complain about.

    • alex gonzalez

      the human element of the strike zone is one of the most fundamental aspects of the game. that is how the game has been played for over 100 years. why does it need to be changed now? home run replay doesn’t even thrill me that much. i believe that a computerized strikezone would take away from baseball feeling like an art. maybe im just resistant to change, but if it has been like this for that long, why does anything need to be altered.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        … not gonna touch that one.

        • alex gonzalez

          why? because there is no convincing reason to have computerized strike zones?

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            I don’t have the patience or energy to get into it with you.

            (And that’s saying something.)

          • whozat

            No, because you have never shown any willingness to actually listen to arguments presented by others and think about changing your point of view. You’ve clearly articulated that your “reasoning” here is based in feelings, not logic, so it’s obvious there’s no point in talking to you about it.

            • jsbrendog

              so what you’re saying is there’s a chance?

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              That too.

            • alex gonzalez

              so reasoning cannot use any feelings? wow thank you for discounting some of the writings of aristotle. i guess the three modes of persuasion are now down to two. you are so wise.

              • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                Yeah, because Aristotle is famous for Aristotelian Feelings. That Aristotelian Logic crap was just a footnote that nobody cared about.

                (rolls eyes)

                • alex gonzalez

                  no he is famous for all his work on rhetoric. which includes the use of ALL three modes of persuasion. thanks for ignoring the fact that “whozat” still discounted the ability to “reason” using “feelings”.

                • jsbrendog

                  tupac is obv >>>>>>>>>> than this arsitotle guy. I don’t know wnayone who ever read aristotle but i know everyone who loves tupac.

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                  Heh.

                • whozat

                  Wait. Rhetoric and Reason are two different things.

                  There are plenty of rhetorical tools that leverage feelings…to cloud reason.

                  What is the point of engaging in an argument where one side is basing his position on feelings? I can’t tell you what to feel, and you can’t tell me what to feel. There’s no discussion to be had.

                  I believe that a system that used pitchFX to grade umpires and, eventually, cull out those who consistently fail to adhere to the strike zone, would improve baseball by making each game more consistent with other games. Pitchers and hitters would compete based on their execution of the game within the rules, not based on their execution of the game within an arbitrarily changing set of rules that, sometimes, can have a HUGE impact on the game. One called strike at the right moment can completely change everything, and that shit should be as non-discretionary as possible.

                • alex gonzalez

                  i never said they were the same thing. i was explaining to tommiesmithjohncarlos how aristotle did do a lot more than just logic. rhetoric is “one of the arts of using language as a means to persuade”. “Modes of persuasion are devices in rhetoric that classify the speaker’s appeal to the audience” one of those modes is pathos. which “appeals to the audience’s emotions”. all i am saying is i can use feelings in my arguments. even if you think that i cannot and because of that fact you are unwilling to have a discussion with me. in fact every comment you have ever posted at me hasn’t actually been about the topic, but rather about me and how i have discussions.

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                  No, Alex Gonzalez, I’m not unwilling to have a discussion with you because you use feelings.

                  I’m unwilling to have a discussion with you because you are unwilling to listen to the other side of the equation. You make your tautological statements, accept them as not merely fact, but rather, and this is the critical point, as proven arguments (when they’re not remotely proven, least of all by you), and then retrench yourself into appeals to emotion, red herrings, and a host of other logical fallacies.

                  I refused to have the discussion with you because you have shown an unparalleled inability to understand why your arguments are all fatally flawed. Your above initial statement at 1:14 pm is so full of logical fallacies, if Aristotle were alive now he’d slap you in the face for mentioning his name.

                  Arguing with you is like arguing with the proverbial brick wall.

                • alex gonzalez

                  “Arguing with you is like arguing with the proverbial brick wall.” so you are saying that i have some pretty solid ideas.

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside
              • jsbrendog

                so reasoning cannot use any feelings? wow thank you for discounting some of the writings of aristotle.

                what? are you sure you understand it?

                Pathos (pronounced /?pe???s/; Greek: ?????) is one of the three modes of persuasion in rhetoric (along with ethos and logos). Pathos appeals to the audience’s emotions. It is a part of Aristotle’s philosophies in rhetoric. It is not to be confused with ‘bathos’ (?????), which is an attempt to perform in a serious, dramatic fashion that fails and ends up becoming comedy.

                Pathetic events in a plot are also not to be confused with tragic events. In a tragedy, the character brings about his or her own demise, whereas those invoking pathos often occur to innocent characters, invoking unmerited grief.

                Emotional appeal can be accomplished in a multitude of ways:

                by a metaphor or story telling, common as a hook,
                by a general passion in the delivery and an overall number of emotional items in the text of the speech, or in writing.

                this si in your argument, or trying to convey your point. fine.

                this has ntohingt to do with an is completely irrelevant when discussing whether there should be people or umpires calling balls and strikes

                logic would dictate a process. So, baseball, as it exists, does it have a set of guidelines or rules or does it exist in a constant state of chaos?

                it has rules.

                ok, so then, if it has rules, one of two outcomes must come to pass, logically. They should either be enforced or they should be changed to something that will be enforced. they should not just be enforced as a person interprets them as this is problematic since each person is different and thinks differently.

                so no, reasoning cannot use feelings. your conveyance of said reasoning or logic can use emotions, but reasoning is objective through the use of logic and reasoning.

                • alex gonzalez

                  this is way too off-topic now, i can’t respond anymore.

                • king of fruitless hypotheticals

                  hey tjsc…

                  and i quote:

                  I don’t have the patience or energy to get into it with you.

                  Agon:1
                  TJSC:0

                  insert the sad trombone link for me please? :(

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

        Seriously, do you convey yourself via horse and buggy?

        • jsbrendog

          tcwfa

        • alex gonzalez

          no. i use the vehicle from the flintstones. but in all seriousness, even though strikezones by umps is old school, why does it need to be computerized. our teams being targeted by umpires? if they are get rid of the umpires. i love the fact that the strikezone is open to so much debate. each interpretation by both player and umpire makes it interesting.

          • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

            No, it makes the most fundamental part of the game way too variable and/or unpredictable. What’s a strike Monday night could be a ball on Tuesday night, because of different umpires. That’s not a good thing.

            • alex gonzalez

              so if all umpires are taught a certain strike zone and then some type of computerized system is used to rate umpires to see how they are performing over the course of a season could be useful? use this to weed out bad umpires so the zone is more consistent. this still leaves in the chance for some errors that i believe add to the game. is this a more fair compromise?

              • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

                How the hell do errors add to the game? An umpire getting a call wrong is not a good thing.

                • alex gonzalez

                  maybe you don’t see how human umpires add to the game but a lot of people still do. that is why they are still here. i was just trying to say to satisfy people that want computerized zones that a rating system would be useful. train umps the same way and if there zone is wrong and it is egregious get rid of them. it seems like you are being one sided and not seeing how others could enjoy human elements to umpires. im just trying to find middle ground.

                • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

                  You’re saying they add to a game, but you’re failing to say how they add to a game. How does getting calls wrong add to the game? I umpire myself and when I feel I get a call wrong, it pisses me off to no end because it means I could have unfairly influenced the outcome of a game. Obviously, we won’t get rid of umpires and I agree they need to be trained in a certain way. What you’re not doing is explaining your point: how does an umpire getting a call wrong add to the game?

                • jsbrendog

                  matt acty/bbd = actually gives a shit about the outcome of the game because he realizes the players on the field should detemrine the outcome and not him, an umpire, an observer who should be enforcing the rules as stated, not as he interprets them

                  mlb umpire = egos (not eggos, for eric gregg dialogue scroll down)for some prevent them from feeling this way and instill in them this feeling like they’re actually a part of the game. they’re not.

                • alex gonzalez

                  it creates another unexpected outcome. the hitter cannot be 100% of the strikezone no matter how good of an eye he has. same with the umpire. with a missed call the hitter can either benefit, have a neutral impact, or be negatively effected. the majority of the time the umpire has a neutral impact because he is properly calling the zone. but those times he doesn’t make the right call it can change the game. it creates more scenarios than were originally possible when the hitter walked up to the plate. these extra scenarios have existed ever since the game began to be played. by changing it to a computerized version we would be creating a new era of hitters and pitchers. i understand this change would benefit the game, but my attitude is the game is fine as it is. does it somehow make the game more fun? not really, everyone likes to blame an ump once in a while for a bad result in a game. if it doesn’t really add anything to computerize, then why bother? maybe we should computerize score keeping as well? how can a human decide if something is a hit or an error?

                • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

                  it creates another unexpected outcome.

                  Which isn’t a good thing if it’s not an error made by the player. The umpire should not be a determining factor in the outcome of the game.

                  by changing it to a computerized version we would be creating a new era of hitters and pitchers.

                  I’m not saying that a computer should call the game, I’m saying that the strike zone needs to be normalized and enforced. And, yes, it’d breed an era of pitchers and hitters who are finally playing with a fair strike zone, relatively free of interpretation. This would mean more of the game is in the hands of the players, rather than the rule makers.

                  if it doesn’t really add anything to computerize, then why bother?

                  And I think adding a strictly enforced strike zone would add a lot to the game because the game would be more up to the players, which is the point of the game, right?

                  how can a human decide if something is a hit or an error?

                  This has nothing to do with the argument, though the definition of an error is incredibly ambiguous and it’s one of the reasons we don’t talk much about fielding percentage ’round these parts.

                • jsbrendog

                  everyone likes to blame an ump once in a while for a bad result in a game.

                  false. why would you want to lose a game because of this? bitching about it does not make it fun.

                  if it doesn’t really add anything to computerize, then why bother?

                  well, except it does add something. it makes the players responsible for the outcome of a game and not an umpire. Why do you bother to go sign albert pujols if in the bottom of the 9th of the nlcs he strikes out because the umpire calls a ball 2 inches off the plate a strike? you can’t change it. it is done. your team goes home because an umpire made an outrageously wrong call. the best players in the world were not given the opportunity to succeed or fail. why bother paying him them?

                  why not sign umpires too?

                  maybe we should computerize score keeping as well? how can a human decide if something is a hit or an error?

                  this one is a little tougher. in my opinion, t least, only humans can judge human error. and there is no way to remove the fielding “human” errors from the game unless the players are robots. so it makes sense at least to me in this regard.

                • alex gonzalez

                  i thought you were saying a computer should be used to call the game. i agree with you somewhat then if that isn’t the case. you can have computers used to assess how umpires are doing. but i don’t want computers to be the main factor. i realize that hitters are the most important thing, but over the years umpires have integrated into the game. aren’t there even some in the hall of fame? now that they are so interwoven in the fabric of baseball it seems like an unneccesary move to take them out now.

                • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

                  I’m not saying to take them out. I’m saying they need to be graded more harshly and they shouldn’t be anywhere near being a determining factor in the game’s outcome.

                • alex gonzalez

                  i guess we were in a lot more agreement than i thought all along. i don’t like the computer aspect much at all, but would be willing to go with the hybrid of leaving them in the game but grading them more harshly as a compromise.

                • toad

                  maybe we should computerize score keeping as well? how can a human decide if something is a hit or an error?

                  This is totally irrelevant. Scoring something as a hit or an error has no effect on the outcome of the game. The runner is safe, at the same base, regardless of how it’s scored.

          • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

            That’s where we disagree. As tommie said above, the game is not about the umpires. They are there as arbiters, and that is it. They’re given a uniform strike zone to impose, and they should do that. To create their own definition of a strike zone is an egotistical act, and umpires should act sans ego.

          • Chris

            No, each interpretation of the strike zone destroys the history of baseball.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            If they replaced human umpires with android ZoneMaster3000’s made by Diebold tomorrow, I guarantee you baseball would not suddenly become less interesting.

            The human element of the game is invested in the baseball PLAYERS. The players. Umps are hired help, they’re supposed to be accurate. They’re not supposed to fail.

            When human failure in umpires injects itself into the game, it doesn’t add to the sport, it subtracts from it. The NBA is not richer for the Tim Donaghy story, it’s poorer for it.

            • Chris

              I wonder if they could actually make a system (at least in the near future) that could actually accurately call balls and strikes. Pitch f/x is a great system, but the rules define the top and bottom of the strike zone based on the individual batter (knees to letters). It would take quite a bit of effort to have a system accurately judge those locations. Basically, the strike zone would be better inside/outside, but worse up/down.

              • whozat

                I think they do calibrate it for individual players, maybe during spring training? And, it’s probably not THAT hard…I mean, there’s software that can recognize particular faces pretty well (as in, go through your photos and label you in all of them kind of thing). How hard can it be to find knees? There’s a bend! Letters…well, you might have to special-case it for each team’s uni, but that’s still only 60 different ones, and you know which two you’re using for any given data set.

                • Klemy

                  Probably could compensate for this by simply having the lineup/rosters in a computer at the start of a game. A person advances the software to the proper lineup spot or hitter in the lineup as he walks up, sort of like a slide projector. Profile loaded…no recognition software needed.

                  But, as a start or even just at all, I’d like to see the umpires graded on their accuracy within the strike zone. Most accurate gets postseason games, people who repetitively make their own zone end up unemployed. I already know most of them are doing my softball games.

          • whozat

            Except that the umpire is there to enforce the rules, and the rules specify a strike zone. The rules are there to make it so that there is a basis for playing two games in two cities on different days and counting them as equivalent events for the purposes of determining which team is better.

            If it’s supposed to be the case that any ump is allowed to decide the strike zone at his discretion, say so in the rules.

            • jsbrendog

              i concur with this.

            • Dave

              Two games in two different-dimension ballparks with different weather each with lineups of different sized players necessitating different sized strike zones. Very consistent. All I ask is that each umpire be consistent in how he calls the zone in-game and game-to-game. His reputation will precede him and what is a disadvantage to some hitters will be an advantage to others….just like some like hot days and some like cool days.

  • Cam

    I didn’t get to see this during the live game yesterday, but I caught it on replay last night. One thing I noticed while watching it, my surround sound on my TV picked up almost the entire dialogue between Girardi and Foster. And a lot of A Rod too when he came back on the field. Needless to say, there was a lot of interesting stuff said. I hit the rewind button a couple of times to listen in and this is what I picked up:

    – Girardi referenced the Jeter incident right after he got thrown out. He accused Foster of doing something (I couldn’t decipher exactly what) and told him it was embarrassing for him.
    – Girardi got real heated at one point because he though Foster touched/bumped him. You could clearly hear Foster yelling back at Girardi “I did not touch you, Joe!”
    – When A-Rod came back out on the field, one of the other umpires was trying to get him off the field because he was already tossed. You could clearly hear the ump tell A-Rod to get off the field then Alex replied with something like “Don’t tell me to get off the/my field!” To which the ump said “I’m just trying to help you.” A-Rod replied to that “don’t help me, help him! (pointing at Foster)”
    – There were a whole lot of F-bombs thrown around. I mean, it got ridiculous at one point.
    – Last thing Girardi said to Foster as he walked off the field the first time, “Kis my ass!”
    – Last thing Alex said before he walked down the tunnel for good, “He should be thrown out of the game!”

    There were some other interesting things but I can’t remember right now. I have them written down at home. Just though it was very interesting that Girardi brought up the Jeter incident. The fact that they broadcast these games in surround sound is great because mics are always picking up stuff on the field. In this case is was nice to actually get even a broken transcript because the only people who really know what are said during these arguments are the people on the field.

    • Serena

      He should have told Foster that he should “shove that basball down his fucking throat”.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        I know we’re not supposed to use an athlete’s name as a pseudonym, but IETC.

        • Andy In Sunny Daytona

          It was just easier.

  • http://tomorrowsnewsyesterday.wordpress.com/ JMK

    I heard Foster talked shit about Kim Jones and that’s why Girardi lost it. Michael Kay ended up white-knighting for her, as well.

    /You just can’t predict baseball

  • Jeffrey

    It seems like they should investigate the actions and calls of Marty Foster. They should find out if the bad calls only Yankee related or if it’s a problem throughout baseball. Maybe he’s just a bad umpire. I don’t care what argument Foster tries to make to defend his calls, but the photos and videos don’t lie.

    These umpires do have the toughest jobs in the game.

    They have replay for home runs. Why not institute a replay for fair/foul calls with balls down the lines similar to what they have in tennis.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      These umpires do have the toughest jobs in the game.

      Eh, yes and no.

      Rule #1 of being a good umpire: Always remember that nobody came to the game to watch you. Keep your damn mouth shut and don’t do anything to call attention to yourself.

      Nobody remembers the names of good umpires. If you work in the bigs for 25 years and I don’t know what your name is, you’ve done a good job.

    • toad

      Nothing like an 8-hour game to keep your interest up. The best solution short of electronic pitch-calling is, as many here have suggested, strengthening the incentives for umps to get it right.

  • http://www.richardiurilli.com Richard Iurilli

    I hate to sound like a broken record, but this underscores the need for instant replay in baseball. And for more than just home run calls.

    Any one of those blown calls, while not overly impacting the results of the games they occurred in, could be devastating in a playoff or tie-breaker game (see Wild Card tie-breaker, 2007 National League). If the umpires can’t get that kind of call right, then the umpire shouldn’t be making the call.

  • Free Mike Vick

    The pitch A-Rod took was WAY too close to take, IMO…i’m sorry he should not take that ball.

    and even on the replay it looked juuuuust off the plate. I have seen much worse called a strike..it wasn’t like it was insanely outside.

    • http://www.richardiurilli.com Richard Iurilli

      http://brooksbaseball.net/pfx/.....v_size=500

      Look again. No one should swing at that pitch in any count.

      • Andy In Sunny Daytona

        “Looked good to me.”

        /Eric Gregg from Heaven’d

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          Eric Gregg’s autobiography:

          http://www.amazon.com/Working-.....0688090893

          Double Entendre FTW!

          • jsbrendog

            ouch

            • Free Mike Vick

              i’m sorry…but that pitch will be called a strike 9 out of 10 times. Does it change the fact it is off the plate a little and a ball? NO

              but that’s too close to take, IMO

              • jsbrendog

                does that change the fact that eric gregg was really really obese? and worked the plate? hard?

                • Free Mike Vick

                  that pitch was too close to take bro…thats the bottomline.

                  with basesloaded and 2 out…is an umpire really going to call that pitch a ball?? i would think not.

                  we won the game…so it really doesn’t matter (unless Al and Girardi get suspended).

                • Chris

                  with basesloaded and 2 out…is an umpire really going to call that pitch a ball?? i would think not.

                  So, you’re saying that the umpire will generally take the bat out of the hands of the best hitter on the team in a close game with the bases loaded by calling a pitch that is clearly off the plate a strike?

                  If the ball is not over the plate, don’t swing. Swinging at balls is a great way to hit weak groundballs/flyballs.

                • Free Mike Vick

                  We are not talking about a pitch that was off the plate by like 3 feet or something…it wasn’t in the other batters box.

                  it was just off the plate…if you don’t think that pitch will be called a strike more then a ball…then i would strongly disagree with you.

              • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                That’s part of the whole point of this post.

                That ball probably will get called a strike frequently.

                That’s dumb. Real dumb. And ARod and Girardi are right to get chapped over it.

              • whozat

                That’s just not true. pitches that are multiple ball-widths off the plate are certainly not called strikes 9 out of 10 times.

                In fact, if you go look at the pfx data, you’ll see that there were pitches closer to the K zone that he called balls. There was even one well IN the strike zone that he called a ball.

                • Free Mike Vick

                  umpire’s stink dude.

                  balls are called strikes…

                  strikes are called balls…

                  thats baseball!! Umpires are human…and humans make mistakes.

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                  Copy.

                  Corollary: We shouldn’t Free Mike Vick. He killed dogs, people like dogs, therefore they’re justified to shit on Mike Vick.

                  That’s Football! People are biased, and biased people shit on Mike Vick.

                  Q.E.D.

                • whozat

                  So, players should start swinging at pitches off the plate because umpires make mistakes? Yeah, that’s a real winning strategy. I’d prefer my players to swing at strikes. Expanding the zone is playing RIGHT into the pitcher’s hands. If I take a pitch that I think is a ball, and the data shows it’s a ball…somehow it’s my fault and I should have known that the ump would fuck up right then?

                  If ARod had swung and not gotten a hit or fouled it off, you’d be saying he shoudn’t have swung, it was clearly a ball.

                • Free Mike Vick

                  i would not say that because that pitch is too close to take.

                  and furthermore…let me show you what happens when you expand the zone just a bit.

                  http://mlb.mlb.com/media/video.....id=6622709

                • Free Mike Vick

                  edit…wrong link.

                  here is the right one.

                  http://mlb.mlb.com/media/video.....id=6620151

                • http://www.richardiurilli.com Richard Iurilli

                  Exception to the rule. Just because that ball dunked in doesn’t mean they all will. Nine times out of ten, if you swing at that pitch, you make an out.

    • V

      So, what you’re saying is, you saw it with your own eyes?

  • V

    Every other major sports league has an objective process by which they evaluate their officials in order to determine postseason assignments…. except, apparently, MLB.

  • jsbrendog

    marty foster = jagon

  • Pingback: Another Problem with Marty Foster | Bronx Baseball Daily

  • Donna-Marie

    I forgot about the ball in hand, tag with empty glove play!! That’s right. Get the guy out. He should not be allowed any future Yankee games. God, aren’t there enough umpires to make that happen. What a jerk.

  • Bob Stone

    MLB installed QuesTec’s Umpire Information Systems (UIS) in six ball parks during 2001 in order to evaluate umpires and to provide them with feedback. The initiative was hotly opposed by the umpires and by some players as well.

    Some say that this system has helped to “narrow” the strike zone. But as Pitch/fx routinely illustrates, umpires get a lot of calls wrong.

    Why have the QuesTec UIS if it is not being used to obtain improved performance from umpires (or in the case where it is not possible, fire them). The results of the system, it’s feedback and evaluations need to be made more public. Discipline needs to be made public. Why are umpires treated differently than players and managers when it comes to discipline?

    The umpires union doesn’t approach the strength and influence of the MLBPA. Why are they still being treated like prima donnas? Why hasn’t Selig moved to improve this situation. I used to be pleased with much that Selig accomplished, but I think he is now the main problem on this issue. It’s just one more example why Selig needs to resign . . . YESTERDAY!

    • Dave

      I imagine Umpire discipline is treated differently because they hold an “authority” position on the field rather than merely a “performer” position. To publicly announce their discipline would undermine that authority because players and managers would develop manners of verbal attack to provoke umpires into exactly the actions that could/would get them disciplined. You would then see players/managers immediately turn and walk back to the dugout with a grin on their faces because they “punished” the umpire for disagreeing with them. And baseball is not going to come out and say “Umpire X is calling too many low strikes” because then you will have the pitchers complaining instead of the hitters every time they don’t get that call. Like it or not, SOMEONE has to have final say and the authority to carry it through or we would be watching Jerry Springer every game. Baseball has to back their umpires.

  • Tank Foster

    I thought one of the things that QuesTec was being used for was to assess accuracy, and to reward only the most accurate umpires with playoff games. Anyone else heard that?

  • ShuutoHeat

    Foster is a prick, I wouldn’t even go as far as saying he is blind and that he can’t see. He’s just a bad ump, period. Nothing to do with his eyesight, just his lack of integrity. He’s on a whole dominance high the whole “if I’m the ump, I get to do what I want thing”. Fuck him.

  • nilnil

    There is a link for Umpire stats, I cannot understand. Anybody can help?
    http://www.sbrforum.com/Stats/.....ports.aspx

  • Pingback: Poor umpiring an unwanted playoff sub-plot | River Avenue Blues

  • Pingback: Another Problem with Marty Foster | Bronx Baseball Daily