Last night I asked readers on Twitter to come up with a title for today's post. Most of the responses included something with felatio, umpires, and Chris Wheeler. I'm somewhat disturbed. Either way, most of the responses were right on point.
For the second night in a row, an umpire is the focus of discussion. On Monday, Greg Gibson botched TWO portions of a play at first base. Ryan Howard both tug Michael Bourn and forced him out of the baseline. Gibson missed both calls, while Bourn went on to score the winning run. Last night, Howard was ejected by minor league umpire, Scott Barry. Barry is a fill in and decided to make himself the story in the 14th inning.
When the Astros appealed Howard’s 0-1 check swing, Barry called it a strike. Howard, mad at himself, placed his hands on his hips. Barry decided to mock Ry How, which didn’t sit well with The Big Piece. Moments later, when Barry was appealed to for strike three, he called Howard out. Howard flipped (rightfully so) and got ejected.
This forced Raul Ibanez to first and Roy Oswalt into left. In the span of a few minutes, Oswalt entered that weird Philly lore for new guys who do cool things- see Mike Sweeney’s passion, Sal Fasano’s Fu Manchu, and Matt Stairs’ blast in 2008. While all this provided a swell moment, the Phillies lost the game. They lost when Oswalt grounded out to third base in the 16th inning. Howard would have been up in that spot.
While we’re not going to pretend that the umpires cost the Phillies both of these games (Werth being distracted by a tongue and the Phillies only scoring two runs in 16 innings don’t help), the last two nights showed the characteristics we dislike the most about officials.
More, Larry Anderson's must listen-to reaction, and video after the jump.
There’s three levels:
1) Bad call- we’ll boo, but typically understand. And even appreciate acknowledgement. (See Joyce, Jim)
2) Unwillingness to seek help- the thing fans were most upset about on Monday, was Gibson’s refusal to get assistance. Another umpire may have seen one of the two ways Howard got Bourn out.
3) Upstaging the game- the worst of all. Barry made himself the story by confronting Howard on strike one. Even if Howard directed his gesture at him, Barry needed to let it roll of his shoulders. He is a rookie umpire and can’t mock one of the biggest and most accomplished stars in the game. He's done it before too.
It’s reason three that will cause today’s ire towards umpires. The Phillies, in the heat of a pennant race, were cost an opportunity to win and pick up a game on the Braves, all because a fill-in umpire couldn’t handle himself.
That is why Larry Anderson was so pissed. Must listen (click to play). Audio via (@Phylan).