02 June 2004

My kingdom for a decent umpire

I think I have handled the Cubs steady slide in the NL Central standings well.  The season isn't even a third over yet, and they've been crushed by injuries this last month.  All they need to do is keep within reasonable striking distance; when the team gets healthy again in a few weeks they should be playing better.

Injuries happen.  No one wants to use them as an excuse, and I'm not using it either.  The Cubs just haven't played well lately, and teams ahead of them, notably Cincinnati (Cincinnati?) and St. Louis are on a roll.  After tonight's 5-3 loss at home to Houston, the Cubs are 3.5 games out of first.

I did not see tonight's game, but I saw the one highlight-a ground all to second with two outs in the top of the second, fielded by the Cubs second baseman who through in time to first to get the out that should have retired the side, except that the umpire at first base ruled that the throw was wide and that the first baseman did not stay on the bag.  You can guess what happened next: a two run double, Astros win 5-3.

That call was awful.  Every replay I saw showed that the foot was on the bag and that the runner was obviously out.  I realize that even if the right call was made that the game was still tied and there is no guarantee that the Cubs would have eventually won, but seldom does anything in the game irritate me as much as such an obvious missed call.  The game is supposed to be decided by the players, not the umpires. 

So I'm irritated and pointing fingers at umpires, which is what you do when it's late and you can feel things slipping away. 

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