The Red Sox lost last night through no fault of the umpires. They failed to score runs, they failed to kill momentum, they failed to execute on big pitches. It is not my place to blame the umpires for last night’s loss, because truthfully, the Red Sox had many chances to break out in last night’s game. That said, I am extremely frustrated with Major League Baseball’s choice of umpiring crew last night.
CB Bucknor missed three calls at first base; one that went against the Angels and two that went against the Red Sox. He was in perfect position all three times; no players blocked his view of the plays. Nevertheless, Bucknor failed to notice Youk blatantly tagging Howie Kendrick out on the hip before Kendrick reached first. Later in the game, Bucknor missed his second call at first when Youk, fielding a high throw from Mike Lowell, landed on first base with the ball in his glove way before Kendrick reached first.
Bucknor struck again, this time against the Angels, when Dustin Pedroia and Chone Figgins tagged first at what appeared to be the same time. Bucknor ruled Figgins out. Angels fans promptly booed Bucknor, who may as well have been wearing an Angels hat last night. I always learned that tie either goes to the runner or the umpires choice. Perhaps Bucknor was trying to atone for his earlier calls, but nonetheless he lost fans at Angel Stadium last night.
None of these calls led to runs, so there is no reason to downplay the Angels’ victory. However, for MLB to actually allow Bucknor to umpire a postseason game is a travesty. In 2003 and 2006 Sports Illustrated polls, Bucknor was voted by players as the worst umpire in Major League Baseball. That’s twice in four seasons.
How does the WORST umpire in Major League Baseball get a postseason game? Really, MLB? There are no other umpires that could have taken his place? Worse still, Bucknor takes his spot behind the plate tonight. Josh Beckett, who already has a short temper, will surely draw issue with Bucknor’s calls. Do not be surprised if he gets himself ejected.
This is the postseason. Every call matters, yet for some reason, the Sox and the Angels will suffer the consequences of having the worst umpire in Major League Baseball making those calls. Once a single one of the calls costs either team anything, I would not hesitate to send a slew of letters Bud Selig’s way.