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When an umpire's name becomes common knowledge, you know something's wrong.
Between judgment calls that are so horribly wrong you wonder what they are seeing and an entire crew not knowing the rules of the game, it is safe to say that the umpires in Major League Baseball had a week to forget.
Angel Hernandez started things off in spectacular fashion on Wednesday night, initially calling a ball hit by Oakland's Adam Rosales off Cleveland's Chris Perez a double in the ninth inning that would have tied the game.
A's manager Bob Melvin asked the umpires to look at the replay, which they did. It took about three minutes—a lot longer than it should have, considering how replays clearly showed the ball hit the railing over the fence for a home run—for Hernandez and the crew to come back out and "confirm" the initial call was correct.
Adding more insult to the frustration, the next night in Houston saw the umpiring crew completely forget a rule. Astros manager Bo Porter brought in Wesley Wright to face Angels hitter J.B. Shuck, but Mike Scioscia pinch-hit for Shuck after Wright completed his warm-up pitches.
Porter countered by trying to bring in Hector Ambriz. The rulebook states that if a pitcher is replaced, the new pitcher has to face at least one batter before he can be pulled from the game. But umpires allowed the change, and Ambriz was able to pitch.
To put the final cherry on top of the umpire-bashing sundae, Joe Torre, MLB's executive vice president of baseball operations, released a statement saying that Hernandez was wrong in Cleveland, but because it was a judgment call, it's final.
MLB Network analyst Peter Gammons raised an interesting question when he said during an interview on The Dan Patrick Show that Hernandez may have upheld his call as an act of defiance against replay.
Being an umpire isn't an easy job, but there is no excuse whatsoever for the complete lack of competence that we saw this week. Yet nothing has changed. At this rate, it will take something disastrous in a playoff or World Series game to get MLB to take notice of what is going on.