3 Creative Suggestions for Solving the Umpire Crisis in MLB

Joe TanseyFeatured ColumnistMay 14, 2013

CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 8: Manager Bob Melvin #6 of the Oakland Athletics is ejected from the game by umpire Angel Hernandez #55 for arguing a call during the ninth inning at Progressive Field on May 8, 2013 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Indians defeated the Athletics 4-3. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Jason Miller/Getty Images

Last week the umpires of Major League Baseball, two crews to be specific, stole the headlines for all the wrong reasons. 

In Cleveland, crew chief Angel Hernandez did not overturn a blown call on what was supposed to be a game-tying home run by Oakland's Adam Rosales. 

While Hernandez was not reprimanded by the league office, Fieldin Culbreth was because of his blown call in the Astros-Angels game on Thursday. Culbreth was suspended two games for allowing the Astros to make an illegal pitching change in the game at Minute Maid Park. 

Since Thursday the umpires have been out of the news, but that does not mean we have to stop with our suggestions about how to improve their performance.

Here are three suggestions to solve the so-called umpire crisis in MLB.


Add More Umpires to Each Game

This may seem like a simple solution to the umpiring problem in baseball, and it really is. 

During the World Series and All-Star Game, six umpires patrol the diamond, with two umpires standing guard on the outfield foul lines. 

Adding two umpires to each umpire crew would keep the pressure off of the base umpires and allow the outfield umpires to get as close to the fence for home run calls as possible without jeopardizing the play occurring on the rest of the diamond. 

Bringing in another duo of decision-makers would not be a trailblazing idea, as soccer has begun to add goal-line referees for major international matches, and it has worked well so far. 


Upgrade the Replay Monitor

After the fiasco in Cleveland, pictures of the replay equipment that the umpires used to review the play were released. 

The small screen, although I am sure it is a high-definition one, should be made larger so that there is no stone left unturned when reviewing the call. 

With umpires getting a clearer look at replays, there will be no doubt that a controversy like the one in Cleveland would never happen again. 


Set a Mandatory Age Limit for Umpires

The fraternity of MLB umpires is a small and proud group, but even some of the best umpires overstay their welcome in the profession. 

Since breaking into the MLB umpiring fraternity is such a difficult task, we've seen the likes of Joe West, Tim McClelland and Bob Davidson age in front of our eyes. 

With the profession coming under more scrutiny with every new season, it is only a matter of time before fans start wondering why there is not an age limit in place already. 

The suggestion here would be that umpires retire at the age of 65, which is a widely acceptable age to retire in most other professions. 

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