You're Outta There! Major League Baseball's Worst Umpires

Matt Esposito@@mattaespositoCorrespondent ISeptember 15, 2010

You're Outta There! Major League Baseball's Worst Umpires

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    SEATTLE - MAY 27: Shortstop Julio Lugo #23 of the Boston Red Sox argues with third base umpire Angel Hernandez after being ejected in the fifth inning against the Seattle Mariners May 27, 2008 at Safeco Field in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Every team in baseball, at some point, ends up on the receiving end of a blown call or feels as though an umpire did not call a game to the best of their ability.

    It happens very often in fact, but the frequency depends very much on the umpires themselves.

    Major League Baseball has its fair share of officials that do not receive the same amount of respect as the rest of them. The reputation of an umpire is generally determined based on their ability to call games and their attitude and demeanor on the field.

    Most umpires don't go out there and cause a stir; some, however, find themselves making headlines almost as often as players.

    The more notorious umpires are the ones who have a tainted reputation with the players and they deserve to be acknowledged the most.

    There aren't many umpires out there that deserve to be attacked—despite a handful of names that are worth a brief mention, the worst umpires of Major League Baseball essentially come down to a "big three."

    Here is a brief collection of some of the worst umpires that Major League Baseball has to offer.

Honorable Mentions

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    HOUSTON - JULY 30:  Houston Astros manager Brad Mills #2 has words with first base umpire Phil Cuzzi after calling Michael Bourn out on a close call at first base against the Milwaukee Brewers at Minute Maid Park on July 30, 2010 in Houston, Texas.  (Phot
    Bob Levey/Getty Images

    Phil Cuzzi (pictured)

    Any umpire that prompts a discussion about applying instant replay to baseball gets on my nerves.

    Cuzzi called a fair ball foul during the 2009 ALDS, taking a double away from Joe Mauer and the Minnesota Twins, changing the momentum of the game. The ball was obviously fair and the ruling sparked all sorts of controversy.

    Bob Davidson

    He has been stirring up some controversy lately and probably isn't baseball's favorite man to see behind the plate.

    He threw a fan out of a game last week. He was also right at the center of the controversial foul ball that took a walkoff win away from Gaby Sanchez and the Marlins.

    Tim McClelland

    McClelland generally is well-respected for his unwavering strike zone, but come playoff time, he never fails to be involved in some controversial call.

    I can't say that I'm particularly a fan of his very tight strike zone.

Even More Honorable Mention: Jim Joyce

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    HOUSTON - JUNE 18:  Second base umpire Jim Joyce looks towards home during the game between the Texas Rangers and Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on June 18, 2010 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
    Bob Levey/Getty Images

    I'm still not sure how fair it is to call Jim Joyce one of the worst umps baseball, but he made quite possibly one of the worst blown calls in baseball history.

    He gets an even more honorable mention for the blown call that took away a perfect from Tigers starter Armando Galarraga. He called Indians shortstop Jason Donald safe at first base, when it was clear as day that he was safe. 

    He can't be one of the worst umpires in the game, at all. The players have always respected the guy, and he handled the situation properly. He knew he screwed up the call, he felt miserable about it, and took the proper steps to patch it up with Galarraga.

    He deserves credit for how he handled things postgame. But nonetheless, he gets a small mention here because he did take a historical accomplishment away from a pitcher.

3. Angel Hernandez

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    OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 06:  Brad Ziegler #31 of the Oakland Athletics argues with home plate umpire Angel Hernandez after Henandez called Ziegler for a balk that scored Elvis Andrus #1 of the Texas Rangers to give the Rangers a 5-1 lead in the eighth inning
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    It seems that everyone that is familiar with MLB umpires has some sort of qualm with Angel Hernandez.

    The fans don't like him.

    The players don't like him.

    He always seems to end up at the center of tons of crucial game-changing calls. His huge strike zone gets on the nerves and fans and teams alike. He called the most strikes throughout the 2000s. In a 2006 Sports Illustrated poll, the players ranked him the third-worst umpire in baseball.

    What probably grinds the gears of most people that are familiar with him is his fiery attitude: He'll be the first guy out there to get into it with the players, and he's got a quick trigger finger and tends to toss players or managers at the first sign of a heated discussion or argument.

    That is where is lack of respect comes from.

2. C.B. Bucknor

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    NEW YORK - MAY 23: Julio Lugo #23 of the Boston Red Sox argues a call with home plate umpire C.B. Bucknor in the ninth inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on May 23, 2007 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Gett
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    For what it's worth, Bucknor has consistently been regarded by the players as the worst umpire in baseball.

    It is clear that he is baseball's least favorite official.

    It seems as though he ranks atop every player poll of the worst umpires in Major League Baseball; he continued to do so even after Jim Joyce's botched call this year.

    It is tough to cite any specific incidents; he blows calls all the time and never fails at jawing with players and coaches. Bucknor belongs towards the top of this list. Major League Basball says so yearly.

    His demeanor on the field just makes everyone uncomfortable. Granted that's to be expected, considering he most likely knows about his reputation.

    But nobody enjoys being on the receiving end of any call made by Bucknor.

1. Joe West

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    PHOENIX - JUNE 08:  First base umpire Joe West reacts to manager A.J. Hinch of the Arizona Diamondbacks during the Major League Baseball game against the Atlanta Braves at Chase Field on June 8, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Gett
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Not only has Joe West been inconsistent on the baseball field, but he has been an all-around miserable individual during and after games.

    Players have criticized him because they don't necessarily think he's happy to be on the field in the first place.

    In a 2010 player poll after the World Series, he was voted as one of the worst umpires in baseball, second only to C.B. Bucknor. His somewhat lackadaisical approach to umpiring also has not helped him grow into a very consistent umpire.

    West has also grown notorious for promoting himself.

    What really aggravated a ton of fans was his comments about the pace of the Yankees/Red Sox series during the first month of the 2010 season; he criticized the slow pace of the game and called it "pathetic and embarrassing."

    Calling anything out but balls and strikes like that shouldn't be any of his business. It was another attention stunt from West, as it created shockwaves amongst the teams and fans and only proves that umpires shouldn't self-promote and blab on to the media.

    West needs to settle down before he can be recognized as anything but the worst umpire in baseball. It isn't just all about the calls that are blown, it is about attitude and approach.

    West fails at both.

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