It's time to hold officials accountable
May 30, 2012
Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland had another one of his epic rants Monday, telling the assembled media that it's open season on umpires.
The Tigers were on the wrong end of 3-run inning against the Boston Red Sox, thanks in large part to a blown strike three call on Mike Aviles. The umps ruled Aviles hit a foul tip into the ground and that Tigers catcher Gerald Laird failed to catch the ball, which would have ended in the inning. But replay showed Aviles never made contact, and Laird cleanly caught the ball.
Leyland was eventually ejected from the game because he just couldn't let the terrible call go, and he showed no signs of moving on during the post game.
"We're all accountable in this business. All of us are accountable. And when I say all of us, I mean everybody that's involved in the game needs to be held accountable. OK? That's exactly what needs to be done. There should not have been a rally in that inning. Now anybody that saw that, have the nerve to write what you saw and say it. Because I'm not going to sit here and rip umpires. But you saw what you saw, clearly saw what you saw – I just saw it for the 10th time – clearly saw what you saw, write it and say something once in a while. Have the nerve to say something."
Give credit to Leyland for his attempt to rip umpiring without explicitly doing so and using the media as a conduit, but "say something once in a while?" I'm going to chalk that up to Leyland playing ignorant for the sake of his argument because plenty of postgame debates devolve into whether officials screwed up the game. Either way, Leyland's rant was done in such a way to avoid a fine and sparked plenty of discussion on Tuesday about the accountability of officials.
To me, this isn't about publicly reprimanding officials, like Major League Baseball did to umpire Bob Davidson last week, or the need for more replay.
We're at a point in the evolution of sports where officials need to explain why they called what they called. Give them their own postgame press conference or simply require officials in every sport to discuss important calls with a pool reporter.
First base umpire Bill Welke, who made the call in Boston, did just that after the game. He explained his split-second decision and eventually owned his mistake after seeing a replay.
We need more of that in sports. I think most of us would be curious to know why the Boston Celtics were called for five technical fouls the other night or why officials failed to eject anyone after obvious retaliatory hacks in Game 5 between the Heat and the Pacers.
Were those officials disciplined? How did they grade out in the regular season? Will they be assigned more games as the playoffs continue? It would benefit fan awareness if that information was available.
There was a time when officials were infallible because coaches, players, media and fans didn't have the benefit of technology. Now the questionable calls are on YouTube within minutes and the angst is instantaneous. The antiquated notion that officials should be dealt with behind closed doors only makes matters worse. Adding transparency to the process could go a long way towards improving the product.
Most Recent Comments
RE: It's time to hold officials accountable
Acutally I think instant replay is part of the problem. We expect every call to be perfect, and when it isn't then it becomes the reason for not winning. Maybe we should get rid of instant replay and let the calls fall where they may.Instant reply is the only answer- Posted by iron fist
RE: It's time to hold officials accountableOfficials have ALWAYS been held accountable! As long as I can remember, if the opposing fans thought an official "missed" a call - they let the official know about it. Likewise for opposing coaches... and "sports writers/media" like the one writing this article. Also, if an official made enough "questionable" calls over time... the Official's Supervisor likely "terminated" them or mandated additional training. What about holding athletes and coaches "accountable"? What about a coach instructing players to commit "intentional-unintentional" (should that be "unintentional-intentional"?) fouls to stop the clock? What about players who clearly felt the tag before they contacted the base, but who "keep their mouths shut" about it - or the player who felt the ball touch their hand before a ball went out of bounds, yet their team is awarded the ball - and they do not "correct" the officials call that gives them the ball?
Another issue is... how much "perfection" do we expect in a GAME! Perhaps the "pros" can afford the technology that will "objectify" at least some type of calls, but may be unaffordable by lower levels of play. And... even technology sometimes fails - WHAT THEN? Do we have multiple "redundant" systems? COM'ON folks - it is a GAME! Human error and day-to-day variation in human performance occurs in the players - and even though coaches will rarely acknowledge it, in coaches as well. Do we not "allow" the same for officials? Do we expect perfection from officials even though that never happens with players and coaches?
Again... we are talking about "games"! Playing GAMES!
RE: It's time to hold officials accountableI agree with caniacman. Instant replay could save a team from a loss way too often with this tool. Officials have to make a split-second decision. They are human and make mistakes.
RE: It's time to hold officials accountable
- Posted by Ken D.- Posted by rcoxI am a die hard HEELS FAN and i won't glorify this response. I hope that you are kidding. You can't be be serious. If not to glorify your response would be like me having a battle of wits with somebody who is unarmed.If refs are ever held accountable (and I agree they should be -- sometimes they need to explain questionable calls IMO), then Carolina athletics may have just received the final nail in their coffin. If they have to compete on an even playing field with everyone else (meaning FAIR officiating), this is the final nail in their demise.- Posted by TruthBKnown Left The Building
If only it would happen!
There are a few things you need to know about TBK.
First, when it comes to Carolina, he is completely and irredeemably paranoid. He is incapable of objective judgment in this area. Second, he loves to pull people's chains and stir the pot. And third, he is not a stupid man.
Put those together and it's safe to conclude that this is not a serious commentary, meant to be taken seriously.
No need to thank me, TBK. ;)
I agree with all 3 things that you said!
Fourth, he is a State fan which automaticaly makes him a poor sport! After decades of frustration he is deciding that it was all one big conspiracy and that States losses were decided by Carolinas success?
I just remember when sports was fun long before messge boards stirred the pot! Going to Reynolds was an adventure and everyone wanted to kill me and my Carolina friends during the games but after the last whistle blew it as over! You didn't carry the game home with you to an unhealthy level.
I understand that nobody takes anyone on these boards seriously and in the real world we all (especially TBK) considered obsessed! I just wish we could stick to facts and not opinions that deminishes others success because of the lack of your own!