Bad Calls by Umpires

I'm fed up with bad calls by supposedly professional major league umpires.  On this page I will be naming names and detailing the missed calls by umpires.  I will not include close plays that could have gone either way.  After all they are only human, and they are paid to make decisions on those close calls.  They have to make a call one way or the other.  I will list only those obviously missed plays that should never have happened.  Note, I call these "bad calls", not "bad umpires", although in some cases the latter is true also.

JIM REYNOLDS, 2B, 8/12/2009 Twins vs. K.C. at the Dome:—Twins runner going from first to second on a ground ball by the hitter was called out.  The K.C. second baseman got his foot on second in time but dropped the ball.  The umpire said he caught it and dropped it on the exchange.  Replays and real time showed the ball hit his glove and went straight down.  Not even close.

TODD TICHENOR, 1B, 8/25/2009 Twins vs. Baltimore at the Dome: Cabrera (Twins) hits a ground ball to the right side.  He beats the throw to fist base but is called out.  Replays clearly show he was safe.

PHIL CUZZI et al, LF, 10/9/2009 Twins vs. Yankees, ALDS game 2 at Yankee Stadium: Top of the 11th inning, game tied at 3, Mauer hits a lead off double down the left field line which lands close to a foot in fair territory [This would have later led to a run].  Phil Cuzzi called the ball foul, even though replays show it was clearly several inches fair.  It is impossible to understand how this call was missed since the umpire was 10-20 feet from the play, looking right at it.  The Twins did not score in the inning and the Yankees won the game in the bottom of the 11th.  Did this cost us the game?  I think it did and this gets my vote for the worst blown call in the history of baseball.  There are 6 umpires in play off games and you would think one of the six might have been awake enough to watch that play and that one of them might have seen it correctly.  The other umpires were Chuck Meriwether (HP), Mark Wegner (1B), Paul Emmel (2B), Jim Joyce (3B), and Tim Tschida (RF), crew chief.  Tim Tschida addressing the media after the game admitted that they blew it. 

PAUL EMMEL, behind the plate, 4/27/2010 Twins vs. Tigers at Detroit:  A consistently badly called game culminated with the ejection of Denard Span in the top of the 8th inning when he (Span) made a comment and gesture to the umpire after being rung up with a called third strike on a pitch that Fox Tracker showed to be a foot outside.  Denard threw his bat at the backstop and then retrieved it.  Many strike calls were made on balls 6 inches or more inside and outside all night.  Even the TV announcers could not believe some of the calls.

JIM JOYCE, 1B, 5/2/2010, Detroit vs. Cleveland at Detroit:  This is probably the most regrettable blown call ever in the history of baseball.  With 2 outs in the top of the 9th, a Cleveland runner is called safe at first base to break up Detroit's Armando Galarraga's perfect game.  Replays, and even in real time show the runner was out by a long step, not even very close.  There have only been 22 or so perfect games thrown in the history of the game and this one was stolen from Galarraga.  To his credit, Jim Joyce was interviewed after the game and said many, many times that he just flat blew the call.  Joyce is one of the best and most respected umpires in the majors, so what the heck is going on this year with all the very bad, not even close calls even from good umpires?  This blown call was handled with class by everyone involved including Joyce, Galarraga and Jim Leyland, Detroit's manager.

DALE SCOTT, 2B, 5/2/2010 Twins vs. Seattle at Seattle: Seattle batting in the bottom of the 10th inning in a 1-1 tied game with two outs and runners on first and second.  A ground ball to second is fielded and flipped to the shortstop covering second for the third out.  The runner is called safe even though it was obvious in real time and on replays that he was clearly out by quite a bit.  The runner from second scored on this play giving the win to Seattle since there was no need to throw the ball home when the third out had been made.  This game was clearly handed to Seattle in the 10th inning, although who knows how it would have ended if the call had been made correctly.

ALFONSO MARQUEZ, 3B, 7/1/2010 Twins vs. Tampa Bay at Twns:  This was a blatantly missed call with the umpire just a very few feet from the play.  Replays clearly show Cuddyer applied the tag, there is no doubt about that.  This call had no effect on the score of the game, but did cost Gardenhire a couple thousand dollars in fines as he was ejected for arguing the call.  This game also saw TIM TSCHIDA, behind the plate, miss MANY strike calls on balls on the black, as verified by Fox Tracker. This is from an article on

"Michael Cuddyer hasn't spent a lot of time at third base this season for the Twins, but he didn't have much doubt about the tag that he applied on Kelly Shoppach in the 10th inning of the Twins' 5-4 loss to the Rays on Thursday.

"'I felt like I touched his jersey,' Cuddyer said. 'On replay, it looked like I touched his jersey. So I don't know what else to tell you.'

"Cuddyer believed he had made the tag for what would have been the first out of the 10th inning, but third-base umpire Alfonso Marquez ruled that Cuddyer didn't tag Shoppach, and the Twins found themselves in the midst of a disputed call.

"The situation unfolded with runners on first and second and no outs for the Rays in the 10th, with game tied at 4. Willy Aybar singled to left field off right-hander Matt Guerrier, plating the go-ahead run for Tampa Bay, and Shoppach, who had been on first base after getting hit by a pitch, tried to advance to third on the play.

Delmon Young's throw from left field to third base beat Shoppach by a few yards, and Cuddyer caught the throw. He appeared to brush Shoppach on the stomach with his glove, but Marquez ruled that the tag was never placed."

ENTIRE CREW, 8/6/2010Twins vs. Cleveland at Cleveland: This was perhaps the worst job of umpiring by an entire crew in the history of the Twins.  This bunch of no-name umpires, HP: Scott Barry. 1B: Gerry Davis. 2B: D.J. Reyburn. 3B: Greg Gibson, screwed up everything that could be screwed up, from start to finish.  Home plate umpire Scott Barry had no idea what a strike zone was and appeared to just randomly call pitches a ball or strike.  There was zero consistency on his part for the entire game.  But the most mind boggling error came when Jim Thome hit a 2-run homer in the top of the 9th inning to tie the game. The play was reviewed and ruled a double by the umpires.  Replays show the ball just barely clearing the wall, clearly a homerun.  How this bunch of morons could not see what everyone else in the world saw on replay is truly incomprehensible.  What good is replay if they get it wrong even after review?  The ruling became moot after Casilla drove in the two runners, but that is not the point.  The following is a write up from

"First-base umpire and crew chief Gerry Davis reviewed the play but did not overturn it, much to the dismay of Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, who was ejected following a heated protest.

"Did you see it in [high-definition]?" Gardenhire asked reporters after the game. "It was a home run. HD showed it plain as day.

"I don't know how they didn't see the angles that we saw."

Said Davis: "First of all, third-base umpire Greg Gibson went out on the ball and ruled that it hit the yellow pad on top of the wall. When we got together, the other two guys had it hitting the pad as well. We went in to check, and from what we saw, it hit the pad.

"There was nothing that was clear and concise that would cause us to overturn the call that was made on the field."  [Huh?  They all saw it hit the yellow pad and there was nothing clear and concise?!!!  The yellow pad is a home run.  That's pretty clear and concise to any thinking person.  Actually replays show the ball cleared the wall!]

Thome disagreed.

"The way the ball bounced back, I thought for certain it was a home run," Thome said. "With replay, I don't know how they didn't see that. [Maybe because they weren't looking?]

"You never know what the outcome might have been."

Gary Darling 3B, et al, 5/30/2011 Twins vs. Detroit at Detroit:  Game was tied 5-5 in the bottom of the 8th.  Detroit had two outs with a runner on first base.  A ball was hit down the left field line where a fan reached out into the field of play and deflected the ball back into the stands where it then bounced back onto the field.  Since this is obviously a ground rule double since it went into the stands, Delmon Young did not chase after the ball.  The runner on first came all the way around to score.  At the time the ball hit the fan, the runner was halfway between second and third.  The umpire ruled fan interference when it should have been a ground rule double keeping the runner on third.  The next batter struck out to end the inning.  This was an awful blown call.  All the umpires are to blame since they had a conference and all agreed to rule this way.