Chris Humphreys-US PRESSWIRE

Why Don't Umpires Reverse their Calls?

I don’t understand why umpires won’t reverse their calls? Can someone explain to me why? The Dodgers were done in by another blown call by an umpire. This one happened in the top of the sixth inning earlier today in game three against Colorado at Coors Field. The Dodgers had a runner at first with two outs. Jerry Hairston hits a sharp grounder to third, that Colorado third baseman Chris Nelson makes a great diving stop, but his throw is way off-line and wide. It pulls first baseman Todd Helton off the bag by about five feet. The Dodgers would have had first and second with two outs, except the first base umpire Tim Welke called him out. This call ruined a potential Dodger scoring rally.

Now again take a look at this photo. As you can clearly see, Helton has come off the bag by about a good three or four feet. His left knee is touching the ground in order to field the wide throw. His foot is nowhere near the first base bag. For whatever reason Welke, still calls him out. So maybe his view was blocked by Helton’s leg, or something? Even if that is true, is Welke’s depth perception that bad? Helton was lmost halfway to second base.

What really doesn’t make sense, is why if Welke’s view of the play was obstructed, why he didn’t conference with the other umpires? He certainly was in the right position t make the call. I think this is what Don Mattingly was arguing when he ran out to argue with Welke, and almost swallowed his hat in annoyance. This defiantly strange since Welke is a veteran umpire of over 12 years. He has been a crew chief since 2000, and been umpiring since 1984. He has worked in 11 postseasons, including umpiring in four World Series.

My questions is why can’t Umpires reverse their own calls? Is there some rule that says they can’t? I have never heard of any rule that prevents the umpires from reversing their own calls. Or at the very least talking to the other umpires and having one of them actually reverse the call. Whatever I don’t care who reverses the calls. I don’t care if it’s Leslie Nielson from the first Naked Gun film, dressed as an umpire that reverses the calls. Just get the calls right!


Yikes know I have never been an umpire before, but I don’t care. It’s not brain surgery here. Your either out or safe. I am not saying it’s easy, but come on, if this was a close play I wouldn’t even be writing this post. A missed call on a bang bang play can be forgiven if not understood, but a botched call this bad?

What is going on with the umpiring these days? Don’t even get me started on the strike zone. The strike zone seems to get smaller and smaller by the day. Years ago, the strike zone was simple. It extended from the armpits, to about right above the knees. That was the strike zone. Now it is about the size of a tea cup, as these young umpires keep squeezing pitchers out of strikes.  Normally the Umps get the calls right, but this one was ridiculous. The Dodgers should have played the game under protest. Obviously instant replay needs to be expanded, but the problem is on the field with these umpires.

I think the reason they won’t reverse their calls is just plain ego. They want to control the games with an iron first. There has to be some room for discussion on plays that are that blown. The umps just want to lay down their iron fists, and if you say anything to them about a call, even one word they just toss you out of the game.

Notice that Don Mattingly was not thrown out of the game. I have seen some games where the manager was thrown out before he reached the top step of the dugout. Mattingly nearly came to blows with umpire Tim Welke. He got right in his face, and wasn’t tossed. So why wasn’t he tossed? Because he completely screwed the call, and he knew it! Instead of acting like a real umpire, he just stood there, not reversing his call, and not even conferring with the other umpires. This is what Donnie was arguing about. I was actually hoping Donnie would throw a base or something like Lou Pinella used to do, but he didn’t go that far.

MLB needs to start looking into these blown calls, and start taking some disciplinary action for some of these umpires. Bud Selig needs to fix this, because it is costing teams games. There have been many blown calls that have cost us games over the last few years. The Dodgers might have won today if that call hadn’t been blown. Thanks for listening to me guys, I guess I just needed to vent about the poor umpiring after this tough loss earlier today.

So please please MLB, do something to fix this. Or perhaps we can help setup some of these umpires with better eye wear, and a good optometrist. The umpires are covered for Eye coverage with the union right?

Tags: Dodgers Don Mattingly Tim Welke

  • jdcpros

    Twice in your article you state that the umpire called him safe.  I can only assume you’ve made an error, and should have typed that the umpire called the runner out.  Pretty funny considering you’re complaining about someone making a mistake.

    • LasordasLair

       Good catch, yes was an error. I can’t beleive I didn’t see that. Corrected. I must be as blind as Welke is because I didn’t see that.

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  • codedude

    As a graduate of Harry Wendelstedt School for Umpires and having been taught by some of the best umpires MLB has to offer, I was shocked to see the call. But remember, the other umpires may not have seen the call. With a runner on first, each umpire has other responsibilities. Since the third baseman was pulled off third, the third base ump may have been moving in to see the play. The second base ump was covering any potential play at second. The plate ump may have been looking for a possible play at third. Had that occured the first base ump would have broke for home to cover. So you see Tim may not have had anyone to confer with. As we are taught sometimes an umpire may have to live and or die by his call. So it is impearative he get it right. Take his time, see the play and make the call (timing). Tim may have been too far out and therefore could not see the foot off the bag or for that matter any possible sweep tag. Depending on the situation, the plate umpire could or should have looked down the first base line checking for a sweep tag, obstruction or running out of the 3 foot line. As painful as it looked for Tim Welke he was willing to die by his call. Granted I am a life long Dodger fan who bleeds blue and dislikes the Giants. I was upset, but as an umpire I understood. Sometimes your just alone out there. Your see one thing and your brain registers another. Although I have never made a call like that. I have been there, and I have even reversed a call or two base on what my partners saw. So for those of you who think umpires don’t want to get the call right, your wrong.

    • LasordasLair

       But why call him out then? There was a runner at first, but no one at second, so there couldn’t have been any play at third. He was right there, in position to make the call. It was such a horrible call. Why didn’t he at least confer with the other umps?

  • codedude

    I’m sorry unless I’m mistaken, wasn’t the ball hit to the left of the third baseman? The third base ump may have believed the ball had a chance of going to the outfield and broke that way. Causing the plate ump to go towards third. I could be wrong. :) if so, it won’t be first time. Thanks for listening.

    • LasordasLair

       Thanks for commenting, it’s good to hear from someone who has the perspective of the umpire’s side. I guess blown calls will always be a part of the game in some way.

  • SCruzDodgers

    So, I’ve never been an umpire for baseball. I have, however, refereed fencing bouts. Overtime, I have noticed some subtle similarities between baseball and fencing. Two that immediately come to mind is that both use sticks (foil/sabre/epee, bats) and both have stubborn referees/umps. When refereeing, you are told to make a call and stick to it. If you seem wishy washy you will be challenged on every single call and it wastes time. Instead, you are urged to see what happens within split seconds, think about what happened and make the correct call. Once you make it, stick with it. However, if you consistently make bad calls, fencers are allowed to leave the strip and make a formal complaint to bout committee and request a different ref. 
    I’m fairly certain umpires are told the same thing. Give up one call without consulting others, then the teams lose faith in your ability to referee which will result on constant challenging. Personally, one reason I prefer baseball to football is because I get to watch a game for three hours and get three hours of action. Not 30 minutes over 3 hours because of all the arguing; we’re not in court for fucks sake.
    Why on earth Welke didn’t consult the other referees is beyond me. Umps should be their own team working together. This definitely prompts me to want to read the rule book and guide to baseball reffing though. 

    • SCruzDodgers

      Just read comments by the codedude. I still think we should be able to make more formal complaints against the umps. 

    • LasordasLair

       I agree with you. That’s what I am saying. Why didn’t Welke confer with the other umps? One of them had to have seen the play.

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