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Astros’ Matt Downs Wants Umpires to be Held Accountable for Bad Calls

Once again, we are big advocates for instant replay in baseball here at LBS.  Like the MLB’s oldest manager, we think it can only help the game.  That being said, accountability and the use of instant replay are two completely different concepts.  Instant replay should be instituted as part of the game so umpires can be human and make mistakes without being ridiculed.  It would also make the game a lot more fair and accurate, if that is something that interests you when following sports.

One thing that drives me insane is when players cry that umpires need to be held accountable for making poor calls.  Take Astros infielder Matt Downs for example, who was extremely unhappy after C.B. Bucknor called a questionable strike on a 3-1 count Tuesday night that eventually resulted in Downs striking out.  After the game, Downs went off about accountability.

“I get tired of umpires going back to the hotel and thinking they did a good job on the night and I have to go back to the hotel on a failure night after I feel like I walked 3-1 instead of punching out 3-2,” Downs told Zachary Levine of the Houston Chronicle. “Some kind of action has to be taken on just a bonehead call like that.

“My stats are put in the paper every day, everybody knows if I fail or succeed, and I feel like some kind of action has got to be taken where we realize if a guy’s blown a call or not and he’s accountable.”

What Downs fails to realize is that umpires are held accountable in the same way that players are.  For example, this blog post is one of many across the web that calls attention to the fact that C.B. Bucknor blew a call that may have ultimately cost the Astros a win.  That, to me, is the same as publishing stats in a newspaper.

If you want to talk about accountability, the truth is nobody in baseball is actually held accountable (except for Alex Rodriguez).  Players get ridiculed in the media if they have a bad game — boo hoo.  At the end of the day they still collect their paycheck.  John Lackey is making around $15 million per season with the Red Sox and has an ERA that is among the worst in the majors.  Can they release him?  Certainly, but they would still have to pay him.  Accountability?  Not exactly.

Fist pound to CBSSports.com’s Eye on Baseball blog for the story.



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  • Anonymous

    Matt Downs you are complaining about one little call…how about you complain about the astros embarrassing season!! You haven’t even been a playing Astro that long…You are complaining about a freaking call..how do you think the average amaerican citizen that is the only support for their family who just got laid off…and don’t know how they will make ends meet. I would gladly swing a bat for a million dollar salary buddy!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GOMJCMF3CKJPFROWFIJLKKZWE4 A6768Namvet

    TempTx…….stick to the basis of the article! Replay is needed because of SO MANY BONEHEADED CALLS!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=689790627 Michael Georges

    Truth is, if a player argues a call he get’s suspended without pay. While Downs is just one play, there’s been at least 10 games this year where the outcome was definately affected. Blow an obvious call without checking with the other umps should be penalized and I think docking these overpaid umps is a fair start.

  • http://larrybrownsports.com Larry Brown

    What does he want, a category for umpire **** ups in the boxscore?

  • http://larrybrownsports.com Larry Brown

    What does he want, a category for umpire **** ups in the boxscore?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ZGSI3YDNLIDMCUBUTSGXDB2E3Q John

    Overpaid Umps? You’ve got to be kidding, right? Overpaid compared to what? Definately not the grossly overpaid players or managers.

    So let’s think about the idea of instant re-play… now a 3 hour baseball game becomes a 4 or 5 hour game because of all the stoppages. Don’t need the umps anymore because computers can determine balls, strikes, fair, foul, safe, or out. Not to mention the games having no rythm, pitchers going cold on the mound, and fans at the park sitting in their seats wathing millionaire players standing around and scratching themselves as the play is reviewed in the booth.

    Baseball has always been an imperfect game. Calls by umpires can go either way. Why do the batters not complain when a strike is called a ball? Believe me, there is a check and balance system for bad calls at home plate… it’s called a passed ball. A couple inside heaters to the cup usually catches the ump’s attention.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1196194483 Kevin Mercado

    one difference a players stat will  be stamped on to a BB card or in some sports archive,but no one will remember the  A hole (umpire )who cause that blemish. that is what separates the two. besides these Umpires have way to much power within the game & think they answer to no one . 

  • http://twitter.com/theFAN2000 the F.A.N.

    If a player is the victim of one or even five bad calls a season and it effects their stats that much, they did not play much to begin with. They do need instant replay expanded some but not much. And umpires do have accountability, its just not in the public forum. They go through reviews and if they do bad they lose out on chances to make more money, just like in a normal 9-5 job.

  • Anonymous

    The umpires are held accountable, if they grade out poorly they miss out on the post season and if they are really bad they are let go. If there are approximately 200 pitches thrown in a game and the umpires misses 10 (which is a very large number of misses per game) then he is still at 95 %. If a player is a very good player he’s only getting a hit 3 out of every 10 at bats. The math seems to favor the umpires !!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_J2IW2MYDDGXGLNWPJLIXVHME5I mike h

    While I think Downs is being a big baby, still Bucknor is one of the worst umpires in the league, so Downs might have a point.

  • Anonymous

    I think this is a great idea, but it needs to be implemented for the players also. Failing to drive in the runner from third, less than two out, $100,000 fine payable to charity. Getting caught napping on base or forgetting the count, $100,000 fine payable to charity. Baseball is a game involving humans being human and that is what makes it such a wonderful game, lets let it be what it is and enjoy.