Chipper Jones Rips ‘Substandard’ Umpiring
The day after umpire Phil Cuzzi allowed Cameron Maybin to walk on three pitches (eventually leading to the only run of the game), All-Star Chipper Jones let loose on poor calls in baseball. Chipper was upset that he struck out to end the Braves-Orioles game Sunday on two poor calls by home plate umpire Mark Ripperger. He ripped the umpiring after the 5-4 loss.
“It’s always frustrating when you’re not allowed to do your job,” Jones said. “But I’ve said time and time again, the officiating in this league is substandard. For the most part.”
“If a guy’s not doing his job, I’m going to say something. If I get fined, I get fined. I don’t care. I’m a competitor. … I know they’re balls. I’ve been here 18 years. I know when a guy’s trying to pitch around me.”
Chipper’s absolutely correct. Both pitches came when he had three balls on him and both were breaking balls outside the zone. He should have walked instead of being called out, and that is a weakness of umpires.
Many home plate umpires stand over the inside shoulder of the catcher and can’t see the outside corner, so they’re influenced by catchers that frame the pitches. That’s exactly what happened here and Chipper is right on. If umpires want to avoid criticism, they should start getting the calls right. Home plate is 17 inches wide. If balls three inches off the plate were intended to be called strikes, the plate would have been made 20 inches wide.