The Benefit Of The Doubt ... If There IS Any
At this point you gotta sympathize with Doug Eddings a little. That security ain't there because an Angel fan might throw a tomato. People bet these games.
Ron Luciano said the one thing no umpire wants, is to get something wrong that affects the outcome of a game.
After the Angels went down Friday like a sack of wheat ... Eddings is looking at committing the umpiring crime that changes the outcome of the 2005 championship.
Okay, maybe it does not have quite as many ramifications as Stephen Hawking's "The First Three Minutes." But let's use our Hubble Detect-O-Tron telescope anyway, to peer backwards in time, and observe the rupture of the ALCS reality wormhole.
10 Seconds In: He's Human
Eddings called a dropped pitch when he did not see a dropped pitch.
Replays showed no dirt moving. Certainly Eddings did not see the pitch hit the ground. He guessed.
Umpires guess more than people realize they do. Still, a guess here was a minor-league call.
At this point, when Eddings first makes a ruling that the pitch was dropped, he is guilty of being human.
30 Seconds In: He's Incompetent
Eddings made two completely separate hand motions: one to signal the strike, and then another hand motion to signal the runner "out." There is no rule that says an umpire must verbalize a call for it to be official. As Mike Scioscia pointed out, Eddings rung the batter up -- called him out.
Fans do not understand this point. A runner is not "safe" when his foot steps on the bag before the ball arrives. A runner is officially safe when an official A.L. umpire, who is mediating an official A.L. baseball game in an official A.L. stadium, SIGNALS that he is safe.
It is the umpire's signal that puts a play in the books. Period.
Eddings did not merely call a play wrong. If Eddings had simply missed the call as to whether the ball hit the ground, that would be no big deal. But Eddings told the Angels that the runner was out, and the runner "stole" first based on the Angels' relaxation after the umpire ended the play with an "out" call.
And then, Eddings decided the runner could keep the base that he gained only because Eddings stopped the play with the "out" call.
You'd be hard-pressed to think of a worse umpiring moment, ever.
At that point, 30 seconds after the play, a fair-reasonable-and-merciful judgment on Eddings would be to question his competence.
5 Minutes In: He Has Poor Judgment
Eddings did not just make an error on the spur of the moment. In the aftermath of the play, with plenty of time to think about it -- he made several terrible judgments.
For example, he used an inconclusive replay to overrule his initial call of "ball caught." And as he himself admitted, his out-to-safe flipflop was based on the players' reaction, rather than his own observations. And he refused to overrule himself and make the play right, after-the-fact.
At that point, 5 minutes after the play, you are forced to question Eddings' judgment.
One Hour In: He Lacks Integrity
The solution would have been, to just admit the truth. Ultimately, the solution would have been to replay the game from the tie score. There is a lot of precedent for this; the George Brett Pine Tar Game was replayed, and left everybody more amused than angry.
Having failed to own up to the truth, in a hopeless attempt to justify the umpire, the rotten odor now sets in. We're all in a position of hoping that the White Sox don't win the World Series.
Eddings struggled to justify himself after the fact, regardless of the consequences to the teams or even to the World Series.
Umpires go by a credo: "When a play is confusing, be sure to penalize the team that causes the problem" -- if a shortstop double-clutches and then there's a bang-bang play, they call "safe." Even if they're wrong, the defense has only itself to blame. There's less to lose when you penalize the team that caused the confusion.
Everybody knows that the BLUE team caused this problem. And rather than being a man about it, Eddings did everything he possibly could to tell the world that the red team caused the problem.
Eddings' self-justification, with so much at stake for so many other people, brings him to yet a different point. One hour after the game, Eddings has caused me to question his integrity.
Swift To Hear, Slow To Speak, Slow To Wrath Dept.
"Slow to wrath" does not mean that you never punish. It means that you are the kind of person who would rather try any other option if any exist.
We would much rather post a finding of "everybody's human" if at all possible. Everybody makes mistakes.
With Eddings, it's not reasonable or fair to give him the benefit of the doubt. He himself has removed any doubt whatsoever. It isn't often that D-O-V renders a verdict of "guilty" on a human level, but you can't vote any other way on this one.
Doug Eddings has convincingly proven himself an umpire of questionable skill, unreliable judgment, and subpar integrity.
Penalize The Team In The Wrong: The Blue Team
Seattle Clubhouse Top Stories
Ridiculously Early 2017 Mock DraftThe IBI's Jeff Ellis takes an early look at the 2017 MLB Draft...
Indians Baseball Insider10/03/2016
Astros fall 12-4 to MarinersAstros say farewell to Brownie, Tal's Hill, and Post-Season aspirations in 12-4 dud
Report: Leonys Martin Switches AgenciesPreparing for round 2 of arbitration, Leonys Martin has switched agencies
Hardball Scoop4:19 AM
MLB Draft Top 50 Prospects: 21-30Taking a look to the future, Scout.com and it's draft analyst, Taylor Blake Ward, is giving you an in depth look at the Top 50 MLB Draft Prospects. In a continuing article, Ward…
Scouting BaseballYesterday at 2:17 AM
Mariners sign Micah Owings, Brad MillsMariners make two minor signings, add Micah Owings and Brad Mills.
Hardball ScoopTuesday at 3:42 PM