A few months ago, minor league baseball umpire Scott Barry went on a field trip. The baseball gods had long kept him unknown, sequestered to the outer fringes of the Big Show. And he was angry. The man boasted an arrogant, confrontational personality–the perfect combination of character traits for someone whose chosen career requires him to remain objective. Mainly, he was just a shitty person. And he wanted everyone to know it.
Scott’s big chance showed itself. One member of an MLB umpiring crew had been carried off by a gryphon and molested to death (If the umpires want to pretend to be a secret society who answers to no one, I will provide my own answers). As fate would have it, the gods deemed Scott an acceptable replacement.
He dragged his fecal attitude onto the diamond and ejected Ivan Rodriguez, Ryan Zimmerman and Ryan Howard from three different games in a single week. These are three guys who are fan favorites (pretty much an irrelevant point in this matter), but part of the reason they are fan favorites is because they aren’t psychotic idiots with attitudes half as shitty as Scott’s. Sadly, Scott was under the impression he was not the only person on the field with the maturity level of the guy leaving a bar at 2am who tries to provoke all the taxi drivers.
In both instances, Scott created a tense situation, then abused his newfound power in resolving it. Zimmerman and Howard were ejected on total overreactions on Scott’s part, but what preceded Howard’s made it all the more comically unbelievable.
1. Ryan Howard fails to check his swing.
2. An appeal to third allows Scott Barry the spot light for a few precious seconds. He says Howard swung.
3. Howard, disbelieving the close call, puts his hands on his hips in frustration.
4. Scott, staring back at Howard with the look of a dude who just heard somebody ask “Why are they playing so much Dave Matthews at this party?” puts his hands on his hips, openly mocking the hitter.
5. On the next pitch, Howard checks his swing; but when given the opportunity in an appeal, Scott says he went in the least surprising call of all time. Howard, furious, throws his bat to the ground and heads back toward the dugout.
6. Barry ejects him because that bat was like a son to him.
7. Ryan Howard goes insane; it is his fifth strikeout of the game, and he chooses to celebrate the new franchise record by and turning Scott Barry into a sock puppet.
8. Scott ejects Ross Gload, who is on the disabled list.
So, you’ll be delighted to know that with the announced retirement of Jerry Crawford, Chuck Meriweather, and Mike Reilly, Scott Barry received a full time promotion to the Majors, thus fulfilling the prophecy and spitting in the face of the baseball gods.
“…the stable of MLB umpires has gotten significantly younger and less experienced in the past 18 months. Which, given some of the criticisms lobbed at the umpires’ performance in recent years, may not be such a bad thing.”
–Aaron Gleeman, Hardball Talk
There’s got to be a caliber of umpire between “Delusional old fart too stuck in his ways” and “Idealistic young idiot who wants as much attention as players get.”
Then again, Scott can’t want too much attention. Both he and clumsily-eyed Greg Gibson (Whose had made a painfully incorrect call earlier in the series–contradicting another set of bad reasoning for a bad call he had given Charlie Manuel two months before) refused to answer questions from the press, saying MLB rules prevented them from doing so.
This rule does not exist.
So, now we get 162 games of Scott Barry, who, even if he should kick dust in a catcher’s face or challenge every runner who reaches third to an impromptu push-up contest, will be protected by the bubble of MLB umpires.
“If they make a bad call, you’ve got to play over it. . . . You don’t want the umps laying for you or talking about you with other crews.”
Kids, its important to have good sportsmanship, because otherwise, the corrupt umpires will tell their friends to purposely make bad calls. With so much power and so little recognition, it is not surprising that some of these guys are quick to develop crippling self-delusion.