MLB Players: No Instant Replay And We Love Jim Joyce

Well, professionals know excellence when they see it–even when mistakes are made. But this is an interesting survey:

Jim Joyce, the umpire whose missed call deprived Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga of a perfect game on June 2, is baseball’s best umpire nonetheless, according to an exclusive ESPN The Magazine Baseball Confidential poll of 100 major league players.

Survey Says …

Results from ESPN The Magazine’s Baseball Confidential poll of 100 major league players. For best/worst umpire, players were asked to list their top three in each category. For a closer look at the survey, check here.

Joyce Baseball’s best ump:
1. Jim Joyce (53%)
2. Tim McClelland (34%)
3. Jim Wolf (15%)

Joyce Baseball’s worst ump:
1. CB Bucknor (37%)
2. Joe West (35%)
3. Angel Hernandez (22%)

Joyce Baseball’s quickest hook:
1. Joe West (35%)
2. Rob Drake (12%)
3. Bill Hohn (9%)

Grade the umps:
1. B: 29%
2. C: 20%
3. A: 16%
Average grade: B

Replay on the bases?
Yes: 22%
No: 77%
Maybe: 1%

Replay on fair/foul calls?
Yes: 36%
No: 62%
Not sure: 2%

Overturn calls in Galarraga game?
Yes: 13%
No: 86%
Not sure: 1%

In general, however, baseball players think the umpires are pretty good. Overall, 29 percent of the players surveyed gave the umpires a “B” grade, with 20 percent giving them a “C” and 16 percent and “A.”

Players also were decidedly opposed to replay and overwhelmingly applauded commissioner Bud Selig for not overturning Joyce’s call that kept Galarraga from being the 21st pitcher in history to throw a perfect game.

I don’t know why the worst umps don’t get tossed out of the game. All the players know them and loathe them. It diminishes the game to have people reffing who are unfair, punitive, vengeful, overly personal, etc.

This holds for all sports. At the end of every season, players should vote on the referees and the worst should be fired. The integrity of the game demands it.

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