It is hard to be an umpire these days, it really is. With TV cameras always on you, executive umpires always watching you, and the constant criticism from the fans, players, coaches, and media alike, this is one stressful job. I also attended last night’s Yankees-Indians game and even before DeWayne Wise’s “catch” was ruled by umpire Mike DiMuro everyone in the stadium thought he had caught it, including the players and myself included. The fact is though, that DiMuro made a ruling on the play without asking to see the ball which is a big mistake on his part and something that could have changed the outcome of the game. After the game DiMuro made these comments regarding the disputed catch:
“Now that I see the tape it’s obvious that the ball fell out…In hindsight I should have asked him to show me the ball.”
That is a noble statement from a veteran umpire despite the fact that it was truly a very bad call. Now, let’s take a look at the reason why you can and why you can’t blame Mike DiMuro for missing the non-catch in left-field during last night’s game.
Why You Can Blame Him
1. He never asked to see the ball- Let’s get the obvious one out of the way, Mike DiMuro committed a no-no in the umpiring profession, he never asked to see the ball when DeWayne Wise was coming out of the stands. If he had asked to see the ball, Wise would have had nothing to show him and it would have been called a foul ball, despite the terrific effort by the Yankees substitute left-fielder. The fact of the matter is that DiMuro looked at Wise coming out of the stands and then called the play a catch wthout asking Wise for the ball or looking around to see if the ball was anywhere else.
2. He never looked around to see if anyone else had the ball- While some of you may be saying, “How was he supposed to know that a fan may have had it?” my answer to that is that the umpire has to survey all options of what happened before making a ruling. All he did was run over and watch Wise get out of the stands and then he called the batter, Jack Hannahan out on the play. Had Mike DiMuro looked about 5 or so feet to his left, he would have seen a fan in a red polo shirt holding the ball up in the air after he retrieved it off of the ground.
Why You Cannot Blame Him
1. There was no way for him to get in position to make the call- Mike DiMuro was umpiring third base yesterday and on that fly ball there was no possible way he could get in position to make the proper call immediately after Wise went into the stands. He hustled over to the stands as the ball was in the air but the ball was hit so deep that he could not get to the spot of the play and be able to stand there and watch it unfold. He arrived at the scene of the play after Wise had already fallen into the crowd and was in the process of getting up to his feet.
2. It is a very hard call to make- Now, usually I am not very sympathetic on the side of umpires, as I am a baseball player myself but that play unfolded so fast and was at such a tough angle that it is very hard to make a proper ruling on the catch. DiMuro did his best to get in position but the way Wise fell and the spot the play occurred increases the difficulty level of making the call correctly by a huge amount.
Overall, do I think that DiMuro blew the call and had ample opportunities to make it the correct call? Absolutely. But, was it a very hard call to make and are their reasons why he can’t be blamed for making the wrong call? Yes, that can be argued as well.
What is your thoughts on the play? Comment Below!