Somewhere Fred VanVleet is smiling and cursing happily after a subpar official received his just due. The University of New Orleans defeated Mississippi Valley State 7-3 in a college baseball game on Friday. As the college basketball season is heating up, millions of people still found time to view the final out on social media. The reason? Umpire Reggie Drummer made one of the worst calls in the history of sports.
Davon Mims was up to bat in the top of the ninth for Mississippi Valley State and Drummer called a questionable — at best — strike two. Mims briefly objected to the call and then lined up in the batter’s box. The subsequent pitch ended up in the opposite batter’s box, but the umpire still called a third strike to end the game. Mims was rightfully infuriated by the call and had to be separated from the umpire by the UNO players.
LeBron James can have his gripes about the foul that wasn’t called on Jayson Tatum in late January, Fred VanVleet can feel that Ben Taylor is out to get him, Kyle Schwarber may have no idea the dimensions of Ángel Hernández’s strike zone, and Sean Payton might think that all of the NFL referees have a vendetta against him, but none of them have as much of right to be as upset as Mims.
The Southland Conference has taken Mims’ side in this dispute. The conference was swift and punitive with its punishment of Drummer. On Saturday, it was announced that Drummer has been suspended indefinitely.
A major difference between this officiating error and the missed pass interference call against the Los Angeles Rams in the 2019 NFC Championship game is that the third strike call appeared malicious.
While the camera is not close enough to read the Drummer’s facial expression, to call a strike on a pitch located in the opposite batter’s box after arguing with a player is an awful look. The conference had to make that suspension for the credibility of the entire sport.
Players may believe that certain officials have a vendetta against them. They may also be correct, but as long as the feud is over a few questionable calls that stretch out over multiple years the official will be fine. No official who enjoys their salary and position would make that call that Drummer did in that particular moment.
He destroyed the integrity of the game. The very opposite of what an umpire is supposed to do.