Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

Let's All Admire Umpire Hunter Wendelstedt's Rather Large Human Element

What you see here, courtesy of Brooks Baseball, is a plot of Hunter Wendelstedt's whimsical strikezone from yesterday's Yankees-Twins game. The red marks were called strikes; the green ones were balls. No, that's not how a strikezone is supposed to look.


Yahoo!'s Jeff Passan counts 31 blown calls; I see 28 clear misses, one of which was a ball awarded to the Yankees' Lance Berkman in the seventh inning that should've been a called third strike. Berkman hit the go-ahead double on Carl Pavano's next pitch. More glaring, if less consequential, is that green square in the middle of the box — a cutter to Derek Jeter, according to Passan — which to conspiracy-minded Twins fans has probably begun to look like a very tiny grassy knoll.

While Wendelstedt inflicted his splatter art on the Yankees and Twins (precipitating his old pal Ron Gardenhire's ejection), the umps in San Francisco somehow missed Brooks Conrad's tag at second base on a sliding Buster Posey, who could've been called out from a houseboat in Sausalito. (Posey wound up scoring the game's only run.) Last night was a very bad one for the umpires, who had a lot of bad nights last year, too. And of course nothing will change, no matter how much "debate" ensues, except maybe a carefully constructed blue-ribbon "replay" commission will be empaneled, and George Will again will drape himself over the proceedings like a horrible lace doily, and the rest of us will go on waiting patiently for the removal of the human element known as Bud Selig.

Twins' misgivings about umpire were justified [Yahoo!]