The group of men who are on your television screen and involved on every pitch of the most important series of the year, only have one goal — to not be noticed. The six umpires for the Fall Classic must have had the painful revelation that every bang-bang call they make, every borderline pitch they call a strike and every rule interpretation they provide will be replayed and slow-motioned from every possible angle on the clearest high-definition flat screens from sports bars to living rooms.
These men get one chance as the world's greatest baseball players are playing at the highest maximum speed to get the call right and prepare for the next one. As someone who spends time behind the plate getting to professionally work and personally get to know these men, it's no surprise to me the outstanding series they are having. Major league umpires have a generally thankless job where the success of their workday depends on how infrequently they were second-guessed and cursed at.
In my brief time as a starting catcher, I've gotten to know these men. We share stories about our travels, debatable calls we've seen in other games, even more personal notes on family and children. Like ballplayers, umpires can be having issues off the field or having a rough patch of games on the field. But like the best players in the league, most umpires put that aside and give the best effort they can give on that night. I always check the umpire rotations before a series and look forward especially to working with certain guys who keep the game light yet still call a good game.
The two most controversial and commented-on umpire calls of the season came in the first inning of Game 1 and on the final play of Game 3. In an unprecedented move, the five umpires not involved on the play converged to correct a call on a force play at second base. The crew decided to break tradition and make right a call they knew should be reversed. The obstruction call at the end of Game 3 was a perfect example of third base umpire, and one of my personal favorites,
Reviews of calls via instant replay will be expanded next year. Although technology will aid these judges in the calls they make, my hope is they still umpire with the courage and feel for the game they have shown.
Player(s) of the game
If the Boston Red Sox hold on to win the World Series, we may be looking at Series co-most valuable players in
Ortiz looked as if he didn't even leave the ballpark after Game 4's three-hit game with another three-hit barrage. The first hit started the scoring with a first-pitch bullet for a run-scoring double down the first base line in the first inning.
Bogaerts is living up to his big-time prospect status. He is hitting .294 in the Series and his hits have been extremely timely as he has been in the middle of most of the Red Sox scoring action in St. Louis.
Wainwright threw seven strong innings, rebounding from his Game 1 start. He mixed his pitches and kept the Red Sox completely off balance. The Cardinals ace struck out 10 but will surely be kicking himself for the doubles he gave up to
What a luxury to have a closer who can get your team more than three outs.
Game 6 preview