Experienced umps in World Series


Boy, talk about applying a bandage when a tourniquet's in order ...

    Stung by a rash of blown calls in the playoffs, Major League Baseball is breaking tradition and sticking with only experienced umpires for the World Series.

    Longtime crew chiefs Joe West, Dana DeMuth and Gerry Davis, along with Brian Gorman, Jeff Nelson and Mike Everitt will handle the games, three people with knowledge of the decision told The Associated Press this week.

    The people spoke on condition of anonymity because an official announcement has not been made.

    In 24 of the last 25 World Series, the six-man crew has included at least one umpire working the event for the first time -- baseball likes to reward newer umpires, plus replenish the supply of umps with Series experience.

    In each of the last two years, there were three new umps working the World Series.

    CB Bucknor was in line to work the World Series for the first time this year. But he missed two calls in Game 1 of the division series between the Red Sox and Angels, damaging his chance to get picked, one of the three people said.

Yes, any bandage that gets C.B. Bucknor out of the rotation is probably a good thing, as Bucknor is consistently ranked (by the players, anyway) among the worst umpires in the majors.

Is this MLB's long-term solution, though? To reserve the World Series slots for umpires who have already worked in a World Series? Because unless my math is off, eventually they're going to run out of umpires who meet that criterion. Not to mention the dirty little secret that some of the umpires who have worked in World Series before probably shouldn't work in more of them.

MLB must know all this. I think this move is just to stop the bleeding -- which mostly the bad PR -- as quickly as possible. MLB must know that the real answer is to ramp up the competence of the entire group. Ideally, every umpire would be good enough to work on the game's biggest stage.