MLB may use veteran umps in Fall Classic
Change would break longstanding baseball tradition
Major League Baseball will break tradition and stock the World Series with veteran umpires, the Associated Press reported on Thursday.With umpiring in the spotlight due to several disputed calls in the Division and League Championship Series, longtime crew chiefs Joe West, Dana DeMuth and Gerry Davis, plus veterans Brian Gorman, Jeff Nelson and Mike Everitt have been chosen to work the Fall Classic, according to the AP.
Major League Baseball has made no official announcement, as the league typically doesn't announce umpiring crews until the Series opponents are set.An all-veteran crew would break baseball tradition. The AP report said that in 24 of the last 25 World Series, the umpiring crew has included at least one umpire working the event for the first time. At least two first-time World Series umpires have been on each of the last five crews, and there were three first-time umps in each of the last two World Series. Umpires have been scrutinized throughout the postseason, from Phil Cuzzi's foul call on what should have been a Joe Mauer extra-base hit in the American League Division Series between the Twins and Yankees, to a pair of disputed calls by Tim McClelland this week in the Yankees-Angels AL Championship Series, among others. While the controversial calls have led to rumblings about the expansion of instant replay, which is currently used only to settle questionable home run calls, Commissioner Bud Selig has said that he is not inclined to implement more.
"We need to do a little work, clean up some things," Selig told FOXSports.com during the Division Series. "But do I think we need more replay? No. Baseball is not the kind of game that can have interminable delays."
And at least some of the recently affected players are not in favor of revamping replay either.
"Nah," Angels outfielder Torii Hunter said after Game 4 of the ALCS. "This is the way it's been forever. Why would we change it? Human error is good sometimes. Trust me."
Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter expressed similar sentiment.
"People are human," Jeter said. "They're going to make mistakes sometimes. Umpires are trying their best. Sometimes you get calls and sometimes you don't."
The Yankees held a 3-1 series lead over the Angels in the best-of-seven American League Championship Series entering Game 5 on Thursday night. The Phillies punched their World Series ticket on Wednesday by dispatching the Dodgers in the National League Championship Series.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.