Jake’s Take: Umpires and referees have found ways to ruin the games we love


Jake Brown, s

The MLB playoffs have ended, and football, basketball and hockey seasons are underway, meaning more bad calls for everyone in the big four.

Over the MLB playoffs, many fans and players have complained about strike zones, including in game 5 of the World Series, where even FOX Sports announcer Joe Buck complained about the lack of consistency of the strike zone. It came when Dodgers outfielder Enrique Hernandez and shortstop Corey Seager were dumbfounded after being called out on strikes on pitches inside the batter’s box, Hernandez on an up and inside curve from Astros pitcher Dallas Keuchel, and Seager on a down and away fastball four or five inches off the plate. As stated in Jake’s Take on NLDS game 5 involving the Nationals and Cubs, MLB came out and said that the passed ball by Nationals catcher Matt Wieters was a bad call, as Cubs infielder Javy Baez’s backswing prevented Wieters from catching the ball. Because the umpires did not rule that in the game, the infamous 5th inning happened. After that, the Nationals playoff hopes were lost, and manager Dusty Baker may not have lost his job. But that’s all hindsight now.

This isn’t just a problem in the MLB, though. The NFL has been littered with bad calls affecting games in the present and the past, whether it’s a penalty that wasn’t a penalty, a missed penalty or a touchdown that wasn’t called a touchdown.

Although a controversial play, many fans, especially Bears fans, have been frustrated over an overturned touchdown from Bears quarterback Mike Trubinsky to tight end Zach Miller. It was especially frustrating because Miller injured his left knee on the play. The argument from the referees was that Miller had no control of the ball and dropped it, but it looked to some fans that he had control of the ball and did not drop it.

Another controversial play that fans were upset about was a pass interference call in a 49ers Redskins game two weeks ago, where Pierre Garcon tried to make a catch, missed it, and was flagged with pass interference. It looked like there was no interference, but it cost the 49ers the game, and the 49ers continued their losing streak.

NBA players have spoken out recently with the controversy regarding Golden State Warriors guard Steph Curry throwing his mouthguard, but he’s come out saying it wasn’t because of the ref. He received a $50,000 fine because of the altercation, a pretty hefty fine for throwing something out of frustration. You don’t see baseball players getting fined for hitting the water cooler with their bats in the dugout out of frustration.

Pelicans center Demarcus Cousins was unimpressed with a referee after being charged with a technical foul after cussing out a fan. Dropping f-bombs at fans is obviously not classy and is bad press for the Pelicans, the technical foul was “bogus” according to Cousins. “I felt like he should’ve handled it, He decided not to.” Cousins said to NBA.com.

Referee and umpire frustration is not new to sports, but it’s affecting fans’ enjoyment of the game, with football and basketball losing viewership. The World Series game 5 even got overnight success over Sunday Night Football. Although game 5 was amazing, and Sunday Night Football featured the Bears and Packers, two popular teams, and a historic rivalry. Baseball beating out football is unusual in this day in age.

Although replay has made its way into the Big Four sports, there are still problems with it. Fans say that coaches should be able to challenge penalties in football, and baseball should challenge strike three calls, but the traditional fan says otherwise, as they think that there should be a human element to the game.

Commissioners need to find ways to improve the accuracy of the games we love to watch and play; otherwise, fans are going to stop watching, and no one wants that.