42,000 fans paid to watch Detroit Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera, but instead they had to watch home-plate umpire Chad Fairchild.
Fairchild made the mistake of thinking people came to the game to watch him rather than the players on the field. He tossed Cabrera for arguing balls and strikes with little-to-no warning. He made a questionable call on the first pitch of the at-bat with the bases loaded, and the best hitter in the game let him know it. Fairchild wanted to prove a point, so he called the next pitch, which was in a similar location, a strike as well.
It didn’t seem like Cabrera said a whole lot, and it looked a lot more like Fairchild wanted to feel like the center of attention. Umpires can often be seen standing stoically with a blank expression on their face while a player vents. Fairchild does not do this. He argues back in the most unprofessional manner imaginable.
Fairchild has built a reputation as the umpire with the shortest leash in MLB. He seems to resort to tossing people after short disputes and can’t handle being griped at. He leads the majors with eight ejections this season, which is not a stat to be proud of. An umpire’s job is to keep control of the game, and if it gets to the point that people are getting upset about one thing or another, then they’ve already made a mistake. To compound that by making the best hitter in the game hit the showers in the third inning because he didn’t like a strike call is asinine.
Fairchild was also the umpire during the bench-clearing kerfuffle between the Tigers and Chicago White Sox a few weeks ago. Fairchild decided not to even warn the teams after Chris Sale threw a dart at Prince Fielder‘s head in what was obviously an intentional beanball. He then threw Luke Putkonen out of the game for throwing at Alexei Ramirez and tossed Jim Leyland to boot.
The bottom line is, nobody goes to a baseball game to watch an umpire flex his muscles and stroke their own ego. Fairchild deserves anger management, a dunce cap and a suspension until he can figure out how to keep the players that people pay to see on the field.