Once again, an umpire had a lot to do with the outcome of a baseball game. This has been an increasingly significant problem this season. As with all sports, it should be the job of the referee to try and remain as invisible as possible, but whether it’s the ego or ineptitude of the officiating crew, they often dictate the outcome of a contest.
Home plate umpire Alan Porter seemed to create his own strike zone, particularly on the right inside-corner. This was unfortunate for Astros’ starter Dallas Keuchel, who continued to paint the plate at this spot for called balls, which when viewed through the camera were clear strikes. Again and again he missed out and, clearly not having the best game of his career, he was pulled from the game in the fourth inning having contributed little to the contest.
The matchup between the Astros and Athletics was still close at this point, but in the sixth inning, Porter showed a true lack of self-control. Astros’ Brandon Barnes was pegged at the plate, but Porter refused him to take his base, accusing him of not attempting to get out of the way. He proceeded to then strikeout. Back in the dugout, obviously still a little upset with the call, he mumbled a couple of words back toward home plate. Porter, from 50 yards away, leaped up and threw Barnes out of the game.
Why Porter was still looking at Barnes instead of the game for so long after the incident was a mystery to all. It was the Astros’ first ejection of an outfield player this season, and it happened to perhaps the most mild-mannered person in the clubhouse.
If every player who disagreed with a call or expressed disapproval out-loud all the way in the dugout was ejected, there wouldn’t be many players left on the field by the end of the game. We remember David Ortiz destroying a dugout phone with a bat after he was unhappy with a call; he stayed in the game.
Stay out of the way, umpires. Let the ball players decide the outcome.
Daniel Jamieson is an MLB writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on twitter @JamiesonDaniel.