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Baseball fans were left dissatisfied with umpire C.B. Bucknor's performance on Tuesday night.
He botched several calls, such as missing a strike zone call, misruling a foul tip and misplacing the ball in play. It was an embarrassing night for both Washington Nationals and their fans alike.
C.B. Bucknor is widely considered to be one of baseball's worst umpires, having been three-times voted worst umpire by players and part of the National League staff since 1996.
He's known for calling wildly large strike zones, as well as blowing calls and punching out hitters on pitches that appear impossible to call at times. As such, his reputation as the worst umpire in baseball is well-established among baseball fans and managers alike.
On Tuesday night, Bucknor missed a strike zone call that was of the utmost importance. It marked his first missed call this season and he seemed inexplicably confident about changing the outcome to a foul tip.
The call ultimately destroyed the Nationals' seemingly flawless performance and put an end to their four-game series win streak. It was one of baseball's most shocking umpiring decisions ever, even Jayson Werth was taken aback at how bad it was ruled.
Tuesday night's game was marred by a series of unfortunate errors, including an inaccurate foul tip call and several other gaffes that left baseball fans in tears. But none quite compare to Bucknor's striking zone call which garnered the most attention.
He botched a crucial strike zone call that was crucial to the game, and it's an embarrassment to witness an umpire make such an error on such a big stage. But it wasn't just about the call that was wrong -- it's how confident Bucknor seemed about it and his response afterward that made this such an issue.
Baseball has a long tradition of umpires who are notorious for making incorrect calls. Some, such as C.B. Bucknor, have even blown calls that everyone agrees were incorrect.
In Game 5 of the Boston Red Sox-Los Angeles Angels series, Bucknor made two mistakes at first base that should have been reviewed and overturned. On both plays, he called Howie Kendrick safe when replays showed he was out.
Unfortunately, this is an all too common occurrence when umpires have been out of the game for years. Unfortunately, neither MLB nor its umpire union have much power to prevent it, so the situation gets worse over time.
On Wednesday night, Bucknor missed another call that should have been reviewed. This marked his second costly strike zone misstep in 24 hours.
Bucknor missed a hard-hit ball that hit the inside of the plate, yet he called it foul anyway. Calling something foul from only three or five feet away can be tricky when trying to judge strike zone distance accurately from that distance.
Bucknor initially raised his arms to indicate a foul, but after consulting Mike Napoli he changed his mind about whether it was foul or not.
This was one of the worst calls ever made in a major league game, and it could have been easily reviewed if MLB had video. Unfortunately, baseball's "ball/strike" philosophy doesn't permit for review of such calls.
On Wednesday night in Atlanta, the umpiring crew was not pleased. One member threw out C.B. Bucknor for missing a critical strike zone call on Jayson Werth's at-bat.
Judging the strike zone in real time can be challenging, even with a camera angle or an umpire's sense of direction. When an umpire can't discern the strike zone accurately, that poses an immense problem.
On Tuesday, Bucknor's strike zone judgment was woeful. He miscalled a hit by pitch as a strike when it clearly wasn't and missed an opportunity for a double that would have given the Nationals the lead.
In the top of the fifth inning, Dexter Fowler and Kris Bryant gave Chicago a commanding lead on Dexter Fowler's walk and Kris Bryant's single that barely cleared 70 MPH off his bat for Kolten Wong. Unfortunately for the Cardinals, this inning proved costly as they went on to lose 4-0.
As a fan, I was deeply disappointed in this umpire's call. It was an outrageous misplay that should never have been made.
I was deeply disappointed in his decision to bench Cardinals' manager Oliver Marmol. That was a botched call that should have been overturned by an independent umpire or video review, giving the Cards their first victory in five games and the series.
C.B. Bucknor's latest miscalculated call is just the latest in a long series of embarrassing errors that has cemented him as one of MLB's worst umpires ever. This decision brings shame upon both teams and illustrates Bucknor's woeful lack of judgment.
One of baseball's worst umpires has made a costly error. Bucknor blew two calls at first base in Game 1 of the ALDS between the Red Sox and Angels, each time missing Howie Kendrick by at least 18 inches.
Bucknor is not the first time he's done this. In 2011, he missed two calls at first base in the final game of the season and has a history of misplaying balls at the plate.
In Game 1, he called Howie Kendrick safe when the ball was clearly over the first-base line and it appeared he would make it before Dustin Pedroia could reach him. Then in the top of the seventh, he botched what everyone but him thought was a game-ending strikeout.
Bucknor's poor strike zone judgment has been well documented by baseball for some time now, with videos abounding online of him calling pitches six inches outside the strike zone since 2022. As a result, his strike zone accuracy has become an ongoing issue for him in 2019.
Even in the National League, Bucknor has a dismal track record when it comes to calling strikes. Last season he called just 92% of pitches within his strike zone - an astoundingly poor rate for any umpire.
Bucknor is renowned for being a poor umpire, yet he remains on the job and part of MLB's esteemed crew. It's an unfortunate state of affairs for both Bucknor and MLB management, but that is just how things are.
Following their 3-1 win against the Braves on Tuesday night, Jayson Werth took aim at C.B. Bucknor and wasn't shy in his criticism.
On Tuesday night, Bucknor made another bad call. This one came during Jayson Werth's at-bat and Bucknor failed to pay attention to camera angles or strike zone technology.
The strike zone is an imaginary plane where the ball must pass to be called a strike, which makes judging its angle difficult from behind the plate with a catcher in front of you. While I'm sure some unseen force could have conspired against him, it should still be straightforward for an umpire to determine the right angle.
After the game, many took to social media to criticize Bucknor's calls. They asked how he could be so wrong in such an important scenario when his Washington Nationals teammates were mounting a strong rally.
As the game progressed, critics of Bucknor's other decisions began to mount. In particular, they condemned his mishandled strikeout call on Werth.
There's also the fact that he missed a foul tip on what many believed to be a game-winning strikeout. This play was so disastrous, some even suggested there may have been an organized conspiracy to throw the game.
If that seems strange, you haven't seen the replay yet. Here's how it works:
At the end of the Clippers' 114-106 victory over the Trail Blazers, Shabazz Napier attempted to steal the ball away from JJ Redick. Unfortunately, Redick held onto it near Holtkamp's face, blocking his view of Napier as he swiped it away.
Two seconds later, Holtkamp whistled her whistle and called a foul on Napier - which came as a shock to many, including Napier herself.