Saturday, May 15, 2010

A Letter to the Florida State League About Horrible Umpiring

I sent the following email to the Florida State League this morning regarding the most horrible "Umpiring" I have ever seen in a baseball game anywhere.

Dear Florida State League

I am a loyal fan of Minor League baseball and enjoy watching it immensely, so much so that I purchased season tickets to the new Bradenton Marauders home games. So far this year I have missed only two games.

In all of the minor league games that I have watched this year and last, I have never ever seen umpiring as atrocious as that performed last night (May 14, 2010) in Bradenton by Florida State League umpires Allen Alvarez and Luke Hamilton. If there is a minor league for minor league umpires to train in these two need to be sent down as soon as possible.

In the top of the ninth inning of last night's game between the Fort Myers Miracle and the Bradenton Marauders there was a controversial play at first base where Paul Kelly of Fort Myers hit a ground ball to the Marauders second baseman who threw the ball to Marauders first baseman Eric Huber. Kelly crossed the bag while Huber held the ball in his glove. Huber then DROPPED the ball and base umpire Luke Hamilton called Kelly OUT.

I am 58 years old. I have played baseball or watched baseball since I was five years old. In those 53 years of watching baseball or playing baseball it was always my understanding that when there is a play at a base and the defensive player drops the ball, the offensive player is safe. Last night Luke Hamilton reversed 53 years of baseball rules and logic with one bone-headed call. It was so obvious that Kelly was safe that a blind person could have seen it. The call was so egregious that the Bradenton Maruaders fans all started to jeer the call even though the call was to Bradenton's advantage.

A predictable argument ensued involving the Fort Myers coach (their manager had been tossed from the game earlier by a very insecure Allen Alvarez when Alvarez was challenged on a call by Manager Mauer. Rather than be reasonable, Alvarez immediately ejected Mauer). At the end of the ninth inning argument over the play at first base, home plate umpire Alvarez indicated to the score keeper that the remainder of the game was being played under protest.

It should have been and deserved to be. The actions throughout last night's game by Umpires Alvarez and Hamilton (actions affecting both teams) were enough to cause the entire game to be played under protest.

I don't know how much training umpires get before they are hired to call games in the Florida State League but these two individuals clearly need more training. They also need to learn how to handle situations in an adult, professional manner. Tossing the Fort Myers manager for a simple disagreement was not the right choice to make in that situation. Watching Umpire Hamilton call someone out who was clearly safe (AND from our opposing team) demonstrates that he needs to learn the rules and be more honest.

It is my most sincere hope that other fans of baseball have complained to you about either or both umpires Alvarez and Hamilton. If there have been other complaints about them and their abilities then I highly recommend some corrective action. As it stands now these two gentlemen are very far out of their league and have no business having the final say on any actions on a baseball diamond.


  1. Well written and expressed Craig. Baseball is a suppose to be fun to watch and participate. It's difficult to do either when people's egos get in the way of their job performance.

  2. With all due respect, these umpire go through alot of traning and would not be put in these situations if they could not handel it. I feel as if you maybe over reacting this play a it.But i never seen the play either so i dont have a ground to stand on, as a fellow umpire i would have to say that the ball was prolly dropped sometime after the first basemen showed that he ahd control of the ball and was able to make the play under his own power.