MLB fires umpiring supervisors

Nope, none of the umpires involved in last October's fiasco were fired; given their union, that's almost impossible. But as Bob Nightengale writes, a few heads have now rolled:

The struggles by Major League Baseball umpires in last year's postseason led to the firing of three umpire supervisors, MLB confirmed.

Marty Springstead, Rich Garcia and Jim McKean were all fired this past winter. Veteran umpires Randy Marsh and Charlie Reliford have replaced them, and they also are talking to Ed Montague about a possible job.

"When things go less than perfectly, as they did in the postseason, you're going to think about making changes,'' Rob Manfred, vice president/labor relations and human resources, told ESPN. "And part of it is just the natural turnover in an organization. It's no more complicated than that."

It's OK to feel sorry for the guys who got fired, but you don't need to feel too sorry for them ... Umpires of their generation made good money, and retired with (relatively) generous pensions. I think it's highly unlikely that you'll see Marty Springstead in line at a soup kitchen.

Still, it's clear that they've been scapegoated. The blown calls last October weren't due to poor supervising; they were due to poor umpiring. Those lousy calls were made by veteran umpires -- it's generally veteran umpires who get the postseason assignments -- and it seems to me that veteran umpires aren't going to be helped much by "supervising."

But you can't fire the umpires and you have to do something, so ... Well, nobody ever said being an umpire supervisor is easy.

Actually, I'm sure that many people have said that, and it's probably true. Also, one of the supervisors' jobs is to recommend umpires for postseason assignments, and it's also probably true that older supervisors tend to recommend older umpires ... you know, like Tim McClelland.

This was mostly a reactionary move, I think. But the umpiring can use some new -- or at least slightly younger -- blood, and so I would consider MLB's actions here a slight change for the better.