Poll says more about players than umps

My favorite bits from ESPN The Magazine's survey on Major League umpires:

    "The sad thing about the Galarraga game is, Jim Joyce is seriously one of the best umpires around," one player said. "He always calls it fair, so players love him. Everyone makes mistakes, and it's terrible that this happened to him."

    Bucknor, in his 11th season, was named the worst umpire by both American and National League players, with West and Hernandez second and third in both leagues. West, in his 32nd season, and Hernandez, in his 17th, work on the same crew; West is the crew chief.


    The survey also found players lukewarm -- at best -- on replay. Only 22 percent of players favored replays for calls on the bases, and only 36 supported replay on fair/foul calls.

1. I've been an enthusiastic defender of Jim Joyce, but the missed call didn't happen to him.

2. In a perfect world, the players' opinions would somehow play into umpires' job security. Actually, in a perfect world the players' opinions wouldn't be all that interesting, because umpires like Bucknor and West and Hernandez -- who fare poorly in these polls every year -- wouldn't appear in the polls because they would have been fired already. Major League Baseball must know that their worst umpires are worse than the best Triple-A umpires. And it's at least a small crime that Major League Baseball doesn't feature the best umpires.

3. The players' opinions about video review are moderately interesting but mostly irrelevant, because it's not their game; it's the owners' game, and it's the fans' game, and unless their safety's involved I really don't care much what the players think. If the majority's resistant to more video review, it's mostly because they're conservative by nature (as most of us are) and they'd rather not deal with any real change (particularly if forced upon them). One way or the other, though, more video review is coming eventually. And if you take another poll, five years after that change comes, the great majority of the players will support the system in place and oppose any changes.

You gotta love human nature.