Umpires have been taking it on the chin lately as the public gives into the dark side and steers into a future of robotic officials that will everyone will regret. The Big Lead dotcom stooped low enough to highlight the 10 worst umpires working games and a disastrous performance in Detroit necessitated a stand-alone post wondering just what the hell was going on behind the dish.
But every raincloud has a silver lining. Life is unbalanced if one focuses on the negative without basking in the positive. With that in mind, let's debut a new feature around here: Let's Appreciate Some Umpires. Our inaugural honoree will remember his service at the plate forever because it will be tied to Los Angeles Angels rookie Reid Detmers' no-hitter.
Take a bow and bask in the praise, Ryan Blakney. Because you were magnificent with the pressure on. Umpire scoreboards revealed this morning that he missed all of two calls. And you have to miss at least a couple to make sure everyone is paying attention and staying on their toes. So in our personal record book, that's a perfect performance.
Numbers say that his adjudication actually favored the Tampa Bay Rays by .23 runs, which is .23 fewer runs than they actually scored. Meaning Detmers earned each and every strike and out. In fact, one of the two he missed would have been strike three on the leadoff batter in the ninth inning. It would have been a bummer if that proved costly, but it didn't.
If you have an umpire in your life, give them a hug from time to time. Let them know you care. It's a tough life and a little positive reinforcement goes a long way.