Darn Darn Darn Darn Darn!!!
Not that I take the blame of the loss off the relievers, as the 'Dres relievers had to fight it too, but too bad the home umpire, from Jon Miller's account, was not consistent in his strike calls. To me, about as consistent as a drunk waiter trying to hold a tray steady to keep a martini glass vertical, judging from the descriptions and accounts of this major league baseball game (though not major league umpiring).
Is it just me or does it seem like the home umpiring this season is worse than seasons' past? It is not like I listen or attend every game in the season, but it seems to me that I've heard Jon Miller complaining about inconsistent strike calls more this season than before. And it seems to be much more complaints, many multiples of which, because I don't recall hear that much before.
And that has always been a pet peeve of mine, for both baseball and football, that the umpiring/refereeing is not consistently good. When these arbiters are not consistent, they take the game out of the hands of the players, which all that we fans want. I think of this, remembering Jon Miller just complaining about the ball that was suddenly a strike one or two pitches later and then Barry Bonds taking a called third strike, which happens about as often as an earthquake hits during a baseball game.
As the old saying goes, nobody goes to the games to see the umpires. But these umpires really don't get it and it is so glaringly obvious sometimes, just by watching or listening to the games. Perhaps if their names are not announced and they were nameless (maybe faceless too by making them wear a mask) then they would get it. But I know I'm being extreme and I wouldn't want that.
It would be better if there were some competition, like the bottom 10% umpires, as voted by managers, coaches, and players, are forced to attend some sort of remedial school in the offseason unless they meet some sort of standard or something, as determined by the league (Siebel routinely fired the bottom 5 or 10% rated personnel every year, I've heard). Or better, are placed in the minors, where they are paid less, and promote the best minor league umpires, as judged by managers, coaches, and players, to replace them.
That gives a healthy level of competition and yet, if everyone is competent, as judged by whatever standard is determined, no one loses their job either. With no threat of job loss, they become complacent over time or, if they shouldn't have been hired in the first place, i.e. there was a mistake made, the mistake is not compounded by leaving him there for the next 30 years. Baseball umpiring, like playing, is not a privilege, it needs to be earned.
Cain's wildness returned today, bad umpiring or not, he couldn't throw strikes today. He had 6 walks and 2 strikeouts, the reverse of what the ratio should be. But he dominated again on the other side of the ledger, giving up only 3 hits in his 6 IP, so the damage was minimized to just 2 runs total. Not a great outing, by any stretch of the imagination, but the bottom line is he gave up only 2 runs in his 6 IP and that kept the team close enough to tie the game and to take the lead, albeit briefly. His next start is in Washington D.C., where it has played as a pitchers park this year, from what I've seen with their starters. He should do OK there as well but, as the old saying goes, that's why they play the games.
The Fight for Second Place
Well, that pretty much blows any chance of the Giants catching up with the 'Dres now, unless they suddenly fall apart again enough before our final 4 game series in San Diego to enable the Giants to grab first place by sweeping them. But weirder things have happened before, like the Phillies blowing, like, a 6 game lead with 10 or 12 games left or something ridiculous like that. Of course, don't hold your breath waiting for it, it just don't seem to be the Giants year this year.
I mean, Bonds' return is announced and the day before his return, the player who was signed to team up with him, Moises Alou, hurts himself on a play and basically would have gone on the DL on the day Bonds returned if it wasn't September and rosters are wide open. How much more of a sign is there necessary to show that the gods do not want the Giants to win?
With the D-gers series coming up, I guess the battle is on for a fight for second place. And the D-backs are still close enough to catch up with the Giants and D-gers if both falters and they somehow get hot. But it looks like Bonds is giving the offense a nice boost and hopefully we can end the season on a relatively high note by finishing second and playing good ball for the rest of the season.