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Even umpires need sunglasses

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Umpires have been stereotyped as nearsighted and/or overly sensitive to criticism, deserved or otherwise. Sunday's Giants-Mets game in San Francisco presented more evidence that the boys in blue need a little visual aid to get the calls right, and I don't mean replay.

In the home 9th, plate umpire Phil Cuzzi called a ball when it should've been a strike. Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez nearly went ballistic. Catcher Henry Blanco & manager Jerry Manuel did their best to protect K-Rod, who ultimately blew the save (5th blown save), but got the win in the 10th.

In many respects, the 10th inning might not have happened if not for Cuzzi giving the Mets a make-good call, calling Travis Ishikawa out at home when he clearly beat the tag by Blanco.

Exacerbating the situation was a phantom foul call by 3rd base ump Mike Estabrook on a nubbler hit by Aubrey Huff. Replays clearly showed that the ball barely left the plate, and was fair. Blanco alertly completed the play, only to have it nullified by Estabrook's mis-call.

I'm not sure if an ump can wear sunglasses or any eyewear under his mask, but a base umpire should, just as the players do. It would scale back the number of blown calls, especially in day games. A pair of shades would make the picture a little bit clearer for the arbiters to make the right calls.

Would things have been different had Cuzzi called a strike instead of a ball when this all started? Maybe, but we'll never know for sure. What we do know is instead of a knee-jerk call for instant replay erupting yet again, maybe MLB should be in contact with one of the vision chain stores.......


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