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Ian Gray

Lance, have you read Tom Verducci's article about moonlighting as a spring training ump? I thought it was interesting and well done. Anyway, he cites a statistic saying that balls and strikes aside, the umps got all of 100 calls wrong last year, across all of Major League Baseball, which is pretty good.

That said, that leaves balls and strikes out of it, and that's where umps drive me nuts. The study you cite notwithstanding, I could swear they're still squeezing the pitchers, though more on the corners than at the top and bottom of the strike zone. There's nothing quite so aggrazating as a baseball fan as seeing a pitch on the black for strike three called a ball, and then the batter working either a walk or a hit out of it, and it seems to me I've seen a lot of it already in the barely-started season.

That said, I'm just excited that the season's here, and that the Jays are playing well. Your Mets look good as well-I still root for Carlos Delgado to do well.

Chris Quinones

Re: Doc Gooden, I also recall how Mel Stottlemyre and Davey Johnson wanted to alter Doc's pitching motion after his Cy Young season in '85, ostensibly to preserve his arm. Why on earth would you want to tinker with a 21-year-old superstar's pitching motion?

I've never forgiven Johnson and Stottlemyre for that. Think what a starting staff they had, how they all accomplished less than their potential seemed to promise, and what could have been if someone of the caliber of Leo Mazzone were coaching them.

Sorry, I feel kinda strongly about the whole thing. (And I was in school in Boston in the fall of '96 and rooted for the Sox!)


George Phair would undoubtedly not have been on the same side Marvin Miller was on.

For a while in the 90s I concluded that Koufax would have been mediocre because the letter-high fastball he relied on became a ball.

Bill Altreuter

Heckling the officials is bush. Heckle players all you want, but booing the ump is out of bounds.

I realize that there is a long tradition of it, and no sport reveres tradition more than rounders, but it is nevertheless true that the surest way to spot a rube at the ballpark is to look for the guy who is on the umpire's case.

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