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Thursday, October 22, 2009
Missed calls cause ump switch for World Series
Veteran umps to work World Series
NEW YORK -- Stung by a rash of blown calls in the playoffs, Major League Baseball is breaking tradition and sticking with only experienced umpires for the World Series.
Longtime crew chiefs Joe West, Dana DeMuth and Gerry Davis, along with Brian Gorman, Jeff Nelson and Mike Everitt will handle the games, three people with knowledge of the decision told The Associated Press this week.
The people spoke on condition of anonymity because an official announcement has not been made.
In 24 of the last 25 World Series, the six-man crew has included at least one umpire working the event for the first time -- baseball likes to reward newer umpires, plus replenish the supply of umps with Series experience.
In each of the last two years, there were three new umps working the World Series.
CB Bucknor was in line to work the World Series for the first time this year. But he missed two calls in Game 1 of the division series between the Red Sox and Angels, damaging his chance to get picked, one of the three people said.
Umpiring mistakes caused anxious moments for MLB in the first two rounds: Phil Cuzzi's foul call on a drive by Joe Mauer that was fair by a foot, Jerry Meals' error on a ball that bounced off Chase Utley's leg, Dale Scott's miss on a pickoff and Tim McClelland's call on a tag play, among others.
These problems ramped up calls by fans for expanded use of instant replay. Loading up with veteran umpires, however, is no guarantee of getting it right. McClelland missed an obvious double play Tuesday night in the AL championship series between the Yankees and Angels.
West, DeMuth and Davis each have worked three World Series and have been major league umpires for more than 25 years. Gorman, Nelson and Everitt all have called one World Series, and have been on the big league staff for at least 11 years.
At least a pair of first-time World Series umpires have been on each of the last five crews. Starting in 1983, the only crew that did not include a World Series rookie was 1997.
World Series umpires are chosen from the pool of 24 umpires who work in the first round, with those two dozen picked on merit. ALCS and NLCS umpires aren't in play, because umps don't work in consecutive rounds of the postseason.