Why C.B. Bucknor is not a good umpire
How you know he’s a bad ump:
1. Umpires that are in consistent spats with coaches, players.
Both coaches and players, for the most part, understand the job is hard as hell while hoping they (the umpires) know it’s the height of competition, adrenalin and testosterone during a game. The REAL good ones — Ed Rapuano, Terry Tata and a few others — they know that and they ALWAYS give you a chance to calm down and back off. The Greg Gibsons of the world are LOOKING for ANY chance to confront players. I’ve always felt it had more to do with a small [man] mentality than anything. These guys HATE players — Gibby does anyway — and they make sure to let you know that ASAP in any way they can. They will LOOK to make an impact call to draw attention, never getting that no one is there to see them, ever.
(FWIW, I don’t think C.B. is that guy. I don’t think C.B. is trying to draw attention to himself, I just don’t think he’s a very good ump and in his tenure in the big leagues has not improved even a little.)
2. When both hitters and pitchers are bitching.
Look, I loved, LOVED big strike zones. I never game-planned for one, but I sure as hell loved balls being called strikes. When I got them, great. Hitters are the reverse. Where we never differed was in our desire for consistency.
Large or small zone, my ONLY ask was that Strike 1 be Strike 3. You have the human element, and everyone understands that, that’s why I always knew that umps like Joe West were NOT going to give me a makeup call, they made their mistakes and moved on. Some others you KNEW for a fact would make up a bad call as soon as they could, both ways.
The MLB umpiring system is the most flawed thing in the sport. There is very little oversight or demand for a major league level of performance. Their out has been QuesTec and its scoring system, which I think most know my thoughts on.
I have an immense amount of respect for Sandy Alderson, but I think he’s failed horribly at implementing a system to FORCE umpires to improve their performance in the major leagues.