Jim Joyce Named Best Umpire, CB Bucknor Worst in ESPN The Magazine “Baseball Confidential” Players Poll

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Jim Joyce Named Best Umpire, CB Bucknor Worst in ESPN The Magazine “Baseball Confidential” Players Poll

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Jim Joyce, whose ninth-inning “safe” call cost Armando Galarraga a perfect game, was named the best umpire in Major League Baseball in an exclusive ESPN the Magazine “Baseball Confidential” poll of 100 active players (50 from each league), taken in the past week. Joyce, a 22-year veteran, was named on 53% of the surveys, ahead of Tim McClelland at 34%.

One NL player who picked Joyce said, “The sad thing about the Galarraga game is, Jim Joyce is seriously one of the best umpires around. He always calls it fair, so players love him. Everyone makes mistakes, and it’s terrible that this happened to him.”

CB Bucknor, who has been on the job for 15 years, was voted the worst umpire, appearing on 37% of the surveys, edging Joe West, at 35%. When asked who had the “quickest hook” throwing players and managers out of games, West was the choice, named by 35% of the players. Rob Drake was second with 12%.

Speaking of Bucknor, one AL player characterized him as, “A terrible umpire. And he’s not very nice out there when he’s making bad calls, either.”

Of West, one NL player said, “Joe West is so bad. My mom called me and asked me what West was thinking in the Mark Buerhle situation (a balk call). She said, ‘Buerhle does that move all the time!’”

Asked to rate umpires on a scale of A-F, the overall average was B. One AL player who voted B said, “It’s en vogue right now to criticize umpires. I don’t agree with that. Every spring training, we see big league umpires and minor league umpires, and it’s night and day. The guys in the majors are better, and it’s not even close. They do as good a job as we could hope for.”

Overall, 77% of the players said there should be no replay on base balls. One NL player who voted no said, “No instant replay, period. It’s a game of close plays, and once they get going, where will it end? We’ll be staring at screens the whole time.”

While more than 60% of the players were against the use of replay on fair / foul calls, an AL player who voted in favor said, “It’s going to eventually happen. People may say it’s been this way forever, too much will now be under review and all that. But all people want, including fans and players, is to get the game called right.”

Nearly 90% of the players said Bud Selig should not have overturned the call that cost Galarraga his perfect game. An NL player who voted in that majority said, “As a pitcher, it was heartbreaking to see that, but the call had to be overturned on the field, not in the front office.” Another NL player felt the call should have been overturned, and said, “It was a perfect game. Reverse it, so Galarraga can get his credit and Jim Joyce can get his sleep.”

ESPN the Magazine “Baseball Confidential” Poll Results

Who are the Three Best Umpires in Basedball?

Overall:

1. Jim Joyce (named on 53% of surveys)

2. Tim McClelland (34%)

3. Jim Wolf (15%)

 

AL players:

1. (T) Jim Joyce, Tim McClelland (52%)

3. Jim Wolf (12%)

 

NL players

1. Jim Joyce (54%)

2. Jim Wolf (18%)

3. Tim McClelland (16%)

 

Who are the Three Worst Umpires in Baseball?

Overall:

1. CB Bucknor (37%)

2. Joe West (35%)

3. Angel Hernandez (22%)

 

AL players:

1. CB Bucknor (42%)

2. Joe West (40%)

3. Angel Hernandez (22%)

 

NL players

1. CB Bucknor (32%)

2. Joe West (30%)

3. Angel Hernandez (22%)

 

Which Umpire has the Quickest Hook?

Overall:

1. Joe West (35%)

2. Rob Drake (12%)

3. Bill Hohn (9%)

 

AL players:

1. Joe West (36%)

2. Bill Hohn (14%)

3. Six tied with 4%

 

NL players

1. Joe West (34%)

2. Rob Drake (20%)

3. Angel Hernandez (10%)

 

Grade the Overall Performance of Umpires A-F

Average grade: B

1. B: 29%

2. C: 20%

3. A: 16%

 

AL players: Overall grade: B

1. B:  36%

2. C: 24%

3. B+: 12%

 

NL players Overall grade: B+

1. (T)  A, B: 22% each

3. C: 16%

 

Should there be Replay on Base Calls?

Overall:

Yes: 22%

No: 77%

Maybe: 1%

 

AL players:

Yes: 24%

No: 74%

Maybe: 2%

 

NL players

Yes: 20%

No: 80%

 

Should there be Replay on Fair / Foul Calls?

Overall:

Yes: 36%

No: 62%

Not sure: 2%

 

AL players:

Yes: 30%

No: 68%

Not sure: 2%

 

NL players

Yes: 42%

No: 56%

Not sure: 2%

 

Should Bud Selig have Overturned the Result of the Galarraga Near-Perfect Game?

Overall:

Yes: 13%

No: 86%

Not sure: 1%

 

AL players

Yes: 14%

No: 84%

Not sure: 2%

 

NL players

Yes: 12%

No: 88%

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