Take it easy on Major League Baseball's umpires, would ya?
Yeah, I know. This isn't an easy ask in the best of times, and the 2022 season has only been the best of times for umpires if one unironically enjoys what they call the "ump show."
To paraphrase Potter Stewart, we all know an ump show when we see one. If I must attempt an exact definition, I'd say it's when at least one umpire interrupts the flow of a game with a questionable call and/or an attitude that's just not befitting of the role they're supposed to be playing. That is, as an independent and unbiased arbiter of the action.
Of late, there was Dan Bellino vs. Madison Bumgarner on May 4.
And on May 10, Yimi Garcia vs. The Whole Crew at Yankee Stadium.
And a day later on May 11, Kevin Plawecki and Alex Cora vs. Adam Beck.
As for whether ump shows have been increasing in frequency as much as it seems like they have in 2022, well, who can say? Maybe if Baseball Reference's Stathead tool had a search option for ump shows, but it doesn't.
Besides, even as annoying as they are, it's not the ump shows that are the problem.
They're more of a common symptom of three underlying afflictions that affect all umpires. One of them is unfortunately something that neither they nor MLB can do anything about, and that is the fact that they're only human. As long as that's the case, mistakes and lapses in judgment are just going to come with the territory.
If the phrase "robo umps" is on the tip of your tongue, congratulations on correctly identifying one of the afflictions MLB actually can do something about.
Umpires Can't Call Balls and Strikes Any Better Than This
Look, Frank Drebin calls are going to happen. Beck is far from the first umpire who's ever had his strike zone seemingly corrupted by the drama of a moment. He won't be the last either.
Far from the rule, though, such calls are very much the exception in baseball today.