Watch: CB Bucknor punches out batter on strike two as umps woes continue
This has been a rough season for Major League Baseball's umpires, as has been well documented in this space, from the David Prince-Tom Hallion name-calling incident to Angel Hernandez botching a replay, to Fieldin Culbreth's crew forgetting the rules governing pitching changes. So the men in blue (or black, as is more often the case these days) didn't need another bit of video that makes them look incompetent, but they got it anyway as CB Bucknor, widely regarded as one of the worst umpires in baseball along with Hernandez, lost track of the count in the 11th inning of Wednesday's A's-Yankees marathon and punched out Seth Smith on strike two:
There was no harm done there. Bucknor quickly realized his mistake and flashed an embarrassed smile (the only thing worse than making so public an error is doing it with such enthusiasm). Smith's at-bat continued and he grounded out.
Far worse was the situation in the Dodgers-Diamondbacks game that erupted in a brawl Tuesday night in which rookie umpire Clint Fagan botched the count forcing Arizona starter Ian Kennedy get four strikes to strikeout hot-hitting Dodgers rookie Yasiel Puig:
There was no harm done there, either, because Puig did ultimately strike out, but it's alarming that Fagan consulted the rest of his crew and none of them could provide him with the correct count.