Interview to discuss controversial calls, using instant replay and some of the game’s classic confrontations between managers and umpires
June 18, 2009 – MLB Network’s Studio 42 with Bob Costas will host a conversation with former Major League Baseball umpires Don Denkinger, Bruce Froemming and Steve Palermo on Monday, June 22 at 7:00 p.m. ET. Throughout the interview, Denkinger, Froemming and Palermo discuss how they became Major League umpires, making controversial calls, the benefits of using instant replay and classic confrontations with managers and players.
Highlights of the interview include:
PALERMO ON THE GOAL OF BEING AN UMPIRE:
“You just keep the playing field level. It’s not a job you go into if you want satisfaction from someone else; you know with the three guys you walk out with, they’ll pat you on the back. When you do a good job they’ll come in and say “you did a heck of a job today.” And that means more to an umpire than anything else, other than the losing manager coming up and telling you [that] you did a heck of a job.”
“You’re not competing against the other guys, the other umpires, you’re competing against something that’s hard to chase; that’s perfection. You’re trying to be perfect every day. It’s not to outshine your partner; it’s to prove you can get everything right.”
FROEMMING ON WORKING AS A TEAM:
“When we walked off the field we walked off together. You don’t umpire alone, you umpire with a crew, and like the players have a team, I consider my crew my team. Whatever happens you deal with it together.”
DENKINGER ON CALLING KANSAS CITY ROYALS’ DH JORGE ORTA SAFE IN GAME SIX OF THE 1985 WORLD SERIES (ST. LOUIS CARDINALS VS. ROYALS):
“As a person and an umpire I look back on it and I think I couldn’t handle it any other way; I looked at the replay after the game, saw that I missed it, but I’m a human being and I can’t get everything right, even if I try like hell to.”
DENKINGER ON SEEING COMMISSIONER PETER UEBERROTH AFTER GAME:
“Well, Whitey [Herzog] did come out at the time and I said I think I got it right. Up to that point that I walked into the hallway and asked Peter Ueberroth “Did I get that right?” and he said “No, I don’t think so.” And that was the first I heard that I’d missed the call. It gives you a sick feeling; because that’s what you don’t want to do. But that’s what happened.”
FROEMMING ON USING REPLAY:
“I like it how Bud Selig stayed with boundary calls. I think you’re going to have plays where you miss it. When you total it up and they put the plays on the board, over 99 percent of the base calls are correct. This situation [Game 6, 1985 World Series] was unfortunate, but there are plays you’re going to miss. To take it off the boundaries and take it on the field, you’re going to waste a lot of time. What play’s more important than the next one? Every play’s important.”
PALERMO ON TODAY’S UMPIRES:
“Situation-wise they’re very, very good, they know how to handle situations. They’re told not to be confrontational but they should never take physical or verbal abuse. And they really go by those guidelines, and they know how to handle situations and you won’t see them, like when we all worked, go face-to-face. That’s what we did! That’s just what we did.”
FROEMMING ON THE URGE TO MAKE UP FOR A MISSED CALL:
“You just get in more trouble. You know what you call, you live and die with what you call. You call a pitch a ball, maybe it was a strike, but you certainly don’t want to go the other way and compound it.”
“It would become a crutch and you’re not going to get the respect. Those guys know you’re working hard; they’re working hard to hit the ball, we’re working hard to call them right, once you start using an alibi, “yeah it might have been this it might have been that” you lose your credibility.”
ON WHO WERE THE MOST RESPECTFUL PLAYERS:
Palermo: The guys hitting .360 never bothered you.
Froemming: Hank Aaron never complained. Willie Stargell never complained. Those were terrific guys.
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