I believe it might be possible to rate the effectiveness of an umpire at his job simply by looking at how well known his name is among casual baseball fans. The more recognizable he is, the less likely it is that he’s a very good umpire. In this sense, I imagine Bob Davidson to be the most appreciable umpire in baseball.
His unpopularity may have actually increased during last night’s Miami Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals game, when the home plate umpire got confused by the number five, or more accurately allowed Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen’s confusion to inform his decsion.
In the ninth inning, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny visited Davidson to inform him that he was going to make a double switch, putting pitcher Victor Marte in the game. At home plate, Matheny wrote Marte into the seventh spot in the order for David Freese, the third baseman, and put second baseman Tyler Greene into the number nine spot with Daniel Descalso moving over to third base.
After Marte allowed Hanley Ramirez to hit a single, Guillen came out to complain about Marte and Allen Craig, the number five hitter, being on the field at the same time. The mix up being between the number five defensive player (third base) and number five in the lineup. Davidson inexplicably agreed with Guillen, forcing Craig out of the game and putting the pitcher in the fifth spot, even though such a move would have made no sense.
Fortunately for St. Louis, the Cardinals ended up winning the game in the tenth inning with Green scoring the go ahead run, and Joe Kelly, who had to come into the game as a pinch hitter because of the mix up, knocking in the winning run. To his credit, Matheny placed the brunt of the blame on himself, even though Davidson was picked up by the television microphones admitting his mistake to Guillen.
Controversy is no stranger to Davidson, as you might remember from his suspension earlier this season for this:
Or if that isn’t enough, you may recall that he once threw the beloved Montreal Expos mascot Youppi out of a game. But of course, in the interest of full disclosure, I’ve always had an axe to grind against Davidson, because of this: