Bad umpiring is nothing new for CB Bucknor, but he outdid even himself Tuesday night.
The Washington Nationals were up 3-1 on the Braves in Atlanta in the bottom of the ninth inning when reliever Shawn Kelley came in to try to get the Nats out of a one-out, bases-loaded jam. Kelley got Braves left fielder Emilio Bonifacio on a flyout, and the right-hander seemed to strike out third baseman Chase d’Arnaud swinging in the next at-bat.
It was a wide miss, but Bucknor apparently thought he caught a piece of it and called it a foul tip after convening with the rest of the umpires.
That was hardly Bucknor’s only bad call of the night, as he whiffed on calling Nats left fielder Jason Werth out on strikes in the fourth inning, too.
D’Arnaud struck out swinging on the next pitch of his at-bat, though, giving the Nats the 3-1 win. Werth, however, wasn’t ready to let Bucknor walk away without hearing his displeasure, even after winning the game.
Bucknor has been voted Major League Baseball’s worst umpire multiple times by players, so naturally, baseball fans, players and reporters had plenty to say after Tuesday night’s showing. Nationals analyst Ray Knight said Bucknor “has never been a good umpire,” MASN announcer F.P. Santangelo called it “pure incompetence” and even Braves radio play-by-play announcer Jim Powell said it was “rock bottom” for Bucknor.
Werth tried to avoid saying too much after the game, but he did say he hopes MLB does something about the situation.
Unfortunately for Werth, it’s unlikely the league does anything, as Bucknor has been umpiring at the major league level for 20 years and has even called playoff games despite his track record. Bucknor still has two games left in the Nats-Braves series, though, with the teams playing Wednesday and Thursday, so it should be interesting to see how the rest unfolds.
Thumbnail photo via Kyle Terada/USA TODAY Sports Images