Uncovering the Masked Men
Umpire Bruce Froemming, he of the hair-trigger temper, would give the thumb to this week's poll. We asked a cross section of about 100 catchers, pitchers and managers to choose the umpires they would most and least like to see behind the plate in a crucial postseason game. Ten of our National League respondents found fault with Froemming, far more than with any other ump. Their reasons? He's inconsistent, uninterested, ill-tempered, egomaniacal and somewhat overweight. The anti-Froemming is veteran Frank Pulli, who got 18 favorable mentions, 10 more than runner-up Paul Runge, and not all of them from pitchers, who love Pulli's generous strike zone.
The American League voting was closer, but the underrated Richie Garcia was the clear favorite with 10 most-like-to-see votes. Froemming, and others, might take note of this pitcher's comment: "Rich looks like he's out there to have a good time." But Greg Kosc, the voters say, does not. He led the league's least-like-to-see category with six votes. Most respondents said that Kosc has a couldn't-careless attitude. Interestingly, former AL ump Steve Palermo, whose career was ended by a gunshot wound in 1991, was mentioned several times as the arbiter against whom all others should be measured.