First and foremost, for the 877th time, referees and umpires do not lose games. The Giants lost Tuesday because they couldn’t hold onto a four-run lead. Blame Matt Cain. Blame the Giants’ offense because they couldn’t tack on any insurance runs after the first.
Now that we’re clear that the D-backs beat the Giants and not the umpires, I don’t get how Eric Cooper is completely lost as an aspect of the Giants’ challenge. Eric Cooper was the home plate umpire. Eric Cooper had nothing to do with the play at first that was challenged unsuccessfully by Bruce Bochy. Bochy couldn’t challenge another call after Pollock was correctly ruled safe at first, therefore, setting up Pollock for a play at the plate on a passed ball.
Cooper got the call wrong. Blast Bruce Bochy all you want. The truth is you’re blasting Bochy for not anticipating someone else not doing their job correctly.
When Bochy challenged the Pollock pick-off at first base, it was the bottom of the fourth inning. All replay challenges are originated by the umpires beginning with the 7th inning. Bochy was seven outs away from losing his challenge. He had to think the umpires could go seven outs without screwing up, especially a play at the plate.
Was it a good challenge? No.
Was it a mistake? Yes.
I firmly believe that Bochy let his emotions get to him. He disagreed with two previous calls from Chris Guccione at first base. Although Bochy would never admit it, I think he was tired of disagreeing with each of Guccione’s calls. Bochy challenged a call with more of a “What the hell” attitude than accepting the strategical application of how a challenge should be valued.
Bochy forgot the first rule of a baseball challenge. A challenge should only be used for one reason: YOU’RE RIGHT AND THE UMP IS WRONG! Do not waste it just to see if you’re right.
Bochy was wrong to challenge but nowhere near as wrong as Eric Cooper for giving the D-backs a run in a one-run game. Talking heads are all over Bochy since we’re all experts at managerial challenges in its first week of existence. Truth is, if Cooper does his job correctly, no one is questioning whether or not Bochy did the same.