Being an umpire is hard. Especially if you’re working as the home-plate umpire.
You’re asked to make calls that sometimes come down to the millimeter. And if you’re working at the MLB level, you’re dealing with insane velocity and spin from pitchers.
But even then, as an umpire working at the highest level you’re expected to at least be up to some standard.
That was not the case for umpire Phil Cuzzi on Monday night in a game between the Minnesota Twins and Los Angeles Dodgers.
Cuzzi,who made his Major League debut in 1991, is actually in the middle of the in terms of accuracy according to UmpScorecards.com.
Monday night, however, was a disaster.
In a game that Los Angeles went on to win 9-8 in 12 innings, Cuzzi was all over the place. And he saved his best work for extra innings.
Dodgers announcers on the same sequence:
"Boy oh boy, Phil Cuzzi just made being a Major League hitter way harder than it already is."
"Both sides of the plate were an extra three inches. We shall take it. I mean, that's not even close."
"That's impossible for a hitter" pic.twitter.com/aL0oCQRZpG
— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) May 16, 2023
Minnesota led the Dodgers 8-7 in the top of the 10th with one out and the bases loaded. Twins hitter Alex Kiriloff stepped to the plate and took strike one on a pitch three inches off the plate.
He then fouled off a pitch in the same location for strike two. Cuzzi then rung him up on a called strike three inches inside, much to the dismay of Kiriloff and everyone else watching.
“He never had a chance in that at-bat,” Twins announcers said. “That’s not good. In a key spot, you’ve got to be better than that. He had to reach across the plate.”
But it wasn’t just the Twins announcers. Even the Dodgers broadcast team thought Cuzzi brutally botched it.
Phil Cuzzi was so awful last night it’s not funny. https://t.co/x5PXKn7xJE
— Ted (@tlschwerz) May 16, 2023
When the TV announcers from the team benefitting are still marveling at your ineptitude, it really says something. https://t.co/BNmyHQs5lx
— Heath Cline (@heathradio) May 16, 2023
One of the worst called strike sequences you’ll see, and in a high-leverage spot https://t.co/Irirwvkauf
— Travis Sawchik (@Travis_Sawchik) May 16, 2023