Lance Barrett's strike zone was questionable at best during the Colorado Rockies' 6-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday. That wasn't even the worst part of the home plate umpire's night, though.
Barrett combined his poor judgement of the zone with an ump show that would make even Joe West cringe (OK, maybe not that bad, but ... ). Walt Weiss had been thrown out of approximately negative-5 games during his tenure as Rockies manager, but the mild-mannered skipper got the boot after Barrett menacingly waited for Rockies catcher Nick Hundley -- victim of one of many of the umpire's awful calls -- to do something that would warrant his own ejection.
If that wasn't bad enough, Barrett later tossed Colorado outfielder Ryan Raburn after a similarly horrendous strike-three call -- and did so while Raburn had his back turned to the plate and was headed to the dugout.
Forget for a second that umpires hate when balls and strikes are argued. Barrett had no reasonable cause to eject anyone from the game as a result of these atrocities:
One doesn't need to look much further than these two ABs to see how bad the HP ump was tonight. Just awful. pic.twitter.com/Tx3oNs2ZOJ— Purple Row (@PurpleRow) April 26, 2016
Most people who are involved with or follow baseball don't have a huge problem with pitches being called off the plate as long as consistency is shown by the umpire. But Barrett rung up Hundley and Raburn -- both right-handed hitters -- on pitches that were approximately eight feet away from each other on either side of the zone.
It wasn't just those two at-bats during which the problem was glaring, either.
That's pretty embarrassing. Sure, everyone is entitled to an off night, but greatly diminishing one team's chances of winning a game by not only being bad at your job but also being a short-fused jerk who can't take warranted criticism has no place in society. Baseball isn't excluded.
Barrett's performance sadly doesn't excuse the Rockies from a bad one of their own. The team had just one hit with runners in scoring position and Scott Oberg poured 10 gallons of gas on a fire started by Chad Bettis, who wore down in the decisive seventh inning. But all of those parties will be held accountable for their performances, whereas it's hard to say whether the same will happen with Barrett given there's little transparency when it comes to how umpires are handled in that regard.
Here's the whole chain of events that led to both ejections: