Dunlap: Tired Of The UmpShow

Umpire Ron Kulpa needs to be disciplined. 

Colin Dunlap
April 04, 2019 - 12:36 pm

© Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

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Related: Dunlap: Time For Josh Bell To Prove It

Ron Kulpa needs to be disciplined. 

Actually, check that. Men like Kulpa who are old, crotchety, pompous, arrogant, haughty, puffed-up, self-aggrandizing, snooty, portentous, overly-officious, self-important and supercilious need to be shown the door. 

They need to be done. 

They need to be eliminated and finished. 

I simply don’t want to see them in a position of “power” anymore. 

I’m all for the importance and significance of authority and keeping the peace on a baseball diamond, but I have had my fill --- and then some --- of these ridiculous UmpShows wherein the man umpiring the baseball game feels as if some people showed up and paid money to watch him work. Actually, it feels like guys like Kulpa, who debuted in 1998, feel as if everyone in the building plopped down their money to watch him umpire. 

What a joke. 

The latest incident of the epidemic involved Kulpa and the Houston Astros on Wednesday night when it was glaringly obvious from the very early stages that Kulpa --- on a crew where Jerry Meals (remember him?) is the chief ---- had a bone to pick with manager AJ Hinch and pitcher Gerrit Cole. 

Kulpa’s strikezone was awful early in the game, so Hinch made a few trips to home plate (in tremendously diplomatic fashion) to discuss the lay of the land with the umpire. 

On the second one, Kulpa --- who, again, had a horrible strike zone and called a shoetops pitch a strike against an Astros hitter --- tossed Houston hitting coach Alex Cintron out of the game even as Cintron never left the dugout. 

As Hinch was speaking to Kulpa in a calm and direct manner so as to ascertain what was happening, Kulpa can be seen on multiple occasions saying the words, “I can do anything I want!”

Really? 

That’s where we are in all of this? 

Defiantly thumping to everyone that this is my domain as an umpire. 

Get over yourself, Mr. Kulpa. 

And tell the rest just like you to do the same. I’ve seen enough of this act and seen it too many times from the crusty, old-school clique. 

Clearly Hinch had a problem with what he thought was Kulpa baiting the Astros dugout as the umpire couldn’t seem to focus on the game, but spent disproportionate time thereafter glaring into the third base dugout. And you know what? Hinch was right. 

For good measure Hinch ended up getting tossed. 

But Kulpa’s act, charade and weak attempts of intimidation didn’t end there. Later on in the game he called a pitch that Cole threw absolutely down the middle and in the heart of the strike zone a ball. 

It would have been (and should have been) Strike Three. As it were, Cole had started to hop toward the dugout thinking he had struck the batter out --- because, you know, well, he threw a freaking strike down the middle. 

As you can imagine, Kulpa didn’t like that and felt he was getting shown up. He exchanged words with both Cole and catcher Max Stassi. Perhaps most egregious was that Kulpa stepped in between Cole and his warmup pitches in the next inning and didn’t allow the pitcher proper time to warm up. 

All this --- this whole farce --- because Ron Kulpa thinks he’s the most important man on a baseball field and, apparently, the players and manager don’t. 

What a blowhard and joke Ron Kulpa is.

What a travesty the UmpShows have become. 

What a mockery Ron Kulpa made of a baseball game last night. 

Sign me up. I’m ready for the robot umpires to call balls and strikes. Partly because they will get it right but also because they don’t hold vendettas like petty Ron Kulpa and his ilk. 

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