In all of sports, there's nothing quite like the baseball umpire, that odd species of stocky guys in masks and chest protectors who crouch behind the catcher calling balls and strikes. As Wednesday's game showed, they can have an enormous impact on the outcome. But what makes them different from officials in other sports is that their impact is more than just occasional. By calling balls and strikes, baseball umps play a crucial role in not only every game, but just about every pitch. And during these playoffs, one group of umpires may have played a more central role in the outcome than you might think.
A good article that raises issues about the general state of umpiring. This article along with the personal portrait by Brooks of how Eddings got his job despite his lack of talent, or more precisely his lack of experience and knack for making the wrong call at the wrong time, paints a discouraging picture of MLB.