With recent Major League incidents involving umpires Jim Joyce and Joe West, I thought it only fitting that I make a post regarding the men in blue.
First off, umpiring IS hard... Sometimes.
That's probably as a deep a defense I will offer up for umpires in a long while though. Here's the thing: in almost every league at almost every level there are a handful of umps who fall into the "look at me" category, or even worse the "I want to make a difference in this game," type. The shame is that these guys leave you so raw that it almost makes you forget about the handful that really are class guys who do a good job.
The "look at me" ump is the kind that rips his mask off the first time he hears a tweet from anyone and asserts his authority... This guy wants everyone to know he's in charge and that he's not taking shit from anybody. He's also the guy that issues warnings aplenty the first time a ball is too far inside or who chases after players and coaches goading them into a confrontation. This is Joe West. Joe West wants you to argue with him. He wants you to say the wrong thing because the he can escalate the situation into an ejection for his ego. You know these umpires the second you see one walk after a player or coach continuing to argue even after they've walked away.
The other guy, Captain Rulebook, is desperate for an opportunity to make an obscure call to show everyone his immense knowledge of the rules. He's the guy that balks in the winning run, calls an interference at second base to decide a game, or makes any other of a myriad of calls that you almost never see. Most of the time, coaches will tell you that we just want the right call to be made. What we also want is for the players to determine the outcome of the game. This fella forgets that everyone is at the ballpark to see the players win or lose the ballgame, not the umpire.
Anyway, without getting too long winded, the sad fact is that whether it is difficult or not, most amateur umpires are going to miss several calls every game. The thing I think we have to try to remember is that aside from the above two types, most of them are decent guys trying to do their best, and like hitters, they are gonna fail a large percentage of the time.