The Blue Jays and Cleveland Indians will square off again on Wednesday night, with a familiar face behind the plate in Vic Carapazza. The Blue Jays have had several dust ups with the official in recent years, as he has regularly clashed with John Gibbons among others.
A whole lot has changed since last years Canada Day gong-show between the Blue Jays and Indians which had to be one of the most agonizing of games (for both players and fans), mostly because of some of the most questionable umpiring you’ll ever encounter. The Blue Jays would eventually lose that game 2-1 in 19 innings, and Edwin Encarnacion, John Gibbons, and Russell Martin would all be tossed out by home plate umpire Vic Carapazza for arguing calls.
Since that bizarre day in Blue Jays history, things have been relatively quiet on the Carapazza front as Toronto hasn’t had any encounters with the brash umpire since then. Sadly however, this is the first regular season series between the Indians and Blue Jays to take place in Toronto since that excruciatingly long game that occurred last July… and coincidentally, Carapazza just happens to be part of the umpiring crew this time around as well.
I hate tearing up a person like this, mostly because I don’t think it’s my place to criticize someone who’s just trying to do their job, but Carapazza was such an awful and unfair umpire last July 1 that I can’t help but let loose at least a little bit. Am I worried of a repeat performance happening tonight with Carapazza, who is scheduled to be the home plate umpire? Yeah, a little bit. But at least this time around things are quite a bit different than they were last year.
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When it comes to the three people thrown out last Canada Day by Carapazza… Encarnacion no longer plays for the Blue Jays (although he’ll still be across the field in the Cleveland dugout), Martin is on the DL, which leaves only Gibbons in the same role he played last year.
It took all of one inning last season to see that Carapazza was well off the mark with his calls, as he made several questionable strike calls against Encarancion that were so off the plate that it had the usually mild mannered Encarnacion erupt like we’ve never seen before.
We’ll have to give him the benefit of the doubt as a professional, but here’s hoping that Carapazza has learned from what happened last July regarding how not to umpire a ball game. If he has, it’ll go a long way to show this skeptic that even one of the most prickly of umpires has the ability to learn and improve from their mistakes.