Seven crew chiefs are unavailable for postseason assignments with injuries ranging from testicular cancer (John Hershbeck) to a stroke (Rick Reed) to concussions to back problems.
Crew chiefs got those positions with years of service — and by being good umpires.
That umps like Ed Montague and Hershbeck aren't available is part of why umps like Phil Cuzzi and Laz Diaz (above) got October assignments. But just part of it. As Ringolsby details, there are a variety of work rules in the union agreement that restrict how often the best umps work the playoffs and World Series.
Rob Neyer's take on this: Baseball needs to push its older umps into retirement. Really?
If the problem we're seeing this fall is that the younger umps are fouling up, and (big if here) if the best of the younger umps are in the majors (as opposed to being stuck in the minors waiting for an opening), moving the old guys out isn't going to help.
We see some of the likely prospects for full time jobs already as vacation fill-ins. Mike Muchlinski, anybody? I don't think so.