Baseball Jeremiad

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A Curiously Intelligent Baseball blog

Great Moments in Selective Blogging

NBC’s Hardball Talk blog is normally filled with insightful commentary and news.  Heck, it’s the home of the great Craig Calcaterra, nee Shysterball.

Yet, this morning, Drew Silva gets all selective on us.  His post [full text]:

ESPN The Magazine ran a poll recently asking 100 unnamed MLB players to rank the best and worst umpires in the game. 

Jim Joyce, who blew Tigers starter Armando Galarraga’s bid for a perfect game two weeks ago, was given top billing in the poll and it wasn’t even close.  Tim McClelland came in second and Jim Wolf was ranked third.  CB Bucknor, Joe West and Angel Hernandez were ranked among the worst.

Joyce drew praise for owning up to his mistake and clearly showing remorse when he denied Galarraga history in June.  Many players and fellow umpires came forward in defense of the man, and now it’s pretty clear to see that he is widely respected.

So far, so good.  However, look at the first comment responding to Silva’s post:

They also voted like 60% against instant replay to 20% for instant replay[.]

Ah, now we’re getting to something interesting.  Using the link provided in the post, let’s check out ESPN.com’s reporting of the results.

Players also were decidedly opposed to replay and overwhelmingly applauded commissioner Bud Selig for not overturning Joyce’s call that kept Galarraga from being the 21st pitcher in history to throw a perfect game.

And later in the article:

The survey also found players lukewarm — at best — on replay. Only 22 percent of players favored replays for calls on the bases, and only 36 supported replay on fair/foul calls.

And only 13 percent thought Selig should have given Galarraga a perfect game despite Joyce’s botched call. Said one player: “As a pitcher, it was heartbreaking to see that. But the call had to be overturned on the field, not in the front office.”

Come on, Mr. Silva, hew away from the HT party line for just a minute.

Filed under: Jersey Matt, Opinions, , , , ,

I Got Your Outrage Right Here

Jersey Matt | 6.3.10

Last night a couple of friends and me went to the Pirates/Cubs game at PNC Park.  Storms clouds hung nearby but it appeared as if the game would begin as scheduled, at 7:05.  Pretty soon after a middle school choir croaked through the National Anthem, the tarp was placed on the field.

And the skies opened up.  And I mean, they opened up.  The thunder and lightning became so bad that PNC Park personnel did not allow any drunk hearty fans to remain in uncovered seats during the downpour.  As is the Pittsburgh custom, the rain became horizontal.  As is not the Pittsburgh custom, however, the rain continued unabated for two hours.

The rain slowed down and then eventually stopped just a few minutes after 9:00  pm EDT.  The grounds crew began the process of removing the tarp and the diamond vision screen posted the estimated time of first pitch at 9:35 pm.

After the familiar, pull off and pull over method on the tarp, it became clear that the standing water on the dirt of the infield where the second baseman and shortstop normally positions themselves needed diamond dry.  Thus, the staff began that process, as well as using brooms to move the water from the outfield.

After this was finished, the crew began attempting to remove what appeared to be up to six inches of water along the warning track.

Sometime during this extended process, managers Lou Pinella and John Russell had several conversations with men in suits.

By this time, it was almost 10:00 pm.

The game was cancelled at 10:18 pm.

All I’m saying is that Jim Joyce made the wrong call on a bang-bang play.  The Pirates waited three hours and thirteen minutes to cancel a game that was to played on field that was clearly going to be unplayable by 8:00.

They also neglected to note the decision to reschedule the game for this Monday while fans were still in the ball park.

Filed under: Uncategorized, , , ,

Some “Perfect” Thoughts

Jersey Matt | 6.3.10

I posted these thoughts on Craig Calcaterra’s Hardball Talk blog last night.  Here they are, in all their late night lucidity:

To begin: if this call was made in the third inning, would it be as big of a deal?

Sure, Joyce blew the call.  We all get that.

However, we do have the benefit of slowing down the picture to split-second.

Ah yes: I can hear them now, the calls for replay.

But guys and gals, baseball is different.  There’s a beautiful human element involved in it.  Ball and strikes aren’t standardized.  The multitude of variables in baseball (umpires and field dimensions to name two) are what make it beautiful.
Sure it’s an indelicate argument I’m making, but poor calls, borderline calls, great calls, 50/50 calls are what make baseball a hell of a lot more entertaining and engrossing than any of the other “major” sports.
Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains and sometimes the umpire (just as you and I do in life) plain miss the call.

To begin: if this call was made in the third inning, would it be as big of a deal?Sure, Joyce blew the call.  We all get that.  However, we do have the benefit of slowing down the picture to split-second.Ah yes: I can hear them now, the calls for replay.But guys and gals, baseball is different.  There’s a beautiful human element involved in it.  Ball and strikes aren’t standardized.  The multitude of variables in baseball (umpires and field dimensions to name two) are what make it beautiful.  Sure it’s an indelicate argument I’m making, but poor calls, borderline calls, great calls, 50/50 calls are what make baseball a hell of a lot more entertaining and engrossing than any of the other “major” sports.Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains and sometimes the umpire (just as you and I do in life) plain miss the call.

And:

I’m not looking forward to a do-over culture invading baseball.

This conversation strikes me as vaguely reminiscent of Little League coaches believing themselves to be Earl Weaver and playing a game under protest because of a close call at first base in the second inning of a game in mid-March.  Calls can’t be arbitrarily made “correct.”  There is integrity (in a limited, sports sense) in making a mistake and realizing the result.  There is no integrity (again in the most limited sense) in changing something the next day.

Another item to consider with replay: how many times are we not able to see clearly the result of a play because of a player or inanimate object screening the result.  The answer, at least in my case, is often.  Would replay be established in much the way it is in football: indisputable video evidence to the contrary call?  That, my friends, would be more more difficult to come by in baseball.

Remember Jeter’s flip?  Was Giambi safe or out?  Can you imagine it now: they’re going to replay.  And the outcome is: we couldn’t get the correct angle.

I humbly submit that replay won’t work well in baseball and we’ll find ourselves with the troubling question of whether or not the “toe was in the crease” as we do in hockey.

Filed under: Uncategorized, ,

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