Sunday, June 6, 2010

The All-American Game

Gave me a break. If baseball is the all American game, then all American's are delusional. Because baseball is stupid. Why? Because it defies all logic.

There are some guys dressed in black who stand around on the field and they get to determine the outcome of every pitch, every play, and every game. And even if there is indisputable proof that they're wrong, they're right. Their decision stands. And what's even more extraordinary is that if they admit that they're wrong, they can't change their mind. Their decision stands even though, they too, know it's wrong.

I addressed this briefly here when I said "I always convince myself that one bad ball/strike call can and does take the pitcher (or the batter for that matter) right out of his game. And if the hurler's money pitch is the outside corner and the umpire calls it a ball, he's screwed. Good-bye ball game. And if the first pitch that the batter sees is a terrible pitch that is called a strike, he has to protect the plate against the unknown calls and he's out of his game". And because of these wrong calls, the outcome of the ball game is pretty much determined.

During World Series playoffs, I've seen an electronic box in front of the batter that shows whether or not the ball passes through the strike zone. Easy breezy - no questions about it and no influence by a very human umpire. Why don't they use it to call balls and strikes in every ball game?

And even the most uninterested baseball unobserver has probably heard about the terrible call that took an elusive perfect game away from a Detroit Tigers pitcher, Armando Gallaraga. It was the bottom of the ninth with two outs. The batter hit the ball to the first baseman, the pitcher covered, the batter was out...but wait, the almightly umpire said he was safe. So he was. No perfect game. The umpire was sorry, really sorry, he's a good umpire, but no perfect game. Too bad so sad. They've shown the play inumerable times on all the news networks and sports channels. The guy was out....but he was safe. This is an insult to my sense of fairness, to my logic.

Back in 1972 when I was a real Cubs fan, I watched with bated breath as Milt Pappas pitched a perfect game. Oh wait. No it wasn't. The last batter got on base with a walk. The umpire, as I remember it, later said he didn't want the perfect game to be tainted by a questionable strike call so he called what should have been a strike, a ball, and the batter walked. Good-bye perfect game. Pappas' shot at perfection was ruined by a walk to a pinch-hitter. Pappas, who went on to get the no-hitter, blames umpire Bruce Froemming to this day.

Just last night the Cubs played Houston. The ball was thrown to the third baseman but he missed it. The catcher was covering third and fell down on the runner, Starlin Castro, which happens. But as that catcher laid on Starlin and watched the ball dribble to the outfield, he kept Castro from scoring. He just laid on him watching the ball. What was done about that? Nothing. And it was so blatant. Now was a good time for the human influence to pay off. And I guess it did - for Pittsburgh.

I used to love baseball but then I realized that it's not about the skills of the players, it's about the good or bad decisions of the umpires who are influenced by very human emotions, or how they're feeling that day, or whether they want the game to get over with in a hurry.

Here they are now, meeting with Lou Piniella and Pittsburgh Manager, John Russell, prior to the game we went to in May. I sure hope Lou was careful not to offend any of these guys. After all, they're large and in charge and they control the game.

Over and over again baseball defies all logic and that's why I can't be a real baseball fan.

It's just too stupid.


  1. wow Mary...I am impressed. I know hardly anything about baseball, but I did see the fuss about that recent perfect game that didn't get the credit it deserved.

    I'm a college football fan myself...gotta love the passion when you aren't getting paid!

  2. I do agree that it is unfair just how much the umpires can affect the game. I would NEVER EVER want to be one. I do have to say that I was very impressed with the way Gallaraga handled the situation and the fans of Detroit. I actually felt so bad for the umpire after that game, he really wished he could take that call back. I think they should have some kind of instant replay like they do in football and hockey.

  3. Wow Mary, I'm impressed. It is a crazy, flawed game, but I still love it. But only Cubs games!!


Gentle, strong, kind or true, I'd love to hear what you have to say.
Short or long, it's up to you, your comments and thoughts really make my day!