Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Day 121: The Season of Sucky Umpiring

First, I thought I would mention that today, Day 121, marks the one third point (ok, it's actually 121.6666) of my quest to blog every day about sports for 365 straight days. What the hell? Do I really have this much time on my hands? There have been a few close calls — no wireless, out late, writer's block — but it wouldn't be sports without close calls. Ask the Red Sox about close calls...

The Red Sox and Rays met last night in a make-up game from a rain-out last week that was, yet again, a battle for first place. After Sunday's games — a win for the Sox and a loss for the Rays — Boston held a slim half game lead. A win on Monday would've given them a tiny bit more breathing room. But with reigning AL Cy Young winner David Price on the mound, the Sox would have to scrounge for runs.

Felix Doubront kept the team in the game giving up just two runs, and the Sox offense slowly scratched and clawed, getting a home run from Brandon Snyder in the sixth to cut the deficit in half. And then, in the eight inning, with Price lifted for a reliever, Ryan Lavarnway laced a one-out double. Daniel Nava came in as a pinch runner. Stephen Drew followed with another double that should've scored Nava, right? But Nava, unsure of whether or not the ball would be caught, got a case of the happy feet and when the ball dropped in, he could only manage to get to third. Dude? WTF?

But here's where the real shitshow started. The next batter, Brandon Snyder, lifted a fly ball to left and here comes Nava tagging up to score the tying run. Woohoo... oh wait... What? He's OUT??? Nava didn't think so... and John Farrell surely didn't think so (and was promptly ejected for saying just that)... and after the game, it looks like the home plate umpire, WHO MADE THE CALL, didn't think so either.

That's right folks, in a rare admittance of incompetence, umpire Jerry Meals admits to blowing the call. It's not like this was an important game or anything. Not like first place was on the line. Not like he couldn't have asked for some HELP!!!

This is where Major League Baseball epically fails—their complete refusal to admit that instant replay is a good thing!

I would like to enter into evidence, the video of last night's debacle at home plate:

Now did you happen to notice where umpire Jerry Meals was standing while trying to make the call? He has positioned himself BEHIND THE CATCHER. Now I'm no baseball genius but if I'm trying to see a play that's happening in front of the catcher, I'm thinking behind is not really a good vantage point. Maybe I'd like to stand to the side of the plate so I can see WHAT IS ACTUALLY HAPPENING!!

Also, can someone please tell me why these umpires are so opposed to asking for help? WHY? Is it some kind of power trip? Some kind of authority they want to hold over everyone on the field? Better to huddle up and make the right call then to be blow it and be hated by angry fans everywhere. (Obviously Jerry Meals doesn't follow Brazilian soccer.)

I've seen a ton of bad calls this season and I'm only watching one team so I can't imagine what's happening in other ballparks. Bud Selig needs to take a lesson from Roger Goodell. Instant replay will only strengthen the integrity of a game that is already under much scrutiny for its sluggish pace of play and rampant PED use. 

What if this was the Game 7 of the ALCS? Is MLB really going to let shitty umpiring decide who wins or loses a close game?

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