Thursday, June 3, 2010

Ineptitude


If you’re looking for someone to do something horribly and deliberately wrong, give Bud Selig a call. The boob who leads Major League Baseball had a chance to do something right today, and of course, being Bud Selig, he did the absolute wrong thing. For those who have been living under a rock (or those who are not sports fans), a pitcher for the Detroit Tigers had a rare perfect game stolen from him Wednesday night by a ridiculously bad call at first base with two outs in the ninth inning against Cleveland. Pitcher Armando Galarraga is to be credited for not choking umpire Jim Joyce on the field, and Joyce showed great class in going into the Tigers’ clubhouse after the game to personally apologize for depriving the pitcher of his place in history. A distraught Joyce later told reporters, “It was the biggest call of my career, and I kicked the shit out of it. I just cost that kid a perfect game.” That’s a couple of stand-up guys there (shown above before today’s game). And then there’s Selig. It’s hard to remember any sport having a commissioner as pathetic as this guy. He has the power to overturn decisions made on the field. He considered the Galarraga situation. And then, in true Bud fashion, he declined to act. Bud did say that he’ll be examining the “umpiring system, the expanded use of instant replay and all other related features.” A lot of good that does Galarraga and Joyce. Here’s the hilarious part. Airhead Bud, in his official statement about the botched call, said this: “While the human element has always been an integral part of baseball, it is vital that mistakes on the field be addressed.” Then address them, you idiot. Selig had a chance to make things right for the game, for the fans, for the pitcher and the umpire. Instead, he handled it like Bill Buckner in the ’86 World Series. Galarraga probably will never come close to a perfect game again in his career. But the one who really has to live with this is Joyce. The guy is considered one of the best umps in the game, but from this day forward, he’ll be remembered as the guy who botched the ninth-inning call to cost a pitcher a perfect game. When his obituary is written, that fact will be in the lead paragraph. Selig could have helped both of these guys. All that was necessary was to rule that the batter on the botched play was out, and that the subsequent game-ending at-bat was wiped out. No one is hurt. The final outcome of the game isn’t changed a bit. But the impotent Selig, who has always been a puppet of major league owners, proved once again why baseball has taken a backseat to football as America’s game. Having a hapless milquetoast like Bud Selig running baseball is like making Richard Simmons a Navy Seal. It's bad enough that baseball continues to have a fiscal system that allows teams like the Yankees to buy World Series titles while small-market teams struggle just to be competitive every once in a while. This makes the game look worse. It’s been clear for years that the quality of umpiring in the major leagues has been in steady decline. Every umpire has, and is allowed to have, his own personal version of the strike zone. The phantom base tags at second on double plays have gotten more and more ridiculous. And then you have guys like Joe West and Angel Hernandez who think they are the stars of the game. They seek out conflict with players and managers so they can be the center of attention when they toss people out of games. Somebody needs to put a stop to this and make umpires accountable for their actions and the quality of their work. But do you really think Bumbling Bud is the guy to do that? The only good to come out of Wednesday’s mess is that perhaps now, finally, baseball will rely on instant replay to fix calls that are clearly wrong. Football does it. Hockey does it. Basketball does it. Baseball has resisted it. Nobody wants replay to be used on balls-and-strikes calls, but the big, potentially game-changing calls should be correct, and if replay can help, it should be used. Because it’s damn certain that nobody could rely on worthless Bud Selig to do the right thing after the fact.

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9 Comments:

Blogger MJ said...

After watching the replay, I thought Joyce should be fined and/or suspended for blowing the call that badly. But it was actually heartening to hear how both the umpire and pitcher handled the situation. Joyce stood up and took responsibility. Galarraga didn't pout on the field (like his teammates) and accepted Joyce's apology.

Both of them showed a lot of sportsmanship for something that will/would've changed both of their lives.

June 3, 2010 at 4:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Big deal. Who cares? MLB is a mere shadow of its former self. Look at the attendance figures. Look at the scandals involving drugs.

So, an ump blows a call. Just because it happened with one remaining out in the ninth inning, it gets all kinds of publicity. It is only a game, folks. It is a game that is played by elementary-school aged kids, albeit on another level. Whether the pitcher pitches a no-hitter, whether the ump makes the right call, whether 20 home runs are hit in tonight's games, nothing will change. The sun will rise in the East tomorrow, the earth will rotate on its axis, people will die, infants will be born, people will go to work, people will collect welfare checks, people will buy fast food at the local eatery. It DOES NOT MATTER one iota.

Put the blown call in the trash heap where it belongs, forget about whether the Commissioner is doing his job. Get on with life and do something significant, love another person like never before, do your job well and right. These are important matters. Getting to first base before the ball gets there is way down on the list of important matters.

June 3, 2010 at 7:20 PM  
Blogger Dale Lolley said...

I completely disagree, Brant. The call is what it was. Can't change it after the fact.
If you do it in this case, where do you stop?

June 3, 2010 at 11:01 PM  
Blogger Brant said...

Dale, I can't believe you're saying calls can't be changed after the fact. Hockey changes calls after the fact. Basketball changes calls after the fact. Football changes calls after the fact. It's called instant replay. And whether it's five minutes after the fact or the day after the fact, I can't see the difference. Certainly, the commissioner is not going to be changing calls willy-nilly, but in the case of something as egregious as this, he does have that power. An instant-replay system in baseball can be set up easily enough. Allow the umpires to use it as they see fit, and give each team two replay requests per game. But make it a rule that if they're wrong on the first one, they lose the second one. That would make them think long and hard about using that first one. And I don't even want to hear about the effects on the flow of the game, because in baseball, the flow has already been killed by the ridiculous amount of time taken by pitchers and batters between pitches.

June 4, 2010 at 6:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The idea of changing a call after the fact is consistent with how our society now perceives conviction and principle.

People are so wishy-washy these days. Nobody wants to be accountable. Nobody wants to take a stand based upon principle or conviction. Far too many people just want to change things to make them feel better, make a better situation out of a bad one, recant a previous position because they don't want to defend a previous one, (and the list goes on).

Dale is right. Done is done. Live with it. Trying to cover one mistake with another only leads less accountability. How many games this year could have calls that should be overturned? How about last year? Perhaps all the Barry Bonds records should be expunged, and everybody would feel vindicated about their personal thoughts of his use of drugs.

All this talk of making changes is in the same vain as the discussions on the O-R board about textbooks in Texas. People have changed history often because they didn't like what it said. Revisionist history helps ease somebody's pain and discomfort on what really happened. Changing baseball calls is an attempt to help ease somebody's discomfort as well. To use Mike Tomlin's favorite phrase "It is what it is." (Hate that statement!)

June 4, 2010 at 6:45 AM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

"People have changed history often because they didn't like what it said. "

We aren't talking about changing calls (or history, for that matter) because we didn't like it... but because it was wrong.

Whether you like it or not, that guy was out at first and Galarraga threw a perfect game... whether you like it or not, Thomas Jefferson had sexual relations with his slaves. You don't change the record of events because they don't fit your world view, you change them to reflect the facts and the reality of the situation. By the codified and accepted rules of baseball, the runner was out. If you do not align the official record to reflect that fact, then your official record is flawed. The record of the game (a 1 hitter by Galarraga)... as it stands now, is false. Feel free to extrapolate that argument to any historical context. The principle behind it is sound. The actual events in question should be recorded to reflect reality. If X, Y, and Z happened, that is what should be recorded. If you find, later on, that X was in fact W, then you change X to W because it is factually correct. If that shatters some ingrained illusion of what happened, good. It was an illusion.

June 4, 2010 at 10:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ellipses, yes, there are facts involved here, but still this story has long legs that mean people are interested in getting the call changed. Why? Who cares? In the big scheme of things, baseball is so unimportant, it doesn't make a blip on the radar screen.

Why do we get all worked up over something so trivial? Because we want to feel good about the pitcher who had pitched a perfect game. A perfect game, or no perfect game, makes absolutely no difference.

The point of the post about conviction and principle is trying to related the notion of changing something so that others will like a better outcome (not unlike the slaves issue you raised). It is all part of not wanting to embrace an absolute truth. The game is over, the outcome recorded, regardless of what happened.

Many batters missed the ball with their bat during that game. It was a negative. The winning team undoubtedly made bad plays during the game. During any football games passes are overthrown, another mistake. Defensive backs miss a defensive play, allowing a receiver to catch the ball for a score. In other words, mistakes are part of every athletic event. Athletic events capitalize on two things, good plays, and bad plays. In this case, the ump made a bad call, and so many want to change the outcome of the game. What other bad plays do we start including in the reasons for changing the outcome of an event? Done is done. The outcome is recorded.

To digress even further, do away with all technology in athletic events, such as instant replay. As stated before, athletic events are governed by negative plays. It is part of the game. If everybody, including the officials, were all perfect in execution, the game would be boring.

June 4, 2010 at 6:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And then there are people, like me, who don't know what a perfect game means... ;-)

June 4, 2010 at 9:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps the part of this story that is being missed is the character of the two people involved. The ump was up-front immediately after the game, "I made a mistake." He has expressed himself gracefully in the error of his call.

Meanwhile, the pitcher has shown great character in his response to the matter. He could have been outraged, expressed disdain and hostility for the ump, for the league, for anybody involved. But, he has not. He gracefully accepted the outcome, and is not letting the missed call drag him down.

If there is any lesson to be learned from this, the response of these two people is noteworthy.

I'm not sure about the Corvette, however. Still puzzled about this one.

June 5, 2010 at 8:51 AM  

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