In recent days, my aloof and oft persnickety colleague, Mr. Krause, waxed on instant replay in baseball, making assumptions about my demeanor reminiscent of Rush Limbaugh calling out the obese.
Am I “old school” in my baseball philosophy? Yes. You could say that. But just like in any endeavor worth dedicating one’s life to, things change, and adaptations are necessary for survival.
Baseball needs instant replay. There are just too many important calls that get blown that could be remedied with a simple review of the tape. There are countless examples, but the two most devastating of recent memory include the Pirates/Braves 19th inning Jerry Meals fiasco of 2011 and Armando Gallaraga’s perfect game being robbed by Jim Joyce*. These are just two extreme examples, but blown calls happen quite frequently and they could be fixed just as easily as they fixed the home run by review situation.
Sure, baseball is a long, slow paced game. Sure doesn’t seem to stop people from caring about it though! Attendance is up, viewership via TV, computer, smartphone is at an all-time high. Does Mr. Krause seriously think that all the baseball nuts in the world are going to stop watching the game if it’s 5 minutes longer?!?!
Just get the call right. That’s what the fans care about. We want… the umps… TO GET IT RIGHT. That’s it. And now, deeply immersed in all avenues of technocracy, is the time to start implementing some of the modern tools that are there to make things better.
And no, constitutional scholars, this ain’t no slippery slope situation. Balls and strikes are not reviewable. Period.
Hate me ‘cuz I’m grounded in common sense, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
*Also, I am still not over Don Denkinger’s blown call from the 1985 Series. Some things take longer to heal.
We learned many things from Jim Joyce, Armando Galarraga and the infamous Imperfect Game of June 2, 2010. We learned that throwing beer bottles at the wall may cause significant DAMAGE (to the beer bottle, possibly the wall too). We learned that styling one’s facial hair after the Pringles man cannot disguise MISTAKES. And we also learned that the best way to avoid controversy, is to AVOID controversy.
So when Philip Humber threw that wild 3-2 breaking ball two feet off the plate on Saturday and Brendan Ryan checked his swing, I felt all of the fury, all of the tension, all of the RAGE from the Imperfect Game ALL over again. Except homeplate umpire Brian Runge called it a swing, AJ Pierzynski threw the ball to first and the celebration began.
OH BUT THE CONTROVERSY!!!
In my house, I had a hard time celebrating Humber’s gem because I was already seeing the asterisk-calling headlines, I could already hear Mariners fans (all three of them) flooding the sports talk shows with vitriol. And as Brendan Ryan argued with Runge about the call, I knew it was time for me to go outside to get some fresh air before my phone started to blow up with imperfect texts.
Except… none of the above actually happened. Brendan Ryan dropped the subject. He tipped his cap and moved on. The networks — as if taken over by an Orwellian machine of greater good (a fantasy in itself) — didn’t even show the replays of Ryan’s checked swing. The Wizard said “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain” and I — WE ALL — gleefully obliged, even though it sorta felt dirty doing so.
We owe that guilt-stained dirty feeling to Brendan Ryan. In fact, whether it is a good thing or not, Philip Humber’s perfect game will live on unscathed by controversy because Brendan Ryan simply let it go. He shut his mouth. He went about his business. And now we are to forget.
For a guy who was labeled as “a distraction” and a “clubhouse cancer” during his St. Louis Cardinal tenure, it’s nice to see Brendan being recognized for something else. Admittedly, I never would have bet it’d be for saying… nothing.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
As a Detroit sports fan, I have a better than average reason to detest the people who officiate our matches. The Lions, woebegone team that they may be, have lost to the Chicago Bears twice this season, both times due in part to questionable calls. Tigers’ fans will never forget the perfect game that should have been nor the umpire, Jim Joyce, who made the fateful call.
For other teams, the solution is to strike back and do something. White Sox fans like to charge the field and pummel the ump. Phillies fans….ok, well, Phillies fans don’t really count since they like to beat up little girls. Or at least vomit on them.
Detroit fans, though? We just continue to take it on the chin from the refs. How about we go to the video for a graphical representation:
You stay classy, Detroit.
And so in this Podcast…
Jeff and Johanna welcome a very special guest, Second City funny man Mark “Pie” Piebenga, to the Logan Square Studio for an RSBS Podcast pow-wow of epic proportions (we would like to thank Miller Lite for making it, as the kids say, ‘epic’)! From Jim Joyce’s ‘stache to Nolan Ryan’s pomposity to Nyjer Morgan’s right hook to Bobby Scales’… existence?… all the gloves come off as the fellas look back at the 2010 season and gear up for the winter with plenty of chuckles and plenty of beer. All to make you laughy laugh!
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For more on Mark’s work on RSBS‘ Ninemen’s Morris series, check out this story then click on the Ninemen’s Morris tag at the bottom for more early 20th century hilarity!
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Subscribe to the RSBS Podcast by clicking *HERE*
Subscribe via iTunes by clicking *HERE*
*Special thanks to our PodMaster Keith Carmack. Keith is involved in some impressive projects himself. Check out his work at Undercard Films. Seriously. You should do it. If you don’t, you might find out about his MMA skills first hand. Holla!!!
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Recorded Wednesday, November 10, 2010