Thursday, June 03, 2010
KILL THE UMPIRE (THEN INJURE THE OFFICIAL SCORER)
I rarely feel pity for professional athletes for any on-field misfortune. They're getting paid hundreds of thousands, even millions, to play a sport. Hard to shed tears for that. But I legitimately feel just awful for Armando Galarraga, who had history ripped away from him by Jim Joyce, an umpire.
We've seen too much activism from baseball umpires this season already. It's not a new phenomenon, but unless it's checked, it will continue to grow.
Instant replay isn't the answer. Unless it's limited to coaches having one and only one challenge per game. These umpires don't just need human error to be double-checked, they need their psyche's to be checked. These are egotistical control freaks that try to run the game instead of keeping it under control.
Jim Joyce should be called to New York and forced to explain to MLB why he felt that Galarraga was bobbling a ball. A ball that he seemingly caught while covering 1st base in an attempt to record the 27th out of the game.
A big pet peeve of mine is officials "pocketing the whistle" in big moments of big games, trying not to affect the outcome with a call. I believe in consistency. But that's unrealistic. And this was the 27th goddamned out of a perfect fucking game. You'd better be 10,000% sure that Galarraga bobbled the ball in order to make that judgment.
And screw the official scorer, too. The ump deemed Galarraga to bobble the ball. Which theoretically means an out would have been recorded if a player had made a routine play. Which is also known as an error. Call it E1, let Galarraga at least keep the no-hitter going. To change the official score now would be inappropriate. But screw the official scorer of this game, which was held in Detroit, so he should sympathize with Galarraga and his hometown Tigers.
To Joyce's credit, he admitted he called the play incorrectly, and apologized to Galarraga. And to Galarraga's credit, he has demonstrated nothing but class, even defending Joyce and acknowledging the apology. He knows what he did, and doesn't need any label to confirm that he threw a perfectly pitched game last night.
But still, umpires should be like driver's ed instructors. Don't try to drive the car, just keep your feet near the extra brake pedal in case things get out of hand. The egotistic umps of Major League Baseball, and also the inconsistent weakling refs of the NBA should learn from NFL and NHL officials. How is it that the two most violent sports are also the two best officiated? Because you have to be firm, but you also have to understand that you're there to help put on a show. You're not THE show.