Tagged: Good of the Game

A Wise Man Once Told Me…

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I realize now that it’s
after midnight on the east coast so it’s technically not Thanksgiving anymore
but I’m going to go ahead with this post anyway.

Thanksgiving was always a day that put things into perspective for me year
after year. Lately, my turkey days have been about driving to Philadelphia from
Reading, enjoying dinner with the family that I rarely see followed my a nice
drive home in the dark to work early the next morning.

This year is no different in that respect but I did take a moment or two to
take a look around and think about what this world has come to on a day where
we are all technically supposed to be giving “thanks” to what we
have.

This year, America was introduced to an idiot…

sarah-palin-turkey-slaughter-big.jpg

Or two…

 Three if you count the guy
in the background slaughtering a turkey while looking for some ill-advised
camera time.

But that’s not really my point. I just wanted to point out that Sarah Palin and
Glenn Beck (and the turkey farmer) are idiots.

I digress.

We’re entering into a holiday season that is projected to be rough. Jobs are
scarce, loans are down, the economy is bad and companies all over the country
are just trying to figure out a way to get us to spend money we really don’t
want to spend. Instead of exchanging gifts with everyone, my family is doing a
secret santa.

The outlook is dim. America right now is like the Royals in September; do we
trade away our assets and hope to rebuild for next season? or do we bring up
some of our better prospects and try to make a run at becoming a playoff
spoiler?

In baseball, there’s always next season, but America doesn’t have that luxury.
While some see turmoil, however, I see opportunity.

I see the opportunity to take a step back and look at what we’ve got right in
front of us instead of lusting over what we don’t have. I see opportunity to
take a new path in how we go about our everyday lives. I look around and I see
a country that has become infatuated with money, possessions, and power while
emphasis is all but lost on the one thing I think matters most. Family.

I have a great family. There’s always someone there to talk to, to ask for
advice, to be a shoulder to cry on. It’s easy to lose perspective on what’s
really important. It’s no flashy, it’s not cool and it doesn’t pay the bills.
We’re all guilty of it at one time or another. So while everything that takes
away from those we love is in financial distress, maybe we can take the chance
to find out what we’ve missed.

It’s always been my philosophy to believe that everything happens for a reason.
And even that which seems insurmountable may be just be the perfect chance to
explore the unexplored.

To quote Benjamin Franklin (hometown hero!): “Every obstacle is an
opportunity in disguise.”

Smart guy.

 

 

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The Human Element

I have heard this term thrown around a lot in the last few years about baseball, mostly by Tim Kurkjian of ESPN.

“The Human Element.”
Or something like that.

What does that really mean anyway?
Last year we saw a lot of mistakes by umpires that cost some players some home runs. Big deal. My problem came in the world series where call after call seemed to be blown by the umpiring staff that potentially could have cost either team the title. History will probably overlook one of the worst called series in history because the the Phillies magical win that sparked a city, or the historic suspension of game 5 in the middle of the sixth.

But Major League Baseball should not. Everything seemed to work out fine this time around because calls seemed to go both ways. Yeah, Carl Crawford was clearly out at first when Howard bare-handed the throw, but then again, Rollins was also clearly tagged out on the rump trying to retreat back to third. That’s how it goes sometimes and maybe it’s just me being paranoid thinking one blown call will jinx the whole thing and we’ll lose the series. We didn’t, but we could have. And no Philadelphia fan can deny thinking the same thing whenever a call didn’t go our way.

The popular solution to many of these blown calls is “instant replay.” Something that baseball purists like Kurkjian are against. Now I love this game and all it’s glory, and let’s face facts, if there were no more blown calls there would be significantly fewer manager ejections. Or maybe there would be more, who knows? All I really know is that I hate to see a blown call cost anybody anything, especially on such a stage at the World Series.

If someone hits a homerun, give it to him.
If someone is safe at first, put him on first.
If someone makes a diving catch, call the batter out and put in on Sports Center.

If it takes a few extra minutes and an instant-replay to get it right, use it. Fans waited 47 hours for the conclusion of game five; I think they can wait a few minutes.

The human element should not be confused with human error. All us purists like Kurkjian and I are reluctant to let technology take over the game like it has football, but let’s face it, human eyeballs suck.

The human element will always be present in baseball. It’s the difference between one umpire’s strike-zone and another, or a manager’s decision on when to pull the starting pitcher. It’s the tension when a batter steps out of the box to disrupt the pitcher’s rhythm, and it’s 45,000 screaming fans who are desperate to go home with a ‘W’.

I have learned so much from this great game from the time I first played T-ball to when I got cut from my high school team. Losing is hard on anyone, but there’s still some dignity in losing through your best effort. Losing because of a missed call is frustrating and downright unfair.

I don’t want to live to see the day where a baseball field is cluttered with cameras covering every angle, but I also can’t stand to see an entire season wiped away because an umpire missed the call. And for all of you waiting to write an angry comment about how I should lay off of umpires and I don’t know what I’m talking about, I assure you, I do. I have umpired games before, it was little league, but I still know how hard it is to see a split-second play and make a call.

That is no excuse, however. This is their job, their profession. If we can ride a ball player for not hitting .300 every year, it’s more than fair to expect nothing less than perfection from an umpire. Either raise your standards for umpires, or find another way to get the calls right.

That’s all that matters. We’ve earned it.