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Umpires under fire PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, May 16, 2013 12:29 AM

By JIM METCALFE

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There has been a major uproar about the umpiring in Major League Baseball over the last week or so.

Whether it was a misinterpretation of the rules or a blown call on a video replay or whatever, the arbiters are under fire more than ever these days.

They are going to make mistakes; that is part of the game in any sport.

Do they make more mistakes these days than in the past or do we just notice it more?

After all, they didn’t have replays in the 1940s and 50s, for example, and the use of the technology has exploded in the recent years.

 

There are so many different camera angles: you have slow motion, slow-mo, super slow-mo, super-duper slow-mo, etc.

 

You have the “K zone” for balls and strikes and of course, sometimes I — uh, we — wonder what the heck is the strike zone that the guy (or gal) is calling!

I don’t know what you can do to improve the situation, either — every flaw is exposed — except to drill, drill and drill these umps more. I think they already work hard.

A thought occurred to me that maybe they could spread them out more; for example, move the first and third base umps farther out into the outfield so they can be closer to the wall. However, then they are farther from the bases and makes that call more difficult.

Which one is better?

Have they ever thought of having six umps, like they do in the playoffs, all the time?

I realize that the money involved would go up substantially but when you have billionaire owners and millionaire players — when will the first billion-dollar contract be signed? — I think sparing a few thousand dollars to try and get these things right might be worth the dime.

In my job here, I have gotten to know quite a few men — mostly men but a few women — that are the arbiters for our local sports — football, basketball, soccer, etc. — and I have grown to appreciate the job they do every day. Let’s face it; for every call they make, they are half-right and half-wrong, no matter what.

They are also not making a killing doing it; they have to have a love of the game — plus thick skin and small ears! — to do this thankless job.

I would venture a guess that they don’t like making mistakes and want to make the call right every time.

We’ll see where it goes from here.

Speaking of baseball, kudos to the high school baseball team in Elk Grove, California, who saved a young girl’s life.

According to the story by Laken Litman, it seems as if the Valley High School team was finishing up its season when they heard a young girl screaming in the parking lot next to the baseball field. A mother was dropping her daughter off for an after-school program but accidentally put her car in reverse and ran over the girl.

Every player on that team tore off to the parking lot and up to 15 of the guys helped pick up the car off the girl and a coach pulled her girl out.

Thankfully, according to police reports, the girls will be OK.

With that in mind, there were a quartet of items that popped up recently for me to potentially write about — isn’t that nice of them? — though my comments won’t be long.

One is the Tiger Woods/Sergio Garcia flap, with Garcia blaming Woods for causing an errant tee shot during last weekend’s third round of the Players Championship, providing us with some drama.

The second is that announcement that Donovan McNabb will officially retire in September as a Philadelphia Eagle.

The third is that Green Bay Packers’ CEO/President Mark Murphy wants former quarterback Brett Favre back as a member of “the family”.

The fourth is that new Cincinnati Bengal linebacker James Harrison spends around half a million dollars for what he terms “body work” — massages, chiropractic and acupuncture, for example.

Woods and Garcia have never gotten along from day one. I really don’t know who to believe but let’s just write that this might refuel what everyone had hoped would be a modern-day rivalry like Nicklaus/Watson.

McNabb will now be on the clock to a potential shot in the Hall of Fame in five years. In all honesty, he has some good numbers to have a legit chance to be elected, though at best, it likely won’t be on the first ballot.

I wouldn’t like to be on the committee.

Thirdly, if Favre is not a member of the Pack family, that is his fault; he turned his departure into a soap opera.

I add that his No. 4 should be retired.

Finally, I am surprised others don’t spend a goodly amount of moolah to try and keep their body in tip-top shape to play football. I believe it was Roger Craig that had a masseuse that regularly worked on him years ago during his playing days.

I think I would do whatever I could — legally, of course — to give me a chance to not only have success during my career but to be able to walk after it.

Last Updated on Thursday, May 16, 2013 12:31 AM
 

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