Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Don't You Hear It Calling?

I'd like to talk about umpires. You may have read my criticism of them before. And you may pass me off as some kind of jerk for always saying that they're rooting against my team. Well, as "some dude," rather than "a sports journalist," I just like to point things out instead of ignoring them.

When the playoff system changed in '94, I knew that the Red Sox and yanks could end up playing each other in a seven-game series at some point--something that hadn't been possible until then. I didn't know how I would possibly handle such a thing. I thought my heart might explode from going through that.

In 1999, when it was determined that such a series would actually happen, I needed to prepare myself. So I said, "As long as it's a fair series, I'll just deal with the result." I knew that if my team played hard and lost, I could accept that, so long as the umpires didn't root for the yanks, as I'd watched them do so many times before.

Then I saw this:

You make the call. Out or safe?

Or should I say "Safe or very, very safe?"

Well, the runner was called out. And that wasn't the only bad call in that series. You may have seen the garbage on the field in that series. For Fenway fans to do such a thing, you know something was fishy.

I'm just saying that you don't have to squint too hard to see the "NY" on the umps' hats.

Another thing: Did you see the Naked Gun? When Frank is umpiring a baseball game, and he makes a strike call, and the crowd goes wild, and he gets a rush from it and starts calling every pitch a strike? Well, that's not too far from what really goes on in these umpires' minds. They may be professionals, but they're still human. When else in their lives are they going to make a hand gesture and have tens of thousands of people applaud it?

And like I've said about yankee Stadium, "it's not the girl, Peter, it's the building." In other words, the way that stadium was built makes an average-sized cheer sound like a freight train and feel like an earthquake. Put 55,000 Red Sox fans in there and let the Sox play a home game, and the place would fall down. So, when the umps make a home call in yankee Stadium, they certainly feel that rush. Some guys can overcome it and keep making the correct calls. But watch enough games there and you'll see the excitement on a young ump's face as he makes the out call on a check swing, regardless of whether the poor sap on the Royals swung or not.

That's just my opinion, though.

Jere, I think if you watched the Sox just as closely as you do the Yanks, and I wish you could, you'd see that those type of calls happen for and against just about all the teams in baseball. You have a keen eye, although a tad jaundiced (what Sox fan doesn't), but I do wish NESN could be beamed, if not to your TV, directly into your brain, so that all you'd have to do is close your eyes and a giant image will appear. Insanity will soon follow. We'll win tonight. It's been taken care of. Capisce?
I do get to see plenty of NESN games. Umps wear yankee hats. Terrible job by them.

For and against every team, as long as the "for" team is wearing pinstripes. make Oliver Stone seem sane
you make Pauly Shore seem funny
If that picture in the upper right hand corner is you then I will tell Sloth that you are going to come on by with the Rocky Road.

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Location: Rhode Island, United States