Yesterday (8-28-2013) we celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the March on Washington (8-28-1963). No doubt, the Dream of the slain Dr. King is a journey, not a destination. The only regret is that the African American race (known by different words at the time) had to fight for civil rights that were God-given rights all along. I am Caucasian but I have friends in all races, all religions, all walks of life and never in my life have I condoned bigotry. The tragedy of 9-11 brought the races, creeds, and religions closer together and the election of the first African American president in 2008 albeit he and I have differences of opinions has brought us to the see the light at the end of the tunnel. The assassination of Treyvon Martin by George Zimmerman reminds us although we see the light, the tunnel is Earth itself and there is no nirvana until we are in thy kingdom. Nonetheless, anyone who marched in 1963 reading this, you are free at last, you were free the day you stood up to Satan, the root of all prejudice. We’ll all meet on that shining city on the hill someday.
I personally think it should be the way it used to be where the umpires make the call and the call stands—i.e., the human element. The first dagger into this human element came at the end of 2008 when they decided to review home runs and not-home runs. Well, if a not-home run is reviewed and deemed a home run, not so bad—the umpire makes a circular motion with his finger and anyone on base trots home and the runs go up on the board. The other scenario is highly problematic. When a home run is reviewed and deemed to not be a home run, the umpire has to make a subjective decision where to put the base runners; sounds to me like you are simply replacing one human error with another.
Instead of reverting back to the way the game should be played, players, owners, and those who supervise umpires and believe they are failing have decided to go to an NFL variation of the challenge and make anything challengeable except balls and strikes. Although not mentioned, I think the umpire’s decision to handle rain is not challengeable either, keep playing, delay and resume an hour later, or call the game.
The way it will be beginning in 2014 will be each manager will have one challenge flag for the first six innings and then two for the 7th inning until the end of the game. This means there could be as many as six interruptions for reviews during one game. For those of you complaining the games are too long now, imagine if it takes five hours to play a nine-inning 2-1 game. Furthermore, unlike the NFL, where is the accountability. In the NFL, if a coach loses a challenge, he burns a time out, which could adversely affect chances of winning or coming back late in the 4th quarter. Baseball is not a timed sport so what do you take away? With the bridge to purity already burnt and torn down, I would suggest if they absolutely feel they must do this, they should require a manager who loses a challenge to either make a substitution or scratch a name off the available bench. Another problem is managers may challenge even when they know they are wrong in the outside chance a right is wronged rather than a wrong righted.
The modern baseball fan growing up in the age of high definition and other modern conveniences and viewing options fails to realize the following: umpires made just as many mistakes in the bygone era, the era before television, the antenna TV era, early analog cable, and pre-HD. As fans, we were not aware of them because we could not see them at the ballpark or on more primitive viewing devices. The HD and coming soon, the 3D era exploit more umpire’s mistakes and fans come to the false conclusion that modern day umpiring stinks, when actually it is as good as it ever was with umpires, members of the human race, making human mistakes (to err is human). Not to mention, if you got it, flaunt it! We [got] the technology and we feel compelled to use it. Not so fast, guys. In 1945, our elected officials felt the same way about the atom bomb. We bombed Hiroshima with a conventional atomic bomb which for all intents and purposes, won World War II for America and its allies. The other bomb, a thermonuclear bomb was sitting in Manhattan and American scientists were very curious about the difference between a conventional atom bomb exploding and a thermonuclear bomb exploding; so we bombed a place called Nagasaki, not even a military hot spot in Japan, just so back in America our scientists could observe the difference at the expense of innocent lives. Hence, the problem with using technology just for the sake of using technology.
A more sensible way for this technology to coexist with the human element is to have the situation room in Manhattan and review plays in the room for the powers that be. Let the calls stand, right or wrong, and play the game of baseball uninterrupted the way it was played for two-plus centuries. Then use the tapes or digital storing devices at the end of the season to review each umpire’s performance. Part of the human element is to make success a journey, not a destination, and to keep improving even if on top. MLB umpires are no exception—they want to learn from their mistakes and do better, just not at the expense of a game in progress.
I was asked by a coworker today who is the biggest scam-artist and given a choice of three people in the news recently. I would like to expand on this and nominate a fourth person as being the most evil—not too far removed from Adolph Hitler or Osama Bin Laden. Let me explain.
First, there is former New York Governor Elliot Spitzer who misappropriated funds for state transportation and also used the governor’s limousine to transport prostitutes. Then there is the former Congressman Anthony Wiener who seems to occupy his time as a self-proclaimed photographer taking digital pictures of his body in his birthday suit “sexting” to women to his heart’s content. Choice three of course, is Alex Rodriguez, A-Rod, or rather A-Roid, who decided to appeal a 211 game suspension for PED (performance enhancing drugs) use, distribution of said PEDs, and obstruction of justice. Mr. Rodriguez is appealing his suspension. At a press conference in Chicago where he returned to the game after rehabbing from injury, he completely dodged any questions about usage of PEDs after his time in Texas where he admitted it and told the New York media, “this is not the time to answer that…” He has nothing to lose by denying it. A-Roid is in the Yankees lineup playing third, batting fourth, and taking the fifth.
But if the rules allow me to redefine scam-artist as biggest evil doer, I have to write in the name Peter Salovey. Who is Peter Salovey? He is the current president of Yale University. With its glorious Ivy League campus in New Haven, Connecticut, America’s third oldest college has been under scrutiny for women students being raped, or as Mr. Salovey puts it, men have been exercising “non-consensual sex” on the women. Mr. Salovey’s answer is to rewrite school policy to permit some forms of non-consensual sex on campus to make enforcement easier. Mr. Salovey claims non-consensual sex is not necessarily rape. This has me outraged! Non-consensual sex is the fundamental definition of the word RAPE. Who is he kidding? Not all acts of non-consensual sex, as it were, are violent with men who hurt and possibly kill the woman, but it is still rape! Somebody better put a sign at the entrance to the Yale campus reading CLOSED—SATAN HAS TAKEN RESIDENCE! Elihu Yale, a British merchant and philanthropist who lived from 1646-1721, was the founder of what was then known as Yale College in New Haven. This jewel in the Ivy League crown was supposed to be a nationwide model of high-quality higher education and it has become the most controversial institute of higher learning in the United States, if not the world.
I remember in the mid-1970s when a popular weatherman named Herbert “Tex” Antoine on Channel 7 (WABC-TV in New York) known for his drawings while giving the weather was broadcasting on an episode when the Eyewitness News teams covered the story of the worst rape in Central Park in decades. Antoine, known for occasional excessive alcohol use, chose to quote Confucius’ “lay back and enjoy it” line. Confucius lived during a time when women were considered chattel, but there is no place for that in modern society and Tex was promptly fired.
The three aforementioned are sick men, no doubt. But not sicker than Peter Salovey who should be fired and incarcerated immediately so that the dream of Elihu and the institution he founded can be restored to its lofty status for future generations of American scholars.