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Thursday, July 09, 2009
My Morning in ExileNot doing ATH this morning has completely thrown me off my game. I have no idea how I structured my day before I started writing it. And not just my blogging day. My whole morning schedule -- including my coffee, my shower, and my commute downtown -- was simply out of whack, and I think it's all attributable to BDD: Boxscore Deficit Disorder. Still, I managed to soldier on . . . somehow:
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 11:21am
Nothing like mentioning Jeter over at NBC to make tempers flare and the ad hominem attacks fly. The real point of interest that is arising from this issue is the increased attention that is being paid to umpires’ errors. My guess is that now that reviewing HRs has had a foot-in-the-door effect for instant replay, it won’t be long until we see a broader system of reviews. Bold prediction: 2010 season will inaugurate team challenges in baseball.
P.S. Can someone give me a good reason NOT to have instant replay reviews on plays like this? I don’t think the argument that it would slow an already slow game down even more is valid seeing as on the Jeter play, Girardi was out there arguing way longer than it would have taken to run a review. I really hope someone responds, I’m open to being convinced. I will say though, I think if you’re going to argue “sanctity of the game” you should give some explanation as to why being anti-progress is a virtue in this arena but not in other areas of life.
P.P.S. Not having ATH to read as I ate my breakfast at the office this morning was really troubling for me. This is my first job out of college and having that routine of reading ATH with breakfast is one of the few constants between my pre-work life and now and I found it extremely comforting, to an extent that I’m only becoming aware of now. Not to say that I’m not sympathetic to life and whatnot sometimes rearing its ugly head. All I’m saying is with great power…
Posted 07/09 at 01:29 PM
Craig Calcaterra said...
Yeah, it’s like red meat over there J.W. Some days I just feel like posting “Man, don’t the Yankees and Red Sox suck?” and watching the comment counter go to infinity and beyond.
Apologies for ATH, though. I’m not joking when I say that it messes with me too. I’m a creature of habit and repetition soothes and structures my life. Just know that if I’m not posting ATH it’s for a good reason.
And, appropos of your quote, my reason last night was that I was fighting Dr. Octopus and pouring sweet lovin’ on Mary Jane Watson.
Posted 07/09 at 01:34 PM
After last night’s Dodgers-Mets game, Mark Loretta kvetched to any reporters who would listen that first-base umpire Marty Foster told him that the flip had beaten him to the bag, which was why he was called out, and, oh, wait, never mind….
Posted 07/09 at 01:44 PM
Your post on the corrupt and incompetent umpire who cost the Yankees a run (in what would ultimately be a one-run game) is a little confusing. It seems like you’re chastising Jeter for (a) telling the truth and, in so doing, (b) calling attention to a major flaw in MLB - a corrupt, bad umpire who’s a legitimate threat to the legitimacy of the competition.
If you’re arguing that Jeter ought to be punished simply for telling the truth, then what’s wrong with all the mothers in the world who tell their children that “Honesty is the best policy”? Should the government fine and imprison mothers for preaching honesty? (Perhaps Jeter’s mother taught him to tell the truth and so MLB should fine her, eh?)
But fear not. MLB will ignore this entirely, because to not ignore it will call attention to the extremely disturbing trend of officiating in MLB that’s….suspicious. I’ve seen so many blatantly horrible calls this year that either I’m just the most unlucky viewer of baseball or else something is seriously awry. (A good example would be last Friday’s Brewers at Cubs game. Watch the final “ball” that walked in the winning run. Have you ever seen such sh—?)
Lionizing umpires because they’re authorities (as weak Americans love to do with powerful figures, be it the military, police, or the President) serves no purpose except to teach them that they’re never to be held accountable and they have the right to power-trip. Umpires will know that, whenever they want to give the home team an edge, MLB’s got their back. Whenever they want to start calling balls strikes just to get the game over with, MLB’s got their back. Whenever they want to widen the strike zone for a team because their brother-in-law is in Vegas….MLB’s got their back.
In addition to chillingly suspicious game-calling, we’ve also seen several umpires assault players (bumping into them is, legally, “impeding freedom of motion”, which is assault) and yet, as with Carlos Zambrano, MLB will just….lie. “Zambrano bumped the umprire!” MLB says. Ummmm….I saw the video; no he didn’t. Why did they lie, and why doesn’t the media call them out on it? (And here, too, we’ve seen this as a trend, not just in a few isolated incidents.)
Canonizing authority is fundamentally illogical and ultimately destructive.
In this Jeter case, we have an umpire who is corrupt because he very literally made up his own rules and then compounds his corruption because he lied about it.
And you can almost hear the necks of the mainstream media craning as they do their best to look the other way.
If the media doesn’t wake up and start looking closely at Selig and his cadre, then MLB in 2011 will be like the NBA was in 2004: rife with game fixing (both from the top and the bottom), flagrant home-field partisanship, and despondent players who never bother to truly compete because they know that the game is Pro Wrestling Lite.
Posted 07/09 at 01:53 PM
I am surprised that Jeter, of all people, ratcheted up the conversation, rather than putting the incident behind him. The conversation on the Vine might be filled with ad hominem attacks (I am grateful that Shysterball threads remain intact), but some of us can’t help but come away thinking that he simply can’t/won’t acknowledge his baserunning blunder.
Posted 07/09 at 01:56 PM
Craig Calcaterra said...
David—My point with that wasn’t to criticize Jeter, it was to illustrate the mess that MLB has right now. If you’re MLB—and you actually choose not to ignore the issue—you have a choice: believe Jeter or believe the ump. If you do the former, you have to discipline the ump. If you do the latter, you have to discipline Jeter, because that’s how you’ve always handled people who have called out umps in the past.
Personally I tend to believe Jeter, so my talk about going after him was really for rhetorical purposes. MLB likey does have a problem with this ump and/or this situation, however, and they should do something about it.
Not that I’m holding my breath.
Posted 07/09 at 02:00 PM
Jeter is telling the truth just because you said so, David? Before you try messing with a man’s livelihood, how about having just a tad more evidence in your back pocket?
Posted 07/09 at 02:03 PM
Craig Calcaterra said...
JE—I tend to think the baserunning blunder is beside the point. At the risk of making an over-the-top analogy, I’d liken this to an instance of a cop planting drugs on a guy who got pulled over for speeding. Of course he shouldn’t have been speeding, and of course none of this would have happened had been going the speed limit. But man, that doesn’t make the cop right to have planted the drugs, does it?
As I write that I’m thinking it will do the opposite of clarify the situation, but like I said in another post, it’s a slow news day.
Posted 07/09 at 02:03 PM
Jeter made a baserunning blunder? No, he didn’t. That’s the whole point: the umpire wantonly violated the integrity of the game.
Why the hell would Jeter “put the incident behind him”? The integrity of the industry that his entire professional life is devoted to has been flagrantly violated. And you want him to “put it behind him”?
Sadly, your reverence for power and authority is clearly the motivating mindset behind most fans, as well as the media. And it’s because you willfully allow the corruption of authorities (an umpire literally making up his own rules) that the competition is stripped of legitimacy.
Tragically, variations of this phenomenon are all too common in modern America. And many millions suffer for it.
Posted 07/09 at 02:04 PM
Thanks for responding, Craig, over-the-top analogies notwithstanding. After all, the cop has only been ACCUSED of planting the drugs, right?
Posted 07/09 at 02:08 PM
Jeter had zero incentive to make up such a tale from whole cloth (unless one want to argue that he was so upset about a caught stealing that he would go out of his way to tell a reporter a crazy story). He stood to gain absolutely nothing, and yet, as Craig points out, he would stand to lose.
Confirming that Jeter told the truth and that the umpire is corrupt would not be too challenging if somebody had the resources. You’d simply need to check the video tape and see if their lips could be read. Further, you could speak with the Yankee’s third-base coach as well as the Blue Jay’s third-baseman.
And it’s not just about this corrupt umpire. No, there is a trend of umpiring that’s either incompetent and/or corrupt. And this is a frightening threat to the legitimacy of MLB.
Wake up, baseball fans. And grow up, too. Anybody who’s watched more than a dozen games this season has undoubtedly taken note of suspicious officiating. And now, an umpire boisterously violated the game’s rules, and very likely determined the outcome of a game. Worshiping authority’s only going to make the problem worse.
Posted 07/09 at 02:17 PM
Attempting to take third was undeniably an ill-advised move on Jeter’s part. The marginal benefit doesn’t warrant the significant risk. That he was safe doesn’t mitigate the foolishness of taking the risk in the first place. But as Craig notes, this is irrelevant when it comes to discussing Foster’s subsequent actions/statements. I don’t know that he should be fired. People make mistakes and say the wrong things with alarming frequency, and should not be overly penalized for one error. MLB should look into it, however, and try to determine if the mindset of if-the-throw-beats-you-you’re-out is truly prevalent among umpires.
On another note, JE, you didn’t display any reverence for power and authority and so forth and would be welll advised to steer clear of responding to any statements that suggest otherwise.
Finally, I can’t help but think that Jeter is so insistent on this point because he is a little bit embarassed that he took a big risk (the kind of risk a rookie would be torn to shreds for) and was made to look like said risk failed. Had he been called out going from 1st to second with 2 outs and 2 strikes on Damon, well I just don’t think he would care quite so much. Again, I realize he was actually safe because of his awareness and experience, but that doesn’t mean that next time he would be safe, and it doesn’t mean it’s the right move to make.
Posted 07/09 at 02:18 PM
David, were you even 1/100th this stoked when Jeffrey Maier stole Jeter’s pop fly in the ‘96 playoffs? Seriously, would you really be this hung up on a single play at third base in the first inning if a guy named Jeter (or O’Neill or Brosius, for that matter) had NOT been involved?
The reason why Jeter ought to put this matter behind him is that, by his own admission, he has been the beneficiary of lots of calls over the years—some would even say he is the baseball equivalent of “The Jordan Rules”. (Hmmm, does that kind of umpire deference bother you at all? Shouldn’t all players be treated equally?) Perhaps he might still be interested in getting the benefit of the doubt on those two-strike pitches on the outside border of the plate?
Posted 07/09 at 02:21 PM
Thanks, J.W. And yes, you are correct in your assessment, as many slow-pitch softball umpires have called me out at third base (second and home, too) when the throw beat me but I slid in under the tag. Trust me: none of those guys in blue can say that I simply hurried back to the bench, crying softly!
Posted 07/09 at 02:35 PM
Over at the Blue Network, I hope Steve from Alabama doesn’t put a bullet through the eye of Mo Green. That place is turning into LoHud, better get a bouncer.
Posted 07/09 at 02:44 PM
Yeah, Craig, your analogy was totally “over-the-top”! Only a wacko conspiracy theorist would ever think that our brave, heroic cops would ever murder a little old lady and then plant drugs on her! And only a fool would think they’d falsify a search warrant to raid a house that had no drugs….only to get caught on camera. And only wacked-out loons believe that cops are repeatedly caught selling the drugs that they seize.
It’s funny, it’s scary, but it’s true. Men who can’t build anything (i.e., American men) transfer their energies into an idolatry of authority. It’s akin to a childless woman transferring her maternal energies toward her pet cats. It’s just so predictable. Show me some guy who pretends to cry during “God Bless America” or who talks about how much “our troops give to us” or how cops “put their lives on the line every day” and I’ll show you some worthless salesman or marketing guy or government bureaucrat or somebody else who can’t construct anything. They’re never coders or architects or engineers or machinists. They’re always, always, always worthless bureaucrats.
Every single man who’s worth a damn to civilization (who builds) has no problem looking corrupt power in the face (be it the police, military, or MLB umpires) and calling it what it is. Perhaps this is because these men are in the habit of telling the truth because they have to do so in the course of their work?
I don’t know. But it’s just so predictable.
Posted 07/09 at 02:45 PM
Craig Calcaterra said...
David—relax. I meant “over the top” in that a bad cop is far more serious a thing than a bad ump, not “over the top” in the sense that it was an outlandish example.
Len—I think Steve from Alabama hit the bricks after Mo caught him in his racist insinuation.
But yeah, it can get rough over there sometimes.
Posted 07/09 at 02:49 PM
(For the record, I wasn’t responding to Craig’s response especially, but to both the responses that seemed to glibly joke about the possibility of cops planting drugs, as well as all of the posts which seem - unbelievably - indifferent about corrupt umpiring in MLB. Next think you know, I just went off on one of my rants. No big deal.)
Posted 07/09 at 02:55 PM
Greg Simons said...
Actually, Craig, it seems to me that Bob Hammond threw out the racist insinuation and that Steve in Alabama’s follow-up comment was an insult to Mo Green’s intelligence and not necessarily racist. Steve later stated that C.B. Buckner has his job because MLB won’t stand up to the bad umps.
And please forgive me for the Roy Halladay stink bomb I just threw out. I probably shouldn’t have, but I couldn’t help but feed the wolves. It’s so entertaining to watch the carnivores in action.
Posted 07/09 at 05:06 PM
By the way, Craig, regarding the “Disco Sucks” post: disco was not just for the “Studio 54” types. While “Saturday Night Fever” may have featured fictitious characters, the reality was that any middle-class or even working-class guy or girl in Brooklyn or dozens of other cities could go out to a disco on the weekend without breaking the bank.
Posted 07/09 at 05:17 PM