“MLB just handed down suspensions to Joe Girardi, Dusty Baker and Wally
Joyner as a result of recent disputes with umpires. Meanwhile, the umps
blew several calls over the past week, including what should have a
been a three-run homerun by Carlos Delgado last Sunday. Are umps
earning their money and has MLB become overly sensitive to criticism of
“Are umps earning their money…?”
Seriously, Al? You act as if baseball has never seen a controversial call or a heated argument between umpire and manager before. Ejections, game-changing calls — right or wrong — are fundamental aspects of the game, Mr. Krause. They are as natural as the infield-fly rule or the strike-em-out throw-em-out inning-ending double play.
Your questioning of recent events yet again proves your ignorance for what has always been a defining element of the grand game of baseball.
What sets baseball apart from all the rest is that it doesn’t rely on the fast-paced pinpoint accuracy of machines to govern its highly relative rules. As a game that sees its best players fail 7 out of 10 times at the plate, baseball’s umpiring system — which has a much higher success rate — is bound to see a mistake or two during the long season. But to introduce technology (like instant replay) to arbitrate — even if it’s solely used for home run calls — would be nothing short of sacrilege in my point of view, which by the way, is the only correct point of view.
And I’m saying this as an avid proponent for burning down Don Denkinger’s house — still — 23 years after he singlehandedly destroyed my childhood by calling Jorge Orta safe when he was CLEARLY OUT during the 1985 World Series. A few years ago, I was going through some personal issues and while recovering made a list of all those whom I had hurt in some way with the ultimate goal of verbalizing an apology to them. I have said a lot of awful things about Denkinger in my lifetime and I am not proud of them. But when it came time to write an apology to him, the one person whom I hold more contempt for than even Bill O’Reilly, I was unable to reverse my absolute hatred. I even did extensive background research on Denkinger’s life, hoping that it would humanize him in some way that would make me feel bad about the anger I held inside.
But that’s just me. As an adult, I realize that that call was just a part of the game I love so much and that if I changed it, baseball would no longer be the rhetorical love of my life. It’s really as simple as that.
And while the league minimum salary for baseball players is around the $350K mark, the umpiring crews hover around $100K. The best umps in the game might make close to the player minimum, but of course, they’re doing it without any fanfare. They’re doing it while having to be on the road for every game, not just 81 games. They’re doing it while being targeted by angry fans in Chicago, Philadelphia, New York and Detroit. They’re doing it without any attention paid to how good of a game they might call and they’re doing it while being singled out only when they get one wrong, which in the grand scheme of things, isn’t very often.
So they’ve had a bad week. So what. Their bad week pales in comparison to an Eric Byrnes, who is having a terrible season while getting paid over $6.5 million this year or an Eric Gagne, who is getting $10 million for throwing like a batting practice coach. These guys are the ones who aren’t earning their keep. These guys are the ones we should be talking about.
And if for some reason Bud Selig lets these idiots get to him with the whole instant replay institution, I will take to the streets French revolutionary style to ensure that the game stays just the way it is.
I may do it alone, but I will do it because it is right, because I am right. And whether I come out of it dead or alive, please don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right ‘cuz that’s all I have in this cold, cold world.