“The more things change, the more they stay the same.”
When Major League Baseball first made the decision to institute limited instant replay in August 2008, the move was met with a feeling of inevitability. It was an inevitability that a game that always fought progress, would finally succumb to it.
Well, it was also inevitable that the same backward thinking that took it so long for the league to implement the measure would then also impede it from being used properly.
As a game, baseball has long been built around the judgment of the individual, a belief that one person’s naked eye should be the end-all, be-all judge of all. By instituting limited instant replay on home run balls (fair/foul, out of the park or not), the league as a whole caved to the realization that the naked eye is not always to be believed. Bud Selig even admitted as much during his initial press conference on August 26, 2008.
"I believe this is right," Selig. "I think the umpires believe it. I think the players believe it. The evidence [for using it] became overwhelming the more I looked at ballparks. You've got an umpire running out and he's 300-400 feet away, and it became impossible [for him to make the right call]. I'm delighted we're able to make this adjustment.
Yes, here we stand, nearly five seasons after the system has been introduced, and we still rely on the judgment of one person to dictate the outcome of a ballgame?
On Wednesday night, the Oakland Athletics were handed a loss by the Cleveland Indians after they failed to push a tying run over the plate during the 9th inning. However, that should not have been the case, as Adam Rosales hit what appeared to be a game-tying home run with two-outs in the inning. However, the umpire crew called the ball in play rather than a home run and Rosales ended up at second base.
This is the type of situation replay was instituted to resolve. The Athletics protested and the umpires decided to go to the replay, which clearly showed the ball hitting a railing above the yellow line at Progressive Field and bouncing back into play, which would mean the ball was indeed a home run. However, despite both home and away feeds showing that fact and the umpire crew having access to said feeds, crew chief Angel Hernandez ruled the play would stand as ruled on the field.
Obviously, Bob Melvin was incensed and was ejected for continuing to argue the call on the field. The Athletics would load the bases, but would ultimately fail to push that tying run across.
But that fact is not the real kick in the teeth. That came from MLB’s executive vice-president for baseball operations Joe Torre.
In a ruling on Thursday, Torre admitted that “an improper call was made”. However, Torre left the call as is, saying “By rule, the decision to reverse a call by use of instant replay is at the sole discretion of the crew chief. In the opinion of Angel Hernandez, who was last night's crew chief, there was not clear and convincing evidence to overturn the decision on the field. It was a judgment call, and as such, it stands as final.”
Torre is referring to rule 9.02a which states, “Any umpire’s decision which involves judgment, such as, but not limited to, whether a batted ball is fair or foul, whether a pitch is a strike or a ball, or whether a runner is safe or out, is final. No player, manager, coach or substitute shall object to any such judgment decisions.”
However, it begs to ask that if we are making progress toward the correct judgment, should we not also be progressing toward a way to correct improper judgment?
In this case, the Athletics are allowed an appeal to Torre’s office, but based on the way the rule is written – or interpreted, I’m unsure which – that appeal is for naught, as the umpire’s judgment is deemed the final word. They in essence become the judge, jury, and executioner so to speak.
This is not the first example of this, let alone the first time this season. The Tampa Bay Rays were robbed twice by bad calls, once on April 9th when Marty Foster handed Joe Nathan his 300th save on poor strike call and another time on April 4th, when Evan Longoria was ruled to have overrun Ben Zobrist on an RBI single. Unfortunately, you cannot argue balls and strikes, and the umpire refused to ask for help on the April 4th play.
However, the issue at hand is that the appeals system is nearly non-existent. What good does it do to file said appeal if in essence all you are getting to really say is, “I’m really unhappy Joe.”
It is an absolute disgrace to the game that there is no willingness on the part of Major League Baseball to correct a wrong. Instead, they simply say “sorry” and expect that it is fair to both parties to leave things as ruled on the field. With the insertion of replay, we should be making progress against bad judgment calls rather than enabling them to continue unhindered.
Is the long-term legitimacy of the game really worth bolstering up the ego of an individual?
Shorty is on hiatus this week in Costa Rica I think, Harry had a honey do list to talk about…
And then the Boston Marathon bombings happened!
I had a post ready to go and then this tragedy changed my mindset.
So here are just a few of my thoughts
I like to live by the motto that you can laugh at anything at anytime so you might as well lighten up and laugh.
I’m not laughing…not today. Not about the terrorist attack on Boston.
Wednesday featured a series of miss information about an arrest and several bomb scares in public buildings around the city. The idiot terrorist making these calls if caught should be brought up on conspiracy charges and tried as if they were the bombing terrorists.
The person, persons or group of terrorists responsible for Monday’s horrific bombing In Boston will pay for this act. It may not be until they face the Creator at the end of this age but they will pay.
I for one hope that the resources working on this with the evidence collected will identify and apprehend the scum. I further hope they don’t stand trial in Massachusetts.
Why, you ask?
In Massachusetts we don’t have the death penalty... period
The politicians learned long ago if you leave deciding something to the voters you may not get the agenda you want, hence, the referendum vote on re instituting the death penalty in MA will never get to ballot.
It was last voted on in the State House in I think 1992 and with a 60-60 deadlock it was tabled...or swept under the rug, I guess forever.
My hope is that if the terrorist is a foreign national he would be tried as an enemy combatant by a military tribunal and given the death penalty.
If the terrorists are domestic then they should be tried for treason by a military tribunal and given the death penalty.
We send along a big thank you to the first responders at the scene and at the hospitals for your selfless actions. By first responders I mean anyone who helped. Many spectators risked the unknown by jumping right in to work with the trained professionals in saving lives.
The count as of this writing is 3 dead and 175+ injured. Without the fast acting people on scene the death toll would have been much higher.
There are 8 hospitals within 2 miles of the attack.
Our Boston is a small neighborhood kind of city, About 650,000 people live in the city itself and the metro area is about 4,000,000 and most of those consider themselves Bostonians.
We are falsely regarded as a cold and unfriendly lot.
It’s true we mind our own business most of the time, we don’t get involved where we don’t belong but mess with us or be in need and we are right there…every time.
The metro area covers basically from Providence RI to the coast of NH, covered by crazy roads and highways and just as crazy drivers,
like this guy
Boston proper is small in area, just 48 square miles
By comparison, here are a few random US Cities and their official city limit size to give you the picture:
Plano TX 70 sq mi
Cleveland OH 78 sq mi
Tulsa OK 198 sq mi
Dallas TX 340 sq mi
Jacksonville FL 747 Sq mi
I’m sure they are great places too, I was just putting the size and close nit feeling of being in our home town into perspective.
Marathon Monday which falls on the uniquely Massachusetts holiday of *Patriots Day will live on. Changed by this event for sure, it will never be the same but it will survive this and we will survive this.
The race will be run next year with security changes, The Red Sox will play at 11:05 AM that day with security changes but with the memory of the lost and maimed fresh on our minds we will go on.
Just in case you thought you missed something,* Patriots Day is not for the New England Patriots football team. True that most of us are unapologetic homers but we wouldn’t name a day for a sports team. Patriots Day is for the brave and selfless founding Patriots that fought for freedom from the tyranny of the oppressive and controlling government of England.
A thank you to New York for be a class city and lending your support and condolences,
You know what it’s like to be shaken by terrorists.
take a moment now and pray for the families and victims of this attack
Now a little sports
MLB update, The Atlanta Braves are off to an unbelievable start overshadowing the surprising starts of upstarts Oakland, Boston, and Colorado
As Mo would say, now for a little shameless huckstering…
For my NFL update I’m sending you to a guy with a solid New England bias,
please check out my son Jon’s sports blog
Now I guess it's time to get onto that
honey do list .
Fix the picnic table that got crushed by the tree...I have my work cut out for me
Thanks and have a great day
With games starting as Sunday night when the newly minted American League Houston Astros host their cross-state rival Texas Rangers on Sunday night, the 2013 Major League Baseball season is upon us. No more talk about the Hot Stove, no more trade or free agent speculation, just baseball. Pure and simple.
But we still have a few days left before the first pitch is thrown and the long, arduous season is underway. That means we have a few more minutes to make some predictions and assumptions about how things will play out and who will be wearing the crown when the dust settles.
Today, we'll work on the American League, and then we'll follow that up with the National League tomorrow. So let's get started, shall we?
American League East
1.) Toronto Blue Jays
2.) Tampa Bay Rays (WC)
3.) Boston Red Sox
4.) Baltimore Orioles
5.) New York Yankees
No team in baseball did more to improve their overall team than did the Toronto Blue Jays. Adding three quality starters (R.A. Dickey, Mark Buehrle, and Josh Johnson) to their starting five and then securing two solid top of the order hitters (Jose Reyes and Melky Cabrera) and a pair of universal infielders (Maicer Izturis and Emilio Bonifacio), the Blue Jays may be the deepest team in baseball. They will beat teams on the mound, on the basepaths, and in the batter's box. Some pundits worry about how the team will gel, but the players acquired are all professionals of the highest order and that shouldn't be an issue. The AL East, in a weakened state, should be their division to lose.
Tampa will take second place and one of the two wild-cards in the American League. The Rays have the one thing all teams envy, and that's a deep pitching staff that will keep them in any game, and help them win quite a few. Unfortunately, the line-up outside of Evan Longoria is at its most barren and Tampa will again struggle to score runs. That may improve once the team bites the bullet and promotes Wil Myers, but they'll need to wait three weeks before that happens.
I may shock some people by picking the Red Sox to vault up to third place this season, and then again some will think this is a homer pick. That said, Boston did a lot to improve themselves throughout the order, adding Mike Napoli, Shane Victorino, Jonny Gomes, and Ryan Dempster. Furthermore, the pair of Clay Buchholz and Lon Lester have looked great this spring and they'll have a healthy Will Middlebrooks back. The only question mark is David Ortiz, but the team is deeper and may be able to withstand a short-term loss of Big Papi.
The final two squads could easily flip-flop in the standings. As much as I appreciated what the Orioles did in 2012, I think they overachieved and are in for a market correction. Baltimore did little to improve on a squad that managed only a +7 run differential and won more games with their bullpen than any other team in the American League.
Meanwhile, the Yankees are going to struggle to overcome the injuries to Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixeira, and Alex Rodriguez. They may have a solid starting five, but they'll lose more offense than any team in baseball for the first three months of the season, and an aging Kevin Youkilis, Travis Hafner, Vernon Wells, and Lyle Overbay are not going to be the answer the Yankees need.
American League Central
1.) Detroit Tigers
2.) Cleveland Indians
3.) Chicago White Sox
4.) Kansas City Royals
5.) Minnesota Twins
The AL Central is likely going to be a brutal division in 2013. The Tigers are still the toast of the town and should be better than the 88-win team that won the division in 2012. The addition of Torii Hunter and the return of Victor Martinez should make the line-up even deeper and the pitching staff should be solid, with Justin Verlander topping the rotation and a full season of Anibal Sanchez to add to the mix. Closer is a concern, but the role is overrated anyway.
The Cleveland Indians have flirted with respectability each of the last two seasons, but stumbled in the second half of both. The front office reloaded by bringing in Nick Swisher, Michael Bourn, Mark Reynolds, and Brett Myers, but we should all keep an eye on Scott Kazmir. If Kazmir can be a shadow of what he used to be, this could be a very entertaining team to watch.
The White Sox have a lot of good going for them, but they are still only a third place team at best. Chris Sale and Jake Peavy are a solid 1-2 punch at the top of the rotation, but the rest of the starting five has its question marks. Will Tyler Flowers be able to carry A.J. Pierzysnki's weight? Will Adam Dunn ever get himself away from the Mendoza line? Can the starting outfield avoid regressing in 2013? That's a lot of questions to answer to make a two-team jump for the division title.
I really like what the Kansas City Royals did this winter. The front office finally said "we need to win", and they went out and traded their top prospect (Myers) to Tampa for James Shields and Wade Davis, and acquired Ervin Santana from the Angels. Still, will it all be for naught when these markedly better Royals squad still has to jump three other teams in the division? Will they regret losing a talent of Myers' proportions?
What can you say about the Minnesota Twins? This is a still a team that revolves around Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau, but their window of opportunity has passed and the team seems to be set on building for the future. The fans will be treated to a talented rookie in Aaron Hicks and the team will likely turn to other young building blocks as the season progresses. The lack of a solid pitching staff and a young line-up likely means that the Twins will make more noise at the trade deadline than they will in the standings. Expect Morneau and Josh Willingham to be shopped extensively when the Twins fall out of contention in early June.
American League West
1.) Los Angeles Angels
2.) Oakland Athletics (WC)
3.) Texas Rangers
4.) Seattle Mariners
5.) Houston Astros
To me, this is the toughest division to pick. In the end, I went with the Angels taking the title, as they are just a dangerous team to have to face consistently. The addition of Josh Hamilton to a line-up that already contained Albert Pujols, Mike Trout, and Mark Trumbo will be devastating for even the best rotations to face. Jered Weaver is a solid ace at the top of the rotation, but the rest of the starting five is made up of number 4 starters at best, and that's giving Joe Blanton a lot of credit. Still, the team's offense should carry them.
Oakland is my runner-up, but could very well steal the division again. The starting rotation is as deep as they come, and Billy Beane's teams always seem to have another arm waiting in the wings, which they may need if Brett Anderson continues to struggle with his health. Yoenis Cespedes and Josh Reddick will likely continue to improve and are solid offensive building blocks. The addition of Jed Lowrie is another good buy-low move by Beane.
What were the Texas Rangers doing this winter? A team with so much to gain just by retaining their top offensive weapon, Texas instead let Hamilton walk to a division rival and did nothing to replace him. They have the best prospect in the game in Jurickson Profar, but no place to play him, so why they couldn't swing a deal for Justin Upton with Elvis Andrus as a center piece, I don't know. The combination of Yu Darvish and Matt Harrison at the top of the rotation is solid, but losing out on Greinke is going to hurt them.
The Seattle Mariners, like the Royals above, did a lot to improve their team, first bringing in the fences, then bringing Kendrys Morales and Mike Morse to help an anemic offense support one of the most underrated pitching staffs in baseball. Still, they face an uphill battle with the Rangers, A's, and Angels still having stronger rosters to fall back on. The presence of Danny Hultzen, Taijuan Walker, James Paxton, Mike Zunino, and Nick Franklin gives the Mariners a top-5 prospect list to be envied by any organization.
Moving from the NL Central to the AL West was the right move for the Astros and will help them create a natural rivalry with the Rangers. Unfortunately, they have a few years of building a roster ahead of them, especially after dismantling the current one. There is something to be said about building a winner by losing on the field, but entertaining is not one of them.
Melky Cabrera is no longer the only high-profile drug suspension of the season.
Major League Baseball suspended Oakland Athletics right-hander Bartolo Colon for 50 games after Colon failed a mandatory drug test. His results showed higher than normal testosterone levels and after further investigation, Colon was found to have used a similar substance that earned Cabrera his ban.
After 2 season away from the game, Colon made an improbable comeback in 2011. Pitching for the Yankees, he went 8-10 with a 4.00 ERA and 135 strike-outs in 164.1 innings pitched. His velocity had returned a bit and he started 26 games for the first time since 2005. The performance was good enough to get him another deal in Oakland in 2012.
Colon followed up his stellar 2011 campaign with an even better year thus far in 2012, posting a 10-9 record, 3.43 ERA, and 91 strike-outs in 152.1 innings before his suspension. His name regularly came up at the trade deadline in regards to teams looking to add pitching for the home stretch, especially considering the A's apparent plethora of quality starting arms.
Well, the A's are going to be thankful for the return of Brett Anderson and the expected return of Dallas Braden, not to mention the availability of Dan Straily at the minor league level. They are going to really appreciate that depth with the loss of Colon, something they should barely feel at this point.
For the 39-year-old Colon, this likely closes the book on his career, improbable comeback or not.