'Curse of the Bambino' Falls On Redbirds!

Published: Thursday, November 14, 2013 at 10:01 AM.

This is going to sound like sour grapes. But listen, it’s just a baseball game……we’re not talking world peace or some political fiasco over who actually controls the Straits of Gibraltar. And I understand judgment calls. We all make them……from who to take to the senior prom to which brother-in-law you may not want to lend your money to. 

Major league umpires just take it to another level. They must make lightening quick decisions based on whether the throw beat the foot to the bag, the catcher got the tag on the sliding base runner and was that pitch exactly on the outside corner or did it just nick the black.

They don’t get every call right, of course. Major league umpires are good, mind you, but not perfect. Historically, those missed calls are simply factored in as a part of the game. With all the electronic data available it was only natural that big league baseball has instituted replay cameras in certain situations, mostly dealing with whether a ball cleared the outfield fence for a home run.

It is still the judgment of the umpire on that half swing at home plate or that whisper close play at first base. That might have all changed with the just finished World Series. In the very first inning of the very first game the second base umpire ruled quickly and instinctively that the St. Louis shortstop had held the ball long enough to get the force out at second and was “in the act of throwing” when the ball dropped from his glove. This was not the case however. The TV cameras revealed in super slow motion that the ball was never held by the shortstop.

The umpire clearly and distinctly made the out call. That call has always stood! Forever in baseball! The fact that it was wrong was just “part of the game”. The Boston Red Sox manager came out to argue. I would have done the same thing. He was not expecting to get the call reversed. Baseball never reverses that call! The umpires quickly huddled, discussed the play and then called the runner safe.

I was stunned. Umpires had historically backed each other up, right or wrong. They take great pride in their fraternity. This was certainly a turning point…..and on the biggest stage in baseball for goodness sakes! The announcers quickly applauded the fact that “they got it right”. Baseball, represented by Joe Torre, reflected after the game that “they got it right”. Reporters the next day dutifully reported “they got it right”. 

I won’t argue the point. The runner, who was called out, later scored and Boston played the game with an “extra out” that directly affected the outcome of the game. No one can argue that point either! And that game affected the outcome of the World Series! 

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