… the umpire’s word being final?
You’re reading the ramblings of a happy Detroit Tiger fan this morning. While my daughter went to Comerica Park to see the game in person, I watched it on television on the local Detroit channel.
I’ll admit; when the White Sox jumped out in the first inning, I thought it was going to be a long afternoon. Going into the bottom of the ninth, things didn’t look good for my Tigers. Even when Javier Báez hit the ball deep, it didn’t look good. The ball was bouncing around AJ Pollock’s glove and he ended up catching it before it hit the ground. It sure looked like extra innings. Even watching the replay, it looked like a very awkward catch. But, he did catch it before it hit the ground.
Oh, but this is broadcast on Detroit television and they zoomed in to see that the ball had actually touched the wall before it hit Pollock’s glove. The announcers went wild and we saw it replayed a few times while the play was being reviewed.
Wait, what?! El Mago walk-off thrills teammates (include video replays from the game)
Báez actually knew what happened as he slowed to a trot after reaching first base and started waving to teammates and umpires. Seemingly, he was the only person in the park who knew – well maybe Pollock did but he wouldn’t be telling.
It seemed like forever as the play was reviewed and on television played over and over zooming in on the ball hitting the wall until the umpire in chief announced that it was indeed a home run. How NFL-ish. But it’s new this year.
Finally, after such a long time, the Detroit crowd (and this Detroit fan) went wild. It was ruled to not be a catch and the run counted. Game over. Tigers will the home opener.
As a teenager, I had to give up playing baseball because summer jobs had me working evenings so I turned to umpiring to keep me in the game (and making a few bucks). Typically, we would have an umpire calling balls and strikes and another making calls on the bases. We would be in no position to see a ball kit the wall 330 feet from home plate and just inches above an outstretched glove. In Major League baseball, they add outfield umpires for playoff games just to have a better chance of getting all calls correct.
I never had that luxury as an umpire. There was just the two of us and our word was final. Right or wrong, we were the law of the land. We wouldn’t have the luxury of long video reviews anyway – we had to get the game over before the sun set! It was seldom that we had games under the lights. And, if you didn’t like our calls, you’d find yourself ejected from the game and watching the rest from your car.
So, baseball fans, your thoughts?
- Did you watch the Tigers game?
- That other team just up the 401 played in the evening. Apparently, they won too. Did you watch that game?
- Did you ever play baseball? Do you still? Any stories to share?
- Baseball and Softball were big when I was growing up and I umpired both through the Western Ontario Athletic Association and Ontario Baseball Association. Are there any other umpires out there?
- Slow pitch is incredibly popular these days. Is it really in the same realm as baseball and softball?
- What are your thoughts about video replays? Do you find that it makes for longer, slower games or is it more important to get the calls correct?
- We know the equipment that baseball players wear. Umpires are equipped as well. What does an umpire wear to a game?
I’d be interested in your thoughts. You can watch the play in question at the first link above (along with other highlights from the game in the article)