Line of the Night

“It was the biggest call of my career, and I kicked the shit out of it. I just cost that kid a perfect game.”

– umpire Jim Joyce on what was perhaps the biggest blown call in the history of baseball, never mind his career

Joyce is going to take a lot of crap over flubbing the last out of what would’ve been the 21st perfect game ever pitched, but he really shouldn’t. Fuckups happen; his just happened at the worst possible time. The guy offered a whole-hearted apology afterward, which is all you can ask of someone in his position, and I suspect more than you’d get from most of his colleagues. Can you imagine if this were, for example, that fat schlub Joe West? He’d just tell us the video was wrong, the runner was safe and, “Buy my new CD!”

In an era of umpiring characterized by attention-seeking fools like West or confrontational would-be tough guys like Angel Hernandez, Jim Joyce is one of the good ones, a consummate professional (and rather famous novelist) who ignores all the other bullshit in favor of focusing on the only job an umpire has: get the call right. Tonight he didn’t. It happens.

The bigger culprit here is Major League Baseball – if a proper replay system were in place instead of the half-assed version they have now, this could’ve all been avoided. All you’d need is a fifth umpire on every crew set up in a video room inside the clubhouse; he sees a missed call, he tells his colleagues on the field via headset, “Hey, that guy/ball was safe/out/fair/foul”, and they change the call.

I guess the point I’m getting at here is that baseball, like so many other things in this world, would be all the better off if I were the one calling the shots.

(And if you’re wondering how I could possibly go from talking about a blown call by an umpire to lamenting how I’m not in charge of everything in only four paragraphs, honestly, what blog have you been reading?)

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